Rollers not inking my C & P

I just got my rollers re-done, so I know that’s isn’t the problem. And I took off all tape, so my trucks are just rolling on the metal rails. Its also weird that the left side of the rollers don’t seem to be inking. When I use my roller gauge the left side (where there is actually ink) doesn’t get any ink on the gauge and the right side gets a solid strip. I’m so frustrated! I just spend almost $300 getting my rollers re-finished thinking that was the problem, But its still happening! Also I noticed screw holes on the rails… Can these be to adjust height? Please see the below pictures. Thank you!

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is it cold in your shop, rollers and ink don’t like the cold and will give you lots of problems. in the winter i keep my heat on all the time at around 55 or 60 degrees, then i run a small electric heater near the press to keep the ink disc a little warm. you could have something on your rollers that won’t let the ink spread out, try washing up with something like coleman fuel or mineral spirits. good luck Dick G.

What in the world is that screw for? I’ve never seen anything like that.

It’s a little cold in the shop, but that wouldn’t explain the difference in roller height that I’m seeing with my roller gauge readings. Is there a way to adjust roller height if there isn’t tape on the trucks or the rails?

Musik- There are actually 3 screws on each side, that’s why I was wondering if that ment I could adjust the height of the rails. But I don’t want to mess anything up even more, before I figure out what they are there for.

My guess is the screws are holding on strips of metal that were added to the rails because they were worn. They would not typically be adjustable. It is also curious why the ink on your rollers is not even from side to side either. It could be something is amiss with your roller springs or your hooks are binding on the left side of the press. The first thing I would do is reverse both rollers and trucks right to left to see if the problem moves to the other side, or stays on the left. If that has no effect, I would measure the height of the rails to get more diagnostic information. If they are the same, go looking at the roller hooks. If different you have found the problem, and may need to have different size trucks to compensate, or correct the problem at the rail itself.


Looking more closely it does appear that there is a strip of metal attached to the rail. Weird. I have a 12 X 18 that was run to death. The roller saddles were worn nearly through and while the rails are worn, they’re not worn nearly enough to attach strips of metal especially thick enough to be able to use flat head screws. It’s just my guess, but I think someone must have cut the rails down, probably on a milling machine, as part of this modification. And I’d further question the accuracy of the whole job since the last photo shows the track made by the roller truck going from center to the outside. Definitely, measure the height of the rails before you continue on.

First you need to find out the height of your roller tracks, and see if both ides are the same height. Since you have a roller gauge, presumably .918”, just compare relative heights.
If the left track is above type-height, then you need to lower it. If the tracks are the same height, then you need to check truck size relative to roller diameter. Just flipping the rollers end-for-end may tell you if something is wrong there.
If tracks and trucks and rollers are OK, then you may have a lockup problem. Since you appear to be locking your base directly against the chase, that is a possibility. Metal against metal tends to loosen.

I had the same problem with the no inking in certain areas. Here’s how I “fixed” it:

I had to put two sheets of computer paper behind the base to bring “type high”. The issue is that it seems like the trucks are larger and/or rollers are made slightly smaller to account for a lot of presses with worn down rails. But by adding sheets behind the base, it brings the plates higher so at least it gets inked.

Now, you’ll get areas that are too low. To fix that, get the UHMW tapes from NA Graphics. Figure out which part of the rail is low, and tape that to bring the rollers higher. I also had areas of the rollers too low. I tested that by spinning the truck/roller in one spot on the rail while using the type high gauge. If parts of the rollers are too low, then add tape to the trucks until the strips on the type high gauge is about the thickness of a nickel.

This is much easier than trying to grind down the high parts of the rail. Mark your trucks and rollers so you know which is the left side/right side, top, middle and bottom roller. It helps to keep the setup consistent so you’re not dealing with multiple variables when having issues.

Good luck!

Thank you for all the comments back, I will be trying a few things to see if I can get something to work. Any one think it could be the springs on the left side? If it is the springs, how do I change those out?

Thanks again

Maybe springs, but not likely unless one or more is broken.
At mid rail, pull out on saddles. Is there good resistance that pulls the truck right back to good contact with the rail?
With the plate in the position shown, roll down below the form. Insert a strip of copy paper about 1” wide on the line that is not printing well. Roll the rollers up and pull on the strip. Are you getting good contact between the rollers and strip? Do same for other side that is inking decently. How does that side feel?
Remove chase and turn form 180. Clean form and return to press to ink again. What happens?
Poly is funny stuff and sometimes rejects ink. It is a contamination of the surface. Rubber base ink hates any oil. If your solvent of choice is kerosene or mineral spirits, there will be a residue of oil. It may go away by evaporation in time. If you suspect oily residue contamination, clean form with alcohol. It evaporate quickly and should allow you to return to printing quickly.
Examine, analyze, inspect, try one change at a time, overcome. You have to be a little smarter than the machine. Not a lot, but some.

Not likely the problem, but you want to check each possibility. Your lockup or chase might be a problem.
Is the chase true or perhaps broken and welded/brazed and is now wonky? On your very flat surface you are using for a stone, press opposite corners of the bare chase. Are all four corners flat down on the stone? If not, you will have problems.
Lock up your base and do the test again. Also make sure your base is flat down on the stone. If all this tests well, you can check these off.

Agree with Inky, doubt it’s the spring. As long as there’s some resistance from the springs when trying to put your rollers into the saddles, that should be more than enough pressure.

From the first photo, it appears that your trucks are much larger than your rollers. Maybe someone has already mentioned. The rollers can’t possibly touch the plate surface until they are the same as the trucks or the trucks are the same as the rollers.

Just curious, Why is there no ink on the left side of rollers. Trucks should not be touching anything when rollers are up on the ink disk right. If so, it is a roller hook problem. See if rollers are sitting in there saddles good turn easy at all positions move in and out freely, are new trucks too tight on hooks or to wide hitting or riding on ink disk, if spring is broken it would pull up on that side. Turning the rollers around 180 is a good way to see if it is a roller problem, bad grinding or rejecting ink. You need to get the ink even on the rollers then move on to inking the plate evenly. You can make this work good luck

First, lay a straight edge across you form from left to right, rail-to-rail, touching each rail. If they don’t touch your type high image they are too high. Doubtfull. If they touch the top of type high image and it raises straight edge so it is not touching the rails, then your rails are too low and need to be taped until all are touched by the straight edge. When this is accomplished, then if the trucks are riding on the rails and the rollers are the same diameter as the trucks, they should ink up evenly all the way across the form. The trucks should ride and touch the rails from top of rail all the way to the bottom. They should not be raised higher so the matter in the type high image is all that is being touched. If so, they will slide and remove or smudge ink. Hope this is helpful.

Just wanted to let everyone know, it was my springs that were the cause of this problem. Looked like I busted a few of the area of the springs on the left hand side, which was not allowing the rollers to have enough pressure to keep them against the rails and disk. Luckily just $20 worth of springs, and i am inking properly again!

Thanks for everyone help.

Three important things.
1. You sparked a good discussion and others can benefit from it.
2. You had the courtesy to report that you had found the problem and to thank all who attempted to assist.
3. Perhaps most important. You are up and printing.

I would think that the rails should be type high in relation to the bed of the press. Next the rollers & the trucks have to be exactly the same diameter. I can see from your pictures that your rollers appear to be smaller than the trucks. In the old day machinists build up the worn out tracks/rails to be type high. This explains the screws that you are seeing. There is nothing you can do trying to adjust these screws. They were put in as a 1 time fix. I have been doing repairs to these tracks recently with good results. You have to take the bed off of the press. Then you have to machine out all of the old repair and then built them back to the normal .918. If the rails are just a little worn you may be able to cheat by using tape to build them up. I have pictures and testimonials of my work. Ed.