Linotype Trouble

I am having trouble with the slug sticking in the mold on my Linotype. I removed the mold and cleaned it, but that did not help. Anyone have any ideas as what I should try next. Thanks to all who help. Wayne

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maybe your knife block, try opening the knife and see if the slug comes out, it could also be the pot needs cleaning???

I tryed opening the the knife block, but this did not help. Will try cleaning the pot.

you can try a spray of silicone in the mold, its been a while but i remember a mold polish that we would clean the molds with. You could try a different mold, then you would know its the mold or not.

If the side knife is at the correct width, your mold is dry.

Like dickg said the mold needs a good polishing.

I would remove the mold cap and clean the flat side of the mold and cleaning the top wouldn’t hurt.

Never used spray of silicone, I always used a mold polish that cleaned and removed the trash at the same time.

Are you getting a good slug?

The pot could be to hot and the slug is not solid and the blade can’t push it out.

Try cleaning with Mold Polish, and using Daily Mold Lubricant. Both contain graphite, were made by Dixon as well as other manufacturers.

Do the other molds cast without issue?

If the slug is sticking, the machine should stall on ejection, I’d think. If that’s the case, I’d make sure my knives and ejector is set correctly (DAMHIKT). I’d then check that the slug has a good solid base on it, to discount the pot being too hot or too cold.

I’d make sure the ejector lever link in is place, on the off chance I disconnected it to run the machine around from a previous stall. Beyond that, it’s hard to say without being there or seeing a video. Hope you can get it figured out, a stuck machine can be mighty frustrating.

Thanks to all for your help. My problem was in the ejector blades. We are once again up and running. We only use this machine at a local steam show for public display.
See our website at

to chandlerprice et al:

There are so many things which make slugs stick.

As always, more info needed.

Please excuse my using Australian English.

dickg presumes more than one mould is available, using another (completely different) mould would resolve/eliminate one cause; what is the mould which sticks, is it a solid slug, or skeleton (recessed); is it short measure <12 picas, long measure (up to 30 picas)? Are there mould-liners available to allow other measure slugs in the same mould?

When operating a 2-magazine machine, I was distracted, forgot to reset the knife, machine successfully ejected 7 point slugs through 6 point knife, but those few slugs then went back into the pot.

I presume the problem mould has been used satisfactorily previously; we found one on which the ribs had been tapered in the wrong direction, but that is unlikely.

Now to basics: metal OK? If zinc contamination, we were warned that would make slugs stick badly, never encountered it. Possible contamination by other varieties of printing metal? Is the metal of Linotype proportions of its constituents? Is the pot and the face at right temperature? We used to check pot temp by folding a piece of newsprint and dipping it into the pot, if it was too-pale-a-yellow, pot too cool; light-brown about correct; dark-brown or smoke too hot; burst-into-flames much too hot; but too-hot would cause ejector blade to sink into slug, not slug stick in mould. Too-cool usually shows up as frosty slugs, poor face to the type-face. Electric pot, or other? I do not remember how to check face temperature, depended on engineer. [He found his thermometer was out of calibration so much that it was useless.] We were told a small change of temperature was necessary for larger slugs, but I forget whether to raise or lower temperature, probably lower for large slugs; go by results. Is the printing-face of the slug OK? After casting, at the right (safe) part of the cycle of operations of the machine, look at the holes in the face of the pot (which was at the base of the slug when it was cast); are the holes clear? The swinging of the pot moving backwards and forwards has important effects on the casting of the slug, the liquid metal flows (both directions) as well as being pumped or so I believe).

Is the clutch of the machine set correctly? The flywheel-effect of various moving parts gives the necessary force to “bump” out the slug, excessive grip at the clutch could be damaging (that’s why it has a very small area of clutch actually working, it’s designed to slip if there is an overload — for safety). I read with interest the story of the care and maintenance of Linotype machines on Internet (Google?) which enlightened me to some things which were missed from my training when an apprentice operator.

When the machine is moving the ejector mechanism, just before the blade contacts the slug, a gentle push on the handle (accessible above the machine’s main cams by someone who knows what they are doing) might give a person with the right amount of experience a rule-of-thumb indicator of whether the clutch is set too “soft”. Pranksters used to give this handle a sharp push at the right moment, make the slug jump out of the machine, to startle the operator.

Is all the mechanism correctly lubricated with the correct kind of lubricant and the correct amount (and clean)? Are the knives which trim the slug at ejection sharp?

When I was operating the machine used to set text (small size of type) at a weekly newspaper, the (very old) Intertype was equipped with two moulds, a short measure for single-column, a long measure for multi-column; each week I cleaned and polished the long-measure mould which may have had minute pits in the working surfaces; if I did not do this weekly chore, during the next week I would be delayed by a stuck slug at a busy time, to be forced to do the clean-and-polish. Clean and polish the flat surfaces, and try to find a way to clean the recesses which form the ribs. Are there any burrs on the mould-liners?

Better-trained people may disagree with me, that’s OK with me, the above comments may serve as starting-points for discussion and enlightenment. [Disagreement with my ideas may enlighten me!] chandlerprice probably has tried all these things, but if so, someone more experienced will then not need to go through what I have described, they will be able to go to more obscure problems which they have understood.

This is not first-hand (I did not see the machine): A friend told me that at another town in this country, the electrician was not aware that the Linotype is usually manfactured with two completely separate sets of electric elements in an electric pot (there’s an obvious reason) and therefore wired all the elements in series and they wondered for some time why the heating power of the electric elements seemed to be less than was appropriate. I do not know what the normal practice is in USA. Had chandlerprice’s machine been working normally, previously, or is the stuck slug problem of long-standing, or recent, occurrence?


P.S.: I may think of more ideas (while I am asleep tonight). — A.

P.P.S.: Reading briar press has drawn to my attention some of the words which have different useage (usage?) in USA to how we use them in Ozztrayleyer. — A.

more to chandlerprice:

Does the machine have the normal one-third-horsepower motor mounted over the clutch, driving via a small pinion gear to a large gear-wheel which is on the outside of the clutch wheel?

[There are other ways of driving a Linotype, but rthe above is the recommended method.]

Is the pump-stop (safety) reliable? If so, remove the pump-plunger pin, turn off the motor power, remove the belt from the outside of the clutch wheel to the small pulley on a long shaft behind the rods-going-up-to-the-magazine-from-the-keyboard, push in the stopping handle just below and to the right of the mould-wheel (somewhat below the first elevator). Then rotate the machine backwards by hand (by means of the 2 clutch rods) till the ejector follower can be activated by the cams; then wind the machine forwards, check if there is any binding; without a slug in the mould, of course! Does anyone else with more experience than me endorse this paragaph?

Change of pace: Does the slug eject normally sometimes? Or can you get a slug in good condition out of the machine by any means? [The slug needs to be trimmed at the foot and also for thickness (ribs)]. If you can get a good (trimmed) slug, I have visualised a test which could be used, but I have never used it or seen it done, so will not describe. We do not want you to break anything on the machine (or yourself).

Otherwise, hopefully, someone will be willing to travel to your location to give on-the-spot advice?


P.S.: When travelling in western Queensland, we saw the oil pressure gauge of our station-wagon showing zero, the plastic tube to the gauge had fractured. Fortunately we had replacement oil, tools and expertise. While we were stopped, all passers-by (4 of them) stopped to offer assistance, even though we were only 60 miles, in either direction, from the nearest town. People inland are more helpful than those nearer the coast; nearly all Australians live in a narrow coastal strip. From responses on briar press, it seems letterpressers in USA are willing to help fellow-enthusiasts. — A.

Hello, I may have some mold polish, I will check and see, You also might need to use some vitaflux or something similar to remove dross etc and clean lead you can get that on ebay sometimes.