I have been methodically troubleshooting the irregular impression I get on my 15-21 and have since learned about wear on the rails. I am at a point where I’m wondering if I need to do something really serious or if the amount of wear isn’t a big deal and I can somehow adjust the bearings to compensate.  The upper rails that the impression bearings ride on are worn by .007 on the operator side and .002 on the opposite side at the head of the press and the wear tapers off within about 8″ down the bed of the press.  I bit the bullet and embarked on adjusting the carriage bearings (did this several times thinking I was doing something wrong) and still had less impression at the head of the bed. This press has an adjustable bed so I even cleaned the wedges thinking the bed was not raising and lowering evenly.  That helped a little bit.

I would rather not disassemble my press and send it out to have the rails planed because I had to knock a hole in my studio wall to get the press in and now that’s sheetrocked up.  (should have put a door in!)

Someone mentioned that someone who does hand metal “scraping”  might be able to even out the side with the most wear (.007) but it’s a lost art and possibly hard to find that person.

If I was able to get this one side scraped with press in place, is it a reasonable thought to adjust the bearings on that side so they ride level with the other side?  I’m thinking that this metal scraping will be costly but less so than sending the press out.  The opposite side impression rail being worn .002 seems not worth scraping since it would take even longer and seems negligible.  I would love feedback on this.  I’m particularly in need of suggestions regarding how much to adjust bearings to compensate for wear like this.



Ive had my Universal III for almost a year now and have been running some large editions on it. 99.9% of the time she runs perfectly, but occasionally upon returning to the feed table the carriage will slam home with a startling amount of force. Im talking once out of a few hundred cycles and it seems to be more frequent towards the end of the edition run.

I’ve already replaced all the microswitches. Adjusting the braking knob does stop the carriage shorter but when it slips it will still slam home, even with the knob turned up all the way. I have not adjusted the clutch at all. Any thoughts on the cause? Thanks in advance.


Does anyone have access to a manual for a Challenge 15KA? I was helping Green Pea Press in Huntsville Alabama get theirs up and running from a pile of press parts. We are still having trouble with the trip operation. This particular press doesn’t have the roller mechanism installed yet. We were able to get the press to print by pressing the trip pedal at the start of the print run, and then releasing it right before the paper reached the type in the press. This way, the trip pedal could be used to raise the cylinder at the end of the print cycle to keep from printing on the cylinder on the return. This was the only way we could get the trip pedal to work on the return. This seemed incorrect to me, but I’ve never seen a 15KA in action. Any advice or guidance would be much appreciated. Thanks! Jessica Peterson


Good Evening!

I have recently come into possession of a Universal I Power Test Press with automatic cycling abilities. This is the first automatic cylinder press I’ve had experience with and I am finding there are some things I do not understand.

When the cycle mode is on, the press does not go into “trip” upon it’s return, therefore printing on the tympan. It will stay in trip on Manual mode, but otherwise remains on print. With this issue, it also has some difficulty releasing paper at the end of the bed – I assume because the trip mechanism has not been activated sufficiently, however I’m not sure.

This press does have an adjustable bed.
I’m hoping you might have an idea about what is going on and how to fix it.

Thank you so much for your time!


SP-15 rear trip pin

My SP-15 is showing wear on the rear trip pin from the ink drum belt. Photo shows wear from both trip and print positions. The belt touches the trip pin. Is this expected? And if not, what’s the best way to adjust this?

Additionally the trip arm had been touching the ink drum (wear from that is also shown in this photo on the drum – vertical line of wear on ink drum). There is now daylight between the two as I was able to slightly adjust the bracket under the plate the motor sits on (bracket accessible on upper left of first shelf). However, belt is still touching pin.  Is there a better way to adjust both of these? Any thoughts appreciated. Video


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Dave Seat discovered that both our SP-15 presses were missing the outer bolts that hold the outer nyliners in place. We ordered new from NA Graphics, along with nyliners, but the nyliners are too big; the neck is too long to put two on the shaft. Instead of going to the hassle of returning, etc., Can we just cut them down to fit?

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I’m printing a very large plate of a linear illustration. The poster size is 18×24 and the plate is almost that size. I’m using my SP-20. The problem I’m having is, right in the middle of the form, I’m not getting solid ink coverage. It’s almost exactly in the center. My rollers are only 4 years old, although I suppose it’s possible they have shrunk a little. To get the middle to ink properly, I’ve had to really lower the rollers. The problem with that is then the ink coverage is so heavy on all 4 sides that it looks like crap and is slurring off and building up on the edges. Not good. I’m not sure what to do. The illustration is all connected lines, so I can’t pull out a piece and print in a second pass.

To make matters more fun, I’m running a 3-color split fountain. I was thinking of running the colors separately. Would they blend properly? The issue would still remain with the very center of the poster, as the middle color is very heavy on the leading and end of the sheet, but too light in the very middle. I just don’t know how to compensate for this. It doesn’t seem as if makeready on the packing would solve it as impression is fine.

I should also add that I can’t just pull up the plate and add some paper behind that section. It’s mounted on a wood board. If I pull it up, tons of little pieces of the wood come with it and that’d be it for the plate.



5371-1One of our SP-15 presses at UAFS has an oscillating cylinder that is slowing way down shortly after being inked. It doesn’t seem to matter what kind of ink (ie, stiff or loose); it’s as though the ink is too thick. This machine has had a motor replacement (posted a few years back on this forum) which included a control switch for speed. I have tried upping the speed a bit, but it does not seem to help. So it would seem that inking the rollers increases the “load” on the motor, and that is slowing it down. I’m wondering if we were given the wrong type of motor?


Here’s some lovely photos from Barbara Crocker of her 15-21 who writes “I had been having trouble with my press bed being high on one corner.  Thanks to you, I decided to clean the wedges and it has definitely taken care of the bed issues….lubed the wedges and got it back together, much better without mouse bones crunching.”




I’m considering grabbing an SP-15 press but, like many presses out there, getting it into running order will require some TLC. The press bed, cylinder rack, bed bearers, under rails, gripper pedal, trip latch & rail along the bed, steel cabinet, and feed table all check out and seem to need nothing more than heavy duty clean. In contrast, the impression cylinder & inking assembly carriage are no where to be found. From what I understand, a previous owner of the press needed the carriage parts for another project and I would take responsibility to replace those parts.

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I was contacted by someone with a couple of presses he wants to find new homes. One is a Hacker. I haven’t seen it yet, but he said it was missing some parts and sent a few photos. There are 3 rollers that need to be recovered, but probably no other parts of the ink train remain. From the scanned brochure I found on this site, it appears there should be a couple of rider rollers and an ink drum, not sure if the details varied over time. See the photo below. I think it shows the framework where the additional pieces would be attached. Can anyone advise me on what would be needed to restore the ink train, and how difficult that might be. Otherwise it could be a nice manual proof press, inked with a brayer, but we already have a similar size Potter proof press at the museum print shop where this would go. I am told that the press turns over easily, so that should not be an issue.



When in Print mode, my cylinder trip rack rides up the trip wedge and makes the carriage jump up right when the cam follower rolls off the top of the wedge. Is it possible to adjust this?

warped trip rack

warped trip rack

top of wedge where cam follower jumps the carriage up

top of wedge where cam follower jumps the carriage up

top of trip rack

top of trip rack

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