Vandy 320

I’m in the thick of trying to get my Vandercook 320G up and running. This is different than other Vandercooks I’ve printed on for various reasons (it’s completely manual, the metal and rubber rollers are behind the cylinder, etc). I’ve encountered a couple of things so far that I’d love advice with if you have any expertise to offer:

-On other presses, it seems as though you can use a screwdriver to raise/lower the rubber rollers to the right height (right to raise, left to lower). Is this different on this press?
-Along with that, I can’t seem to get the rollers raised (at all/enough) so that they aren’t contacting the metal sheet behind them (under the feed board) each time I make a revolution. Any thoughts?
-This press doesn’t seem as though it’s been operable for many years. What’s the best way to be able to tell if the rubber rollers need to be replaced/recovered, or is it just inevitable that they will to be?
-I’ve only got a five or six sheets of tympan on the cylinder, but it doesn’t seem near enough to make contact with the polymer plate for a good impression. What’s the best kind of (non-brand name) paper to use for packing? What’s the max number of sheets you can use as hard/soft packing?

I know I’m asking a lot here. If you have any helpful advice, I’d be much obliged!


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Your press is a galley press, meaning its .968 not .918
you will need to get a cold-rolled piece of steel to make up the difference…..

hence you have to over pack the cylinder

The rollers should hit that plate under the feedboard, I believe it helps with distributing the ink added up off the back fountain.

This would be good for a post

If the rollers are overly hard or soft or not-round, time for new ones……a durometer will help, if I remember you should be around 25, 30 at the highest 20 lowest

Right, the whole 320 series are galley-height as far as I have seen. A .050” bedplate is needed; another factor is the cylinder undercut, which is probably .070”, deeper than most presses. Originally, when these presses were proofing news pages, many would have used a rubber blanket as top sheet. But using standard .006” tympan paper, you’d need about 11 sheets, plus, depending on stock thickness. The process is easier if you have a micrometer so you can measure packing material.
The ink plate is just slightly over type height, and the rollers should be set to type height rather than ink plate height. The rollers should contact the ink plate; it is an essential part of ink distribution.
The press came originally with a .968” roller-setting gauge, but with bed plate you would use a .918” gauge.
The roller adjusting and set screws just use a standard screwdriver, unless the screws have been replaced; allen-head screws are a common replacement for the set screws. Note that the setscrews must be loosened before adjusting roller height, and tightened afterwards.

thank you so much. this is all very helpful!

where should i look to buy a micrometer? what does it need to measure in? thanks!

Many “home centers” have inexpensive calipers and micrometers which will suit your needs quite well. You would want one which measures to tenths of mils (.0001” increments if possible, but .0005” would be suitable for most applications you will encounter in your shop).

All of the industrial supply companies also sell micrometers and calipers, and they would have higher quality models.

J Henry

To chime in on the micrometer/caliper discussion, I would suggest getting a digital caliper — most read to 0.0005 directly and you don’t have to add learning how to read a micrometer to the long list of things to learn about to make good printing…

Regarding the need for a bedplate…where is the best place to source .050” cold-rolled steel for this?

emthree, i was recently in a junk yard scrapping some copper piping, there was a sign that they would cut and sell you steel plates, might be a place to look. Dick G.

Hey emthree, I just got 18 gauge cold-rolled steel (which is exactly 0.050”) at the Metal Supermarket. They have locations all over the place. For my 320, it only cost about 20 bucks!

Good luck!

Thanks Amanda, I ended up at Speedy Metals for my Poco’s bedplate. Came in @ $25 after shipping, but I’m glad to now about Metal Supermarket. Thanks for the tip!