Letterpress Under Wraps
Here she is, my other love under wraps (from shortly after moving her home). I’ve been getting more intimate with her the past year, figuring out what makes her tick:
But recently I’ve had a bit of a setback with her, and I don’t want to show her until I get some problems solved. But she is real, she is tough and I’m working to make her the best she has ever been.
The paint disaster has taken another twist. Getting ready to rent the pressure/steam washer I started a few days before to see what it would take to get the paint off. Starting to spray gasoline and rubbing, waiting, rubbing again – then spraying gasoline again. Nothing! The paint would not soften, would not wrinkle, would not come off. So now I am puzzled. Just a few weeks ago during an accidental gasoline drip the paint came off with hardly touching it – and now it is solid! The only way I can explain it – it must be due to the passage of more time. If you have any ideas – let me know. For now, onward toward finishing the job!
Lock Roller and Stud
Talking over the paint disaster with everyone I come in contact with who even might have the faintest interest or knowledge in the subject, I have come to this: I will rent a high pressure/hot water washer and use a hand sprayer with gasoline and/or caustic soda to soften the paint. That’s it so far. I have no idea what or even if I’m going to paint the press.
But here some pictures of the last improvement:
The lock roller rotating on the fixed stud, following the shape in the small head lock cam was quite worn. More than twenty thousands of an inch out of round it was likely forgetful lubrication that was to blame since the roller is a bit hidden under the delivery board. The roller has to be positioned so the oil hole is pointing up so it can accept oil. The local machine shop did a nice job of cleaning up the stud on the lathe and pressing in a bronze sleeve into the roller. I ended up drilling the lube hole through the bushing myself, as the machinist forgot about it. The roller and lock action is very precise now.
Installed Lock Roller and Stud
You can see the surfaces with dissolved paint after the gasoline cleanup. One of the mechanics I spoke to suggested a vegetable based spray which leaves a film of wax that will prevent rusting. I’m looking to get a can of that to try out. If you have better suggestions, feel free to contribute a comment.
I did a bunch of looking at the paint options before committing to the Tremclad paint, but it is obvious to me now: I did not do enough! The paint is trouble, I can’t believe people have used it to paint cars? Last weekend I was starting to work on the front of the press. I had stripped off the main gear cover and the throw-off lever and linkage, and painted those black. Now I changed to the dark blue again for the frame, and just above the main shaft in front.
There was some old greasy dirt there and I dipped a rag in gasoline to clean the crevices and general area. Vigorously rubbing and pulling the rag through some tight spots, gasoline dripped down over some of the previously painted area. I could not believe my eyes, the paint (more than a month old) wrinkled and bubbled and could be just wiped off! What a mess, now what? I am sure glad I did not paint the press for looks! Having to be that careful not to get any solvent on the frame, when cleaning up the press after every job, is just not going to happen.
I’m having to get used to the idea to remove the paint and start over…
Ready to pull off the trailer
Here is a picture I just found from the day after I got the press home. Good thing the neighbor had a strong tree there to anchor the come-along.
Filing the Gib Key
After quite some time now, and a wrong size key purchase, I went to work yesterday to fit the new gib-key. First was the requirement to shorten the key by 3/8″ as I did not want it sticking out too far from the pinion, when in position. The other thing that is worth while noting is that the pinion gear is held only by the force of the gib-key as it is hammered into place. So the taper of the key needs to be very slight.
Next came filing the bottom side down so that the leading height was just under 5/16″ so that the key would fit into the opening. Once I had the right entry height, I discovered the key needed to be filed a little thinner too, so that it would fit into the keyway. During that exercise I discovered that the keyway in the shaft was marked up quite a bit from someone bashing on the previously installed key. So there was some filing and cleaning up of the keyway grove on the shaft in order.
Completed Gib Key
I reduced the taper in the key thickness to less than 1/32″ of an inch so that there would be good holding power and more of a spread of the torsional forces along the width of the pinion/shaft keying.
Press Tied Up
Before removing the old key I tied up the press with my 5 lbs sledge between platen and bed, and marked the gear engagement so that I would not loose mechanical timing when the key was out.
Main & Pinion Gear Aligned
Here you can see how the pinion keyway was distorted by forces on the old key, which was only partially inserted (about 3/4″ into the keyway only).
And here it is driven in quite solid, in all it’s properly aligned glory:
New Gib Key Installed
I’m sure glad I went through this trouble, as the pinion would have come loose, likely at some inopportune time. As well, the gear teeth were just starting to mark up, with the pinion pushed too far over, and with the smaller meshing there was obviously higher load (and wear on the teeth) taking place.
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.
The last week has been like Christmas. I got packages from the seller of the press, with the feed table (with the cast 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…
Throw Off Linkage Shafts
Yes it has been unbearably cold! So I got done little with working on the cold cast iron. But there are some new pictures of what I have been concentrating on lately: Polishing shafts. Here are the throw off linkage shafts.
And here is the flywheel shaft after the sequenced emery cloth treatment.
Back Shaft and Connection Rod
And the back shaft with the side arm still to be done.
Rear of Press
And this is what the rear of the press looks like right now. On some of the parts I noticed the old ink remaining here and there seeping through the paint. So I will have to go for another coat.
Chandler & Price
And this has me considering changing the banner picture for my blog!
Oh and I was able to pull out the key holding in the pinion for the main gear that I talked about in the last posting. Seems every time I even think about leaving something and then get at it I discover more. This time it was that the key was not the right width, but was too high and had been filed to a taper – and then was driven in only one third of the way! Good thing I got it out, now I have a new proper size gib key on order.
Maingear and Pinion Misalignment
Is this a problem? I’m asking you to let me know, do you have an opinion – don’t hold back.
The main gear and the drive pinion are out of alignment by about 1/4 inch (on the left side). By the corrosion on the main shaft it looks like the pinion did at one time sit about 1/4 inch to the left, which would bring all of the gear-teeth surfaces into full contact. Is that something I should correct, what do you think? Looks to me like the pinion is shrunk onto the shaft as I don’t see any pin or screw holding it in place.