Should Trucks Rotate on Core..?

I am getting ready to hopefully make my own ink rollers for a Kelsey 5x8 and a Damon Peets 6x10. The plan is to machine the trucks, use 3/8” rod and cast the rollers in a custom form.

Here is my question for today:

Do trucks rotate freely on the ink core / roller or are they fixed into postion and rotate with the core / roller?

If they are fixed into position I think I may try machining the trucks for an interference fit and freezing the core and heating the truck to put them together.


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It is best if the roller trucks are fixed to the roller shafts. That way the roller will be driven by the turning truck and will not be driven by the image itself. This eliminates the slight wiping of ink at the lower edge of the form as the roller hit the form and start turning.

I have one press (Kelsey Union Job Press) which I have never set up with trucks fixed to the roller shafts, and I always run a 24pt. wood rule bearer along one side of the form (outside the paper position) which serves to drive the rollers. I make certain that the wood rule extends a bit longer than the depth of the form, so the rollers start turning before they contact the form being printed.

If you fix the trucks to the rollers, make certain that the roller truck center hole is precisely drilled to be concentric with the outside profile of the truck.

John Henry


Most presses have a key way, pin, or flat area in which the truck sets in to fix it to the roller core shaft.

Kelseys are the only platens that I’ve ever seen that did not have the trucks fixed to the roller cores. And as a result of that very serious design flaw, Kelsey also sold a lot of roller bearers to fix the problems of roller slur.
There was actually a school of thought, when metal type and composition rollers were all, that the type should grab and drive the rollers rather than the trucks. That is lunacy in the age of photopolymer, which has no grab on the roller at all.

Something else to consider is, that if your trucks are seized onto the core, it be extremely difficult to clean the ends of your rollers.

Have you considered drilling and tapping a hole through the truck?… file a flat on the core, install a set screw and bingo you have locking removable trucks. A 10 - 24 tpi internal wrenching set screw x 4… ought to work nicely for any rollers without locking trucks.

a quick fix is to put a piece of thread over the end of the core and drive the truck on, i did this until i had the time to drill and tap it, only had the kelsey for 51 years now, maybe this year i’ll get rid of the thread.

At a local studio a few years ago, I did drill and tap the trucks for Allen setscrews, but didn’t do anything to the cores. If I were to do this now, I would probably use dimples on the core rather than flats, though the shape of the setscrew does matter as well: flat, pointed, cupped, each bears best against different surfaces.
Some Vandercook roller collars are held to the core with two setcrews set into dimples. Maybe that is more againt lateral movement than rotation.