Anyone know where to get expandable roller trucks?

hi, we are running a 12 x 18 c and p and have gone completely rococo with the tape on rails. we are considering delrin if we can’t find adjustable ones. leads? suggestions? thank you in advance for any thoughts!


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ps we already know na graphics has not carried them for some time. i have been curtly informed that what i am referring to are expansion roller trucks. mean guy reply prompted us to call na graphics, however, and they were very helpful, kind and informative. (you can be informative and kind). anyway we are going with the delrin.

How many do you need? Do you need the whole assembly or just the rubber tires?

hi, platenpress. we are looking for the whole assembly not just the replacement tires. Ideally we need six since we’re currently running it with three rollers. I’ve heard that they can be difficult to adjust (in addition to being a bit hard to find these days) - which is why we’ve been leaning towards the Delrin trucks. Several of our current steel trucks are quite worn.

NA Graphics owns the former Cowan Pressroom Products Company that manufactured the Morgan Expansion Roller Truck. The trucks were introduced in 1915 and the company sold to Hal Sterne about 1993 who then sold the business to me in 1996. With the introduction of photopolymer plates, and the move away from real composition rollers, which was the reason for the expandable truck in the first place, the need for expandable trucks has greatly diminished. I was getting numerous complaints from printers that they couldn’t get all the trucks to the same diameter for photopolymer and that the fixed diameter truck was better suited for the purpose. Old trucks, and the originals for C&Ps at least, were made from cast iron. Over the years, the metal trucks wear haphazardly and rarely are they concentric or the same diamter from truck to truck.

We introduced the Delrin truck as a very adaptable substitute back about 1998, and those trucks essentially replaced the Morgan trucks to the point that sales became few and far between. It is costly to maintain an inventory of all the parts—a casting order alone for the zinc bodies is well over $5000, they then have to be machined for the threads, and the rubber tires, from another source, cost more than the bodies. I had to make a decision that as the Morgans sold out, that I would discontinue them. I am considering having the 8x12 tires made again as I have several hundred body castings on hand for that size and the C&P 8x12 is often asked for.

Most C&Ps are set up for 3 rollers, some 4, and all the rollers should be used for consistent inking. As I often state, rollers are not for ever, and if printing is your way to make a living, then replace them once inking problems start. And replace all of them at the same time to get rollers that match. Expect to replace them every one to three years, if used frequently, a lot longer if you’re an occasional printer. On the Vandercook rollers we supply to paper mills, that use the presses 24 hours a day to test paper samples, noticeable wear starts within a year.

Unfortunately, the old platens that are being used today have had their best years quite some time ago. The bed rails are worn and uneven, plus a host of other problems. Photopolymer, and its lack of relief depth, requires a better press than most of the C&Ps, Pearls, Kelseys, Pilots, etc that are being used. The better presses are the C&P Craftsman, Kluge, Heidelberg, Miehle, or other recent vintage presses. I have seen beautiful work done on the older presses, and I swear by my 1915 C&P, but today’s inking problems on the older press are not served well by the expandable truck, in my opinion.


I’d say the biggest problem with expandable trucks is using them to compensate for worn tracks. The bigger you expand them, the more eccentric they get. Photopolymer does not tolerate any variation.
Today solid trucks are the way to go, and Delrin will reduce the wear to your tracks. Used metal trucks may already be worn unevenly. Another material is phenolic resin, harder to machine, but that’s what Kluges (and my Victoria) used for truck tires, on a steel core.

Thank you very much, Fritz and parallel_imp for all the interesting, detailed information. You’ve given us a much better sense now of what we are dealing with here-it really helps to understand the limitations we are working with and have some options to look at. Alas, we dove in and got some expandable trucks before hearing your info (live and learn), but we will be ordering the Delrin right away. We are not using photopolymer, but we are printing Resingrave blocks along with type and have had challenges getting those to print the way we want—-your information is very helpful in that regard, too. We very much appreciate you sharing your time and expertise. Jinny