SP-15 ink drum gear broken

Hi there — This is my first post. I have an SP-15 (serial #26151), and I looked through my manual, but am still unsure of the part names. It appears the gear on my motorized roller is broken. This is the gear that the belt / pulley (?) runs on to actually move the roller. For clarity, here’s the area in question:


I was printing this afternoon, and paused, turning off the press and raising the rollers to answer the phone. I came back about 10 minutes later, and when I turned it back on, nothing was moving. When I looked around, I realized the pulley / belt (?) had detached from the roller gear. As I attempted to get it back on, I discovered THIS:


Yikes. A chunk of the gear is suddenly missing. The strange thing is that I didn’t hear anything break — just turned off the press and raised the rollers to answer the phone. I found a few pieces of the gear — they appear to be clear plastic.


This one gives a really clear picture of how much of it is missing — quite a bit.


I’m hoping I can just find another gear and replace it, but I’m not sure how it all fits together. Does anyone know if this is a readily available part, and if so how I’d go about replacing it?

Thanks so much,

6 thoughts on “SP-15 ink drum gear broken

  1. Tara Bliven - February 21, 2008

    Just a follow up in case it helps:

    Replacing the gear was a snap. The tougher part was getting the belt in place. I am SO GLAD I ordered an extra belt as Gerald suggested — the old one broke on me right after I put it all in — probably because I was being a bit lazy and had gotten the belt 1/2-way in place and turned the motor on, hoping that it would snap into place. Which it did. But it also snapped apart about 5 minutes later! I think it stressed the (old) belt, and ripped it.

    After that happened I called a more experienced friend who advised me that a better way to do this was to loosen the motor mount so I could pull it up, reducing the distance between the 2 gears, and making it easier to get the belt in place. That would also have been easy if there weren’t 40 years of crud practically suturing the mount to the press. I cursed a little, but I got it done :)

    Thanks again,

  2. Paul Moxon, Moderator - February 19, 2008

    Gerald: it could happen someday. But I still love my No. 4!

    Tara: good luck and please keep us posted on your progress. It’s helpful when a problem and the solution is fully documented.

  3. Tara - February 19, 2008

    Thanks for the info everyone — I did call into Fritz’s shop this morning, and managed to take it apart and find that it looks like a really easy fix. Yay, now I can move on to worrying about something else… like what else they made out of plastic :)


  4. Gerald Lange - February 19, 2008

    I’d assume, then, if this is the case, he’d likely give up the Vandercook maintenance workshops, and perhaps this site? Maybe start a real press site?


  5. Fritz Klinke - February 19, 2008

    Yes, we have these and they are now machined out of aluminum and I will get in touch with Tara. We also have the belts for these in stock. Paul says buy a real press, and get a Heidelberg after this weekend’s Heidelberg course in Denver.


  6. Gerald Lange - February 18, 2008


    This is not an altogether unexpected occurrence over the life of the press. The gear is made out of plastic. It is bound to go the way of all plastics.

    Hopefully Fritz still has replacement stock on hand. Replace that belt as well. They don’t last long either. SP-15s were way cheap in their manufacturing.


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