Ludlow - problem ejecting slug after cut

We seem to be having a problem with our Ludlow. I’ve tried a couple of things to attempt to fix it but haven’t seem to find the right combination of begging, pleading, and praying to make it work correctly again.

The problem is that the machine seems to go through all the steps of casting a slug just fine, including cutting it, but seems to have a problem when it comes to moving the whole sled forward to deliver the slug to the ejection chute. Because of those problems, it just breaks the key and stops dead in its tracks.

We lift the lid and can take the cast/cut slug out and use it no problem. There doesn’t seem to be anything obstructing the exit, and I’ve removed and cleaned the flanges that guide the slug into the slot (it felt like something was catching when the slug was leaning slightly to the right).

Replacing the key (and removing the pins that connect the arm to the cylinder in the pot) I can manually roll the system all the way through a cycle of casting, cutting, and delivering a slug. I feel more tension on the belt as I run it through the phase where the sled slides forward to deliver the cut slug to the ejection slot, but it goes just fine when I do it manually. This extra tension is obviously enough to break the key when rolling through the cycle in normal service, however.

I thought that maybe I just needed to add extra oil but was afraid to add it directly anywhere, so have topped off the pots a few times. (Usually do this once a week.) A friend pointed out the two holes on the actual sled portion which read “oil” which I hadn’t noticed and had neglected to oil for several months. I’ve added some to these but it hasn’t seemed to improve the results.

And I’ve done the Hail Mary and cleaned the cylinder in the pot a few times just for good measure even though we aren’t using it regularly since it stopped working.

Any suggestions or questions you might have would be desperately welcome. Thanks in advance!

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Hi JhBaker!

I had the exact same problem on my Ludlow about three years ago. I had a friend from the International Print Museum come over and fix it, but I don’t remember what he did… so I called him and he suggested these possible fixes:

1) Dirty plunger - make sure your plunger is clean. When you mentioned that you cleaned the cylinder, I wasn’t sure if you meant the plunger.

2) Casting mold is not making solid slugs - get some Lubriclean (black oil) and a popsicle stick, use the popsicle stick and apply the Lubriclean inside the mold, and cast three or four blank slugs. (I don’t know where I got mine since I’ve had enough supply to last 25 years, but I think Don Black carries it).

3) Water - maybe a broken hose or no pressure circulating your water.

And, as your friend pointed out, make sure that your Ludlow is well oiled.

I sincerely hopes this helps, keep us posted. If that doesn’t work, send me a message and I’ll ask my friend for other suggestions. I’m in California if that means anything. Best of luck!

Clean everything that moves, Lightly oil. But too much oil will attract dust and can usually gum things up.
timing is everything with these.

Could be that some springs are wore out. They will cause timing and delivery issues.

If you plan on using this machine, I’d call and make an appt. for Dave Seat to come tune it up. He can also tell you hot to take care of it and even show you.

Well worth the investment. He even gives advise over the phone.

Best of luck!

I would get myself Jim Parrish’s Ludlow Troubleshooting Guide. I have found it, along with the manual, invaluable. You can order it from Dave Seat. It has got me up and running a number of times and always offers the easiest possible solution first followed by other possibilities —- and with luck, the easiest solution works…..good luck…..db

The bronze ejection arm can become torqued and bent, causing the slug to not be properly delivered to the delivery tray. Without a drawing of the proper shape of the arm, it is difficult to know which way it should be bent to return to proper operation.

Another touchy part of the delivery scheme are the two slug holder “wings” which hold the slug on their tops after ejection from the mold, but before the slug is brought forward by the ejection arm. If the action of these and their springs is not exactly correct, the slug can slip and not be in position for ejection to the tray.

Also, make certain the slug support pad (under the ejection arm is in good condition, and not snagging the face of the slug, forcing it to not properly eject.

As mentioned before, by David Brewer, the book by Parrish (available from Dave Seat’s Hot Metal Services is a “must have” for anyone trying to troubleshoot their own Ludlow operation.

John Henry

Wow. Thank you so much for all of the excellent answers.

I will get ahold of Dave and order a copy of the Jim Parrish book ASAP.

As far as water levels are concerned, how would I go about checking them easily? I haven’t seen any liquid leaking from the system — should we be adding water regularly regardless?

I will also take a look at the bronze ejection arm. To see if I can detect any damage there.

Sorry, that was me naively asking before I even looked at it.

I’d never noticed the fluid level gauge on the water cooling unit just because of how the whole setup is oriented in our garage. It looks like it might be empty (!?) but I can’t figure out how to refill it.

I’m unscrewing panels on the sides in an attempt to get into it.

Here’s where we are.

Any suggestions regarding how to fill it and what to fill it with would be greatly appreciated! ;)

image: IMG_5876.JPG


image: IMG_5875.JPG


Hi JhBaker,

I don’t have this type of Ludlow, but I’ll forward these photos to my buddy and see if he has an answer for you.

I’ll try to get an answer by tomorrow.

What’s the model number?

If that is the factory chiller, I’d use water with RV anti-freeze in it (for rust inhibitors).

From the desk of our “Well Versed” *Ludlow* Owner, User, Mechanic, etc., U.K… ELROD ANDY quoted.>verbatim<. . Look up part 661A,-Delivery arm cam, out of alignment, & part 6621Z2 Delivery arm cam spring, ? Quote either the spring is broken or the cam is out of alignment, either will break the shear pin. ! … End of third party Quote.


Authors own take, based ONLY on long associaton with *Closed circuit Cooling Systems* on Monotype installations.

Because the size of the Piping and the waterways in the Moulds of Monotype machines, was /is very small 1/8”, inner bore at best, (rather than running from the mains water supply AND to waste) where humanly possible and practical Closed Circuit was/is used, and with normally only 10 Gallon capacity, for medium sized Plants, cooling was essential and factored in, but always with a solution of Distilled Water OR De-ionised water, but ALWAYS with Sodium Chromate Salts, to prohibit Rust within the water jacket of the Monotype Moulds and The base of the Monotype itself.

Re Antifreeze.

As implied above M. F. M. ! only once did We run with the closed circuit outside the Unit/workshop, i.e. small cabinet with the Power and Piping through the wall (compressor and closed circuit unit) switched from inside, no warning lamps etc. learned the hard way, re anti-freeze, although the *Hard Way* is never forgotten.

Piping &Pump frozen, ! Burnt the pump Motor out.

Hi guys,

Sorry for the radio silence. I’ve been out of commission with a cold the last few days.

Mick, I’m not sure I understand from your post — are you confirming the need to run a mixture with antifreeze? Or saying that running with a mixture of antifreeze froze your piping and pump and burnt out the pump motor?

Any suggestions re: what proportions to mix the distilled water with antifreeze? Just a 1:1 solution?

Is the Ludlow a model “M”? If it is, with a refrigeration unit, there should be a small plug to put in water. Distilled water, 50/50 antifreeze if you’re running this in very cold weather.

(I tried to zoom in on the photo, couldn’t make it out).

Also, as stated by Mr. Bell in an earlier post, call Dave Seat!

J h B, Sir, apologies for confusing the issue !
My apprenticeship was from `54 - `60, so from 2/3 different sources was made aware of the desire-ability of closed circuit for the *Monotype* including the Rust Inhibitor solution.

Mid 70,s - Mid 80,s ended up in Farm Building workshop, with limited space, hence the (mono) Compressor and the Closed Circuit were in the obligatory, modified, Chicken Coop, with NO insulation? (normally no problem in S.E. U.K.)

Once every 6 - 7 years, or so,we get a cold snap, where antifreeze SHOULD have been added, would You like to hazard 3 guess,s.?? or even 1.!
The exposed sections of the piping, flow & return, froze up, taking out the motor… Again apologies. Mick.

*Perhaps the Sodium Chromate would have Fought the Antifreeze anyway, here U.K. Antifreeze in Auto,s is notorious for finding LEAKS in closed circuit cooling systems.*

Hi JhBaker
Have you fixed the problem with the shear pin?

Hi there!

Craig at Don Black Linecasting suggested that it might be the plate and rivet on the delivery slide that is broken and suggested that the best way to see what’s going on in there is to cast a slug and turn off the Ludlow just after the stick is released by the machine (brilliant suggestion!) and then crank the machine through the rest of the cycle manually.

Here are videos showing what the inside machinery looks like as we manually crank it through the second half of the cycle.

Again, weirdly, it doesn’t break the key/shear pin if we crank it by hand through these last phases, but will break the key if it’s being run at full speed.

We also noted an increase in the tension in the belt/wheel as it goes through the process of pushing up the cast slug out of the neck/mold.

First run:

Looks fine to me
If you can do as Craig suggests then with the lid up start to video and then run the machine under power but try and get the whole ejector slide in the video not just the line support then we can see where the problem is.

Also when was the last time you used the machine before this started happening, I did notice you machine is very clean not a drop of oil anywhere? I’d start by oiling the machine its not a pocket watch give it a good drink!!

Remember its part of the printing stable and like all things printing it likes to overdose on drink!! Including the operators.

Thanks for the feedback, guys. I do oil it regularly — all the pots and the holes marked “Oil” at least.

It appears the problem all comes down to cooling at the form/neck. Again, I have no idea what happened to the coolant in the system — we have seen no drips/drop/leaks, but the coolant was completely gone from the factory cooling pump.

Filled the external pump with a mix of distilled water and 50/50 antifreeze and still had the problem. Finally disconnected hoses from the cooling block / 6pt neck and found that though coolant was successfully coming up into the system, it is apparently not going through that piece (i.e. disconnecting the hose from the return results in no coolant coming out the other side).

My assumption is that lack of cooling at the neck results in the slugs being difficult to eject from the form and tension in the system at that step, which allows the key/shear pin to break and stops the system in its tracks.

I’m in the process of swapping out that neck piece for another 6pt neck that we have here but am wondering if anyone has suggestions for how to dissolve whatever is gunking up the interior of that piece. My assumption is that the coolant dried / crystallized and is preventing circulation through that part but I figure that there should be something that could dissolve / make that material soluble again without harming the form.

Any suggestions?

If you are not getting coolant flow through the mold (that’s the actual name of the part you have called the “neck”), you can try to remove the mold, drain what coolant it in there, and replace it with vinegar, placing in the position with the two tubes standing straight up overnight. In the morning, drain the vinegar and flush out under a faucet with water. You should be able to blow air through one tube and have it exit from the other as a test. If this is plugged, it is possible that this is a part of your problem. Try to avoid getting vinegar ion the polished portions of the mold, as it could slightly etch them.

Do you have a 12pt. mold with the machine? If so, you might find it less problematic to begin with.

It occurs to me that the ejector blade (under the mold) may be incorrectly positioned do that it is rubbing on the side of the mold, causing resistance that could stall the machine. I don’t think you can get it in backward, but it might not be firmly attached or something.

I will say that once you get the machine up and running, you’ll probably have many months of trouble-free operation, as mine has been (for the most part) a very fine-running machine for many years (with occasional hiatus).

John Henry

Thanks for the encouragement, John. I’ll try the vinegar tonight.

We went so far as to buy a second machine just so that we would have some redundancy in case we’re ever out of commission like this again. The new machine came with a 12 point mold installed and a 6 point mold as an extra piece. I’ve swapped that one in for now while I try to remediate the one that was previously installed.

Also, if I should be oiling any other parts of the machine besides the pots and holes marked “Oil”, I’d love pointers. I just didn’t want to be dumping oil randomly about the machine because I know that dirt in our shop environment will invariably end up stuck to it. It’s a bit of a tightrope we walk between keeping things lubricated and keeping them clean. ;)

J h B, perhaps look up >Cylinder Block de-contaminates<
Well represented, Stateside, although aimed originally at the *Big Boys,s* with their Big Block, Chevrolet engines etc.,

We have used U.K. equivalent, chemical solutions, on Monotype Machines, in the past, especially when sending moulds back to Monotype for Factory decontamination became Very Expensive.

Generally the piping across the M/ gradually reducing Copper pipe, but the Moulds proper are at best 1/8” bore. Hence the above measures,! Frowned on by Monotype of course.??