SP-15 – Need Large Stainless Inking Roller

Thanks to all who replied to my query about disassembling my SP-15 before moving it. Both those who replied here and those who replied via email have convinced me that I need to leave the press assembled. Today I made progress getting the C&P 8×12 on skids, so I can get it out of the way and turn my attention to properly skidding the SP-15. Unfortunately, it’s on a way-too large pallet; but I think I have figured out a way to remedy that.

The press appears to be in great shape — I even found a manual and supply order form, as well as a Vandercook catalog. The carriage seems to move smoothly, and to trigger the trip. It has the electric inking system, as well as the automatic washup system. It even has the plastic shield, which is broken, but may be glue-able.

Unfortunately, the press appears to be missing the large-diameter stainless steel roller at the center of the inking system. Based on the terminology in my manual, I believe this is called the vibrator. I don’t detect anything else missing in that area, but then, I’m a neophyte and don’t really know what I am looking at.

Am I likely to be able to acquire a new vibrator? Any idea from where and at what cost?

Here’s a photo of the carriage; Let me know if you see anything else missing that I need to worry about.



The Carriage of my SP-15
The Carriage of my SP-15
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Fritz Klinke
11 years ago

The ink drums were ground to a high finish, though I’m not sure how that affects ink distribution. The cost is substantial to do just one and may not be that essential.

We have made our first Plexiglass dust covers for the Universal I and the last one was for Notre Dame University. But the press already had the necessary hinges in place. We had to make a new wood form for shaping the plastic and I think we have the one for the SP-15. The SP-15 is more complicated to fabricate and requires two attaching parts on the cylinder guards. There is renewed interest in these not as dust covers, as Vandercook intended, but as safety guards, especially for long hair and hands, maybe feet with students.

After the death of the female college student recently who was operating a lathe and caught her hair in the work, schools have been reevaluating shop equipment. I think the more significant safety hazard on proof presses is the nipping point between feed board and the cylinder. The next one is pulling or pushing the cylinder using one of the tie rods and the fingers are prey for the very tight clearance between the cylinder opening/gripper bar when the two match up as the cylinder turns. I know of one lost finger tip from this, so it does happen.

thomas gravemaker
11 years ago

Greg, the oscillator is not ‘stainless’ steel, but steel. With patience you should be able to clean it up. Here you can see some pictures of how the perspex cover on my press was repaired. Not too bad, when I look at it.

11 years ago

I swear by EvapoRust.

Take a look at my No. 4’s bed restoration.


I would de-rust with evapoRust, and then maybe machine down a very small amount.

Fritz Klinke
11 years ago

This is not an easy assembly to replace. It requires the shaft, worm, shaft collar, crescent, crescent holder, and the ink drum (ordinary steel, not stainless steel). The ink drum consists of the tube and 2 ends. At the present time, we have some but not all the parts. A vibrator drum assembly would cost in the neighborhood of $1500 to fabricate which is why we’ve never been asked to go through that agony (yet).

thomas gravemaker
11 years ago

The perspex cover on my press did break in the past, and the previous owner did a nice job with some small strips of aluminium and some nuts and bolts. It works perfectly well. Getting a new cover made shouldn’t be too expensive either. Good for you that you have found the oscillator roller! Happy cleaning.

John Henry
11 years ago

You could use the press with just one form roller (the rear one) without the vibrator roll. You also could find a 4″-5″ or so cylinder of a length that would fit between the support brackets and be able to use it with both form rollers (no vibration action while you seek out a more permanent fix. I believe I have an extra vibrator cylinder for a Univ. III, but it would be too wide for the SP-15. I also have a spare driven ink cylinder, chain, and the frame for the vibrator which I would gladly trade for an ink fountain for the UNI III.


11 years ago

You have almost everything there.
You are, correct however, when you mention that the oscillator is missing.
There is no good reason as to why it should be missing, with it being so complete.
Please please look around very carefully around the dark basement, and in the press shelves. Hopefully you’ll find it. If not. Then contact Fritz for a quote. Although that can take some time, and it’s gonna cost you a pretty penny (about 1 grand). My SP-15 suffers from the same problem. Oscillator missing, and also the steel rider (the smaller metal roller you see in your photo).
I should let you know I plan on machining my own oscillator based on the oscillator of my no.4 which is almost identical, it just needs a small adjustment in the dimension to fit the SP-15. I would be glad to let you know more about my project if you send me an e-mail.

Also, please carefully, clean, adjust and lubricate the press before you print anything on it!

Good luck! And keep us posted!

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