Cylinder Bearings *Still need help*

Hello proof press gurus. I need to adjust my bearings on my challenge 15-mp and all diagrams suggest that it’s the same method as the sp-15.
Gerald: in your article on adjusting the bearings on vanderblog, you said they should spin with finger pressure and slight drag on the rail.
Obviously this is the bearings on the bottom of the rail, but should they also be able to spin while in print or just in trip?
Thanks much.

And while I have you… I’ve seen some of the illustrations of the sp-15 show a spring on the rear form roller that looks like it pulls it down towards the gear track. Does this just help it find the groove while coming off the ink drum? My press doesn’t have this spring but I can see its value.

Log in to reply   7 replies so far

I dont do work on these machines Daniel but there are many here who do ,i can go look at one, but you are better off with gerald and the vandercook engineers here .
Whilst i have a varied experience in print i was rarely in the comps department as i am a lefty !I have used ludlows ,and various stuff in comps it is not my area where i had to learn although i have some knowledge of the tooling from comps it is from the press end of the process i am involved .Sorry ,but the replies will help fill out the gaps for me as well as yourself !


I haven’t looked at the article for a while. But I printed today and just checked the spin thing. On the operator’s side of my SP15 there is a slight spin on both trip and print but not on the far side. Press has been working great so I am going to leave well enough alone.

The later model SP15s had the spring. I thought at one point it might be a good idea to put them on the forward rollers as well. I think it pointless. Also, that rear spring might contribute to rear roller height pulling heavy, bit of a problem today. Maybe I should remove mine; to see if that helps.

I tried for years to find a sure way to keep those rollers locked down. Tried everything. There ain’t no thing that will work. Lots of Vandercook voodoo. Sometimes this works, sometimes not.



Just a further note. You might want to post something similar on Vanderblog. Lots of folks there ready to help.


“press has been working great……”
That is a good attitude , If it aint broke dont try fixing it !
The biggest challenge with these presses (Proofers) has to be getting consistent results they were after all designed to take a rough pull of a job that had to be readable and not much else !


Yes. These were designed to produce proofs from a single sheet of proof paper. They were not designed for multiple prints or thick sheets.

Nevertheless, they are far capable of more than the just “readable.”

Unfortunately, their popularity has probably doomed most of them to junk status. Lack of maintenance, using them for printing beyond their actual capacity, etc.

I can proudly say when I eventually sell off my Vandercooks, that they have not only been well maintained, printed remarkably well (they make me look good!), but also that they have never suffered the indignation of the bearing and rail stress of “deep impression.”


I probably worded that a bit too coarsely , used to print long runs was not called for ,i do know there were huge posters utilising wood type printed on them ,often all done on proofers but in my early days it was already recognised as painfully inadequate , certainly they produce nice work it was just such hard work to get there .
I am pleased to note the printer in your comment , “the presses have not suffered the indignity of being stressed to hell and back ” .
I guess i should really have thought about how i was going to be read when i wrote that comment seeing as you have produced half a library on them !

I can’t believe I’m back posting in this thread but I’ve never got my press running as smoothly as it once was.

Let’s start from the top bearing. Only one on the top is adjustable and obviously the cylinder should be rolling along the rails and the adjustable bearing. What is the correct position of the rear bearing? Should it be rolling or above the rail?