Uni-I Roller Gear Question

Hi Folks,

I have a question about the roller-gear for a Universal-I. I recently purchased a pair of new cores/rollers for a Uni-I. However, when they arrived I noticed the new cores are different from the existing cores/rollers, and thus the old roller-gear cannot fit to the new cores. The old core is hollow and has a inner small rod, while the new core is completely solid. Here is a comparative photo (with a larger version on Flickr).

Uni-1 Old Roller and New Roller


– Roller (A) is the old back roller with the gear removed.
– Roller (B) is the old front roller with the bearing block removed.
– Roller (C) is a spare that shows a hollow core. (Same as A and B).
– Roller (D) is the new core/roller (solid metal core).

Here is the old/original roller-gear:

Uni-1 Original Roller-Gear


Here is a photo of the complete old core and gear:

Uni-1 complete core/roller and gear


My question: I’m now looking for a roller-gear that would fit the new solid core (D). Should I be looking for a Uni-III roller-gear that has a larger hole compared to the original Uni-I roller-gear?

Any advice/guidance would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.



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Paul Moxon, Moderator
14 years ago

Thomas: My workshop handout is building toward becoming a book. The emphasis has been on the typical maintenance and repair that a non-mechanic can do rather than full on restorations. Meanwhile, this blog can grapple with specific problems that would bog down a workshop. Most Vandercooks need only some TLC. However, in the last few years more people are attempting to resurrect presses that that have suffered major abuse or neglect.

Eric Holub
14 years ago

As I read it, there’s only two set screws holding the shaft in, plus whatever crud might have cemented things in place. I’d stand the roller assembly vertically, and gently press or tap it on a block of wood. If it doesn’t come out easily, you could try a little heat on the shaft, just where it meets the core.

Eric Holub
14 years ago

From the manual, in the section “Assembling New Rollers”:
(Sorry, no pics)
To transfer the bearings, adjusting mechanism, and driving gear to another set of rollers, proceed as shown in illustration 6. First, unscrew slotted screw “A” (operator’s side) and remove bearing and adjusting mechanism “B”. Next, loosen the two set screws “C” and pull out shaft and gear assembly “D”.
When new form rollers are placed in the press, the form roller surface ends should be in line to one another and also aligned with the steel rider. This is done to ensure a better automatic washup.

Eric Holub
14 years ago

Well, NA Graphics is a good bet for correct rollers, if you do not already know what you need in terms of diameter and durometer. Send some roller companies an old undersize roller and you will get back a new undersize roller. And if something is wrong, NA will usually make it right. But it is necessary to provide them with full information when getting replacement parts. Did the replacement roller come from NA? I would have expected them to ask about the size of the cores; they are certainly aware of the differring designs for that model.

Eric Holub
14 years ago

You might be better off recovering your existing cores and trying to return the new roller (or sell it). To use the new roller, you will need not only the right gear (and queries to NA about availability of it have not gotten an answer), but I think also the larger screws that attach the roller bearings. The newer design is an improvement, with an allen lock-screw in the center. Without it, the screw can back out and bind against the side frames. The older style could be treated with Loctite for the same purpose.

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