Vandercook No. 4 Oldstyle Ink drum issue

I’m trying to remove the ink drum on our No.4 Oldstyle in order to replace the worn bearings with some new plastic ones.  I cannot seem to figure out a way to get the ink drum free in order to get access to the bearings.  I have completely taken out the screws on either side of the drum and can move it around, but then cannot lift the drum out of the bed as the small protrusions on either side of the drum get stuck on the rails.  I also cannot find any screws or hints as to removing the sheet metal panel below the drum in order to bring it down out of the bed.

Has anyone done this repair on this old model?  I’m afraid of having to remove the entire bed of the press in order to do this and I’m hoping there is an easier way!  Any advice is appreciated!

ebg @ Smudge Ink

13 thoughts on “Vandercook No. 4 Oldstyle Ink drum issue

  1. Paul Moxon, Moderator - June 11, 2011

    Congratulations! Great photo set and now we know.

  2. Emily Goodale - June 11, 2011


    With the help of Lee McDonald, we have successfully gotten the drum out of the press! Lee has taken the drum and has cleaned out the wooden bearings and is now working on repairing the shaft. The shaft is in pretty good shape and only is slightly out of round on the drive side. Lee will be repairing this side so that it will once again fit perfectly onto the end of the new screws.

    Here is a complete photo documentation of how we did this:

    It was actually very graceful despite my fretting!

  3. Fritz Klinke - June 5, 2011

    As to Eric’s suggestion, there are 5 or 6 prints for the MR-123 screw and one is for a version with an eccentric as Eric suggests, but it is noted on the drawing that is for use on one specific serial numbered press only and apparently was never applied to all the rest. Why, I have no idea. Would it work? Again, not a clue.

  4. Paul Moxon, Moderator - June 5, 2011

    Here’s an assembly drawing of the No.4 drum courtesy of Mr. Klinke:

  5. Eric Holub - June 5, 2011

    Fritz, make the MR-123 Ink Drum Shaft Lock Screw with an eccentric stud and that would allow for levelling the drum to the bed. There is already an adjustment for skew of the form roller frame, so drum and form can be kept parallel.

  6. Fritz Klinke - June 5, 2011

    A further note on Vandercook tolerances. On the assembly print, the MT-100 Ink Drum assembly is noted to be “Concentric within .005, Parallel with top of bed within .010.” And if I was to pull the print for finishing the bed casting, it would probably have the same tolerances. The whole purpose of these proof presses was to deliver excellent proofs of plates or type based on very short run cycles. A quality reproduction proof of a form or a galley of type could usually be accomplished in as few as 2 or 3 impressions, or maybe 10 or 15 if there were problems. But the whole setup was not based on running 200 or 1000 of the same form with perfectly predictable results. Even on production presses, like Miehle flatbeds or verticals, Heidelberg cylinders and platens, the individual inking systems and relationship of platen to bed and cylinder to bed had to be contended with by the pressman. Modern offset press now have computer controlled ink fountains that control the amount of ink being put on the rollers based on denisitomiter readings, and as the press runs, these settings are constantly being changed by the computer. So, these presses, though well built and as precise as the then machining practices would allow still need an attentive pressman who can cope with inking problems at hand. Emily’s problem can be fixed and is the result of parts wearing out–beyond that, she has to rely on her skills once the ink drum is back together to achieve excellent printing.

    The ink drum shaft, MR-121, that the MR-123 screws go into may also be worn on Emily’s press, and may need replacement, but we won’t know that until she can get the ink drum out of the press bed. There is no “magic” solution noted on the assembly print explaining how to remove the ink drum. I suspect the assembled bed assembly was attached to the base cabinet (MM-130). This assembly print measures 22×36 and was drawn at half scale in ink on linen on 8-19-37 by R.L.P. who did most of Vandercook’s drawings from the 1930s well into the 1960s.

  7. Emily Goodale - June 4, 2011

    Thanks so much Fritz! Screws are on the way and we’ll have to take a closer look at the shaft once we can get it out. Hopefully be updating with a success story and photos next week.

  8. Fritz Klinke - June 3, 2011

    Emily needs the MR-123 Ink Drum Shaft Lock Screw and we have them in stock at $26.50 each. These have a threaded end with a projecting stud that fits inside the ink drum bearing. As either the stud wears or the original wood bearing fails, the ink drum will go out of alignment. We are experimenting with a new plastic bearing to replace the wood ones which we still stock. There appears to be no way to adjust the alignment of the ink drum, so I suspect inking issues with #4 presses start with an examination of the MR-123 screw and the F-760 bearing. On the Plan & Side View Assembly print M-117 for the #4 press, there is only one note concerning the ink drum: “Note for F-760 wood bearings–use J-10575-85, assemble wood bearings with 1/64″ extending outside of M-108 (ink drum end casting) & extend from other end to make overall length 15.840, +000, -.010.” Now how that assembly can be measured accurately is another matter beyond most of us without the proper devices. The J number refers to a special jig made for a specific purpose. We have most of the J drawings and I’ll see if we have this one.

  9. Paul Moxon, Moderator - June 2, 2011

    Yikes! I was afraid it was going to come to this. The earlier models tend to be hermetically sealed. Keep in mind that these machines were not designed to last this long. I’m so glad you’re in Perry’s region. Please tell us how it turns out and remember to take photos.

  10. Emily Goodale - June 2, 2011

    ok. Good and bad news. I spoke with Perry Tymeson on the phone and he was able to actually give me step by step instruction on how to do this. It involves jacking the bed up enough to be able to angle the drum out the top. I have a wonderful man names Lee McDonald who is going to come by with his engine hoist to make this a (hopefully) slightly easier task.

    Bad news is: the screws on either side of the drum that act as the axle are terribly eroded. The nub that sits in the bearing on the side with the chain is completely ground into an oblong shape. Does anyone know if this is a part readily available to replace? Or am I going to have to have the screws machined from scratch? Waiting to hear back from Fritz on this as well.

    Hope to be able to post pics of this nonsense soon!

  11. Emily Goodale - May 31, 2011

    Thanks again, Paul. I have scrutinized all sides of the press to try to figure out the construction and I haven’t been able to locate any screws that would release the sheet metal under the drum. The sheet metal that is directly under the drum seems to be the same piece that makes up the ceiling of the entire length of the cabinet under the bed, with no screws or way to remove it! Argh! Thanks both of you for the advice. I’m gonna keep plugging away at this!

  12. Paul Moxon, Moderator - May 31, 2011

    I have removed a drum on a later No. 4 using straps, but lowered it into the cabinet shelf, angling the operator’s side downward to release the chain. I shared this information in an email to Emily last week. It could be that the bed casting on early models have some obstruction. I will contact a couple of oldstyle No. 4 owners who may have some insight.

  13. Eric Holub - May 31, 2011

    The drip pan under the drum is typically held in place by four thumbscrews, but could have been replaced by some other kind of fastener. Or even dried ink.
    I did take the drum out of a No. 4 a few years ago, but am hazy on the details. I thought I pulled the shaft out through the side of the press after removing the retaining screws on both sides. Of course, I also had to loosen the drive chain. Nylon straps to support and lift it. I don’t recall any difficulties other than having to go out an buy a huge socket for the retaining screw nuts.

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