Fixing the rails on C&P 10x15 New Style Press

Hi all!

So, I’ve had this press for a while now (around 1 and a half years). I bought it from Meredith of The Clandestine Press and had grand visions of taking it home and pressing straight away. I was 3 months pregnant, and life got in the way. Now my son is 13 months and I want to finally get printing on this beautiful machine.

My main issue is the rails are very worn and I have zero idea on how to fix them, or what the best way to do it is. I got in contact with Lee Engdahl who very sweetly sent me an email with how he would fix them but it’s all going right over my head. My husband is a carpenter though, so he’s used to problem-solving, we just need an idea on what tools and materials we would need. I’m also willing to pay someone to come fix it in the Bay Area if that’s easiest.

It is also missing the spring that gives tension to the chase hook. Does anyone know how to get hold of one of these, or what could be used well enough to work in place of the original part?

Attaching pictures of the wear and tear on the rails and hoping someone can help this pining letterpresser get back to inking up the plate!

I can’t seem to upload the images, so here Dropbox links to them:

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make sure you set you set camera settings to lowest resolution. when using a title, no gaps or spaces. use .jpg

@ericm I did that and it still wasn’t working, so I’ve just added a Dropbox link to the images for the time being.

I would think a wood worker friend could take a NEW metal file and smooth those out. adjust rail rail height after. nice and and easy…..

I don’t think rails are adjustable or removable on those, if they were it would be easy. Not a job for a woodworker, you need a machinist involved. I would think milling (or equivalent hand process) down to straight, then adding a piece to bring back up to height -maybe by flush screws or pins or such. You might try adding type high bearers to the chase, outside the printing area, see if that works first.

Type high bearers inside the chase are the simplest and cheapest way to solve the problem with the bed bearers. I frequently use 24 solid rule. I round the ends of the rule a bit so the rollers don’t hit a sharp corner.
I think I might have a chase hook spring on one of my parts presses. Bear with me for a day to two while I search.

You could probably co-opt a spring to work on the chase hook. The one on my 10x15 isn’t all that strong as it’s not actually holding itself against any real pressure, it’s just stopping the chase falling out.

That type of wear on your runners is something I’ve not seen before though, but like scottbaldwin says the type-high bearers might be the simplest thing as if they’re wide enought they’ll ensure the rollers turn at the correct speed. Grinding down the runners just horrifies me.

There’s a saying in industry which says, “if you can’t measure it, you can’t control it.” I would say that the first thing you need to do is measure the rails and see how bad they are before trying to come up with a solution.

The rails are supposed to be type high (.918”). So first put some type high reference points at the top and bottom of each rail. To do this, have your husband hold a large type high metal letter (or other item that you know is type high), in the top right and left corners of the bed. Then hold a straight edge across them which extends out over each rail (if you don’t have a metal ruler long enough you can use a level). Then you can see how low the rails are at that point by seeing how much room there is between the rail and the straight edge. Build up the rails under the straight edge with about 3/4” squares of different thickness tapes as necessary, until the rails with the tape touch the straight edge. (3M electrical tape is .006” thick, heavy duty 3M tape is .0085 and Scotch tape is thinner [maybe about .003, I can’t remember offhand]). Do this on both the right and left upper corners

Do that same thing on the lower corners of the rails as well. Now you have correct rail height references at all 4 corners of the bed and you can now, by putting your straight edge across the upper and lower tape references on each rail, see actually how uneven the rails are.

If you are only going to use the press occasionally, you can build up the rails with electrical tape until the tape touches the straight edge all the way along each rail. If there are severely “dished” places, you may have to build them up in concentric layers like the contour lines on a topographical map.Be sure to clean the rails well with a good, fast drying solvent first, because if there is any oil on them, the tape won’t stick.

Years ago I used masking tape, and more recently I have used electrical tape, and they both lasted for years with light use. I did do some reasonably long runs with it, like in the 500 to 2000 impression range. This weekend actually, I have to do a run of about 500 on the press which has electrical tape on it, and that tape is at least 5 years old.

It is best to make the top layer of tape go from the upper back side of the rail, all the way down and around to the lower back side, so the roller trucks don’t hit any of the upper and lower edges of the tape.

McMaster-Carr has springs

I ordered the Spring-Tempered Steel Compression Spring 36” Length, .5” OD, .063” Wire Diameter and they worked well for my C&P 8x12 OS
Good luck with your bearers
Whistle Pig Press

There IS a carpenter’s solution to the problem: make a wooden jig to hold a good flat carborundum stone just at the height of the lowest spot on the rails, parallel to the bed and projecting over the tracks, then carefully hone down everything higher. Trying to even out those rippled tracks with tape will be an exercise in frustration, especially if you will be printing from photopolymer plates. They require much more precision than a metal type form does.
I never consider tape a permanent installation, but then I switch between metal and photopolymer, or combine them, and am often stripping and reapplying tape for specific circumstances. Depending how low these are, a permanent undermetal layer with a thinner tape layer above could be the answer. A problem with multiple layers of tape is that if the upper layer gets damaged, say from swinging a chase into it, it may be hard to strip off just the damaged layer for replacement. I generally alternate between .003” clear tape and .005” white drafting tape so I can see the different strata.

Would firstly like to say a big thank you to everyone throwing out suggestions and links.

So it’s looking like roller bearers are my interim solution if I don’t want to go about fixing the rails, but then I’m losing some valuable space inside the chase, correct? Also, I’m not having much luck finding any online.

I’ll have to get my husband to have a read over some of these solutions as it’s all still going over my head (I think it’s mainly because I am not 100% on all the terminology). I might potentially be having Inky come and look at it on Sunday as we live very close.

parallel_imp’s suggestion - if you want to go that far - isn’t bad. The only change I’d make is have a jig that is aligned to the back of the bed, not the lowest part of the rails. That way you’d be able to make sure that both rails are honed down to the same level and are flat.

Then all you’d need is the same thickness tape down the rails and you’d be set.

Sorry if my jig suggestion was not clear: the jig is held against the bed as reference point.

right. ev thing needs to reference off the bed. that is where your forme sits.
I am Very Naive to all these other presses out there. i do small one color on my 12x18 Kluge, and windmill, plus numbering. Nothing multi-pass and self designed the way some here do. I find it intriguing, and have much to learn when it comes to ink.
I am however, here, just looking at mechanical solutions, to a mechanical problem, Are expandable trucks an option if too much is taken down off the rails?
Or, maybe mill a base down to match the rails?

I’d suggest you talk to a machinist before ever attempting to hone down rails yourself- You might find it harder than you think to keep the tolerances, and could make it worse than it is.

It Ain`t Rocket Science, and the following has been published before, (Author and others!! U.K.& U.S.) problem permanently solved by manufacturing Stainless Steel Slippers to sit atop the rails, instead of the incessant *TAPE the RAILS* etc., etc.,
Principle *borrowed* from U.K. Arab Platen >with leather slippers<

Originally employed, at least 45 Yrs. since on the Haddon Swift treadle Platen, still in use now, with original D.I.Y. slippers.
M.H. 10/10/`18

If rails are taken very low, changing diameter of trucks is not the solution (and with Morgan trucks, over-expansion = eccentricity). It will just cause roller slur, especially if photopolymer is involved. Must build up rails, and yes, metal is better than multiple layers of anything else, though the thicker nylon tape NA sells is a good element. But no treatment solves the problem if the rails aren’t all at the same base level.
Roller bearers will help with slur, but they won’t do much to raise low rollers, unless the rollers are rock hard.