Gripper Cam Question

Hello All,

I own a Uni I. I’m trying to move my gripper cams to accommodate thicker papers and make the gripper pins open higher.

I can’t get them to budge. I’ve removed all of the set screws, used penetrating oil, and lots of elbow grease.

Any suggestions? This seems so simple, and I’m worried maybe I’m missing something?

Thank you!


6 thoughts on “Gripper Cam Question

  1. Gerald Lange - July 17, 2014


    Did not read that. Though apparently some folks think it can.


  2. Eric Holub - July 16, 2014

    Jeez, Gerald, didn’t you just read on BriarPress thet ” A Vandy [sic] can do anything!”?
    Yes, people are now taking proof presses and attempting the equivalent of rolling stereotype mats on them (with no craft unions left to defend their contested jurisdictions). Contemporary deep-impression letterpress is not a long-term strategy, when it damages the irreplaceable tools in the process.
    Vandercooks should be for nuance. Brute force needs Heidelberg.

  3. Gerald Lange - July 15, 2014


    Most Vandercooks, including the Uni I are reproduction or proof presses. That is what they were designed for. Reproduction paper is quite thin as is a normal proofing sheet. You want to use thick papers for editioning and adjust your press to do so. Not sure that can be done. You can print thicker papers but there are built in limits, and there is the very real possibility of slowly ruining your press with deep impression and the like. Maybe this is not a concern? The current fad of deep impression and thick papers is maybe about a dozen years in progress. Vandercook stopped manufacturing presses about forty years ago. They did not anticipate your needs.


  4. Fritz Klinke - July 12, 2014

    This drawing shows how the Univ I gripper cams are configured. The spring and bearing x-13123 that should be looked at. There is no bearing on the other end of the X-21812 cam shaft.

  5. John Henry - June 30, 2014

    I have rotated the gripper cams on a UNI III. As Paul indicated, there can be wear on the cams if infrequent lubrication of the cams has been applied. The inside of the cylinder where the cams are located is not the first place an operator would think to lube. If the gripper shafts are not rising smoothly, you might not be getting the full rise on the grippers as they can bind the motion of the cams. Pulling the gripper assembly and fully cleaning is not too great a task, and can make a big difference in operation. When re-assembling, use a light application of graphite rather than oil. Oil tends to gum them up and collect dirt.

    A few runs will eliminate any graphite on the stems which can mark the edge of sheets being printed if too much graphite is used.

    John Henry

  6. Paul Moxon, Moderator - June 23, 2014

    The grippers should raise enough when cleaned and lubricated. You wont be able to move them very far or the grippers wont close. It could be that there are low spots on the cams. Try rotating the shaft so that the gripper stems hit fresh spots on the cams.

    Please upload photos or a video.

    To clarify for others: early Universals used the old style gripper bar found on the No. 4, later ones used the new style found on SPs. I assume that we’re discussion the new style. This difference is worth noting as the old style have different solutions.

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