SP-15 Spring mounted motor housing

I’ve had my SP-15 for almost a year and am getting fairly comfortable with it — I don’t get to print everyday. When I first got the press I noticed that the motorized ink drum wasn’t inking evenly — in fact it was only inking on one side and not at all on the other. This was solved by tightening some screws that hold the motor mount to the press. Now I’ve noticed that when I am printing the entire motor mount moves up and down. I noticed this because the ink wash out area slides in slot on this housing and makes a knocking noise. Now I’m paranoid each time I roll down the bed of the press that I’m damaging the press. I’ve looked and looked and can see no damage. I did find some springs…which leads to believe that the motor is meant to move slightly. Does this sound weird or normal?

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Interesting about how you solved the ink drum problem. One of the great Vandercook mysteries, by the way.

Now that you mention it, I think the SP-15 motor plate does rock back and forth. Mine is about twenty feet away, but it might be a bit disturbing to the household this late in the day for me to go over there and screw around with it.

I’ve used this type of machine for about a third of a century. They are a nice press to get to know. I doubt you should be hearing a knocking noise, but maybe so. Presses do make noises as they do their thing, and I think we just get accustomed to them.

You are probably safe.



Thanks for the reassurance.

I have an additional idea as to what the noise could be…there’s a small piece of metal that is part of the ink drum assembly — it’s parallel to the cylinder rack and when I roll over it there’s impact and then the motor housing springs down and back up. I’ve attached a page of the Vandercook manual and highlighted the part I’m referring to. I can’t seem to find any way to adjust this part. Perhaps it doesn’t need adjusting and now that I’ve tightened those other screws this is way it should have been from the beginning?


image: SP-15_noise.jpg


Your SP-15 is working just as it was designed to do. The ink drum moves up and down (when that bumper contacts the cylinder) so that the tympan doesn’t get inked (or, I suppose, the ink contaminated) when the cylinder passes over it.

GREAT! Thanks so much. I was so worried. :)

To prevent worrying others, maybe I should mention this movement of the drum to avoid hitting the cylinder is only a feature of the SP series Vandercooks. For some reason they were designed to have the cylinder lowered to the “print” position at the feedboard, where others have the cylinder raised to “trip” at the feedboard.