Last night I thought I’d attack the gripper bars and the rail they mount on to. Turns out the bars are kind of bent and not even. One has definite signs of type embedding into it. And there are a lot of hammer marks from bashing the bottom of the grippers when they were being adjusted.
So I filed the edges for a better appearance. I noticed all the gripper pieces were originally painted black. Because the grippers will have to be moved back and forth for various size work, I don’t think the regular paint is a good idea. So I am either going to try a thinner epoxy finish or maybe leave them unpainted. Here the gripper bars are at the first stage of cleaning with a die grinder attack. Next I have to rig up some anvil surface to hammer them straight, and then do the final polish.
After most of the week away I decided to spend some time on the back shaft (the one connecting the press bed and the roller frame, and onto which the side arms connect). Now that the items around it have been painted it really looks bad.
The shaft rotates only within the limits of the throw-off linkage, so it’s mainly stationary, and dirt and moisture settled on it the years allowing some serious corrosion to happen on the upper surface of that shaft. Scotch-Brite, air tool and emery cloth were applied vigorously and I worked up a sweat. Tomorrow after some final polish I will apply some clear coat to the shaft. I decided to try out this product I found, to highlight a few of the machined areas of the press. As mentioned before, I am not going to apply pin-striping and a work of art paint-job. But the machine does not have to look boring either. I am aiming for a “serious machine” look.
Ink Disk Support Bracket
I took off the ink disk support bracket, cleaned and painted it. The disk advance lever got the same treatment. As I was working on that, I realized that it is easier to shim the whole bracket up (to make up for the ink disk machining height loss), then to make a bronze disk to put on the disk journal face.
Then I tackled the rear of the press bed (under the ink disk), with those deep pockets formed by the web of reinforcements. That area is a real trap for dirt and junk and is also the place where I have found the worst scaling (likely from the original casting process because it is hard to get in there).
After yet another night of cleaning and painting the rear and sides of the press bed are painted. For a while now I thought the paint I’m using (Tremclad dark blue) was too soft. But I’m changing my mind on that. The first items I painted more than a week ago now are getting harder every day. I was worried about being able to wipe oil of the surface if it stayed relatively soft. And I’m getting used to the colour as well – I thought that it was too light, but it’s nice to be able to see all the parts even when the light is not right on it, and also I’m just getting used to it.
Ink Disk New Surface
Tonight the ink disk got machined. There was significant run-out, although not as bad as it looked when we put the straight edge across it. There is something about the light coming through that little gap formed by the straight edge and the surface being checked that really amplifies any error.
The gap looked huge, but on the lathe with a dial indicator it “only” measured 0.020″. In any case, to get a decent cut and a feed rate without chatter resulted in 0.030″ being taken off the ink surface. A big deal was to have secondary support at the ratchet ring to the lathe chuck. Before that, the cutting tool action on the disk was just screaming with vibration. The surface is not perfect, but it is perfectly flat and I can polish the rest in position on the press. Now I’ve got to get myself a machinist straight edge so that I can measure if the disk sits too low, and if I have to make up a bronze washer to put on the bearing surface to bring it up the 0.030″ that the disk was sitting higher before. The real telling will be when the rollers are put on and the ink is being picked up.
Ink Platter Rear
The first piece has been painted. I took off the ink platter, cleaned it and painted the under siThe top side will take some more work.
When the press was shut down and stored something was left on the platter – it was likely ink – and that has eaten into the surface. The Scotch-Brite pad on the die grinder is cleaning it up but there are quite a few pits left. So I took the sanding disk and tried to get more aggressive in polishing the marks out. I’m not happy with the results. I’m going to look for a machine shop to grind the surface on a lathe so as not to remove too much metal. But its a start!
Ink Disk Pitted Surface
Started looking for a machine shop and found one, but that started some real concern: We put a straight edge across the ink surface and discovered either the platter is seriously distorted – or it is supposed to be crowned (the center being some 3/16″ higher than the sides). I will have to wait until it is put on the lathe before we can be sure. In the meantime I’d appreciate if you can check their C&P ink platters to see it they are crowned or really flat?
What a difference a better tool makes! I visited a machinist tool shop and came a way with an air operated die grinder, a disk mandrel and a selection of sanding and cleaning disks. The tool runs at 20,000 RPM and does a real nice job of cutting through surface rust. So far I have only used the polishing disks, I really don’t want to take off metal unless I can measure the results.
Now I just have to deal with the fact that my air compressor is waayy too small to power the tool properly. Right now I have to wait 30 seconds, make a pass, wait another 30 seconds and so on.
What I really went there fore is a machinists straight edge, so that I could check the bed and platen for straightness. They did not have those in stock and I got talking with a real helpful guy behind the counter and I came away with this real fine tool. Now I’ll have to rent a better air compressor for a few days.