Broken Spring on C&M Columbian No.3

One of the springs on our Curtis & Mitchell Columbian No. 3 broke and I’m wondering what the best way to replace it is. It also seems tricky to extract it: there is a pin through the shaft that may be tapered…so I could try hammering it out, or coil the spring around it until the shaft is free (more time consuming probably). Any information or advice would be much appreciated.

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Hi Ali,
Could you post a photo? I can’t remember what the side arm springs look like on the C&M presses. You’ll probably need to remove that pin.

Daniel Morris
The Arm Letterpress
Brooklyn, NY

I don’t know about the No.3, but the pin is not tapered on the No.1.

I removed the pins on my No.1 last week by tapping them out with a smaller pin and a hammer and put them back in the same manner.

Generally, if your stateside machines are similar to U.K. ones and assuming roller return springs are under discussion, unless break is approx 2 equal parts unwinding will be difficult, i.e. less free shaft behind rather in front!! + the pin(s) will have to be removed anyway, eventually??
*PLURAL* because it would seem expedient to replace both sides with equal compression.!!
Also if compatible single springs, per side are not an option, here U.K. we source compatible diameter, (shaft size) in compound form, i.e. 2 or 3 per side, But with one stronger & one less strength, equal both sides, with appropriate washers between, always seems to navigate the apex of the rails better. ~~~~
Spring retainers normally only Split pins or similar, backed by washer, against the face of the tempered end(s) of the spring(s).??? + Nylon washer(s) behind the face of the roller carrier, lets the springs rotate slightly, friction free.??
~~~~ Principle *plagiarized* from “Thompson British Auto Platen”, a long time ago when Speed was of the essence. Good luck, Mick. ,

When it comes to replacement, it appears that McMaster Carr have a cut-to-length section. I think you could probably find something suitable there.

Be very careful when removing the spring or putting on a new one. I strongly advise eye protection.


Thanks, everyone, for all the info. I successfully removed the pin and the broken spring. I’ve attached images of the assembly here. You can see the spring broken at two points, near both ends.

I’ll look into McMaster Carr and potentially get two springs so the tension is equal on both arms.

Any other thoughts, send them my way.

Thanks again,

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Both spring diameters are critical due to the clearance required within the roller frame. When shopping for springs through McMaster Carr you will need wire diameter, outside spring diameter, and length. You will have to calculate what they offer by using the spring outside diameter minus 2X the wire diameter. If you need help give us a call or drop us a line.

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