My Windmill thread

Hey guys.

My shop decided to pick up a Windmill (10X15) and I’m back to ask a stupid question or two.

I’ve been running the Windmills off and on for 30 years so there’s not much of a problem with running them that I haven’t seen before.

I’ve run weird stuff on them. Napkins were the hardest. Pennies weren’t hard at all.

Anyhow, my new one is a black ball. It was bought with some work needed but I’ve got most of it figured out.

The outermost part of the shaft on the clutch side was bent. Pretty common from someone moving the thing using the clutch shaft to lift the machine. The wheel was running true but the shaft oscillation to the handle was a pain to deal with.

I took the bearings off as well as the clutch engagey thingy. Then I used a six point 1” socket on the end of the shaft and added a piece of pipe for leverage.

The shaft end was originally .034” out of true and I managed to get it within .004 of true. Good enough.

Then I took a file and smoothed out the flat of the shaft that all the pressure created. The bearings still went on nice and tight.

Next up was the clutch.

When I looked at the machine to see if it was worth buying the clutch was slipping. Also, the brake barely worked.

I had talked to a letterperss mechanic in California and he thought the out of true oscillation was the clutch. It wasn’t.

Even after truing the shaft on the press the clutch still wouldn’t work properly.

Upon inspection I noticed that the clutch ramps weren’t releasing the clutch arms. No matter where the clutch arms were adjusted, the ramps weren’t doing anything.

I surmised that the clutch was pressed on in an incorrect order and the clutch assembly was sticking out too far for the ramps to fully release. I should add that the ramps looked to be new, not 50 years old.

I took the ramps home and ground off about 1/8”, repositioning the ramp closer to the bolt hole, to get them to where they would release. Worked like a charm. Then adjusted the clutch properly.

The arm still wobbles a bit. The .004” transfers quite a bit to make the arm wobble about 1/8”. Still much better than the inch or so it used to wobble.

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Next step.

I’ve been dialing things in to get it in “working” order. Sure I can monkey a job through (and I have 2 to it’s name so far) but there are a lot of bugs.

The first one was the table lift was unreliable in it’s accuracy. I already lengthened the linkage that goes to the lifting pawl. It has a lot of bounce down there, though, so I will probably add a very lightweight spring to stop the bounce.

Also, I completely disassembled the automatic “missed sheet” stop assembly and de-gunked the piston. I added some light lube and then adjusted the latching mechanism to make it work perfectly.

Today, while running the first full job, I had a chance to see some of the other bugs that need to be corrected.

First bug was that the arm “ON” latch has a wear spot that allows the oscillation and vibration of the machine to “slip” until it drops off and, of course, the machine stops. I, originally, thought it was the missing sheet actuator getting hung up but saw it happen and was looking at the latch. That’s when I noticed the wear and the “ramp” that was there.

I also noticed that the latch on the arm was repaired and the angle wasn’t parallel to the latch on the body so that accentuated the ramp effect. Tomorrow I will square up the assembly with the handy dandy dremel.

That should take care of the random stop issue.

On all my Windmills, I never really liked the registration mechanism. I find it unreliable, especially when die cutting or scoring.

When I used to print on the Windmill, a lot, I had to use it. I was also quite green back then so it’s something I was trained to use.

Now, I can obtain amazing registration (on a good machine) by using different devices on the feed table. It’s served me well for the last 20+ years and never had a job bounce for registration.

Well, this machine came to me with few accessories. We were given a chase and that was about it. I also have the feeder splitter but, these days there’s little need for one. I didn’t get the delivery splitter but it’s no biggie.

So, I ebay ordered the same things I’ve always used to get the table set up. My boss was pretty cool with the stuff I needed after I demo’d the stuff on the Cylinder letterpress. I use the same setup on that table even though I use the registration table on that press.

So, I should have those pieces in a couple weeks. They are coming from London.

Anyhow, today I was cleaning the press and found GOLD!!

I hadn’t even thought to look because I hadn’t seen one intact in 20 years but the side drawer was there!!!

I opened it up and found all that I needed. It had registration pins, and the blocks too. FOUR different sets of blocks. Plus it had the pins too. A LOT of them.

Then there were the trucks for the ink rollers, which I will probably never need since the ink fountain was removed, but they are there.

Also the spring mechanism I use to stabilize the rear of the paper when I]m doing a registration setup on the feed table.
I can’t find a picture of the spring assembly online but have pictures of the block and the stabilizer I use (called a paper weight, of all things).

I use the paper weight as a side guide and then a spring on the other side to push the paper to the “side guide”.

And then another spring, on the tail, of course.

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Also, in the drawer, among the roller trucks, roller bearings, side sheet separators, T-bolts and nuts, and other small items, I found a small doohickey that I’ve used before but, for the life of me, I can’t remember what it was for.

It’s a rod about 6 inches long. Square steel. It has a bevel at one end and a loop at the other.

It feels like hardened steel.
I will post a picture later if nobody comes up with an idea of what it is. I could remember by morning but we’ll see.

Also, i should have mentioned a couple of other things before.

The boss was nice enough to purchase a set of three chases so now I have FOUR. All seem to fit really tight in the lower cradle so it’s a PIA to put them in. I also purchased a pair of SS jackets since we do so much die cutting I will need to have a spare on hand. I use the metal jackets when scoring, also, so I don’t need a tympan pack. Again, i doubt I will ever be inking it up, but you never know.

The other thing, and I’m pretty embarrassed by this, is when I was working on the missing sheet stop, I had taken the feeder table off the machine and set it on the paper cutter that’s next to the machine. Well, the cutter came in the next day and moved the feed table to the side table of the Windmill.

Then, while it was still off, I tackled the out of true shaft. Naturally there was a lot of shaking on the machine while I was bouncing on the leverage pipe. Short story made long, the feed table slid off the side table and dropped to the floor and, naturally, broke. The corner of the feed table was liberated from the main table.


Well, the break was pretty clean so I cleaned the pieces off to get rid of residual oil. I checked to see if they mated well and they did. So, I super glued them together. YES, I used super glue.

I figure that I’m going to take the table off and see if I can tack weld the corner in place without messing up the cast table too much. Welding cast iron is no easy task but it won’t be my first time and I’m betting the quality of the Heidelberg cast iron kicks butt on the quality of the Harbor Freight cast iron I welded before.

If not, and even if it does work, I might have a new feed table top waterjet cut for the table. Time will tell.

OK, one last comment before I stop typing for the night.

In the drawer was one of these (pictured below). I’ve seen them before but have absolutely NO idea how these are used. Yes, in 30+ years I have been running these machines, there’s still something I don’t know about them.

I’ve rebuilt pumps, rebuilt clutches, freed a frozen main bearing, rebuilt so many things but this one stupid silver piece is a mystery.

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Get a manual and all will be clear.

Those are delivery guides, you slide them in on the delivery table. I love them for weird sized stock. It is great reading about your repair work.


I remembered what the last piece did. The reason it was slipping my mind so much was because I never used them and because this press is missing the “waterfall” piece they slide into.

I don’t know that we will replace it.

I’m adding a picture of the “pin” or rod or whatever you want to call it.

I’m not sure it goes to the press now that I think about it. I just know I’ve used one before.

It’s closer to 8” than 6” long.

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Cheaters……they slide over the front of the Front Feed Standard and allow you to grip less of the sheet you are trying to run by pushing the sheet that much further away from the mouth of the gripper.

They work good when numbering an NCR form and you are trying to get the number just above some printing or a printed line that may already be on the form… you that little extra 6 points or so that can make a big difference in some cases.

There are 2 sizes that I know of and hopefully you have another one hiding somewhere.

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Hmm, I just looked and I only have one of the pins. And I still have no idea where they go.
I understood what has been said about their purpose up their install location still remains a mystery.

How about now..

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Oh, that just made too much sense. LOL


Today was another day that I had a chance to do some maintenance so I took to the next task on the Windmill.

I have four chases and all four were a tight fit at the bottom which made it tricky, even scary, to load the chase. The width between the roller guides was too tight, or exactly 1:1 which made it tight. Colder air temps the chase went in easier than when it was warmer.

I had two options.
1) Shave a couple thousands off the pad on each chase.
2) Shim the roller guide.

Option t is the easiest and doesn’t change the width of the chase in case we get another machine down the road.

I removed the wheel side roller rail which is easy enough and took just a couple minutes. Then I cleaned it up using acetone.
I applied a layer of aluminum tape (actually FOR ducts), that I sometimes use under low die segments, and trimmed off the excess.

Reinstalled the roller rail and the chase(s) fit perfect.

I also noticed that the chase sat a little crooked so I removed the lower pad on the wheel side and ground off a few thousands of an inch to help level out the chase.

Next up will be on the top clamp. I have it pushed as far as I can to the front but it just collects about 3/32” of the chase. I have to bang it in place with the rubber mallet and lock it down just to feel comfortable. My plan is to chase the existing bolt holes with a slightly larger drill bit to allow the clamp to sit a bit further forward. It will still be adjustable and will hold the chase better.

FWIW, we didn’t get the original chase with the machine. All of the chases we have were acquired after we got the machine.

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