Universal III Register Rack Question

We are cleaning up a newly acquired UNI IIIP, and have noticed something which is disturbing.

Under the register rack (X-2831), is a shim that looks approximately 2pts  thick and resides nearest the feed table. A smaller shim is at the end nearest the floating rack.

We are assuming that these have been put in place to solve a problem.  Can anyone shed some light as to what is most likely wrong and what the implications are?

Are the shims in place for the reasons mentioned in this post?


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Eric Holub
13 years ago

Sometimes people do add shims that are not original. The Vandercook shims I’ve examined have been steel (in case of thicker shims) or plastic (for thinner shims). If you see leads or brass, I’d suspect that somebody has been screwing around.

Fritz Klinke
13 years ago

I scanned a small part of the assembly print for the Universal III adjustable bed version at:


Unfortunately, the level of detail in the Vandercook manuals is short of criminal and I think they could have done a far better job. The US Army purchased several #4s back in the 50s and rejected the presses at first because they did not have “complete” manuals, and there is some Vandercook internal memos in the file showing some degree of consternation that anyone would want more than what they handed out. Back to the drawing board and Vandercook ended up giving them the complete parts list down to every nut, bolt, and screw. And a copy ended up in the file, and that’s now a valuable resource–some of the other parts lists did not survive.


Fritz Klinke
13 years ago

Shims under the gear racks are original to the building of the press and are called out on the assembly print. Each shim, depending on the thickness, has a Vandercook X part number. Typically, the directions on the assembly print will say “shim to fit” and the gear racks are elevated at the start of the rack at the ink drum end of the press. I don’t think there’s anything to be concerned about–they are supposed to be there, unless someone has messed with them not knowing any better..

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