215 form rollers

_Comments are applicable to the No.4_

Need as much specific information on the Vandercook #215 form roller mechanism function. The one I’m trying to troubleshoot is at the Atlanta Printmakers Studio. The roller mechanism that propels the rollers as it traverses the press bed will not disengage when it returns to the feedboard, and as a result the rear form roller grabs when it contacts the ink drum. Can someone provide input that will help us to solve the problem.

Norman J. Wagner
Professor Emeritus
Atlanta College of Art

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Paul Moxon, Moderator
16 years ago

I think it would be too difficult for all but the most skilled machinist to align the new holes, And it’s possible that the existing blocks have been reamed out beyond the nyliner dimesions. I recommend buying the steel replacement blocks bored to fit nyliners.

As a temporary fix, I’ve wrapped Teflon tape (plumbers tape) around the roller cores to reduce the play.

The Arm
16 years ago

In a busy shop or an educational environment would it be a good idea to bore out those holes and add some nyliners?

Daniel Morris
The Arm Letterpress
Brooklyn, NY

Eric Holub
16 years ago

I have seen the blocks installed upside down a couple times, but a more common error is placing the oil-holes to the inside where they are then overlooked. In one case the blocks wore to an oval 1/8″ wider and needed to be replaced.
Some amount of wear is unavoidable, even with careful cleaning and lubrication, but in my opinion much is caused by the habit of leaving the press running when not actually printing: excessive distribution of ink, walking off for some reason, chatting, etc. This is especially true with the roller clutch on the No. 4.
There’s even a plate right on the press warning us:
“Always lift inking rolers when press is not in operation. If rollers are left turning on ink drum the Ink will dry faster and the rollers will be subject to needless wear.”
If you are using a stiff ink or rubber base, work the ink with a knife on the slab first to get it to proper consistancy. Don’t go straight from the can to the rollers.

Fritz Klinke
16 years ago

I talked to Norman today and there are other issues with this press. The roller bearing block assemblies are in upside down so that the adjusting screws are towards the bed, and these have to be reversed. Eric is on the right track as far as the roller clutch assembly is concerned. Each roller has a pin in the end of the core that is depressed by the Clutch Throwout Lever MB-104, a naval bronze casting, that is spring loaded (BRS-13) that the pin slides on when the cylinder returns to the start position. The pin is pushed into the end of the roller core, and it is linked to the inner part of the clutch assembly and that disengages the clutch so that both rollers are free to turn with the ink drum in the bed of the press. In Norman’s situation, either the pin (hardened steel) has worn or as Eric notes, a groove has been worn in the face of the MB-104 casting so that the pin no longer disengages the clutch assembly (or both). Maybe the pin needs replacing, or the repair as noted by Eric has to be made to the MB-104 as we don’t have new ones–no pattern for the casting.

See this “Schematic”:https://vandercookpress.info/images/4parts/4-clutchplate.jpg showing the Clutch Throwout Lever.

Paul Moxon, Moderator
16 years ago

This image from a No.4 manual of the cam (MS-264) that causes the form roller gear and clutch block to separate at the feedboard.

form roller gear cam

Eric Holub
16 years ago

I’ve never seen a “215“: so pictures of the specific mechanism would help. The later Vandercooks have a shortened rack to solve the problem, but some earlier designs like the No. 4 have clutched roller gears, and your 215 may be related.
The 4 has roller gears that are split into two sections, and pins fitted into the roller shaft which, when depressed, allow the driving gear to spin independently of the roller. The pins are depressed by a flapper in the frame of the roller carriage, activated by a wedge cam on the side of the press.
When parts are worn, the pins don’t move far enough to disengage the split gears, chattering at first and with more wear, freezing. The wear can be on the end of the pins, or on the flapper, or both. A temporary solution is to add shims behind the wedge cam. If the wear is on the flapper, the dimples can be filled by welding or brazing. But it may be the pins that need replacement.
Wear like this is aggravated by letting the press idle.

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