Universal I – Replacement Motor

This press resides at Minnesota Center for Book Arts in Minneapolis
This press resides at Minnesota Center for Book Arts in Minneapolis

In response to the recent post regarding an SP- 15 needing a replacement motor, I thought I’d add my experience this week with our Universal I.
This press had been hesitating at start-up for some time. On start-up, the drive roller would need a little nudge to get it going. (I believe the capacitor was bad). One day it just would not go at all. Upon opening it up, I found the motor Bar-B-Q’d on the inside; extra crispy!
The original motor was a 1/12th HP motor, with 1725 RPM, and a 15:1 ratio right-angled gearbox built-in. This motor was last built by Baldor in 1962. Needless to say, it was no longer available. So, I’d have to find a replacement. In order to get the correct RPM for this machine, I considered the DC motor and SRC box like our friends in Arkansas, finally opted for. However, with a little digging, and a patient service person at Grainger, I was able to come up with this beauty.
The Universal I requires 112 – 115 RPM to operate within specifications (according to Fritz Klinke). Here is what I ultimately ended up with:
a 1/4 HP motor, with 1725 RPM and 56C fitting. (Grainger part # 6XJ21)
a 56C fitted Gearbox / reducer with a ratio of 15:1 (Grainger part # 4RN76)
and a mounting plate (Grainger # 6X499).
Overall, we ended up with 117 RPM – I am thrilled by this because all the other options we looked at were giving us 160 RPM or something closer to 85 RPM. A few modifications needed to be made. I drilled two new holes in the existing mounting bracket to match the holes on the new mounting plate. This was done with a graduated (or stepped) drill bit rated for metal. The new motor sits slightly proud of the metal plate that keeps junk from falling in behind the drive roller. I simply used an angle grinder to cut away the corner, and filed down the rough edges. Everything is beautiful.
Good luck to anyone going through this themselves. I found it really helps to know what specifications you need to meet before sitting down with the Grainger catalog.

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Paul Moxon, Moderator
3 years ago

I received this email from Richard Wagener:
“I had to replace the motor for my Universal I. I chose a Bodine model 0514 that has worked well. I had a friend drill new mounting holes so that there was no adjustment for the chain. The motor fits without having to cut away the tray.”

Paul Moxon, Moderator
11 years ago

I can’t speak to real markets. Having said that, I have previously contacted Baldor. As Erin at MCBA wrote, there are on the shelf options that can be adapted by the fearless. And really, isn’t this why we do letterpress/book arts and not an easier corporate path?

Thomas Hardjono
11 years ago

Is there a market for someone to produce these (Vandercook-ready motors).

I know I will be needing a new motor one of these days, and would certainly be open to purchasing one.



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