Fabricating Replacement SP-15 Impression Cylinder

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.

I could live with hand inking so my first priority is the impression cylinder. Trying to organize all of this on paper/computer to see what I’ve signed up for. First, I’m drafting a Bill of Materials list for all the parts needed for the impression cylinder. Second, I’m drafting the assembly process to visualize how the parts fit together.

The good news is capturing and relating all the information can be completed in SolidWorks so my current focus is getting the relevant information. I’ve categorized the parts/assembly that I’d need to do by the major mechanisms:

  • Impression Cylinder (which I think I could build from a DOM steel round tube at 8-10” diameter and 0.5”-1” thickness and create the cylinder gap by cutting out 20-25% of the circumference)
  • Gripper Bar
  • Reel rod, Ratchet, & Pawl assembly
  • Trip Lever & Cylinder Eccentric
  • Cylinder Gears & Bearings (I believe the gear racks on the bed are salvageable so should be able to use the gearing specifications designed for the SP-15 to fabricate these parts)
  • Cylinder Gear Plates
  • Under Rail Gears and Bearings
  • And of course, the handle!

If I can build a Bill of Materials and Assembly steps for the impression cylinder, I think/hope things could be sourced from NA Graphics, McMaster-Carr, Grangier, etc. I assume the majority of parts would need to go to a machine shop for tooling to fabricate the part to the needed specs. Budget wise, if I can get the parts for less than $4,000 US, I think it’s worth it. Has anyone ever had to do a fixer-upper to a Vandercook like this? In addition to what I can find in past blog posts and posted copies of the operating and parts manuals, are there any other places I should be looking to get some of the information?

And if there’s interest, once this is done I’d be glad to post the CAD files on here.

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Fritz Klinke
8 years ago

Or if I got motivated to wander into the other room, there might be most of these parts lying on the floor, like the cylinder, side plates, tie rods, etc. Some things would have to be fabricated, and that includes the gripper bar, handle, and replacing parts I appropriated so that other presses could live. Some parts, like cylinder trip springs and the like are stock parts on hand. The gears for these presses, mounted on the outside of the cylinder casting, list at about $600 each. The budget would have to be realistic–we just manufactured a complete gripper bar for a Universal I that billed out at around $1650 as an example. Partial kit not including assembly.

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