Roller movement from rails to ink disc

I am having a bit of trouble with my recently acquired Craftsmen Superior after attaching new rollers. Seems like the ink disc rises slightly higher than the rails, causing a fairly significant catch in the lever action of the press when the rollers reach that point. I don’t want to damage my rollers or get ink everywhere trying to get the rollers up and over the lip of the ink disc. I was wondering if anyone has had a similar problem and might have a recommendation.

I had to purchase a new ink disc from Craftsmen Machinery Co. to get this press up and running, and it looks a bit thicker than many ink discs I’ve seen. Could that be the problem? Or could some slight warping in the cast iron piece into which the ink disc pin is inserted have my disc at the wrong angle? What might I do to correct this problem? Any information would be appreciated.

image: Ink disc. (Yes my chase bed needs work.)

Ink disc. (Yes my chase bed needs work.)

image: Roller on the ink disc, trucks on the rails. Note the ledge.

Roller on the ink disc, trucks on the rails. Note the ledge.

image: Side view. Ink disc clearly rises above the rails.

Side view. Ink disc clearly rises above the rails.

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Tape the rails up until the rollers easily transfer to the disk. Electrical tape will work, but the super-hard stuff sold by NA Graphics doesn’t compress or slip around if you want something more permanent.


its hard to tell but it looks like the trucks are riding on the disc, maybe the disc is the wrong size, and it does look thicker than other discs. Dick G.

Thanks for the ideas so far.

It is hard to tell from the picture, but the trucks don’t make contact with the disc at any point.

If I unscrew the bolts of the piece that hold the disc and its operating dog in place, I can angle the front of the disc down so as to close the gap and make for a smooth transition from trucks-on-rails to rollers-on-disc, but once I tighten the piece’s bolts, the angle changes and, as you can see, it sits too high.


Look at the shoulder of the ink disc shaft. I would measure the excess height of the disc above the rails (it looks like about the thickness of the disc itself) and have a machine shop turn the shoulder down that much to lower the disc to the correct height. However, check first to be sure the ratchet and pawl that rotate the disc won’t be messed up by this change.


It would take a good deal of tape to bridge that gap. Probably more than a quarter of an inch. I’m open to trying it, but intuitively it seems like it would push the limits of the tape’s structural utility.

What do ya’ll make of this idea: I’m thinking that I might take four angle washers and place one on under the ink disc/operation dog mount on each side, tilting the ink disc just a bit forward. Then I’ll put corresponding angle washers on top of the disc mount to offset the angle and fit flush against the bolt head. Do you foresee any problems with that solution? It seems to offer more long-term stability than bridging the gap between rails and ink disc with (a lot of) tape. Will I be screwing up something by leaning the ink disc a little forward? I’m pretty sure the operation dog would still make contact underneath.

image: One angle washer added above the part attached with this bolt and one added below.

One angle washer added above the part attached with this bolt and one added below.

Did the supplier sell you the wrong disc? Maybe they will make it right if you ask them.

Your ink disc is indeed sitting much too high for the rollers to make a smooth transition. On older (and well-worn) presses, the problem is usually just the opposite.

I would take a look at lowering the ink disc itself, without changing the angle—I would be concerned what the rollers would do if the angle was too steep…they might not even be able to reach up high enough!

I’m going to second AdLibPress here, and say that machining the shoulder would be the way to go, if the ink dog would still function properly.


I suppose it’s possible it’s the wrong disc (though it fits and moves perfectly). They’ve been super helpful at Craftsmen, so I suspect they’ll continue to be helpful with this if I can’t figure out anything to make the positioning work properly.

I think, your idea about the machine shop is on the table if it comes to that. (Though I’m still holding out hope that someone will have an ingenious idea that I can achieve tinkering in my basement.) Thanks.

You really don’t want to try the tape? It costs about 50 cents and takes 10 minutes. Having something machined is going to be a heck of a lot more expensive.

To get the press inking properly, you are going to need to tape either way…


I just talked to Sherwin at Craftsmen Machinery. They made the ink disc and (years ago) the press itself. His recommendation was to either lathe the disc down to size or to have a machine shop lower the height of the whole set up either at the point where the pin attaches to the shaft or at the shoulder (as Paul and Kelly suggest).

All of these are pretty invasive procedures, for sure. I will give the tape a try first, modernman. You’re right; it just makes good sense to give the less-drastic fix a chance. My fondest hope though is that the fix actually turns out simpler than even the tape. Before I machine or tape anything, I’m going to switch discs on my newer and older style Superiors (the newer one’s not at my house at the moment, otherwise I’d have already tried this) and see if that fixes things. From what Sherwin at Craftsmen said, the higher disc was made for the newer model Superiors. Perhaps I’ll get lucky.

I’ll update this thread when the press is working to complete the record for this odd bit of troubleshooting. Thanks to everyone for their suggestions.

When I switched the ink discs on my old-style and new-style Superiors (based on Craftsmen Machinery Co’s comment that the disc had been machined for newer presses), I was pleased to find a large plastic washer around the pin of my new-style’s ink disc that had been raising its height. I took the washer out, put the thicker plate on the new-style and the thinner one on the old style (pictured above). Now gap on the new-style is easily close enough to tape (less than 1/8” I’d guess) and the old-style pictured above moves just fine.

I suppose this is a rather lucky kind of fix, but if anyone is experiencing a similar problem, Paul’s idea about machining the shoulder or the hole in the shaft into which the pin is inserted, or Sherwin Marks’ (at Craftsmen) idea about lathing the disc would probably work. That is, if you can’t play disc swap among a couple of Superiors (or perhaps even Pilots; they’re similarly constructed and, I hear, have some interchangeable parts).

Thanks to everyone for the help.