keyboard cam problem

I have removed and cleaned the cam from my Intertype five or six times. I have clean all the parts in the housing of the cams.

I have oiled them with light weight oil. One day all the keys will work great. The next day, many cams will not turn.

I have replaced ones that do not act right, and outside of replacing the rubber roller,everything has been cleaned and oiled. The rubber rollers looked in good sharp when I have the section out and on the table.

Why do have this cam problem?

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Couple thoughts picked up from maintenance books on Linotype/Intertype machines.

Is the rubber roll glazed and/or hard from old age?
Check the teeth on each cam, they need to be fairly sharp. They can be touched up with a small file.
Is there a film of oil on the rubber rolls, cams, etc.

Is there any temperature/ humidity changes that correspond to the problem? One thing mentioned in the books is that sometimes a machine will act up in the morning, but run fine later in the day, after the shop warms up a bit.

I will do some more reading thru my library and see what else I can come up with.

Marshall “the armchair hot metal casting mechanic in training”

Keyboard cams require very little oil. A light weight machine oil. I use a toothpick to place a smidgen on the yoke of the cam. You can usually tell right off if the oil is in the correct spot. Wipe off any excess. If you can see any oil, that is excess. The cam drops down when the key is depressed. Make sure that is happening. When you depress a key, feel the cam with a finger to make sure. I hope this helps!


Thank you for your feedback. The rubber rollers have been cleaned with rubbing alcohol to remove any oil build. I guess it is the temperature/ humidity changes. Monday the C4 worked great, I didn’t use it Tuesday, Wednesday night wanted to set some type, had to fight with every word I set.

I only turn the A/C on when I get to the shop.

The shop was nice an cool yesterday, but the keyboard didn’t like it.

This is the first machine, Linotype and Intertype, I have worked around that has the same problem over and over again.

In the past on other casting machine, a problem would come up,i t would be rcorrected and the machine would work for a long time without any problems.

Is it that the cams are not turning or is it the keyrods are not lifting?
To determine, lift the magazine from its position. Then, with the machine running and the back dust cover removed from the cam assembly, tap each key as you observe cam movement. Normally, the cam will drop onto the roller, rise, and levitate the keyrod.
If the cam drops but simply rides the roller without lifting, it points to either glazed roller, improper seating of cam (pin twisted, dirt build-up impeding cam arc) or keyrod binding.
Should all function well, it points to magazine escarpments, or perhaps the mag is not seating correctly. Which type of magazine are you using? A warped magazine will give action you describe. Or, simplest of all, the magazine is dirty thus impeding mat drop.
Although possible, temperature/humidity plays little in keyboard operation. Over-oiling (dust attractant), improper magazine operation, or out-of-place keyrods are the usual suspects when conditions as you describe arise. Don your hunting cap, observe the actions, and you will surely discover the culprit(s). :o) The Intertype is a great machine.


I thought my rollers were in good condition: the rubber was still soft and I gave them a good cleaning with a variety of solvents, but my cams were still very intermittent. Frustrated, I installed a new set of rollers. My keyboard went from working 50% of the time to working 100% of the time.

It’s worth the hilarious experience of replacing the rollers — I ended up very wet doing it.


I guess it has to be the rollers. That is the only thing I have not replaced.

I do remember, all the fun people had changing the roller.

The cams have a green look to them.

I removed them and clean them again and oiled them and I checked the key after putting them back. The keys worked great.

So now the keyboard responds correctly?
That green colour on the cam is usually old oil deposit. It doesn’t take much on the cam shoulders or inner yoke face to impede action. Although clock oil is the lubricant of choice (where have the whales gone?) for the cam axle, you can make your own oil mixture by using a kerosene/5w engine oil in a 5:1 ratio. The popular 3in1 oil describes its mix; with aromatic added for the effete. Too, you might raid your wife’s sewing machine maintenance kit. That often contains a light oil having great ‘cling’. Machines are great, but as with a house there’s always something to fix. :o)

The oil I am using is a light oil used in Model Train Locomotives.