219 OS Sheet Rollers/Fingers

For today’s obscure 219 os question, I’m hoping to have some light shed on the sheet rollers. I’ve never used them and know many people just take them off but I have a project where they may come in handy. You can read about them on page 3 and 4 of this old vandercook sell sheet here:


They have a screw on top to tighten them in position, and a screw in the back to tighten the spring to put pressure on the rollers against the drum. However, in the past, no matter how much I tightened them there wasn’t enough pressure to actually hold paper to keep it from getting loose and slurring/losing register.

Looking at it more thoroughly for the first time I noticed another screw on the back of the rollers and realized they were pushing the rollers back against the spring and away from the cylinder, so as long as those screws are there, I wouldn’t get enough pressure. That flat head set screw has it’s own hex set screw.

In the picture below I’ve circled where the set screws go. Once I removed those screws, I was able to push the sheet rollers against the cylinder with suitable tightness to actually hold the paper against the cylinder.

My only guess is that the set screw pushes the roller back so that it’s not too tight. I’m just not sure how to best adjust this, or if that screw is even needed. Anybody have any experience with this? Or thoughts?

13 thoughts on “219 OS Sheet Rollers/Fingers

  1. Eric Holub - September 1, 2012

    I looked at a 219 OS that had the same problem of the drum inking at tail bend of the impression cylinder. This is over six years back, not sure of he details now. I only recall a vertical adjustment to the drum, nothing lateral (bear in mind there are two versions of the 219 OS, with single and with double ink drums that might possibly not have the exact same alignments). Also advised the users to cut packing sheets shorter, because it took full-length hangers for this contact, and they were not printing absolute full-length forms.
    As for OS/NS distributor assemblies, they are interchangeable, have seen all combinations in use, and I think the lower assemblies are identical. However the OS lower assembly will probably be more worn, and as I recall does not have the replaceable bushings that the NS has. OS assemblies are lightweight metal, M-shaped, and the NS assemblies are rectangular steel.
    Regarding the sheet guide rollers, the stop screw limits contact against the cylinder: the further in, the less contact. Further out, more contact, so of course removing it will allow contact you did not have before. But it can now shift out of position due to vibration. That is also why there is a set screw that locks the stop screw in position.

  2. Widmark - August 31, 2012

    Since we’re talking 219…wondering about the difference in the upper roller assembly.

    When you see them like this:


    with the indented end blocks, is that for the 219ns? Mine is a rectangle. Just wondering if they’re interchangeable and/or superior for any reason.

  3. Widmark - August 30, 2012

    for what it’s worth, here’s my press…looks like my ink drum is pushed further towards the bed than yours. Not sure what the difference is, it’s counter-intuitive to think that might be your problem…I’d think if your ink drum is inking the tympan you’d want to move it back, not further forward, so maybe it’s not related. Or maybe I’m not getting something.

  4. DWP - August 27, 2012

    I got your email Dan (thanks) but thought I’d put it out here for crowd consensus.

    I stand corrected though, my ink drum contacts the rear roller as well. Yes, I had the ink drum lowered when I took that picture. I have no problems with registration or any other issues beyond the ink stripe on the impression cylinder. Great press and I especially like to point out to visitors the door in the base where I shovel in the coal to fire it up.

    If you rotate your grippers like I did you can reduce the risk of them hitting any sort of mounting base on the press bed but the closest you’ll ever print to the feed edge is 2.5 picas as that’s where the top sheet is secured though I did fill that gap with silly putty and tissue once to get even closer.

  5. Widmark - August 27, 2012

    No problem. I’m eager for any dialogue about this press!

    The first thing that stands out is that I’m pretty sure my drum only contacts the REAR roller. I’ll have to look at it again but that’s how I remember it. I hadn’t noticed the adjustment you circled, I’ll see how mine is set, but may not be in front of the press again until thursday.

    It also looks like you have the ink drum lowered. If I recall, when I turn the ink drum lever (as mentioned earlier) to lower the drum, the arms that hold up the drum move back and and angle like yours. When normally operated they’re straight up and down. I don’t know if you just had it lowered to show.

    I emailed you directly earlier today to mention that, if the sheet line is the line that’s engraved along the end of the cylinder that sets a zero point for gripper adjustment, that mine is more like 10 pica from the steel end of the feedboard.

    This hasn’t been a problem for me. Everything regarding the placement of the cylinder seems to be appropriate. I just today did a test to see how close I could print to the gripper edge and was able to print 1/2″ from the edge of the paper, with my base pushed absolutely against the deadline and a plate with image up to the very edge of the base, and that seems normal.

  6. DWP - August 27, 2012

    For some reason I could only put up one picture with my last post, here’s a picture of my cylinder at rest against the feed board and that 7 pica gap.

    I removed some of the grippers for a goofy job, still have them though if I need them again. Also note that I rotated them 180 degrees. This way I don’t get the “waffle” impression from the grippers on soft papers and they take up a little less area on the sheet for trimming afterwards if necessary.

    Crap, now I’ve edited this post and it stripped off the picture and I can’t add it again. So now I’ll put it up as a separate comment, sorry.

  7. DWP - August 27, 2012

    Didn’t mean to hijack your question Widmark.

    I’ve inquired to Fritz about a 219 OS manual in the past and no luck, I have the new style manual which I purchased from Fritz back then but it lacks much of the information we need. I was thrilled when he put up the partial schematics some time ago though they didn’t address any of my issues (yet).

    If you hadn’t been asking these questions I’d probably have never given it a second thought but now I’m looking at it again in new light and have a couple ideas. First, I’ve often wondered if my cylinder is set in the proper position. When Dave Seat was here last working on my Lino I asked him what he thought and I think the consensus was ‘if it’s not broke….’ the sheet line by the adjustable guides is about 7 pica away from the brass edge of the delivery board. Do other owners of this press have the same distance between?

    Second thought is I now notice that there is some adjustment perhaps in the positioning of the ink drum as indicated by the red circle in the picture I’m putting up with this post. I see no way of raising or lowering of the ink drum beyond the trip mechanism but moving the drum away from the bed might solve my ink stripe. My ink drum only makes contact with the roller closest to the type form, do other owners note both rollers being driven with contact?

    On a side note here – I do have the original plate base and register system for the press but it is at a height for 11 pt. plates and they must be beveled. I also have the Vandercook hooks and toggles for the base which I got from Don Black years ago at some expense but rarely use any of it because that base is a heavy beast and almost too much for one person even when I was in my 30s. Mostly I’m printing from slugs or hand set type but if I were into polymer I’d explore using it more perhaps.

  8. Widmark - August 27, 2012

    Right, I understand that. Just trying to understand what physically would cause that problem with his press. Are you saying that the cylinder is in print at the feed board and that is why it’s picking up ink? That when his press returns to the feedboard its in trip (obviously or he’d be complaining about more than a stripe of ink) but there’s something wrong with the timing for when it switches to print and it’s doing it too soon?

    Is there a scan of the 219os manual? I’ve never seen one. The only ones I’ve seen online and the one you sent me a year ago was the manual that’s a hybrid with pages relating to 219 NS and 219 Power.

  9. Paul Moxon, Moderator - August 27, 2012

    The 219 OS manual states on page 1 that “Cylinder always trips on travel toward feed board. Cylinder may be tripped on travel away from feed board by stepping on trip pedal extending through base. Pedal must be pressed down before cylinder is started. Pedal must be released as soon as cylinder has passed it.”

  10. Widmark - August 27, 2012

    So DWP’s 219 is not entering trip mode when at the feed board?

  11. Paul Moxon, Moderator - August 27, 2012

    The 219 (successor to the short-lived 119) is for practical purposes the first Vandercook model with power ink distribution. Later models had fixed ink drums, which required that the impression cylinder be in trip at the feed board, then an eccentric must shift the cylinder into print mode after to clear the ink drum.
    SP series presses reverses this mechanism so that the cylinder is automatically in print mode at the feed board and trips only at end of the print stroke (or if the trip lever is manually set). Initial print mode necessitates that the ink drum be pushed down drop when the carriage tie rod passes over an armature above the drum, compressing a spring connected to the drum and ink motor plate.

  12. Widmark - August 27, 2012

    Maybe this a silly/obvious question, but is the ink drum too high? Before my 219 I’d never seen a press with the lever to raise and lower the ink drum and I kept asking around what purpose it would serve and nobody had a good answer! The first reference I found was in that PDF I posted a link too above. I don’t even know where that PDF is linked to on this site…I just stumbled in while googling. Because the 219 is designed for the entire roller assembly to be easily swappable so you don’t have to clean between colors, you only need to clean the ink drum. They went further and said “For short runs the drum need not be washed, but can be lowered by means of a lever.”

    I’m not sure how you’d get a good distribution of ink that way, but maybe if you already have inked rollers, you can lower the drum, put the inked rollers and distributor on with a different color, print a few, then take it off.

    In any case, between the lever and the screws under the ink drum, is it possible the drum’s just not in the right height?

  13. DWP - August 27, 2012

    I’ve still got these on my press as well though until this question I’ve never looked at them this closely before. Possibly the circled screw and set screw are there if you’re running a heavier stock and it would hold back the sheet rollers from making an impression in softer paper stock? If it were a run-of-the-mill proof press that would seem silly in 1940’s proofing but as it is this particular press was partially intended for proofing 4 color work on the desired final stock instead of simple proofs on coated stock it may be plausible.

    Sort of related – I don’t use my rolls very often because my top sheet (mylar) makes contact with the ink drum leaving about a 1/4″ stripe across the rear of the cylinder when the ink drum is engaged to the rollers. I get better coverage, especially on solids, when I leave the ink drum engaged and the motor running during print runs so unless I drop the ink drum I get this contact. The sheet rollers then travel across this stripe of wet ink and then soon pick up ink and start rolling it onto the sheets that I’m printing.

    It is inconvenient but hardly a deal breaker with this amazing old workhorse. I’d be interested if anyone has any suggestions with my problem.

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