Universal III Power Carriage, Braking Problem

I’ve read up on all the relevant old post I could find, and I still have a few questions about this. I’ve adjusted the clutch, and it’s still hitting at both ends on the lowest speed. Not very hard (yet), but enough to bounce of an inch or two. Sometimes the breaking dial helps, sometimes it doesn’t. My guess is the problem has something to do with the microswitches (which if I’ve understood right, are the four switches at shin height labeled 1-4LS on the side opposite the operator.)

How do I check the microswitches to see if they’re functioning properly? Or, if it’s not the microswitches, what should I check next/instead?

Also, I’m assuming that if the press is set up right, one shouldn’t need the breaks on at all when the press is on the lowest speed. Breaks are only necessary for higher speed settings?

Here’s some more hopefully relevant observations:

1) When the carriage is at the feed board, I can still toggle the switch by hand, it still has some free play in it. When it’s at the other end, the play in the switch arm is maxed out.

2) The rail/rack/ski/arm piece (the thing mounted to the bottom of the carriage that depresses the switch arms as the carriage travels), which is fixed in place by washers and hex-head screws, seems SLIGHTLY off level.

3) With the press on, when I toggle the switches by hand, I can only hear two of them making noise, a noise I locate somewhere up inside the carriage.



Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
10 years ago

OK, Here’s a photo of the manual illustration that should be sized to fit per Paul’s dimensions.

Paul Moxon, Moderator
10 years ago

If large comment images are dragged to your desktop you will be able to view.

Paul Moxon, Moderator
10 years ago

Comment images and links function has been restored. Please limit image width to 640px.

Paul Moxon, Moderator
10 years ago

Sorry folks. A WordPress glitch is preventing jpeg attachments. I’m looking for a solution. Thanks for your patience.

10 years ago

Here is the illustration from the manual

John Henry

10 years ago


Do you have the manual for the Uni III? There is a pretty good illustration and explanation of how to adjust the Limit Switch Cams.

When it mentions cam A, that is the left one, and Cam B is the right one.



If the travel of the cylinder carriage (1) slows up, or (2) doesn’t move at all with the drive motor turning, or (3) hits the bumpers too hard after all the cam adjust¬ments have been made, a simple drive clutch adjustment is necessary, as follows:

1 – With press at slowest speed and on “impression,” run cylinder to open end.

2 – Run cylinder back toward feed board until trip cam is engaged.

3 – Adjust clutch so that it holds just enough to drive cylinder past the trip cam.

Caution should be taken not to over-adjust the clutch drive, for too tight an adjust¬ment will eliminate the safety feature provided in the clutch.


The Electrical Control Box is located behind the hinged door in the leg under the fee d board. Prolonged periods of excessive jogging or stalling-out a f cylinder carriage due to a jam-up may blow one of the four fuses located inside the control box (on presses with Power Operated Grippers there will be five fuses – the one to the right will be for the gripper solenoid).

The ink drum gear motor has inherent overheating protection. If it is stalled-out for some abnormal reason, it will resume turning after a short pause.


With the press inked up, cylinder on impression, and clutch properly adjusted, the cylinder carriage should stop 1/16″ to 1/4″ away from bumper at the open end of the press when speed control knob “1” and brake control knob “R” are set at center of their range (Illustration 1).

When cylinder carriage does not stop as stated above, adjust cam “A” (Illustration 3) to the right to bring the cylinder closer to the bumper – and to the left if it is hitting too hard.

In cases where the cylinder carriage hits too hard on returning to the feed board, adjust eam “B” (Illustration 3), to the right. If it does not return so that the gripper bar is approximately 1-5/16 I away from the feed board, then adjust cam “B” to the left.

The Arm NYC
10 years ago

That’s on eBay I should add!

The Arm NYC
10 years ago

Hi John,
First thing I would check is that all four of the switches have their levers set in the proper position at about 45 degrees. Also make sure that they are not rotated toward or away from the press. If they are then sometimes the tabs on the cylinder will push to the side of them and the cylinder will slam.

These switches are quite easy to find- a search for BZE6-2RN2 currently turns up 48 results. Considering how affordable these are, there’s little stopping you from replacing all four.

Daniel Morris
The Arm Letterpress
Brooklyn, NY

Copyright © 2023 vandercookpress.infoTheme by SiteOrigin
Scroll to top
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x