Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Work-and-Turn vs Work-and-Tumble

Turn & Tumbles

This is going to be a short and sweet post about work-and-turns vs work-and-tumbles, which are a couple different printing methods when printing double sided on a press. Most of the time you wouldn't worry about whether or not your job is a turn or tumble unless you are the one printing it, but it's interesting to know, and knowing how it works could possibly save you money. When printing on a press, after one side of a piece of paper is printed on, the main difference between the two is which way the paper is turned in order to print on the back side. It all depends on the size of your artwork and how it is laid out and printed on a plate.

A work-and-tumble (or work-and-flop, or work-and-roll) is when a sheet of paper is fed through the printer, then turned over long ways (below) and fed back through the printer to print on the opposite side. On the first pass through the printer, one side of the paper is used as the gripper edge (where the printer grabs the paper to pull it through), then when turned over, the opposite side of the paper is used as the gripper edge, resulting in a slightly smaller available printing area. This method makes it a little more difficult to align the images on either side.

A work-and-tumble.

A work-and-turn (or print-and-turn) is when a sheet of paper is fed through the printer, then is turned over short ways  (below) and fed back through. This method keeps the same gripper edge, which makes it easier to align and has a slightly larger printing area than a work-and-tumble.

A work-and-turn.

Now, like I mentioned, it all depends on how the artwork is laid out to be printed. If an image, like the one below, is printed and is turned as a work-and-tumble, the image on the back would obviously be upside down.
A work-and-tumble with upside down artwork.

Whereas, if it were turned as a work-and-turn, the image on the back would be right side up.

A work-and-turn with artwork right side up

Although if the image on the sheet was rotated, then the job could be turned as a work-and-tumble.

A work-and-tumble with artwork right side up.

Back to the saving you money part, which is always exciting. A trick printers have to get a cost effective job done is to do a job 2-up on a sheet (where instead of a single print, one piece is printed twice on a larger sheet of paper and cut down) and do the front and back images side by side on the front and then flip it over and print the same thing on the back. This way, instead of having to pay for a plate of the image on the front and a plate for the image on the back, both are being printed at the same time on one plate.

It can be kind of difficult to wrap your head around it without seeing a physical example or without doing it yourself (I know it took me a little bit), so get out a sheet of paper and a pencil and try it for yourself.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Why not call these as single gripper turn or double gripper turn.

    The illustration for work or tumble does not match description.

    or am I worked and jumbled :) lolz.

  3. It sounds like Work and Tumble is difficult and can be costly with the chance that it's not perfectly aligned whereas Work and Turn is flawless.

    1. Lol... I've been in printing since 1984 and there is NEVER anything flawless in printing. That being said, you're right: a work and turn layout always causes more problems than any other layout. Like I said, I've been doing this job for a while (finishing aspect: cutting, folding, stitching, collating, drilling, punching... long list...lol) and no one had ever explained the benefits of a work and tumble job over a work and turn. If anyone has a reasonable reason please let me know...

  4. Good point taken..and used for assignment