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.



11 thoughts on “Uni-I Roller Gear Question

  1. Thomas Hardjono - November 5, 2009


    Finally, there is a solution to my gear problem — with patient help from Craig Black (at Don Black Linecasting).

    Craig sent me both a used Uni-I gear and a used Uni-III gear (plus screws/bolts for the four ends of the cores).

    It seems that the “new style” solid core for a Uni-I will work with a gear for a Uni-III. The diameter of the Uni-III gear hole is 3/4 inches, which is also the diameter of the Uni-I solid core. The Uni-III bolts/screws also fit in nicely with the Uni-I solid core and bearing blocks/knobs.

    This kinda makes me think that the cores for a Uni-I and Uni-III are really the same, except in length.

    Anyways, a big *thank you* to Craig Black for the supplies, and a thank you also to fritz for the initial help and patience in picking-up my calls.


  2. Thomas Hardjono - October 25, 2009


    Since I have not seen anyone (with a similar problem/experience) comment on my roller-gear problem, I was wondering if anyone has photos of a “new style” Uni-I roller and gear.

    Thanks in advance.


  3. Thomas Hardjono - October 23, 2009

    Thanks Paul.

    Yes I think it would be tremendous having a book that could be a first-stop reference. Fritz is great and very patient, but I’m kinda embarrassed calling him (stalking him) all the time for simple things :-)

    And yes I’ve noticed some shops/sites putting up notices like “Vandercook xyz in restoration – Will be available for sale in x months”. I don’t know how these guys make/manufacture the pieces that are gone. Do they have their own machine shop?

    Well Paul, hurry up with the book and put me down for a couple of signed copies :-)

  4. Paul Moxon, Moderator - October 22, 2009

    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.

  5. Eric Holub - October 22, 2009

    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.

  6. Thomas Hardjono - October 22, 2009

    Thanks Eric. The section in the manual is rather short :-) Even Illustration #6 is not very clear. I guess I’ll just try pulling out the shaft.

    PS. as a newbie I’m finding it kind of scary that the only “manual” we have to go by (for a complex machine like the Vandercooks) is that short booklet. Perhaps what we need is someone to take step-by-step photos of an expert dismantling/reconditioning a Vandercook. (Call it “Vandercook For Dummies”?) :-)

  7. Eric Holub - October 22, 2009

    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.

  8. Thomas Hardjono - October 22, 2009

    Fritz at NA Graphics has been super helpful. They don’t have any of the gears in stock (and too expensive for them to make a one-off for me). Which is why I’m looking for alternate solutions like using off-the-shelf gear (machined down) or using a gear from a Uni-III. And yes the new cores/rollers came from NA Graphics so I’m confident they are the correct dimensions.

    By the way, on the old cores how do I remove that inner rod in (A) and (B) above. After I remove the bearing block and old gear, the rod seems to just stay there. Am I missing a screw that I need to loosen? Or do I just gently hammer the rod from one side.

    Thanks again.

  9. Eric Holub - October 21, 2009

    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.

  10. Thomas Hardjono - October 21, 2009

    Thanks Eric.

    Yes I did send the old core/rollers to be recovered, but the company (that performs the recovery) did not know that this was a Uni-I roller and could not do recovery. So I ordered the new core/rollers.

    Are there places/vendors that know how to recover these old cores/rollers?



  11. Eric Holub - October 21, 2009

    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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