Vandercook 4: motor replacement

The Book Arts Program needs to replace the motor on our No. 4. I’ve written down all the specs from the maker’s nameplate – the current motor was manufactured by Westinghouse (no longer in business) – and contacted a few local companys about replacement. I was told I would need to bring the motor in. The current motor hasn’t completely died and the press is still being used by a class, so I would prefer to purchase a new motor to switch out and minimize downtime. Anyone replaced with another (contemporary) manufacturer? If so, would you be willing to discuss specs? Should we just wait until the class is over and have the motor rebuilt? Thanks.

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Fritz Klinke
15 years ago

Motors used on Vandercooks are either generic, standard motors, or special design gear motors. The gear motors, like the SP series ink drum motors, were either special order to Vandercook specs or an off the shelf unit. In either case, it is next to impossible to locate the same unit today–thus, those should be rebuilt and rewound as appropriate, especially the cylinder drive motors for the power driven presses.

For the #4 motor in question, replace it with a similar unit to the same specs. The base may be different and may need an adapting plate made to line up bolt holes, but the important thing is shaft diameter for the pulley, rpm, and hp–and most of this information is on the name plate on the motor. If that has been painted over, carefully scrape the paint off to get to the information. Motors may be found at WW Graingers (, and brand names available through Grainers and others include Dayton, GE, Baldor, US Motor, and Westinghouse–still making motors. I’d suggest Graingers first. Grainger’s web site is a huge nuisance compared to their print catalog where you can flip through pages quite quickly.

If the motor has a minor problem, like bad bearings, then it is far less expensive to have those replaced at a competent motor shop. New motors are expensive, and it may be far more cost effective to rebuild the motor.

The #4 manual skips over giving the #4 motor a part number, as do the blue prints. The only thing specified that I can find is a 1725 rpm motor with the MA-3 pulley, and 1140 rpm with the MA-5 pulley, and I can pull those prints for anyone who is having problems figuring out what they have.


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