Vandercook SP15 Help

Hi All,

So I have just started messing around with my “new” Vandercook SP15. I found that it was inking on the drum when I spin it back after my print. I did some digging and am guessing it is because my press is missing the 4 nylon wheels that go on the press? If this is correct, does anyone have them I could buy from you or know where I can find some?

If this isn’t correct, does anyone know what is wrong with the press haha.

Thanks for your help!

Log in to reply   7 replies so far

You definitely will need those four nylon rollers- they actuate the trip mechanism. I’d guess that NA Graphics has them in stock. You might want to order a manual for your press at the same time.

Check out the Vanderblog if you are troubleshooting a Vandercook problem. There’s a lot of good info in the archives and there are knowledgeable people waiting ready to answer your technical questions.


Sounds like the press is not going into trip mode on the return trip. If you are not taking it all the way to the right before starting back to the left, it won’t self-switch to trip mode. You might test the mechanism by manually switching from trip mode to trip mode to see if the linkage is working correctly.

I agree with Dan, you should post on Vanderblog. there is great Vandercook help there.

LD (make that letterpress granddad now!)


Not sure what you mean by “inking on the drum.” The drum is an ink reservoir as well as the driver of the ink rollers. It supplies ink to the roller train. The rear inking roller is supposed to be in contact with it. ?!?!?!

Regarding the nylon wheels. Are these the side wheels that control trip/print or are these the wheels that hold the inking roller platform on the later models?


The ink drum should not be inking the cylinder, if that is what is being described. With or without the nylon wheels the cylinder (of an SP specifically, not other models) should be in the lower print position at the feedboard, not in higher trip position. The ink drum should be deflected downward as the cylinder passes over it so there is no ink transfer. I forget the exact mechanism on an SP-15, but on the SP-20 there were flanges that pushed against the cylinder undercut for a short drop.

too much carriage cylinder packing can rub against the ink drum in the framework. If you have an old press it is also worth double checking the ink drum is sitting in its bearings properly, as these wear the drum will lower, so set these right then adjust cylinder tympan/packing, I spent ages finding the absolute limit of the cylinder tympan/packing I could put on ‘cos even a thick layer of ink on the drum made a difference and got onto the packing.


you need to clarify what is being inked incorrectly. When i responded, i assumed that the cylinder was being inked altho you called it the drum. You described it as: “when I spin it back after my print.” You would be spinning back the cylinder not the drum. The ink drum has ink on it all the time (when in use)


Hi All,

Sorry for all the confusion. I am used to platen printing so the Vandercook is my new beast I must tackle!

When I said “drum” I really meant Cylinder… (sorry, the word cylinder eluded me at the time I made the post!!) However, I have found that my press actually has the nylon wheels and just needed some oil (it was previously in a basement for a very long time) and is now tripping as it should.

Basically it wasn’t tripping because I wasn’t rolling it far enough (because it would stop due to no oil on the press) I thought the stopping was normal. However, after exchanging photos with some people offline and doing some more digging/tinkering of my own I found the issue and learned a lot in the process.

It prints great now and trips just fine! I changed all the packing and tympan, did some cleaning, and it’s a beauty.

Thank you all for the advice and sorry again for the confusion.