8x12 C&P roller installation gone awry

First time installing new rollers on an 8x12 C&P. The press was recently motorized by an experienced machinist whose worked on letterpresses before. I have yet to print on this particular machine.

As far as I understand roller installation, a C&P can run with 2-3 rollers that fit into saddles whose tension is regulated by springs. I had an easy enough time getting the rollers into the double saddle but the single saddle’s spring on the R side gave me trouble. I inched the press along (pressing go with the motor in STOP) and the R side was sticking, which made the roller also stick out at weird angles. I took this one out and oiled the double saddle. I inched the press along again to see if any red flags arose before turning the motor on with the top 2 rollers in place. The motor’s speed is only adjustable by changing the placement of the pulley and with the current setting it runs at a good clip, nothing wild.

I turned the motor on and within seconds both of my precious newly covered rollers had were flung from press, narrowly escaping a crushing death. How is this possible?

After inspecting them for damage, I replaced them to inch along to see if I could glean any info and the only thing I can see is they jump when they reach the rails’ highest point and make a loud noise because of it.

Do I need to replace the saddle springs? If so, how?
Any other ideas on what I can do to keep my rollers in place & safe?

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You might try getting some video on youtube to illustrate.

I would only advance the press by hand until a solution is found. Damage is one thing… injury is another.

Sometimes the cotter pin that holds the spring in place will rub or the spring will bulge and start rubbing against the inside or outside (is this NS or OS?) holding the shaft with the saddle in place. There’s a few parts on the casting that it likes to get caught on. When this happens the bottom roller will roll out of the saddle on one side - once it’s out it sets off a chain reaction and they all go flying. If this is the case I guess it’s NS because otherwise you’d see it happening.

bstuparyk - Its old style, circa 1904

You are fortunately located among a number of letterpress printers who could help you out, especially ones with experience. I count 31 other letterpress individuals or companies in your city who you could tap into. Someone with practical press experience needs to visit your shop and see what’s going on—flying rollers are dangerous and indicates something may really be wrong.

You don’t mention the roller trucks. Are they installed properly at the ends of the rollers? If they have some burrs and are riding against the saddles, they could cause some problems.

It does seem like the problem most likely could be the shaft which rides inside the springs on either side. There could be some rough spots or rust on the shaft that is hanging up, but it should do the same when just rolling the press over by hand.

The roller trucks are the correct size and installed correctly, locking into the cores before being seated in the saddles.

A wonderful gentleman came out to look at the press this morning and yes indeed, the shafts which house the rollers were rough, rusty and mucked up. I’m taking the steps to remove the springs and clean them, inside the shafts, the saddles & the bearings and once they’re all reassembled & greased, that should hopefully do the trick.

Thank you all for your feedback!

Glad to hear you’ve traced down the source of your problem — one note: use oil on those shafts, not grease.