Hey guys, first of all, I’m sorry about the many posts lately, but I’m trying to make real progress and have my no. 4 working by the end of the year, which is almost here, anyways. So I’m getting up to speed.

First question:
Are these wear marks on the clutch plate going to affect the functioning? If so, how do I go about it? Should I fill it with material and sand it down? Or have a replacement machined?


Second question:
While cleaning up the press (seemingly, a never-ending job) I noticed that this piece is put in upside down, since the oil holes would drop the oil, and the OIL text reads upside down. I wonder if it was disassembled at some point, and if so. How can I fix this?
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Third question:
I noticed that the gripper release at the end of the bed was a bit hard, so I adjusted the highlighted screw to ease out the transition. It now releases smoothly. Is this the right thing to do?


Fourth and final question:
As you can see I removed the feedboard, for easier cleaning of the bed. I’m looking into the idea of removing the bed and lifting it for two purposes: easier de-rusting, and easier removal of the Ink Drum, which also needs a serious EvapoRust bath. To remove it… what do I need to unscrew? Also… Should I remove the carriage? I would actually want to remove it since that would also make it easier to de-rust everything. And if I do remove the carriage (I know, I should mark the teeth with an exacto to be able to realign timing), is the only thing keeping the carriage on the rails the bumper springs and blocks?

18 thoughts on “Questions about clutch plate, oil holes and automatic gripper release”

  1. It will be a little surprise for you when I’m done, but just to let you guys know, I’m going with a custom color instead of Rustoleum’s Smoke Gray.. It started because there wasn’t any Rustoleum Smoke Gray (except in spray can) available locally, and it ended with “Why the hell not?”
    The ink drum is getting unrusty this evening, tomorrow I’m going to finish removing all the dried ink from the cabinet and the paint all around it, and then sunday it’s paint day!
    I still need to do a final rust removal on the impression cylinder.
    I guess that I’m going to paint the carriage with a brush because of its many intricate parts.
    I’m really excited :)

  2. Oddly enough, it was super easy. I used a 1 1/6″ socket and a big screw driver, unscrewed the sides, and put something underneath to hold it. When I finished unscrewing, I just pulled it from below.. Really easy.
    I’m going to give that ink drum a good EvapoRust bath today, and I’m going to try and paint the press this weekend.

  3. Nice job on the ink drum. Were you able to get it out as advised or did you find a better way?

    As for removing the eccentric collar, I think that you’re on the right track. You’re in uncharted territory, although it’s unlikely that someone else will need to make the same repair.

    We await your success.

  4. Just to update everyone on this. I removed the Ink Drum without lifting the bed. I just figured it was too much trouble just to clean underneath the bed, when the really critical parts that need cleaning are already at hand.

    Check out some photos of what I did today.

    This is how messy it was in there.. I had to use a chisel to remove the dried ink and a wire brush.
    I pulled a lot of cotton waste rags from between the cylinder en the bed.

  5. That’s very kind of you to mention, Paul. I know how much this site has helped me in the restoration of my presses, so I will definitely make a donation as soon as I can, because it’s the right thing to do!
    I’m pretty sure everyone here is really grateful towards the work you do here and at different universities and private presses.

    On another note, I was able to get the carriage off today, so I’m gonna make the most out of having removed it and give it a thorough clean up. Once I put it back on the press, I will try to get those darn oil holes upright.
    But I see no way of doing that.
    I know there are two screws on the side plate on the operator side that are kinda like stops for the eccentric collar.
    Then there is another screw on the eccentric collar which protrudes, and is the one that hits between these other screws.
    I’m guessing I need to remove this, then the brass eccentrics, and then the rod to be able to flip that part upside down.
    Does this make sense? Or how else does this part can come out?
    I noted that the best place to do this would be in the middle of the bed, as you suggested Paul, so I’m not even going to try doing it while the carriage is off from the bed.

    In the end I think I won’t try to lift the bed.
    Probably just try to lower the ink drum and lift it tilted.

    :)

    I’m really happy with the progress so far. Thanks guys.

  6. Hi Lad, thanks for the comment.

    I wish everyone to understand that I consider this site a public service, even as it has assisted my reputation as an itinerant teacher and consultant. Being self-employed makes it difficult to see very far ahead, so the occasional donation has not only helped pay for direct costs, but it has allowed me time to participate, to be a connector within the letterpress community, and grapple with the IT.

    Folks who have made donations are recognized on the about page: https://vandercookpress.info/supporters/

    If money is tight, then share your experience. As in other endeavors, the important thing is to pay it forward. Enrique was helpful with the programming a few months back when this site was under cyberattack. And I can still recall the guidance I received from seasoned printers and hobbyists when I first got involved with letterpress.

  7. Sure thing Ladboyle, I’ll keep it in mind. Although I have tried to help Paul in other technical things when I can. Right now the money is very short so it’s hard to make a donation, but I would love to make a good donation to the site. I know servers can become expensive with a lot of traffic.
    Thanks for your comments!

  8. Enrique

    Paul and all the others who have responded to your questions are glad to help (or they would not have responded). However, I hope that you remember that operation of this website is not free and that “contributions” to help defray costs keeps this forum going. Because of the help I have received in the past, I have contributed and hope that you will as well.

    lad

  9. also, with the feedboard off you can mark the timing of the cylinder from the inside/interior of the carriage, I used white enamel paint pen,to show up, you could squash a bit of white ink between the teeth on cylinder/racking to locate too

  10. if you take off the bumpers then wedge the carriage on the chassis to stop it rolling off.
    with the carriage partially protruding out from the bed either end of the chasis it is easier to access the carriage bearings to check them out.I managed to take out the bearings for ink drum whilst propping it up, then drop one end then lift out the other end. But a bit fidly.I would recommend going through every nut and bolt to check they are there and sufficiently tight, my Western had bolts missing to chassis /cabinet, and cabinet to ‘plinths” ,that were also loose,so the press rocked when it hit the bumpers.Good luck and progress

  11. Oh thanks, Paul! That’s good info on the carriage.
    I did read upon the retiming on the No. 4 you posted a while back. But I wonder, how does one mark the cylinder gear and the rack at the same time for re-timing if that part is clearly inaccessible with the side plates there.
    I’d appreciate some light shed on that, and also… What needs to come off in order to fix the upside down oil holes? I don’t even know what that part is called. (eccentric collar?

    Thanks a lot for your guidance through this ordeal.

  12. Two strong people should be able to lift the carriage and place it on a strong table. it you do use a hoist, take some photos. And if you can weigh it, I’d love to know how many pounds it is.

    One good thing about the No. 4 is each side of the cylinder racks has two sections. This means that with the front section of the rack removed the carriage can be retimed in the middle of the bed instead of at the very end of the bed as is the case with SPs., while two people are holding each side and a third turns the cylinder.

  13. Very cool advice, guys. I really appreciate it. Is the carriage heavy enough on it’s own to require an engine hoist setup? I know the bed does.

  14. 1) Adding to Eric’s comment (and to clarify for others): Divots in the plate reduce how far the clutch pins (MR-110) are pushed into the end of the form roller cores, which in turn separates the clutch blocks from the forms gears. Get a local machinist fill in the divots by brazing. Ask them to polish it too.

    2) If you make this repair do it in print mode with the carriage in the middle of the bed. That way the cylinder will be stable and fewer parts will be affected.

    3) Smooth is good. Also check the tightness of the gripper trip wedge (MS-17, Sheet 107).

    4) Consider removing the ink drum without removing the bed. After the end screws are removed it must be lowered into the cabinet. It can’t lifted out because the bed bearers block make the opening too narrow.

    If you do to remove the bed, yes, you must remove the carriage. Be sure to remove the top frame oscillator and the bottom frame form rollers. Yes, the bumpers are the only part preventing the carriage from rolling off the bed. Place the carriage upended on blocks so the plate bumpers (MS-122) on the rear carriage bearings are not stressed. Support or brace the carriage so it doesn’t tip over.

    There are bolts and nuts on the underside of the cabinet corner fastening it to the bed casting.

    Also be mindful that between the bed and cabinet is part of the linkage for the gripper opener. So lift the bed and don’t slide it off the cabinet.

  15. The clutch plate is showing a lot of wear, but also indicating very worn pins contacting it. Previous users have probably shimmed the cam wedge that activates the clutch plate in compensation, or you wouldn’t be seeing such wear from not only the pin but also the shoulder of the gear itself.
    New pins are in order. I’ve had these plates repaired a couple times, and nickel-silver solder was chosen. The lumps of solder weren’t levelled either. But the only place it is needed is right where the pin is in contact. Then remove the extra shims from the cam wedge.
    To 2, it would indicate that someone did take it apart and put it back together incorrectly. Bear that in mind if you proceed with removing the bed. You don’t know what problems you will be introducing. It seems considerably more work than de-rusting in place.

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