Wear under the top rail on the Vandercook and Challenge Presses

We are working on a workaround for the wear under the top rail on the Vandercook and Challenge presses. This wear will produce metal flakes when you wipe a rag along the rail. On some presses it will cause light and dark spots on your printed matter.

If you are having this problem, please let us know so that we can see which presses we need to concentrate on and if it is worth proceeding with.

Dave Seat – info@hotmetalservices.com

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Fritz Klinke
14 years ago

Dave has run his idea past me and it may have some merit. I’m sending him some new parts that he wants to modify with his add ons, and it will be interesting to see how it works. People think the bearings and rollers need to be cranked all the way down (or up) on these presses and all the prints I have looked at indicate the contrary. There is always several thousandths of clearance specified in Vandercook’s work. The bed rails on the SP series are bolt and dowel pin arrangements onto a short bed casting, so those can be replaced entirely but at some expense. The Universal series has one piece castings and that’s where trenches worn into the bearing surfaces are a significant problem.

Eric Holub
14 years ago

I’ve heard the claim that these parts were originally surface-hardened with an industrial process involving heat and arsenic, and that the hardening is only a few thousandths thick. I don’t recall Fritz confirming that this was the actual process though. The worst wear I’ve seen was on a No. 3 used for heavy impression. From my point of view, the trend to heavy impression is as destructive, potentially, as mis-adjustment or lack of lubrication. Put all three together, and you’ll have a lot of rails to rehabilitate, Dave.
I’m curious–where there is rail wear, to what extent is there also bearer wear? A rippled surface on bed and cylinder bearers is another indicator of wear or misadjustment
–Eric Holub, SF

Paul Moxon, Moderator
14 years ago

I’ve seen examples of under rail wear on nearly all commonly found Vandercook models. However, I’d focus on the SP and Universal series. Challenge MA/MP series presses are knock offs of Vandercook SPs and the rails on the No.4 is identical to the Universal I.

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