Cannabis enthusiast and student of the art of solventless extraction
One of the advantages to building your own rosin press is that it gives you the flexibility to customize an extraction setup that best fits your needs. By designing and assembling your own unique configuration, you can choose the tonnage capacity and plate size to match your expected levels of production. Another important consideration is whether you’ll install a caged or an uncaged rosin plate kit onto your press.
Caged rosin plate kits include an upper and lower plate that are permanently fixed to one another by columns at every corner. These columns are spring-loaded, keeping the plates in the open position when they’re not under pressure. Caged rosin plate kits do not need to be attached to the press but can simply rest in the proper position.
Uncaged plate kits include an upper and lower plate that are unattached from each other. The lower plate is secured to the table of the press, and the upper plate is directly attached to the ram via a collar and bolt system.
A few factors to consider when choosing a rosin plate kit include plate alignment, heat transfer, spacing, and cost. Plate alignment is critical for even pressure application and to keep the bag from shifting during extraction, while heat transfer between the plate kit and press can reduce the accuracy of your extraction. If you’re using a method like Bottle Tech to press your bags vertically, take into consideration the operating space you’ll need between the plates. Finally, the upfront investment in equipment is a consideration when choosing the best rosin plate kit for your set up.
While caged plates come at a premium price, they do include the added benefit of automatic and guaranteed alignment. They are easy to install on your press and help minimize heat loss during extraction, since the heated plates are not in direct contact with the driving ram or the press itself.
However, the cost increase can be quite a bit, so if you aren't pressing above 7 grams of material or so, it may not be worth the extra cost.
Pros: Automatic plate alignment, can help minimize heat transfer, doesn’t need to be directly attached to the press
Cons: Cost - not as cost efficient as cage-free, can reduce working space for parchment paper with smaller opening between plates and between the corner columns, reduces options for Bottle Tech style extraction
Uncaged plates are not attached to each other and are mounted directly onto the press. The upper plate has a collar and bolt system that attaches it to the driving ram, and the bottom plate attaches to the table of the press.
Uncaged plates give you more working space and freedom to use certain methods like Bottle Tech, which requires a larger gap between the plates.
While more heat can be lost due to the direct contact with the press, this can be offset by using proper insulation such as fiberglass.
Pros: costs less than caged - more cost efficient with your DIY press, more room to operate between the plates allowing for vertical style pressing (Bottle Tech), easier to fit large pieces of parchment paper between the plates, no confinement.
Cons: Bottom plate needs to be secured to the press, attaches directly to the ram which can increase heat transfer, alignment needs to be checked and adjusted
Which Is Better?
Whether you want to go with caged or uncaged is a matter of personal preference and depends on your methodology and your budget. If you like to press Bottle Tech, in which the rosin bags are placed between the plates vertically as opposed to the traditional way of laying flat, then uncaged plates are your best bet.
You can find out more about how to press rosin with Bottle Tech in our article here.
Also, if you’re pressing lesser amounts of rosin, you may not need to spend the extra money on a caged plate system.
If you often struggle with plate alignment and/or rosin bags slipping around during extraction, caged plates may be best.
Whether you decide to go with a caged or uncaged rosin plate kit, remember to go with quality. Find a good manufacturer that specializes in rosin production so you can trust that your equipment will deliver the accurate temperature and pressure settings you require.
For the majority of use cases, uncaged plates are a great choice.