leveling the platen

I was working on trying to adjust my platen which I have tried before. I usually give up and use makeready to make things work out after fiddling around for a while. This time I read instructions carefully and saw that I should loosen the center bolt first which in the case of my Sigwalt Ideal 6” x 9” is actually two larger bolts on either side. I noticed that one of the four smaller corner bolts/nut pairs behaved differently than the others. Three of them can be locked in place by the nut tightening against the platen so I can set the bolt at different heights but one of the bolts seems to operate independently from the nut—no matter where I place the nut the bolt just goes all the way flush to the platen. Are there some better ways to control these bolts? I ended up putting a washer between the bolt head and the platen to stop the bolt and allow that corner to have less pressure. Do I need some sort of locking nut?

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sounds kinda like the threads might be stripped out.

Hunh, I don’t know if you mean the nut is stripped or the hole through the platen or the bolt. It now occurs to me maybe I am only supposed to tighten/place the nut up against the platen and leave off tightening the bolt. If I do, it will only go right on through till it’s up against the platen. Is that right? But why do the other bolts stay where I put them? There should be a hardware #101 for people who didn’t get to take shop in high school. When my dad was still alive he was a great resource. I learned about set screws and pivot points. Another reason to miss him.

I did more testing. I took out the four impression bolts (not the two pivoting larger ones) and examined them and all seem the same. The nuts are very ordinary—not what I could identify as locking nuts. I tried different bolts in different holes and I think I determined that the two holes on the left side are more likely to hold a position but not with every one of the four of the bolts. One bolt holds it’s position in 3 of the holes! So, my conclusion is I need to start by getting brand new bolts to hopefully compensate somewhat for the worn threads inside the plate they go through. My husband wondered if I put a nut on either side of the platen threaded on the bolt and locked them against each other would that possibly hold the bolt in position? Can I just find some kind of locking bolt to use and would it go outside the platen or between the two plates? A low tech solution I thought of was to get a bunch of slim washers and use varying numbers. My husband says that means I won’t get fine adjustments. Still, it would be better than none!! Maybe I could make washers out of very thin metal? I just don’t see how this would ever have worked. Does anyone have a Sigwalt who can tell me what kind of hardware is in their platen?

Update: I took the bolts to the hardware store and they recommended nylon lined lock nuts but when I tried them they seemed inordinately hard to turn. Then we tried just plain old nuts but larger than the old ones with longer bolts. This seems to work just fine. I won’t worry about the why of it!