Making rollers from hand ink roller?

Hi I picked up a small press a while ago in hopes of restoring it and i have finally gotten around to the rollers and trucks. This press isnt going to see much use, other than on occasion and i was wondering if instead of dropping $200 on rollers i could just make a set from hand ink rollers. I have a metal lathe so turning new trucks and cores will be easy. Just wondering what the best type of hand roller would be. I assume soft would be better. Also is there any way to determine truck size based on roller diameter?

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With the proper tools, it should be quite simple to do. Someone may correct me, but I do believe the trucks should match the roller diameter. Check the distance from the bed of the press (where the bottom of the type sits against while locked in the chase) to the face of the roller bearers.

You must make certain (on a platen press) that the rollers clear the grippers as the rollers and platen begin to come up. Pick a roller diameter that matches as closely as possible the original diameter that original rollers would have had.But the truck size should match the roller diameter in most cases.

I have successfully cut down offset duplicator rollers to fit for letterpress use, but make certain the rollers are soft enough to work well. The rollers must be compressible to allow for slight deviation in type height (if printing from handset type forms).

John Henry
Cedar Creek Press

Thanks for the info, I didnt even think of the fact that the grippers get closer as the rollers go up and if the diameter is too large they might hit. I found one I think might work on Amazon for $12 so $24 for two and they say they are softer so I will see if they work and report back. Why don’t more people do this? Is it simply because they don’t have any tools to do it or would it not work for a more frequently used press?

Maybe I am being simplistic, but if the press is not going to be used much and you already have a hand roller/brayer, wouldn’t it be easier to just use the brayer to ink up your form?

yes it would be easier but thats not really the point. There arent rollers already pre made for this press as the chase is a very weird size and the press is pretty rare so i would have to modify an existing pair anyway so why not try. Also it looks quite sad with cracked rollers and I want to finish the restoration fully.

Brent, as You imply that You have access to a Lathe, the following may be of interest:- It is NOT fixed in time and space that the roller compound has to be the same size as the trucks, (contrary to the popular mis-conception)
A. (from U.S.) your Morgan expansion trucks do exactly that, i.e. increase the size of the truck, relative to the roller diameter,
(B) (from U.K.) with every size of Table Top ADANA, on sight, x 5, in every case, the roller compound diameter, is less than the size of the truck,? the *Tarheel Roller and Brayer Co.* out of Clemmons N.C. verified this many years ago.

Regarding the clearance issue? if you cycle the machine very very slowly, You will probably observe that the Rollers are at least 20/30% up and across the face of the Ink Disc long before the Platen has come anywhere close to the vertical/horizontal obstructions, head and side lay,s etc.

Self manufacturing trucks, Yes, a small learning curve, (on the Lathe) AUTHOR, >here U.K. made a few mistakes initially, sacrificed some material, but now turning out trucks for Adana,s etc. utilizing a principle from a long time ago, i.e. making the trucks with 2 different heights, for flipping all 4, (trucks) 180 degrees, to give (a) standard clearance, 1/8 -1/4” inch stripe on the roller gauge, and with slightly past *sell by date* rollers, (b) .003” - .005” less than standard height !! Quite useful for ringing the last ounce of life out of Nearly Dead rollers.!

After many (often failed attempts) now turning out trucks from either Brass or Aluminium as the base Material, bored on the lathe for the steel stock size, (imperial Morse Taper drills in the Tailstock 3/8” or 1/4”) turned down to the required size for the Truck in question, but then fitted with a second stage, second height sleeve in DELRIN, amazing material to work with, virtually self lubricating, for the traverse of the Trucks across the support Rails.

Brent, one more, possible option for Your quest, (author) have here U.K. with a Lot of Help, constructed a Rig/Attachment, fitted to the Tool Post/Cross slide of the Lathe to act as a Contra Rotating, very coarse grit, grindstone for grinding *off* & *down* redundant rollers.

Good Luck. and Happy & Turning new year. Mick.

Further to Mick’s last, I think I recall that ‘proper’ rubber rollers are ground down to final diameter size with the grindstone
turning the opposite way to the way the roller is being turned.
Seems odd but thats the way it was. Also re Tarheel’s findings about Adana platen roller diameters, I’m sure thats right, and I find it pretty much essential to use bold rule roller bearers to locate and drive the rollers positively. As to why this was, I shall probably never know.

i got the amazon ink rollers in and first impressions are not good. i will try and make them work though. the roller diameters actually very close the ones on the press now but they arent even close to being round. As far as how squishy they are, they seem kind of hard but i wont know until i use them.

Rollers are a investment they need to fit like a good pair of shoes to start.
Some presses require a odd truck to rubber size. the softness or Durometer will need to be pretty soft to match a small presses spring pressure. if its not working out look me up I bet I have rollers for it.