Category Archives: C & P

Lost Password, Lost Blog?

Is this common or what? A little over a year ago my crackberry phone cratered, locked up, and upset me so greatly with RIM and all its offering that I predicted its demise because of the way they treated me. I’ve got a pretty good track record. Piss me off and your company is likely to suffer greatly or cease to exist. In any case, one of the good things about the crackberry was the vault for storing various passwords. So I lost all of it. And a bad thing about WordPress is that it uses your email address to track access to your blog. Having experimented a bit with various formats I forgot about an older blog that I had started – and now by some computing magic my access was always redirected to the old blog. Hopeless to get help with it from WordPress. Their support is a black hole of silence. That is why I went with the Thesis theme for my art web site, http://byhugo.com rather than straight WordPress. I can only recommend Thesis, they have good support!

Long story short, after some lengthy wrangling I seem to have killed off the old blog, and now finally have a way of updating this effort.

So what is left to do on the press? The platen is back on the press, just needs calibrating. In January I’m buying the motor and drive controller for the C&P press.

The first of my engravings has arrived, and I am anxious to get printing the fist limited edition!

With temperatures outside in the -20 degrees C range, I also need to arrange for heat in the garage.

Pictures to come…

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Wood Work

After quite a delay (somehow you have to get the mortgage paid) I finally am getting back to the press. I had a plank of oak lying around from way back (sailboat building days) and decided to do something with it. From some inquiries with other printer/bloggers, I discovered that the feed and delivery table on my press was not the original, and I searched out the info about what size the original might have been. There is a fair bit of conflicting info about the tables out there.

Letterpress C&P Delivery Board

Delivery Table

In the end, that was not the most important anyway. I only had the one oak plank, and whatever I was going to make would be from it. A friend helped me out with biscuit cutting the two places where the boards that I had cut out would have to be joined to make the working surfaces. Using some 30 year old Industrial Formulators epoxy I glued the pieces together.

Letterpress C&P Feed Table

Feed Table

After some tiring sanding, first with 120 grit and then with 220 grit I got the boards into shape. Next I thought I’d try something I had never done, cover the working surfaces with clear epoxy finish. That worked out very well, only one little tiny fly lost its life in the final coat. If you plan on doing this sort of thing I can only recommend doing what I did – make it in two coats! The first coat will seal the surface and even if you get bubbles in it (you will because the open grain areas of the wood spawn bubbles like crazy) – you can sand them out. Then for the second coat you only have to watch for flies and bugs.

Letterpress C&P Platen

Press Platen

And then earlier in the week I removed the platen, just about too heavy for me to move by myself. The reason I removed it was because I discovered the platen needed to be moved closer to the press bed by about 1/8 inch. Once I tried making the adjustment I found that the mounting studs were really binding. Also it makes it a lot easier to clean under the center part of the press.

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Ink Rollers

After considerable back and forth I am back to where I started. When I got the press there were only two of the three ink rollers present. Since I am going to use the press to print from engravings rather than from movable type (individually placed lead letter forms), the inking procedure is maybe a bit more critical. The rollers are built on a steel core of 9/16″ diameter, with the center 20″ covered with rubber to a two inch diameter. The roller trucks are slightly smaller in diameter, the idea being that the rollers are moved along by the trucks rolling on the rail until the part of the form that needs to be coated with ink is contacted by the rubber roller and sightly lifted, with the roller now rolling along the surface of the engraving (inking it).

Due to a chance encounter with a structural engineer in a coffee shop I got an education in the deflection/deformation experienced by the rollers as they move over the form (the parts of the engraving that gets coated with ink). Dave is his name, and after I asked about the workability of higher quality steel versus the original mild steel rods, he told me that I was addressing the wrong valiable. With a solid rod the strength of the steel has only a minor effect on deflection. He then explained the equations behind the resistance to deflection in a rod versus a tube, that is where the improvement can be had – making the portion under the rubber a tube would make it a lot more rigid.

Great, now I had a mission. I determined that a one inch OD tube would be ideal, would result in a half inch coating of rubber to get to the original two inch roller OD. Now I just had to figure out a way to insert the 9/16″ rods in both ends of the 20″ long tube and then everything in the roller saddle areas would be back to the original version. My approach to this is to get the tube line drilled at the ends, for say 3″ and to – with a slight interference fit – hammer in the shaft stubs for each end. About one inch from the end of the tube a 1/8″ hole can then be drilled perpendicular through the tube and shaft, and a spring pin hammered in to hold things together. Another set of spring pins can be used to hold the delrin trucks in place, and since they are made to specifications I can get them made the same diameter as the roller OD.

And then I had the great epiphany, what if the original roller cores were made of such small diameter steel in case the rollers came off the saddles during printing? I have heard of that happening. That would be a mess, if the rollers fell between bed and platen while the press was closing! So now I have another mission – is that a valid concern? Onward…

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Motor Mount

Press Motor Mount

Motor Mount

The first bit of new progress after a long cold winter. I’ve cut the pieces of Canstrut (or Unistrut whichever name you like best) and test assembled them. I’m guessing a bit for the motor size, but the Canstrut design I came up with is quite adjustable. The short sections with the hinges attached will get positioned between the press frame side panel castings. Once mounted, the motor will by its own weight keep the belt tight. Now I’m just waiting for the motor, and waiting for the last bit of snow to disappear.

This picture is from the corner of the platform that will hold the motor (where the four bolts are sticking up).

Press Motor Mount Platform

Motor Mount from Motor Location

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Delays and New Stuff

It’s been more than a month since my last post. Not that I have been lazy about this, but making a living comes first, and so the work increments on the press have been smaller – with several weeks of interruptions. Then there was the gib-key fiasco for the pinion gear that I ordered wrong, and had to re-order. Then there was the straight edge that I ordered – and that somewhere during shipment punched a hole through the packaging and escaped into the wild (likely in the back of a UPS truck). That too had to be re-ordered, but now I got it and can finally get to work checking the press bed for straightness.

Impression Counter

Impression Counter

The last week has been like Christmas. I got packages from the seller of the press, with the feed table (with the castĀ bracket) and the all important chase. Then I received the mini-furniture cabinet that I bought via Briarpress from a printer in Florida, with a bunch of metal furniture (still waiting on the wood furniture). Ah, and I got an impression counter, not really needed, but why not.
And then there was a two week holiday in the sun and several weeks away up north.
A new resolution to throw out more stuff from the garage, so that I can fit the new stuff in place and make more room for working the press.

A list of what is required to complete the reworking of the press and make it ready to print:

  • Finish cleaning and painting
  • Polish / straighten press bed
  • Check & correct side-rail elevation to press bed
  • Check & correct/adjust platen to press-bed distance
  • Define motor size and purchase
  • Buy and install VFD
  • Buy ink rollers & trucks
  • Order the first zinc plate with backing
  • Buy tympan & pressboard
  • Buy cotton paper
  • Buy ink

Well that’s it for now…

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Saddle Post Spring Detail

Saddle Springs

Turns out there are two different springs. one. the shorter one for the double saddle post & rod:
Length 31″, 190 turns of 0.079″ diameter spring material, wound to 0.465″ inside diameter (0.620″ outside diameter).
The longer spring is for the single saddle post & rod:
Length 34″, 196 turns of 0.070″ diameter spring material, wound to 0.467 inside diameter (0.608″ outside diameter).

To be able to get the spring off the rod you need to be able to compress the spring a bit while removing the cotter pin at the end. I found a pice of 1/2″ PEX pipe (for residential water pipe use) handy as it has just the right inside diameter and enough wall thickness to push in the spring. Once you get the pin out and release the pressure on the spring, be ready to have the spring jump right into your face. When you do this, wear a set of leather work gloves to contain the spring force, letting them go more slowly.
Saddle Spring EndsNotice that on one end the springs have a little straight tail, that is the end near the saddle post (keeps the spring from turning).

It’ll be funĀ  getting the springs back on…

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More Rust, Dust & Gunk Removal

Rusted Main Shaft

For a few days It’s been very cold. Since the press is still out in the driveway I haven’t got much done. Today was a good day. Worked most of the day on the press, removed the saddle stud & rods and the gripper bar. Noticed a difference between the double saddle stud and the single one. The double saddle stud springs are shorter than the single saddle springs. I wonder if that is because the single saddles were not used on the press (by the previous owner), thus never got compressed or cycled? Or is there a technical reason for it? Tomorrow I will measure and document the springs. Made good use of degreaser and cleaners today. The platen cleaned up real nice with the rust remover.

Made a decision on the oil holes today. While I have things apart anyway I will re-drill the top part of the oil holes and get oil hole covers to try to keep these locations from accumulating dirt, and make them more obvious for long term maintenance.

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