Heidelberg Windmill Guide Bar- not moving

So far, I’ve only printed with the grippers on my Windmill (10x15). It’s not printing square, and I’m starting to think that I should be using guides. Now, as far as I know, no one has used guides on this press in decades, so I wasn’t surprised when the knurled knob used to engage the guides was a little stiff. But now, even though the guide bar is raising to the platen, it’s not moving right and left. I have been tapping the bar (with a hammer) that runs through the platen and oiling it for the past couple of days, but it doesn’t seem to be loosening up. I can knock it back and forth, but it requires a few good hard taps. As I understand it, the cam on the delivery side rolls up the “ramp” and makes it go to the right, while the compression spring on the other side makes it come back again. Is this correct? If not, what makes it go back and forth?

Someone suggested that the rod that goes through the platen could be bent and though that a good hard whack might loosen it up. I tried it, though maybe not hard enough, but no luck…

Any ideas?

Matt Hinton
Atlanta, GA

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I’ve had the identical problem with one of the windmill’s I have. After much research here is what I’ve discovered.

You should hope it’s just gunked up from non-use. Try using a product called PB Blaster (find it at an auto parts store). It’s a heavy duty degreaser and degunker. Soak the area and move the rod back and forth. Hopefully, it will loosen up.

Mine did not. So I assumed something was probably bent. Probably the rod you mentioned or the frisket bracket assembly that curls under the left lower side of the platen and attaches at the back with two bolts. If that part is bent or cracked, that could be what’s causing your rod to bind and not give you the full range of motion.

If something is bent, you will need a to find a good technician to work on the press and replace the parts. And parts ain’t cheap. Or the labor involved for that matter.

Several technicians have told me that they’ve seen this problem before and that more than likely something fell out of the chase while the press was in motion (like furniture or a numbering machine) and bent/broke the frisket bracket. Or if when the windmill was moved, if it was secured with a strap that was on top of the bracket when it was tightened down, that could have bent it.

Let me know how things go with this.

Vertallee Letterpress

Interesting. It just so happens that I did discover that the brack that holds the frisket bar IS broken. But I didn’t see how that would keep this bar from moving. What did you do? I would rather use the guides than friskets, so perhaps it would be best to remove the frisket bracket altogether? (I know, probably easier said than done…)


The register spindle is secured on the left side of the swinging platen by two hex bolts. The two bolts have a bit of play in them. If you loosen the hex bolts, and move the shaft with the knurled knob while tightening the bolts again, you can work the spindle free in both directions horizontal and vertical.

Unless you previously hit it with a hammer. Brothers and sisters, save the mighty hammer for carpentry. Or for delicate adjustments on the Miehle horizontal.


I wanna make sure I’m clear- Are the 2 hex bolts you’re talking about the same ones that Brad said is part of the frisket bracket assembly? And are you referring to the rod that goes through the platen the “register spindle”?

Does your recommendation apply even though the assembly in question is broken? The rectangular piece that is attached to the platen is fractured directly adjacent to the (ie beneath) the two bolts. I loosened this before I was tapping it with a hammer, and it didn’t come lose at all. (BTW, in general, I *do* view hammers as a last resort. But I don’t think I was tapping it hard enough to bend or break anything- and I always did it with wood between the end of the rod and the hammer, for what it’s worth… )

Thanks for your advice,

I believe Jim is talking about the same part. It’s attached by two hex bolts on the left lower side of the back of the platen. And I believe the register spindle he refers to is the rod you and I spoke of. (I’m sure “rod” isn’t the technical name!)

Whether or not you use friskets, you need that part in working order because it curls under and and holds the rod in place on the left side, allowing it to slide back and forth (in addition to allowing friskets to be attached in front of the platen). Now that we know it’s broken, I’m sure it’s binding the rod and not allowing it to slide freely. As Jim mentioned, I would loosen the two bolts and see if that gives enough play for the rod to freely move left to right on it’s own. (Although that didn’t work on my press).

Sounds to me like that is what’s causing your problem. I recently bought a new frisket bracket assembly from Heidelberg for $560. Ouch!! You could try to find it used from someplace that has parted-out some presses, but then you run the risk of getting another bent part.

Good luck. And keep me informed as to how this goes.

Vertallee Letterpress

Hi! would you gentlemen be kind enough to post a photo or two?


I’ve barely even heard of $560! Brad, have you installed your new part? If so, does it work according to design?

Below are 2 pics: One with the bolts in place. One without. (loosening the bolts has not helped the rod move, by the way…)

Thanks. If anyone has any additional insights (or a frisket bracket to sell) I’m all ears!


image: Windmill Frisket Bracket 2.jpg

Windmill Frisket Bracket 2.jpg

image: Windmill Frisket Bracket 1.jpg

Windmill Frisket Bracket 1.jpg

Thanks for the photos!

Looks like the Bearing Bracket (part# T2001) failed at its weakest point - with a crack through the bolt holes and the lower taper pin hole. But I’d think about what caused the fracture to begin with - this certainly wasn’t done by tapping it with a hammer! Any collision strong enough to break that bracket may have also damaged (i.e. bent) the register spindle, er, rod.

The 10 by 15 parts manual (PDF) can be found at
The Bearing Bracket is in section U

Since it is listed as a separate part, you might be able to purchase just the Bearing Bracket for your press. From what I can find on the web, the bracket could cost between $300-400 USD. OUCH!

Can you find anyone in your area who can weld cast metal? That may be your least expensive option.


Thanks. No wonder I couldn’t find it in Group B of the parts book. It was driving me crazy, cause it just seemed like they left a pretty important part out of the book!

I suppose re-welding that fracture may be the best (ie cheapest) option at the moment…

Thanks again,


I did get the new bearing bracket installed and the guide system now works! My rod was also bent a little but the technician was able to adjust a few things to make it work.

A re-weld of your bracket is definitely the cheapest route. It’s worth a shot, but getting the angle perfect on a re-weld is going to be pretty tough. This guide area in particular is so precise that any little part being the slightest bit bent or crooked is enough to render the whole guide system useless.

Oh, I almost forgot…on my press, it was a nightmare just getting the bent bracket off because of all the little tapered pins holding everything in place along the rod. My pins did NOT want to move. They had to get drilled out, and new pins were used to reinstall everything. My tech was there for 9 hours working on the press. I thought we were going to have to give up about ten different times. It was an emotional roller coaster.

Best wishes and keep me posted!

Vertallee Letterpress

Just in the interest of closing this thread out, we tried welding it, to no avail. Eventually, we just got the new bearing bracket and installed it. Works properly now.

Thanks for your help.