Is my press turning correctly?

I have an 8x12 Chandler & Price OS. I am in the process of getting the press into working order. Here is my dilemma:

I was told the press should open and close 3-4 times with a good turn of the flywheel by hand. When I turn the flywheel by hand, the press moves easily, but only during certain points in the open/close cycle. As best I can tell, the press slows down and stops at the point(s) where the platen begins to move, i.e. right about when the gripper cam/gripper bar roller engages.

I have oiled and oiled, but the resistance at these points has not changed. There are no grinding sounds or even a hint of metal hitting metal/iron whatsoever. If I put some muscle into it, I can get the flywheel to keep turning, but there is the resistance in the above-mentioned places. At any rate, the press certainly does not open/close 3-4 times.

My press has a straight shaft and is motorized, although the motor is not hooked up to the press right now. The production date is circa 1910 based on the number stamped into the bed. Everything else on the press seems to be in pretty good shape. The press was doing this when I picked it up so I assumed it was a rust/gunk/dried ink issue. However, after a good cleaning and oiling, this resistance is still present.

My oiling included the cam roller and stud, main gear, gripper cam and roller, and all of the oil holes but still no improvement. I started with 3 in 1, but it has not improved. I tried Liquid Wrench and still no improvement. I am afraid to keep turning it since there is this resistance.

So, is this normal or is there a definite problem. If there is a problem, does anyone have suggestions as to what may be the problem? Should I apply the heavier weight oil and see if it gets better?

I can upload pictures, but I am not sure what would be most useful. If you need to see pictures, please let me know of what part and I can upload some.

I would greatly appreciate any suggestions you may have.

Thank you.


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This is one that might require a house call from a friendly local press wizard. It could be from any number of things, and may be normal. A big strong guy might give the flywheel spoke a big pull and get 3-4 cycles. A less strong person might not. There is a natural resistance when the ink roller saddles are at the top of the rails and the springs at maximum extension. Check to see if that is where your resistance is. If so, it is probably OK. It could even have the wrong springs if one or more was replaced. Take the rollers off and cycle the press. Without rollers, the springs are not extended so there should be no additional resistance at that point. Your comment about keeping the press turning by putting some muscle into it bothers me a bit. It really shouldn’t take much muscle to keep it turning once the mass of iron is started.

You’ve got rollers on t he press? If so, I doubt an 8x12 OS would turn over 3 or 4 times. I have one the same vintage, though with a treadle and the crank shaft. I wouldn’t be able to get that many cycles from it.

Inky is right. Time for an experienced hand to take a look. Where are you located?

Arie and Inky,

The rollers are not on the press. I cleaned and replaced the springs. The turning improved, but still slows as described above.

If either of you could recommend an expert/experienced hand in the mid-Missouri area (Columbia-St. Louis-Kansas City), that would be great.

Thank you again for your help.


Does anyone know of a local press wizard near Columbia, MO? Are you a press wizard willing to travel? If so, please contact me. Thank you.


Dave and Beth Seat travel the country fixing old presses and typesetting equipment, his contact info is in the yellow pages on this site. Good Luck Dick G.

Update: I finally had the motor re-wired and hooked up to the press (btw: excellent motor man in Jefferson City, MO that re-wired, replaced brushes Kimble VS motor…thanks Francis and Mike).

The press turns with the same resistance when the platen begins to turn in or out. After about 10 minutes, the motor suddenly stopped because of some serious resistance.

First, I re-oiled every hole and metal on metal point on the press and worked it in. The wheel was becoming harder and harder to turn. Finally, it practically locked up – it turns just fine up until the platen engages and then the resistance.

After some serious triage, we discovered the resistance was indeed some metal contacting in the general area of the main gear and cam. You could hear a faint scraping sound and basically feel it seizing up in this area.

Based on listening and watching the main gear and cam, the gap between the cam and the main gear is not constant. At times, the gap is large and then it completely disappears. There is evidence that the cam itself is either worn, out of alignment, or otherwise moving. There is also evidence of some metal shavings in the main gear, again indicating there is some serious grinding occurring between the cam and main gear. The main gear itself appears undamaged in the area you can see clearly.

We took the side arm off and discovered some additional problems/evidence of wear. The inside holes of the side arm in the front and the roller arm stud for the side arm have grooved indicating some alignment problem I guess because there is nothing in there like crud or gunk that would cause grooving. The back hole of the side arm has just one place where there is slight grooving.

Does anyone have any suggestions on what to do next? I want to take the main gear off and see if the cam is indeed the issue and check for damage- if someone could tell me how that would be helpful. Could the cam be wore out/broke and causing all of this? Or, if this is a lost cause…any help or wisdom would be appreciated.

If additional pics would help please advise. Thanks.

image: frontsidearm.jpg


image: rollerarnstud.jpg


The main, or bull, gear is difficult to remove from the press. I’ve never managed it. It is press fit onto the shaft, so you’ll probably need a large gear puller and heat to accomplish it.

It is not necessary to remove the bull gear to check the cam follower and stud that run inside the race in the gear. There’s a hole in the bull gear that lines up with the follower cam stud when it’s in the right position. Remove the nut on the follower cam stud and then you should be able to tap the stud out through the hole. Don’t damage the threads of the stud! Once the stud is out, the cam will likely fall to the bottom of the race and onto the floor unless you’re prepared to catch it. Just in case, put something soft on the floor underneath to protect it.

The follower cam should be completely smooth and round with no flat spots or grooves. The stud should *just* fit into the hole in the cam tightly. A little oil makes it easier to insert. If there is any detectable looseness, that’s bad. The cam and stud are in a hard place to oil correctly and it is often overlooked.

The race inside the gear should likewise be smooth and clean. It’s hard to see but you should be able to feel any problems. BE CAREFUL if you put your fingers in there. Only allow the flywheel to move when your fingers are out.

Assuming the stud and cam are fine putting them back is just the reverse of taking them out. Except of course you need to juggle the stud, the cam and the flywheel/bull gear position all at the same time while trying get the stud into the cam and then the hole in the arm of the platen. It can be very frustrating but it will go in eventually. It helps to have a second person helping; usually jiggling the flywheel back and forth in very tiny movements.

If there is significant damage to the cam and stud, they’ll need to be replaced. If the race is likewise damaged, that to will need to be replaced or repaired. Then the bull gear will need to be removed. You’ll probably have to find a donor press.

The sidearm and it’s damaged stud will need to be repaired. I’d ask a machine shop if and how it could be done. Maybe the damage is minimal enough that a filing and smoothing will work. Maybe a bushing would help?

Good luck.

if a new stud cannot be found, it could be welded up and reground to size. a bushing could installed in the arm. please send me more pics though as less aggressive solutions may be possible. it does look bad though.

Thanks Arie and Eric for the help. I will update when the cam and stud are removed. I think the previous owner may have run the press clockwise off the flywheel, which may have added to faster wear on the cam and stud.

As for the race inside the main gear, it is completely smooth inside and outside - no grooving. The grooving in the front hole of the side arm is all the way around and is the same on the roller arm stud that it connects to. The back stud has one small spot/strip of grooving about an inch in length right at the top of the stud, but the hole inside the side arm is still completely smooth.

Eric, I am posting additional photos of the grooving. Thanks.

image: rollerarmstud2.jpg


image: rollerarmstud1.jpg


image: backsidearm1.jpg


image: frontsidearmhole2.jpg


image: frontsidearmhole1.jpg


the one “stud end” on the “backshaft” in the bed will be fine. the sidearm end you show could prob be remade for the price of fixing it with a bushing. the pin in the “bull gear” is another prob… a better one available? if not i can get this welded and reground…you don’t take the “bull/main” gear off unless needed. the “head cam” on the other side is much easier to remove. then the whole gear and main shaft comes out. this is quite a bit of work,,, but,,, with a competent mechanic and decent machine shop (did i forget wallet?) it can be done…
i am in milwaukee,,, but,,, not against a bike trip to MO

If the pressis meeting resistance on opening,I would go to the cam follower that moves the platen gate at the front of the press.
The gate is the piece on the front of the press that moves in when the platen rocks up.The cam follower is on the left, and if worn inside or out will not move the gate out of the way as the press starts to open.
I go through at least one a year on one of the presses.
We make them on a lathe using 1” PVC.

I even have to replace them on the 14 x 22 Kluges.

You will know that is the problem if you hear a loud “click” or “snap” when the press is trying to open.
Good Luck

Thanks Doug. I don’t think this is the issue, but then again I am not sure what it is either.


We FINALLY removed the cam and stud. I have attached pictures below.

In brief, there is some grooving on the cam (see cam picture 1 below). This is the side that faces the right side of the press as you stand in front by the feed boards. The other side appears to be ok.

Next, the stud slides into the cam pretty easily. I know that it is supposed to be a really snug fit. If I hold it over the top of the cam and let it go, it will slide into the cam hole, even without oil, with no further manual manipulation - just gravity. It is only a very, very slight bit of movement when it is in place. So, I am not sure if this is too loose and needs to be replaced.

In addition, the cam stud and the hole in the cam where the stud fits shows signs of uneven wear. There are places that are very clean and shiny and others where it is noticeably less so. There are several pictures below of this.

At this point, I am going to take the press to a place to have it triaged by an expert. I don’t want to give up on it, so I have put on my patient cap and decided to have it completely examined.

Any thoughts though on this issue would be welcomed. I am not sure if this is caused by some other issue or if the cam and stud are the issue.

Here are the pictures…

image: camstud_4.jpg


image: camstud_2.jpg


image: cam_pic_1.jpg


After speaking with Alan Runfeldt, he suggested taking the platen off and then removing the rocker boxes to check the gear at each end.

With the help of my father-in-law/ex-machinist/ex-press parts builder, we were able to remove everything. There was a little bit of gumminess and a place on the left end that needed to be filed down. After doing this, we put the cam and stud back in the main gear. Then, he filed the front roller arm stud so that the arm hole fit easily over the stud end and to minimize the effect of the grooving. The roller arm stud had, overtime, changed shape, slight enough to cause a fit issue with the side arm. He is sure this was the main cause of the press slowing down because of the ill-fit with the roller arm stud.

We turned the press by hand until we were all convinced it was turning better than it ever had. We hooked up the motor and it runs beautifully…for now. I ran it for about fifteen minutes with no problems. I stopped it and re-oiled all of the holes and ran it again for about twenty minutes. And, so far so good.

So, a very special thanks to Alan. You are so generous of your knowledge and time, I don’t know how I am going to thank you. And to my father-in-law…how is it that I just found out TODAY that you used to build presses for newspapers, also build motors, and machine parts for everything under the sun????!!!!!!

Good news! It’s always nice to hear that a problem has been overcome and a press put back into service. Keep it well oiled and it should run for many more years.