I recently acquired a Universal 1 and have a couple questions related to maintenance. I have been keeping the rollers raised by raising the lever for that purpose when the press is not in use, but wasn’t sure if I also needed to raise the oscillator and a single rider fully away from the rubber rollers (as they would be for cleaning) when the press isn’t in use as well? I ask because I’m having some inking issues that recently arose (it was inking just fine before) and I’m worried that it might be that I’ve damaged or flattened the rubber rollers by not having the press in the correct position when not in use. From the manual it sounded like they just needed to be raised with the lever and I’ve never seen presses kept with the oscillator up but just wanted to make sure.
The inking issue that has recently started happening is that the rollers are inking the first part of the form more heavily than the center. I’ve checked the height of the rollers and they seem fine (though I didn’t check the height of the front and back rollers separately by taking off the first one, so maybe that is it?) It was inking beautifully before and I’m using the exact same ink, paper, and polymer plate. It’s definitely an inking issue and not a packing issue, as I can see it on the plate, and it happens at various placements on the bed and with various plates. Any thoughts about what the issue could be would be most appreciated! Could it be that the roller isn’t rotating properly over the form and therefore only inking the beginning of the form and not the rest? How do I fix this? I’ve been trying to troubleshoot it but have reached the edge of my knowledge. I have visual examples if that might be helpful in explaining.
Thanks so much!
Thanks, Paul. Upon inspection tonight I found that is in fact the case with my Uni. I built it up with some tape and then, when that wasn’t enough, added a little scrap of bookboard for good measure until I can get the sleeve for the pin. I don’t think that’s affected the rollers though. Ron, to answer your question, my shop is a little colder than it was before, but not drastically.
The rollers were out of wack, with the back roller being higher than the front, which I think is what accounted for the uneven inking. I was able to get even inking setting them with the
type[roller setting] gauge, but the inking at level seemed too heavy (had put only a tiny amount of ink so definitely not over-inked), with the centers of the smaller letterforms filling in and the whole thing a little fuzzy. I compared the type of the same text I had printed on someone else’s press and it was not nearly as crisp. I tried raising the rollers a bit, which helped with the crispness but made the inking less even again, and not as saturated as it should be, and it still wasn’t as crisp as what I had printed elsewhere. I swapped out the packing and tried the plate on a different part of the press. Still not as crisp. Any thoughts on what else I should try? (I did try some other plates as well, just to eliminate that it was the plate itself). My rollers appear to be in decent shape, but perhaps it’s the rollers? Or the packing is off? The issue is most pronounced on the little details, but naturally I want the little details to look perfect or I wouldn’t be printing it letterpress. I didn’t have my camera with me tonight but will take and post some pictures to illustrate the crispness factor. I’m attaching a photo of the way the ink was laying when it was uneven and how the ee’s in ‘meet’ are getting filled in. Any thoughts as to what to try next most appreciated!
Frequently, on Universal I’s I’ve found that the form rollers and oscillator are still in contact when the roller trip lever is raised. This is because the cylindrical stop, which contacts the bullet catch to hold the oscillator in the high position, is worn on its underside where it rest against a pin when in tripped position. The stop can be rotated to increase the lift, but sometimes this is not enough. I have built-up the pin with tape as a temporary fix but recommend adding a metal or nylon sleeve to the pin.
After reading my post I think I should further explain myself regarding your issue. I would like to know more about your deductive process in moving your form around. The goal I would think is to determine the likely offending part of the equation (e.g. rollers, base, plate, etc.). So I would want to see if by moving the plate/base to another position on the bed, do I see the same results on the plate… and progress further from there to determine the likely cause. Also, is your shop temperature different from when there was no issue?
I believe you will find that when you have raised the form rollers, that the oscillator assembly is also raised and not resting on the form rollers. Same goes for the rider roller. I did not get a chance to look at our Uni I, but I know that is true with our Uni III.
In terms of your issue, it seems that something in the equation must have changed. Your statement, “…and it happens at various placements on the bed and with various plates.”, is a bit vague. Can you please explain this in more detail? Provide pictures? For example, if the plate area in question inks up in one position on the bed and not others would be important data points. Rotate the base, etc.
Thanks, Fritz! I will try that.
The oscillating roller should not be left in contact with the ink rollers, though I question that is causing the problem. I often neglect that with our SP-15 and see no disasterous results. But checking roller height with a roller setting gauge does not require the removal of the front roller to set the rear roller. The gauge is turned on its side and slid under the front roller, then turned upright to test the rear roller. It’s not that difficult. And the oscilllating roller should be in the down position in full contact with both rollers to set them properly. The weight of the oscillating roller assembly affects the setting of the ink rollers. And the final setting has to be agreeable with your type, or plate and base. Metal type is fairly accurate to .918 type high, but plate and base combinations can differ, sometimes substantially, from type high. Use of a roller setting gauge should not be the final arbitrar in setting the rollers, only a means to make sure the rollers are parallel to the bed of the press and as close to the actual printing height of the image surface.