Problems with rollers…and taping rails

I have a Sigwalt 6x9 tabletop and I’m pretty sure that the rollers I have are not the proper ones for this press and that someone hacked them to “fit” this Sigwalt. The reason why I have this theory is that the trucks are not aligned correctly to the rails. There’s inconsistent rolling (sometimes they slide and not roll when going over chase area) and I’m getting uneven inking sometimes as well. Any advice? Do I need new trucks/rollers? Does anyone know of where to get Sigwalt rollers?

I am also having trouble with the tape on the rails. I am putting about 9 pieces of electrical tape to get the right height of the rollers from the plate. However, the electrical tape doesn’t stick very well (peels away by itself) and air bubbles get trapped at the bottom so it tends to bubble up at the bottom. Does anyone recommend another type of tape or perhaps another material to raise the rollers?

Thanks! I appreciate any advice!

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when using a Kelsey and needing to raise the rollers, I found that using electrical tape and wrapping the trucks worked better for me than taping the rails…. just make sure you end and start at exactly the same point so that there are no bumps on the trucks or you’ll get some uneven printing.
As for the sliding… I’m not sure on a sigwalt, but the Kelsey has nuts and springs on the back of the roller hooks. If those nuts are too loose, there’s not enough pressure holding the rollers to the rails and the trucks will slide instead of roll. If there’s too much tension the rollers tend to jump as they round the corners at the top of the rails. Ethier way is not ideal, so that may be something to look at on your press.

I find that masking tape works well.

Check the height of the rails — they should be type high. If not you need to raise them to type high to get the best inking, and tape is not a very good way to do it, as you’ve found. My Sigwalt’s rails were a little low and I epoxied two lengths (one to a side) of small aluminum angle that was about the right thickness and filed it down to (nearly) the correct height from the bed. I once had a set of rollers that required taping the trucks, but the set I’m using now are slightly over the diameter of the trucks, which is what you want — the rollers should just kiss the type. If your rollers are larger than the trucks you could have a set of nylon or delrin trucks made by a machine shop.

with my kelsey I also got 2 small pieces of aluminum angle (tapered at the ends) that get locked up in the chase to make the trucks ride type-high.
If you want now solid aluminum trucks made, let me know the dimension of your rollers and my husband can machine you a new set. I’ll have to check with him on the price of materials, but it shouldn’t be much….

Interesting… taping the trucks rather than the rails. That’s also good because I feel like my rollers aren’t created equal as well. I can give that a try.
My trucks are not bigger or really equal to the size of my rollers.
What do you mean by small aluminum angle? Like a strip of aluminum that is affixed on the rails?

As for the springs that hold the rollers, they are defintely tight — they’re actually hard to loosen to put the rollers on.

JamieK — I may take you up on that offer… I will get back to you. Could you send an approx. cost?

Check the aluminum extrusions bin at your larger local hardware store. What I got was 1/2x1/2 inch aluminum angle which was 1/16 inch thick metal. I think the length I used was around 7 inches on each side to cover the full height of the chase.

Do check the height from bed surface to rail before adding anything, though — you can put a metal straightedge (a good pica pole should suffice) across the two rails and check under it with a piece of type.


Does anyone have any theories on why sometimes the rollers are sliding and not rolling?

It is common on Kelseys that do not have the trucks keyed to the roller cores. Kelsey did sell roller bearers to solve the problem; they are type-high aluminum angles, already mentioned, but they do not cover the tracks, instead they lock up in the chase and cover the sides of the chase next to the tracks. You could also drill, tap, and put setscrews in the trucks. Trucks really should not be free-spinning on the core, or they may slip and cause slurred inking, especially where the rollers hit the edge of the form.

Thanks but I have a Sigwalt, not a Kelsey. I wonder if it’s the same problem though…

In your original post, you suspected they were not actually Sigwalt rollers. Whether Sigwalt or not, are your trucks able to rotate on the shaft, or are they fixed in place (either by lugs, pins, or keys)? If they are fixed, then something else is causing the rollers to bind and not rotate, and I’d check to see if the cores are turning properly in their saddles (or hooks, or whatever the press has).

Hello Happy Camper,

Using Kelsey rollers on a Sigwalt 6x9 is not terribly uncommon, and works quite well if you do it right. I’ve used such a set-up on several presses, and wrote a posting here about a year ago:

To make it work, you need to use the right sized Kelsey trucks and make sure that the roller length is modified correctly. If the roller is cut too short, you’ll need to add a few washers to insure that the trucks ride along the rails. It’s not rocket surgery or anything.

As with any press, the rails must be type-high or they should be built up. ( You can check this with a ruler and a large piece of type.) I use Gaffer’s Tape to build up the rails on small presses, and it works fine for me.

As far as the rollers skipping / skidding…. this should not be a problem IF you have Kelsey Rollers and trucks from NA Graphics. The one’s I’ve bought from them have little keyway nubs that prevent the rollers from spinning in the trucks. I’ve typically filed the nubs off of one end, but kept the other…. and it’s never been a problem.

If you look at the old posting, you’ll get a good idea of how I’ve used these rollers on that type of press numerous times. They’ve always worked well for me, so they should work fine for you too.

Wow, great to know! Thanks!

Roller Bearers will aid in better inking. The metal ones described above will probably work well and are not hard to make. I use a wooden style that are undercut to minimize the space required from the chase.


- Alan

metal roller bearers are the newer ones, only old printers use the wooden ones, right alan? Dick Goodwin