SP-25 Ink Drum

Having recently brought to the shop a nearly untouched SP-25, and in the midst of attempting to sort out the electrical nightmare (550V-3-phase), I’ve run into a problem I’m hoping folks around here might be able to help me with. The press was originally bought in the mid-60s, and it sat in a warehouse as a spare, untouched for 40 years, when it was then sold to someone in Vancouver who was never able to get the electrical working (except for 2 brief runs which quickly blew transformers). This is to say that the thing has hardly been turned over.

The problem is that the rollers were set up in the carriage and sat there breaking down for years and years. As a result, they’ve slowly dripped their ooze all over the ink drum and head-bar, pooling into and around the clean-up-tray beneath. It’s a royal mess, and that ooze has now turned into extremely stiff residue that is all but impenetrable to everything I throw at it.

On working my way into the clean-up, I pulled the chain off the ink drum, and found that it was nearly impossible to turn. That goo has not only covered and badly stained the drum, but it’s run down the ends of the drum and completely gummed up the drive shaft.

I’ve pulled the drum and have removed the X-22994/21484 ink drum arms, as well as the gear and spacing collar from the non-op end to clean those parts, but now I’m a bit lost.

The drum, at each end, has what I assume is a red bearing sticking out, with the shaft running through. When I clamp onto the shaft with some vice-grips and turn it (which takes some serious effort), on one end of the drum the red bearing turns with the shaft, and on the other end the shaft turns but not the bearing. And so I’m not sure which of these two is the correct movement.

I’m also wondering about the anatomy inside the drum. How wide are those red bearings? They each stick out about a quarter of an inch, so how much is hidden by the drum? There is still enough roller goo in the works at each end that any sort of easy movement is gummed right up. I’m reluctant to just keep soaking the ends in degreaser, but I’m also reluctant (although very tempted) to knock the shaft out to free up the bearings, soak everything clean, and then put it back together.

Has anyone run into the same issue with roller goo (or other stuff) gumming up rotation of the ink drum?

Has anyone pulled the shaft from the drum? And, if so, can you fill me in on the anatomy so I know what to expect?

Thanks in advance for any help,


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John Henry
12 years ago

When removing the shaft from the ink drum one should be careful to make certain the wood businigns do not follow the shaft and come loose in the cavity of the ink drum (Univ III). How do I know this? I wish it were just a good guess.

Paul Moxon, Moderator
12 years ago

Sorry, I’m late to the conversation. Kyle is correct. The original drum bushings are rosewood as they are on other models. Bushings for some other parts are too, but recently NA Graphics has instead supplied Delrin for the steel rider rollers on some No. 4s. Delrin, for those who don’t know, is the white nylon used for SP series trip rollers (X-21119 and gripper bar end guides (X-14696). Some SP25 do not have adjustable end guides, but a new gripper bar can be fabricated. Steve Robinson has done it.

kyle van horn
12 years ago

Also – is it a power- or hand-press? If it’s hand, stop fighting the electrical gremlins and swap out motors for a 110v. If it’s power that’s all a different story, but maybe it’s worth considering a conversion.

kyle van horn
12 years ago

There are wood bushings on a lot of presses – I think they’re Rosewood, but whatever it is, it’s naturally oily. It would be awesome to keep them original, but I know some people replace them with true bearings these days as part of their refurbs.

I’m sure Paul will chime in soon.

kyle van horn
12 years ago

Interesting –

My bearings are more like nylon bushings – though I have an early SP20 (old trip spring system). There’s a decent chance they’re held in by ink alone. Are yours truly bearings?

kyle van horn
12 years ago

An SP-25? How exciting.

I recently took apart the ink-drum on my SP20, and I’m guessing everything is mostly identical.

The shaft can come all the way out. The drum is essentially a metal cylinder with a hole on each end, a couple of plastic bearings, and a shaft. We took ours apart to clean off all the ink dried on the ends. If you’ve already removed the ink drum arms, I would block the cylinder up on some scrap wood and knock the shaft out with a wood mallet. Grease or WD40 or acetone or something would probably be a wise addition to help beat the stickiness. The plastic bearings on ours are white, but I bet they’re the same as yours. The don’t come out as far as I know, so be gentle with them.

As for the roller goo – I’ve cleaned that off of a 325 before – it is generally impossible to cut with solvents (it holds up as well as the rollers did to it.) I seem to recall a nice sharp razor blade being used on the flat surfaces wherever possible. Wear gloves, not as much for the solvents, but more just for the goo.

Good luck.

Did I miss anything? Is the SP25 drastically different from the 20?

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