Rollers stop spinning

Hello, we have an SP-15 used by college students in a typography studio. A problem occurs with the rollers when you move the carriage over the the bed. To start the rollers ink up fine and evenly, but as you begin to turn the carriage handle all of the rollers suddenly stop spinning. They seem to stop spinning regardless of being in trip or print mode.  We have adjusted the roller heights and have given the press a good overall cleaning, but this is the first time we have had this happen and are at a loss with final projects around the corner.   Any suggestions to help would be greatly appreciated!

8 thoughts on “Rollers stop spinning

  1. Paul Moxon, Moderator - February 4, 2011

    Woodruff key redux: I worked on an SP15 today which had no allowance for one on the roller core or the gear. Perhaps early instances of this model did used them, but I think instead I’ve misremembered (with Eric’s help ; ) ) They should be present, however, on Universals, 219s, and the SP20s.

  2. Gerald Lange - February 2, 2011

    Yeah, walked into the shop, taking Eric’s suggestion in mind. Spun the gear. It was completely loose on the shaft. A minute later all was well.


  3. Paul Moxon, Moderator - February 2, 2011

    Glad you got it fixed and thanks for letting us know the solution. Eric was the one to call it here. As he pointed out a woodruff key (a semi-circular keyed joint) is also necessary. They can be had in any hardware or big box store. While you’re there, get a couple extra hex keys, 9/64″ is the size needed for the SP-15. I recommend having a single (loose) key dedicated to each SP-15 you have.

  4. smithtypo - February 2, 2011

    I might add that the students here recommend listening to “Wheel in the Sky” as your soundtrack when your rollers stop turning…

  5. smithtypo - February 2, 2011


    The repair is easier than you can imagine. On one of the back roller gears there are two small hex screws which had come loose and causing it to stop contact. A simple tightening with the appropriate size hex key and the problem was solved. I think the amount of use each semester and the great deal of vibration from three presses running at the same time in one studio causes parts to loosen up faster than I expect.

    Unfortunately I can’t credit my on genius with this repair… but rather some advice from the master of all things mechanical at Suitcase Press.

    If I can remember to bring my camera I will post a photo if that will help anyone with questions in case my description is lacking any details.

  6. Gerald Lange - February 1, 2011

    It’s been a while since your post but a similar thing has happened to a Universal I at an institution I work at. If the press mechanic can resolve this I will post the correction.


  7. Eric Holub - December 20, 2010

    Also check that the gears are not turning loose on the shaft. Sometimes people lose the Woodruff keys that position the gear on the shaft, leaving the setscrew to do all the work. It isn’t enough to do the job.

  8. jhenry - December 15, 2010

    It might help if you posted a photo somewhere of the press with rollers in place. Are the gears in place on the rollers which engage the roller gear rack, which is the motive source for the rollers when they are off the inking drum?

    Check to see that these gears are engaged properly with the rack. Perhaps the rollers were replaced into the press with the gears on the wrong side.

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