C&P NS 22 x 14 1/2 Needs a Motor


I just purchased a C&P NS 22 x 14 1/2 platen press. The serial number indicates it was built between 1941-1951.

The current motor is a 1 HP / 1750 RPM / 550 Volt, but I need a motor that can be plugged into a standard 120 V outlet. I don’t need variable speed, but since I am a beginner I don’t want the press to run at lightening speed.

What kind of motor do I need? Where do I find one? Help!


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I should also add that I need a new belt as well.

Well, that is about a huge press for a beginner. That is OK. You can print small stuff on a big press.
Interesting voltage for the motor you have. I wonder where it was used.
You need to talk to a motor person. Look in your yellow pages for electric motors. A one horsepower motor is about right. Without a pretty expensive variable speed arrangement, you will have to understand how the speed of the motor is reduced through a system of pulleys. The motor guy should be able to help.
For starters, turn the flywheel by hand and count the number of turns for one full cycle. It is probably five. That tells you that if the motor was attached directly to the press (you cannot realistically do this and would not want to) the press speed is reduced by one fifth.
You need to get the speed down to about 10 cycles per minute for a beginner and have the pulley arrangement such that you can change out a pulley to get 15 impressions per minute as you become more skilled.
You will also need to know the diameter of the pulley attached to the pinion gear shaft. This goes into the formula to determine the pulley arrangement to get the speed you want.
This isn’t rocket science, but you will need someone to walk you through it and help you calculate the size pulleys you will need. Tell where you are.
I assume you have a flat belt. Not a lot of flat belt power transmission applications left, but there are nylon belts to be had. Maybe leather belts too, but they would be a specialty item a bit harder to find. Start belts with the motor guy.
Get some ink on your shirt.

Thanks Inky, you’re awesome.

Talk to virtually any one of your good old buddys from down home, and see and ask, how virtually every Heidleberg Platen is driven, going up the scale (size wise) and going down the scale (size wise) your average small litho, Multiliths etc are driven, and you will be able to see, a single speed motor, fitted with sprung loaded, coned pulley, giving almost unlimited speed control, (i.e. from inching/crawling to flying 5,000 I.P.H. hopefully!!!) It isnt exactly High Tech application and makes no difference as to what voltage or phase,(s), you may have access to, plus no slave pulleys or belt changes!!! > Check out your nearest Buddy with a Heidelberg or similar or Talk to Your Electric Motor supplier, but keep in mind the sales man/rep is possibly on commission.

It’s 8 revolutions per impression, and they recommended 1HP to drive it.


All great info, thanks. Will continue with the research.

The C&P spec sheet mentions 4 rollers on the press. I have 5 rollers, but do I really need to use 4? I see that the disc diameter is about 4” larger than the 12” x 18” press. Anyone?

You can use 2 or 4 rollers at a time. If your printing area is fairly small, use 2 and save on cleanup time. 4 will bring more ink down more evenly.

I don’t believe the double saddles for the rollers will work right with only one roller in place, which is why you need 2 or 4, and not an odd number.

Michelle, is one of your rollers a rider roller? Meaning it sits on top of the rubber form rollers?

HavenPress, I’m not sure, but they all look the same if that helps. The specs that Luke sent says the press shipped with 8 rollers, so maybe only 5 are remaining? I will ask the previous owner/pressman.

Have attached a pic with 2 of the rollers in place.

image: rollers.jpg


Back to the motor…

Was speaking with a press repairman here in Montreal, he thinks I need more than 1 HP in order to get enough power on 220V (if I understood correctly). Also trying to figure out the shaft size on the current motor (which is presently detached).

Another member emailed me:
“If you have 110 in your shop, any electrician can put 2 (110)
together to give you 220. A VFD drive is around 100.00 and you can find a 1 hp 3 phase motor for around 200. The 3 phase you get from the VFD drive, it takes 220 in and outputs the 3rd leg for 3 phase.” Not sure what that last sentence means.

I’m told a 3 phase motor might be more like $1500 here in Canada, yikes!

Now I’m wondering if I should just hook up the current motor. My electrician said we couldn’t convert or hook up a 550V, does that sound right?

Images of what I think are the shaft or clutch or pulley are attached. As you can see I know absolutely nothing about electrics or motors!!

image: motor2.jpg


image: motor1.jpg


The motor has a variable speed pulley attached. If you move the motor in and out (in relationship to the drive pulley on the press), the v-belt will move closer or further from the motor shaft in the variable sheave pulley. The closer to the shaft the belt runs, the slower the press will run. If the motor is mounted to a plate which moves in and out, you can vary the speed of the press by simply moving the motor mount.

If you can transfer that variable pulley to a motor which will run on 110v. power, you will be in business. I would think a 1 hp motor should drive that press OK, but maybe you should go to a 2hp if the motor guy says you need it.

I doubt that any electrician will just pick up two 110v. lines and use them to drive your motor.

John Henry

Thank you John Henry. The electrician again says “no way” to the 550V, so for sure we need a new motor. Got an estimate for $600 new, looking for used.

We’ll measure the shaft on the current motor on Friday, between three of us (electrician, repairman and me) we might be getting somewhere.

Will keep you all posted, thanks so much everyone!!!

i’m not an electrician but is the motor a 3-phase, if so you can get a converter. i’m not a big fan of changing motors unless i have to.

Can you take a picture of the motor info plate? It should indicate RPM, voltage, phase, duty cycle, etc.

I’m really surprised at the 550V. That’s not common as far as I know. Any chance it’s 220? Is it one or three phase?

There are 1 HP motors for way less than 600. I would expect closer to 300 new.

Hi All,

I had photographed the info plate on the motor (attached), maybe the make/model will shed some insight into the 550V. The info reads:
HP 1 / RPM 1750 / Volts 550 / Amps 1.2 / Cyc. 60 / Rise 40 CC.

I have no idea how many phases, but there is a lovely start/stop box, does that tell you anything (photo attached)?
This press was in a commercial shop, mostly used for diecutting until about 3 years ago. The pressman said it was pretty quick, probably faster than what I needed. The main - or only - reason we have to change the motor is that it cannot be re-wired or converted to 110 or 220 V.

Typenut tells me that I have an adjustable pulley for a V Belt. As John Henry mentioned, perhaps we can attach that to a motor which will run on 110V.

So far, I’ve been speaking with the repairman and electrician over the phone, using the info from you guys. I’m hoping that once they actually see everything, it will all fall into place.

Then we need a new belt. The current (no longer usable) belt is 5/8” wide and is stamped Three Stars and B144.

After that, a good cleaning, and we should be up and running!

image: press.jpg


image: box.jpg


image: motor.jpg


Google tells me that 550VAC three phase is a thing that exists North of the border. I was hoping for your sake that you’d read it wrong. You need a new motor.

Where is your drive pulley on the press? I thought it would be opposite the fly wheel.

Regardless, you should be able to replace that motor for a few hundred dollars. Something between 1 and 1.5 HP, 110 VAC will do. The variable speed pulley is nice, but if it doesn’t work out, a fixed pulley will work just fine.

Odds are, your new motor will still spin at 1725 RPM. If you want it slower than it used to be, you should get a smaller drive pulley (on the motor), or a larger driven pulley (on the press). The math for impressions per minute is fairly simple. Take your RPM, multiply by your pulley ratio, and divide by 8 for the 8 revolutions per impression. The pulley ratio is the diameter of the drive pulley divided by the diameter of the driven pulley.

There are people on this site that know more about this than I do. Search the archives, consider getting a variable speed drive, etc. etc. Try to find someone in your area who has done this before. Good luck. And let us know how it goes….My 14.5x22 is treadle driven at the moment….I may want a motor someday.

Thanks Luke. I was hoping someone would tell me where the drive pulley on the press is! I looked all around the press, but it’s not obvious to me (but what do I know, right?) Anyway, one quick call to the former pressman and we’ll find out.

Will keep you posted!

Michelle — this press has no drive pulley. It was run off the flywheel. You have a variable speed drive already — it works by changing the diameter of the drive pulley v. the driven pulley, ie, the flywheel. You do need to change out the motor, but you do not need an elaborate speed controller — you’ve got one already that is adequate (and I wish was still available). A standard “v” belt that mates with your pulley speed controller will work fine on the flywheel to run the press… a flat belt is not needed if the the tension is correct and you use a little belt dressing. To determine the length either use a tape to measure the installation or bring the center to center distance from the two pulleys and the diameters of same to your local belt shop and they can calculate it. A one horse motor should be more than adequate, but you will have to give the press a shove to start it (top of the flywheel AWAY from you).
Keep your fingers out of the way… this thing is a beast…

Put in a call to the former pressman and yes, the belt runs off the flywheel.

So, we’ve got a variable speed drive pulley, a base (?) with a crank that allows the motor to move in and out (you can see a side view of the wheel crank on the bottom left of photo motor2.jpg), and now we just need to swap out the motor for one that runs on 220V (this is non-negotiable according to all sources, we have no choice but to change the motor, but I knew this before I purchased the press and factored it into the overall price).

The electrician took the motor with him this morning to find a motor that is compatible with the shaft/pulley.

The consensus between repairman/electrician/pressman is that in order to equal the 1 HP/550V of the current motor, we need to step it up to 2 HP with a 220V.

Will continue to update so that others can benefit from this information!

Power = Voltage * Amperage.

You will increase your current draw by dropping the voltage, but you don’t need to increase the power. There’s no harm in it, except for the cost, but I think your repairman/electrician/pressman are mistaken.

More news!

The “motor specialist” explained that 1 HP in 1950 is not the same as 1 HP today (it made sense to me as he was talking). He said he always recommends a little more horsepower so that we get the right amount of TORQUE and avoid burning out the motor.

For those who are interested in knowing, he also said exchanging/reconfiguring the current motor would cost more than twice as much as a new motor.

We’re looking at a new 1.5 HP/ 220 V motor for $495 CAN + tax plus another $32 for two little brackets to attach the new motor to the current base.

Hi All,

Thought I would post an update for others who are clueless about motorizing a press - or for Luke who may want to motorize his press one day. Funny, when I read over the comments above, everything now makes perfect sense.

I purchased a new 1.5 HP / 220 V motor for $495 CAN, including the two brackets to attach the motor to the current base. A 3-phase motor of the same HP was about $100 more, as was a 2 HP motor. The motor salesperson was confident that 1.5 HP was just right, and sure enough the flywheel starts up with no effort (whew!) We don’t need a 3-phase motor because we installed all new electrical (opposed to working with something that was already there).

For those learning about motors, it is important to know that the HP of current motors is not equivalent to motors made pre-1950 (or thereabouts). We actually brought the old motor into the shop and from there it was easy to determine what motor was needed. We were also advised not to buy a used motor, as it may burn out from the effort right from the get go (seems that motors get used to working at the same level).

The motor shop graciously attached the clutch from the old motor onto the new motor, and the electrician attached the whole thing to the existing base.

The old belt (B144 - that number indicates the belt width and length) was too long as my press is closer to the wall than it was in the previous shop. We tried a couple of sizes, because the former pressman had given me some extra belts he had on hand, and ended up with a GB135.

With the belt very close to the pulley, the press runs quite slow (perfect for a beginner). I can see me speeding it up with some good practice though (it’s that slow).

We also used the old start/stop box, but attached it to a 3 x 4 under the delivery board. We talked about an emergency button (which my colleague here in Montreal uses), but in the end the electrician thought it might not be good for the motor with all the starts and stops during set-up.

For a beginner, I have a decent grasp of all the various aspects of letterpress printing (having stood on the sidelines for years with a huge desire to dig in myself), but I could not have tackled the electrical component without the sage advice of the journeymen here, my rock-star electrician and a very helpful motor salesperson.

Thanks again!

Glad to hear that you are up and running.
Now get some ink on your shirt.
To say that 1HP today is not the same as 1HP in 1950 is incorrect. 1HP is 1HP just as 110volts today is the same as 110 volts in 1950.
What may be correct is that they aren’t building them like they used to. Normally with cars and such, that is good. With some things it is not good as the older machines were stronger. Torque, and particularly starting torque is very important. The older motors may have been more rugged and had better starting torque. The old 1HP horse would have some difficulty in starting the iron, but could keep it going once started.
When you start the press, give the flywheel a push to help the motor start the iron