Here’s an idea for a hand-activated gripper lever to aid sheet feeding on the No. 3 Vandercook. In the drawing at left, a handle attached to the gripper trip lever is pulled toward the operator, thus moving the push rod against the trip bar which forces the gripper stems to rise.
A notable “feature” of the No. 3 (after hand-cranked ink distribution) is its automatic cylinder grippers and the absence of a foot pedal. (Similarly equipped models are the 325A and the 317.) Opening the grippers at the feed board requires rolling the carriage forward. Paper is then placed in position (beyond the feed board lip) and the grippers are closed just before the carriage returns to the feed board. This maneuver is time consuming, makes registration difficult and can damage some papers in the process.
There are two No. 3s at a printmaking studio I’ve been invited to teach next summer, so I hope I can make a modification by then. The question is: should the gripper trip lever (MS-125) be replaced with a longer single steel bar extending up and then at a right angle (A) or should a separate assembly be attached between the first and second screws of the existing lever (B)?
If any No. 3 operators have a successful workaround for this “feature” or a better, simpler method than I’ve described, please share.