roller falling off c&p 10x15

i’ve finally got my press all hooked up, treadle made, ink, plates and paper purchased, and started printing today for the first time! :) i am using newly recovered rollers from Ramco, and i am having trouble with them staying in the holders (saddles?). especially the middle roller. when it passes back up over teh chase (running from bottom to top) the left side slips out of the saddle, and floats there. it is pushed back in after it is halfway across the ink disk, but it’s not rotating up to that point so it’s not inking evenly.

i took this press apart to move it, and i don’t remember any screw, clips or pins in teh saddles that hold the rollers in- i thought it was just the tension of that part that did it. i see there are small threaded holes in the saddles, is there supposed to be a set screw in there? but those pins rotate, so how would that work then?

when i first set it up last night for a dry run, the top 2 rollers (the ones in the double saddle) would actually fall out on the left side completely and off the machine. i noticed there is some lateral movement of the saddles, so i pulled pushed them in slightly to have a better hold on the ends of the rollers, and that seemed to work. i have made about 100 impressions without much problem, but now that middle roller is coming out every pass.

also, the outsides of the trucks (original ones, but also re-treaded so to speak) have a threaded end, like they are supposed to screw into something, but my saddles aren’t threaded, so… i’m not sure what’s going on. :) i’m combing the archives here for help, but wanted to post in the meantime in case someone could help me directly! thanks so much,

martha :)

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ok, after scouring the internet, it seems like my saddles are too far apart. am i correct in thinking that there should be a significant amount of the roller core sticking out of both of the saddles? because on mine currently, they are flush or slightly inset from the outside of the saddles. does anyone have suggestions on how to bring these closer together, if it sounds like the culprit?

the trucks are keyed to the rollers, so they cannot go too close to the rubber, but they can go very far to the outsides. when the trucks are on the rails (and they aren’t lining up perfectly onteh rails either) there is anywhere from about 1/4” to 1/2”+ between trucks and saddle depending which end of which roller you’re looking at. from another thread, this seems to be too great of a margin, right? thank you for any help you can provide!

martha :)

your trucks with the threaded ends sound like you have morgan expandable trucks, there is rubber in the middle and you can adjust the nut on the end to expand the rubber in the middle to bring your rollers further away from your type. when your rollers are in the saddles there should be a pin that goes thru the saddles and this helps hold the rollers in. Its hard to tell if there is anything else going on without seeing some pictures.

I’d agree with dickg on this one.

It sounds like you have Morgan trucks, but are missing part of them. Does this look familiar?

Daniel Morris
The Arm Letterpress
Brooklyn, NY

yup, those are the trucks. looking at the diagram, it doesn’t seem like anything is missing tho. can you tell otherwise by this pic? i see they look like they could use a little more tightening to bring the metal sides closer to the rubber?

before the replies and after reading some of the other threads, i went out and checked the saddle springs and all that, and it all seemed fine. both saddles have the same pressure as far as i can tell. but i did notice that the nut on the leading top roller, on the right, had come unscrewed somehow, and the metal side that adjoins the rubber truck was very loose and there was about a 1/4” of slop. i guess i didn’t notice that because i was watching the other roller on the other side so closely. once i took the roller off, screwed that back on tight (now i know why it’s threaded there, i’m so ignorant of all this stuff at this point) and put it back everything was fine and has stayed that way since (about another 500 impressions or so). i wonder if the sloppiness was causing that roller to bind against the other one on that end, and cause the end of that second roller to pop out on the opposite end?

anyhow, all seems well for now. :) i see that most of those little holes are oil holes, and filled them all well. there are 2 holes on the bottom of the saddles tho, opposite each other, that aren’t in an area that would see any contact with the roller. is there supposed to be a little pin that ran under the whole length of the saddle, underneath the roller ends as another measure to hold them in? i drew a red line where this would be.

also, the center of the right double saddle has a large set pin (term.?) in it with a tiny homemade cotter pin of sorts on the press side. this is not tight at all, i can push the pin flush with the saddle, and there is about 3/16” space between the inside of the saddle and the cotter pin. if this cotter pin was closer to the saddle, it would seem to hold it tighter and help with this issue. in the pic, i pushed the pin all the way in, and you can see the margin between the little arm it goes thru and the cotter pin. when the press is going, the pin works it’s way out, and the saddle and the little arm are not held tight together. this part on the other side is shorter, with no cotter pin, so maybe this janky one was a make-do replacement?

thank you for your help!

martha :)

image: cotter pin.jpg

cotter pin.jpg

image: rollers.jpg


Yes, the nuts on all these trucks need to be tightened so that the rubber tires are bowed out slightly. When you mesure the roller settings, are the rollers too close to the form? It certainly looks like they are. These trucks are designed to be adjustable so that you need not tape the rails to get the proper roller height.

I think your suspicion is correct, that the trucks are binding against the saddles. Also if that cotter pin you point out would happen to hit the roller truck and drag against it, that could stall the roller and cause it to twst out of the saddle.

An inexpensive way to check yhis problem might be to buy a set of Delrin trucks from NAGraphics. These are not adjustable but they nave no moving parts and are simple to set up. This is when you use tape. I use old motor belting and poly plate double sided adhesive.
Honestly I just don’t know why platen manufacturers didn’t follow Heidelberg’s example and give us adjustable rails. Its just so easy on a Heidelberg or a Thompson or a Vicabold!
Dennis Wild

that hole you marked in the picture is for the pin to help hold the rollers in, the trucks should be tightened all the same, some say to take the rollers out after using the press so the trucks don’t get flat spots, its a good idea. Those pins in the saddle to hold in the rollers, i used my c&p for 20 years before i found out about them. another thing is to remove the chaseafter you are done printing and stop the press with the rollers half way up where the chase goes, this works on most platen presses to relieve the pressure on your roller springs, or you can simply remove the rollers after printing to take pressure off the springs. As you are finding out there sure is a lot to learn about this stuff. good luck Dick G.

I was taught to remove everything from the press after use , rollers and chase , the reason for the rollers as mentioned in last post and the chase because of the much overlooked spring that lurks forgotten in the chase clamp !!

thanks for the all the info, i’m so glad this forum is here. :) @jhenry, i do think that cotter pin had a role in it also, it was bent up and very close to the roller when i noticed it, i’ve turned it around now. i haven’t measured the roller settings, i’ll try to look up what they are supposed to be. in true cart-before-the-horse fashion, i came into possession of the press before purchasing any of the oft-recommended basic letterpress quides yet. the deal was too good to pass up tho.

i do take the chase out when finished, dickg taught me that in class. :) i was leaving the rollers on across the empty chase, but i’ll take them out from now on, easier to clean anyway. i still have the box and wood guides ramco sent them in, is it correct that they should be stored vertically and not horizontally?

i’ll tighten those trucks up, there is absolutely no pressure on the rubber right now. i did suspect they were expanding ones, that the metal would compress the rubber to raise it. but things seemed to be going reasonably well (after the rollers stopped falling off, ha) so i was hesitant to start messing with things.

@lasimp, i’ll check out those other trucks. tho i just had these revamped, so the Dutch in me will rebel at the thought of purchasing new ones. :)

i did have a re-occuring inking problem with the 2 smallest plates i used, a tiny leaf and tulip. too much ink was getting on the very edge of the plate and transferring marks in that area to the paper. i fixed it by gently tapping the edge of the plates down (bevelling the edge slightly), but maybe adjusting the trucks will help with that too. :) i know there are a lot of threads about that stuff, i’ll be looking at them next.

i have finished my first-ever letterpressed project tho, my business cards. tho they are far from perfect, i’m still excited over them. i have yet to decide if i will do the background pattern on the back, and obviously they need to be trimmed down yet. that green leaf was the worst part, you can see the impression is uneven and lighter at the bottom edge of the lead, like the plate was being pressed into at the wrong angle. so i’m looking that up after this too. my work has just begun! :)

image: leaves.jpg


image: cards1.jpg


one more question- the temp in the little garage press room is set at 50, raised to 56 or so when printing. i am keeping the ink indoors, should i take the rollers in with me too?

rollers are happier when they are warm also.

alright, in the house they go! after reading up some more, it seems obvious now that the rollers are much too close to the plate. in the boxes of stuff i have, i don’t believe i have a roller gauge, so i will have to pick one up.

if you adjust your trucks to the same height as your rollers you should be all right, i don’t think you will need a roller gauge , you can adjust each truck the same number of turns until they are the same diameter as your rollers. if you find your rollers hit your form too hard then simply adjust each truck the same until they hit the form the same. i’ve never had a roller gauge.

good to know! i’ll do so, thanks! :)

Happy New Year. From what little we can see of it, it looks like you’ve got yourself a nice press there.
The comments in the last post from Dickg are very accurate and helpful. Your trucks are clearly not set correctly and need to be tightened so that the rubber “tires” expand, thereby adjusting you roller height.
Although tightening the nuts will adjust the outside diameter of the trucks, thereby raising your rollers to a more suitable height vs. your type and cuts, it will however not change the trucks position left or right relative to the bearers. You will notice that there is a small bump (key) on the roller axle that fits into the slot on the inside of the truck. This functions to drive the rollers as the trucks turn.
You can make an adjustment to how far inward (toward the roller) you can move the trucks by filing down that little nub on the axel, on the truck side. If you do this take only a small amount, 1/8” or less. This will afford some clearance between the saddle and the truck and help alleviate that truck riding up the saddle and causing the roller to pop out.
By the way, the cards look great.
Good luck,
Steve Varvaro

thank you steve! i did read a couple posts about shaving those nubs down, but i was loathe to just start irreparably changing things without more knowledge. :) i’m going to print the backside of the cards tonight after adjusting the trucks, and i’ll look at the nubs then too!