We have a Vandercook Universal-1 with a powered carriage. I am having a little trouble getting the drive clutch adjusted properly and I was hoping that I could get some help from other powered-carriage Vandercook owners out there.
The clutch is attached (as you might expect) between the drive motor and gear that drives the carriage back and forth to print. As I understand the Drive Clutch Adjustment information on the housing, there is a collar on the motor-end of the clutch that is used to tighten and loosen the clutch. This seems straightforward. I can loosen the set screws in the collar and then use an allen wrench (for leverage) in the holes of the collar to rotate it back and forth to tighten and loosen the clutch.
The confusing part is that in the bed-end of the clutch (at the end of the gear which turns to power the carriage), there is a round plate and an allen-headed screw in the middle. That screw seems to move the gear back and forth so that it makes cood contact with the gear on the print cylinder. But, that screw wiggles loose during operation to the point that the round plate is very loose, the clutch is looser than it should be, and it just doesn’t seem right. It even fell out once. On the other hand, if I tighten that screw down all the way, the clutch doesn’t seem to be active. That is, the cylinder starts and stops sharply with no clutch give at all.
So, my questions are – what is the deal with this screw and how does it work with the clutch? Should I tighten that screw all the way down so it doesn’t jiggle loose, and then adjust the clutch to be looser? Should I tighten/loosen the clutch and then use that screw to adjust the gear to mesh with the cylinder propserly, but then have to keep readjusting that loose screw every so often? Am I missing the point completetly? Help!
I’m including a picture to show what I’m talking about.
Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks.
-Erik Brunvand, Saltgrass Printmakers
Thanks Daniel! This makes total sense, but it helps to hear another powered Vandercook tinkerer say it. I’ll mess with it this weekend, loctite to the ready, and report back.
When you get it right I’d suggest you put a dab of Loctite on that end Allen bolt. It should be snug and is not an adjustment. If you over tighten it you will deform the plate that it sits recessed in to. Its function is to hold the gear securely to the clutch.
If tightening that bolt down eliminates the action of the clutch then you need to reset the clutch using the collar. It must be too tight.
The Arm Letterpress
Thanks Fritz – I hope it doesn’t come to the point of replacing the clutch, but it’s good to know that there are still parts available.
Another way to ask my basic question is: Are the collar and the screw in the center of the gear independent adjustments that do different things, or are they related to each other and both part of a standard clutch adjustment? Should I set one and adjust the other, or do I need to adjust both of them for a good clutch setting? Thanks,
I don’t have any specific remedies for the problem at hand other than the clutch plates do wear over time, as do set screws, threads, etc that require frequent tightening. Fortunately, this clutch assembly is still manufactured, and one solution may to be replace the asssembly, though now a costly adventure. I do have a set of new clutch plates in stock if that would help. I would check to see if the spring is broken as that sometimes happens.