Universal I grippers and trip mechanism

I have recently taken two Universal I presses out of storage and am getting them going for the first time so, I’ll be making quite a few postings here in the next few weeks. My first question is regarding the gripper assembly. One of my presses is a later model Illinois Tool Works press, serial #29465 dating it to 1972, I believe. The gripper cam on the press is connected internally to the impression cylinder instead of lifting out with the entire assembly as I have seen in the past. The gripper cam was initially stuck so that the grippers were in the up position. I’ve worked the cam loose but the spring that sits at the far end of the cam on the operator’s side of the press is remaining compressed so that there is no tension in the cam to raise the grippers. My manual is not particularly helpful, as the illustration simply cuts off mid cam spring.

The second question is regarding the trip/print flipper (techinical term?), which is stuck in the up, trip, position. I believe the adjustments of the various rods/arms that actually engage the flipper are a little off but that is not really the problem. Nothing is impeding it from going down into the print position in those adjustments. Nevertheless it is stuck. Once again the manual is not particularly illuminating. If any one has any insight I would be extremely grateful. I move on to a Uni I with an automatic carriage next.

All best and hello,

Patrick Masterson

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16 years ago

Where can I find the blueprints of the Universal I & III presses? I’m trying to figure out how to work the power grippers for the powered presses. It would be great if I didn’t have to push down on the foot pedal that raises the grippers and have it automated. Then the advantage of haing a C&P would be moot and still retain the high quality impressions of a Vandy.

Also does anyone know where to find an original impression counter (Veeder Root) for either a Uni I or III?

Fritz Klinke
16 years ago

On further discussion with Patrick today, the possibility that the collar that is on the gripper cam shaft could be loose and thus not in the right place to compress the spring. It may be as simple as repositoning the collar and tightening the 2 set screws so that when the foot peddle presses in on the cam shaft that the collar compresses the spring, and when the foot peddle is released, then the spring pushes back on the collar. The flipper thing has a frozen shaft, and that is likely the problem–this one may never have been oiled.


Fritz Klinke
16 years ago

Could be your spring is broken on the gripper cam? We don’t have any in stock, but I looked at the blueprint and it would be an easy spring to make–also used on the SP-15. The rod should move freely and can be pushed by hand to raise and lower the grippers–assuming none of them are bent or stuck. It may need to be thoroughly cleaned at all the bearing points.

The flipper thing is held on the rod assembly inside the press with 2 set screws virtually impossible to access without removing one or both of the shelves on the inside of the press. That is most likely why that part is “stuck.” The shelves are a real test of endurance to both remove the nuts and screws, but to realign and put back in place–have fun.

Alex Brooks
16 years ago

Patrick –
The cam spring should be compressed when the gripper pedal is depressed. The pedal pushes the shaft toward the operator moving the cams under the gripper pins. How did you “work the cams loose”? Is the shaft moving when you depress the pedal? If the shaft is moving but the grippers aren’t it’s possible that you misaligned the cams, as they move independently from the shaft, if not you’ll need to trace the operation of the grippers back to the pedal, one step at a time, and figure out where it stops working. Take the back cheek off to really see what’s going on back there. You can see the actual linkages on page 188, 189, & 190 of the parts diagram. If you can take some pictures of what’s actually happening that would be helpful, as it’s hard to picture the problem in your words.

The trip problem is tougher as you don’t give many clues. Again, i’d look at page 190 of the parts diagram where it shows the trip rack in the print position. You’ll have to figure out why it’s not moving.

Comparing your press to a functional press is very helpful. If you see what the machine does when it’s operating correctly, you can figure out why yours isn’t.

if you don’t have the parts list you can dowload it here

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