Adjusting Ink Roller Height [15-21]

As the process of getting to know the press continues to unfold, I’ve been putting together some notes on various discoveries & lessons learned. This post is concerned with adjusting the height of ink rollers.

While these notes may appear overkill for a relatively simple process, some may be as ignorant as I was about what this adjustment entails, so I’ve put the notes, along with a few diagrams, together as a web page. I hope it might prove to be of use.

Please let me know if you notice anything incorrect about the notes and I’ll update the web page accordingly.

10 thoughts on “Adjusting Ink Roller Height [15-21]

  1. Eric Holub - December 15, 2006

    OK, Jason, if the screw-heads lift again, press on them with your fingertip. If you feel rubbery resistance, that would suggest something pushing on the roller covering. If smooth movement, keep pressing up and down until you can see exactly where the play or upward force is (for example, from warpage). Or is there a metallic resistance like, say, the screws themselves binding up somewhere?
    Is “thread lock” a reference to Locktite? Vandercook used that fluid on screws to keep them from shifting. Some people have been driven to frustration by it. I haven’t experienced it myself but was told heat is the way to free up a Locktited fastener.

  2. Jason Dewinetz - December 14, 2006

    As you may or may not have discovered, it takes a lot to discourage me, so fear not on that front; I’m too interested in learning to be much concerned with how the information is packaged. Grateful and appreciative I am for all input & feedback.

    When the adjustment screws lifted the carriage was at the end of the bed in normal position for gauging the height of the rollers, thus there was nothing under or over them, which would, it seems, fairly conclusively point towards printergeists.

    Caryl had some issue with the threads in the assembly some time ago, and I remember her mentioning thread-lock, so my next course of action will be to closely examine how things are fastened when I’m next in the company of the press (Saturday). The rollers are working just fine, and there’s no problem adjusting them at this point, but as usual, I’m curious to investigate, and any opportunity to take something apart & put it together again is material for a fun afternoon.

    (ps. If anyone’s curious why I’m not simply using the press to PRINT something, the reason is that the owner of the press, a good friend of mine, is out of town, and I’m working away in order to have it gleaming & finely tuned when she gets home.)

  3. Eric Holub - December 14, 2006

    Jason, I do have sympathy for the situation you are in, no discouragement intended. When the screws were lifting out of their countersinks, where were the rollers? Were they sitting on a form or over empty bed? Were all four screws lifting?
    Under normal conditions the rollers will drop from their own weight, and the setscrew keeps them from lifting (as well as holding adjustment). A loose set screw could allow a high form to raise the rollers. Or a warped frame might not let all four screws seat properly–check it aginst a flat surface. But it is hard for me to imagine a situation where the adjusting screws wouldn’t seat unless there were an upward force acting on the rollers or blocks. Maybe it’s printergeists.
    Have you confirmed with Fritz that your form rollers are the correct diameter? I’ve seen undersize rollers that wouldn’t contact the distributors or form properly. But oversize rollers might present some strange conditions too.

  4. Jason Dewinetz - December 14, 2006

    One of the reasons I put the page together (and I will definitely think carefully about doing so again – which isn’t to say I won’t do so again) is that in our case the adjustment screws WERE lifting out of their countersunk holes when loosened (and thus the bearing blocks were not “dropping” as they should). Thus, I wasn’t simply overthinking to make up interesting stories, I was attempting to understand WHY those adjustment screws were pulling out when loosened. When I tightened the set screw, the bearing blocks lowered into position, so I had guessed that this issue had something to do with threading, but I suppose I very well could be wrong. The point is that something odd was happening (the adjustment screws lifting out of their countersink) and I was attempting to both theorize and practice my way through the oddity.

    Thank you for mentioning both the oil holes and the nyliner retainers. The carriage was assembled a while back by someone else when the rollers were re-covered, so I’ll take a close look next time I have a chance (the press is located away from me and thus I only have a few hours each weekend to spend with it). The nyliner issue is very applicable, as at the moment they work their way loose rather quickly and need to be pushed back in from time to time.

  5. Eric Holub - December 14, 2006

    Jason, set-screws are a very common thing and are used to hold a position where it may shift due to vibration or motion. It has nothing to do with “thread integrity” because perfect threads are subject to the same forces. Overthinking and premature conclusions are leading you down false paths, and others with you.
    I repeat, one or two more complete (and accurate) diagrams would be worth far more than so many “simplified” diagrams with so many words of explanation. The adjusting screw threads only engage the upper half of the bearing blocks; the lower part and the carriage section have plain holes. And the countersunk head of the adjusting screw rests in its countersunk hole–it should never lift out as shown in the diagrams. It is important to get these things correct if you want to understand it yourself and explain it to others.

    Having looked at this style of ink carriage many times, I know that many people have been confused by it. Incorrect assmbly of the parts is very common. For example, it looks like yours does not have its oil-holes to the outside where oiling is possible, and is missing the retainers to keep the nyliners from falling out (those are simple sheet-metal “U”s, only on the non-gear side, that are held in place by the bolts that hold the blocks together). They are just long enough to cover the flange of the Nyliner, and keep the outer Nyliner from falling out, which is common. (Retainers are easily fabricated out of metal backing from a photopolymer plate.)

  6. Jason Dewinetz - December 12, 2006

    I’ve updated the notes, and re-drawn the diagrams. Thanks to those who drew attention to inaccuracies, etc. Please keep the feedback coming if you’re inclined; there’s no sense having such a page posted if it’s misleading or incorrect. Glad the page has proven useful to a few out there…

  7. Paul Moxon, Moderator - December 12, 2006

    The 15-21 is the last model to have this type of form roller adjustment: a removable top frame oscillating roller with two riders and a bottom frame for the form rollers.

    The Universal series introduced the carriage-mounted oscillating roller with a single rider and the “quick change” form rollers with a bearing assembly and adjustment screw mounted on the core ends, which fit into brackets on the carriage.

  8. The Arm NYC - December 12, 2006

    Thanks for the explanation and diagrams. My 320Gs have an similar setup for inking roller adjustment.

  9. Jason Dewinetz - December 11, 2006

    Thanks for the welcome Paul. I’ve just adjusted the web page with the terms you suggested in case others have a look.

  10. Paul Moxon, Moderator - December 10, 2006

    Hi Jason, welcome aboard. Your efforts are welcomed. It’s all about expanding the collective knowledge and extending the useful lives of these presses.

    As to the nomenclature in your notes: in most Vandercook manuals the “setting screw” is called the “lock screw” (though some do call it a set screw), “axels” are called “roller cores”, and “blocks” are called bearing blocks (each set is a machined, matched pair with numbers stamped into one end).

    It’s also worth noting that brass bearing blocks (an orginal engineering spec) were bored to fit the roller cores. Steel bearing blocks (an engineering improvement) are bored to a larger diameter to accommodate nyliners (nylon bushings) fit onto the roller cores.

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