roller height on universal I

i am still working on getting my new-to-me universal I refined and printing perfectly, and i’m having a hard time getting the ink roller height correct. i have a gauge to test, and if the vibrator is up / NOT in contact with the rollers, i can get the height correct, but the black knob screws are almost all the way down, or as low as the rollers can go. however, when i then put the vibrator to the down position, and pass the gauge underneath to test the height, the rollers are so low the gauge isn’t able to pass back through at all — the rollers are way too low. If I leave the vibrator down and adjust the rollers to be as high as they can physically go, they are still too low for the gauge to pass. And at that point, if I lift the vibrator, they are so high, the gauge can pass easily without getting any ink on it at all.

when i try to print (polymer plate), the negative space of the plate picks up some ink, so i know the rollers are low . . . and the type on the plate doesn’t carry the ink nicely or leave a crisp impression in the paper. kind of fuzzy. the other issue is that the vibrator, when inked up and in contact with the rollers, sometimes seems like it has too much friction and sticks a bit, even while lubricated and with good ink density.

The ink rollers are new, and I can’t vouch that they guys who put them on know exactly how they should be — they told me they just copied the old worn-out ones that were on the press when they found it, and that they used a density of rubber that is standard to use with movable type. They do work on a lot of old machines, but this is the first Vandercook they’ve worked on.

A few possibilities occur to me. Maybe the rubber is a squishier density, so the weight of the vibrator affects the height so much? Maybe the new rollers are not the right diameter? Or maybe I’m missing a screw or something that keeps the vibrator from putting quite SO much weight on the rollers?

Let me know if you have any ideas!

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Gerald Lange
11 years ago

Blair

The core.

Is this press “re-conditioned”? A lot of these are just cleaned up junk. Missing parts, non-standard parts, parts put in wrong, etc.

Gerald

Paul Moxon, Moderator
Admin
11 years ago

Good eye, Gerald. Blair: try flipping the form roller to see if it clears the bed bearer on the other side. This means you will have to swap the bearings, too.

Gerald Lange
11 years ago

Blair

Not sure if you have this fixed or not. The one photo of the roller shows that the form itself has been ground down significantly (which might cause a problem during rewinding?) and the roller itself is quite near the rail (it seems really close to the rail!!!). I think I would bite the bullet here and get a new roller set up from Fritz, just so you have a point A to start from.

Gerald
http://BielerPress.blogspot.com

Eric Holub
Editor
11 years ago

The pressure of the oscillator should not have any effect on the position of the form rollers IF they are correctly seated. Form rollers just cannot be so hard that roller assemblies are pressed beyond their metal components. But if the difference in roller position is actually between the trip/print positions of the cylinder carrriage, that is something else. Bad carriage settings will gve different readings on print and trip strokes.
If the cylinder carriage has been removed and the impression bearings altered, it affects other things. Not a good idea, but often repeated.

The Arm
11 years ago

Blair,
When you raise the lever to lift the rider roller, the roller adjustments are no longer relevant. The function of that lever is to trip the rollers so that they are no longer in contact with the form or with each other. Raising this lever causes the L brackets to lift the roller blocks so that the adjusters no longer make contact.

I am pretty sure the issue is that the rubber on your rollers has been cast to a larger diameter than standard. If this is the case, they will have to be redone. Please try to get an accurate measure of the roller outer diameter and report back so we can at the least know if I am focusing on the wrong thing.

Dan

Steve Robinson
11 years ago

Could your rollers be so wide that they are contacting the bed bearers slightly on either side? It’s hard to tell from the pics.

The Arm
11 years ago

I think you are going to have to double check your roller diameter. I am pretty sure you will find that they are a bit larger than 3 inches. And where is your rider roller? Is it missing?

The Arm
11 years ago

So when you put the gauge next to the bearer the heights are the same?

Is it an adjustable bed? Or is their a bed plate on it for some reason?

The Arm
11 years ago

When you put that roller gauge next to the bed bearer does it match it’s height? Might it be a .928 gauge on a .918 bed?

Daniel Morris
The Arm Letterpress
Brooklyn, NY

Rob LoMascolo
11 years ago

This may be a silly question, but are you sure that when you are putting the vibrator up, you are not lifting the rollers? The inking roller trip lever needs to be down when you set the roller height.

Eric Holub
Editor
11 years ago

Without a caliper, you can take a carpenter’s adjustable square, set it to 3″. Place the roller on a flat surface like the press bed, and compare the square to the roller. Or set up 18 picas worth of furniture on either side and lay a straightedge across them.

Enrique
11 years ago

I’ll lend you my caliper.. but I think a micrometer would be a better choice…
Also, if you can post photos of the wear on your roller screws blocks…

:)

Paul Moxon, Moderator
Admin
11 years ago

The proper diameter for form rollers on a Universal I is 3″. If the diameter is significantly smaller the screw with

Lifting the roller trip lever separates the oscillator from the form rollers and also raises the rollers out range for contacting any form in the bed or the roller height gauge.

Make sure that the upside down L-shaped bracket on the sides of the roller bearers are in the correct orientation. The horizontal section sit on top of lift arms. This piece is attached to the block by a brad, which tend to have too much play allowing it to rotate. I can’t post a photo right now, but maybe someone else can.

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