Windmill impression lever

I need some help, letterpress friends!

I was printing on my 10x15 Heidelberg windmill today and everything was as usual. I pulled some prints, stopped to check them, and when I ran the press again, the impression lever pushed itself out on it’s own (turning the impression on). I pushed it back in and reset. But now if I’m running with or without paper, the red ball lever activates the impression after one revolution. That’s usually my decision!

Anyone have a guess what’s going on? I’ve never had this happen in the 8 years I’ve had it. I’m guessing this is not good. Thanks in advance!

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Really strange!!! Did you check the sher kolar for damage??

Check the spring, it is on page 98 of the parts manual
if you don’t have the manual i think it is at boxcar press for free download
I can’t post because mine is a pdf

Check the spring, it is on page 98 of the parts manual. You can see it from the hole on the pump side of the press

I am trying to upload image

image: Impression throw off from heidelberg-10x15-parts copy.png

Impression throw off from heidelberg-10x15-parts copy.png

@donprints Thank you! I bet that’s what it is. It feels like the impression lever is disconnected now.

The plot thickens… I went poking around the pump side of the press to see the spring inside. The small hole toward the bottom is full of old oily paper and metal type. I guess it’s everything that’s fallen inside the press over the decades in its previous life at a print shop. It’s packed in there really tight and is hard to grab because of the oil. I’ve been pulling it out – there’s so much. It’s shocking and should be cleaned out even if it’s not related to the impression lever spring. See photo.

Is that the hole you were referring to? Or do you know if I can view the Throw Off Impression Lever from somewhere else? I’ve never had to really go inside the press before.

@Nipi, I’m going to check the shearing collar too just to be safe.

Thanks again, much appreciated.

image: pressone.jpg


Which ever hole you can get into with an inspection mirror and flashlight (I used a thin LED one) and a pair of long bent needle nose pliers ( Available at Harbor Freight Cheap) Clean out all the debris and I bet one of the round ends broke off the spring or came disconnected from all the crap in there. unless you jammed the press up and it stopped I wouldn’t worry about the shear collar

while your down there I bet you find a couple oiling points you never new were there. By your picture it looks like you don’t oil enough, my drip pan is full of oil. I have rolled up newspapers along the sides of the press to soak it up :) there is never too much oil for these beasts

You can get to a lot of the debris through the rear hatch and shine a bright light in through there also. Make sure your wearing gloves while reaching in there. you will probably find a bunch of dropped razor blades from make ready down there.
Good Luck, It was A Pain In My Ass but it could always be worse, that is something you don’t need a tech for.

If spring is broken take it to your local well stocked hardware store an come as close as you can to match it. Buying any Heidelberg part is expensive. my hardware store replacement spring has worked for over 5 years now

@donprints, you’re amazing! Thank you for all the info. I’m going to get in there and see what happens. I just can’t believe all this has been inside the press and I had no idea.

If you haven’t found it yet
You might want to call Whittenburg, Inc - (615) 212-0015
tell them your problem,and order the spring part T 1710 And ask them how to replace it. They might have an easier solution by removing something else to get to it

Also look up post on briar press:
Detached spring in 1953 windmill
It looks like he removed something just left of the pump
and has a couple pictures of the spring hanging right in font it.
Hope this helps make it easier. But Whittenburg would be the people to ask

I opened the circular cleanout plate on the air pump side. Now I have a little better idea of what’s going on with the Impression Rod, along with the junk that I’ve been cleaning out.

It seems like the spring is attached properly, but the Impression Rod might be detached or moved? When I first looked into the smaller hole at the bottom with all the old paper I couldn’t see the end of the Impression Rod, but now I can clearly see the hexagon bolt and split pin. I’m comparing what I can see to the Heidelberg Parts Book. It’s helping but it’s hard to know where these parts are supposed to be when they’re in the correct position.

The press is stuck with the impression on now. I’m not able to push the lever back in completely. Has anyone seen this before?

Attached are some photos of what I can see with the press open and closed.

Thanks in advance.

image: pressinside2.jpg


image: pressinside1.jpg


Did you maybe get more trash up near the end or anywhere where the end connects?
There was another post at one time (I haven’t found it yet) and it pushed the impression bar back because of some jammed paper in the works.
Have someone slowly turn press over and maybe a third person pushing the bar in and out while you watch, it might just be another wad of paper

I made some progress! I think the issue was the central lubrication system, which made the impression rod jam up or freeze. I’ve always oiled and pumped the back lubrication system, oil would go down slowly but there wasn’t a ton of back pressure, but I would feel resistance so I thought that was normal.

Now that I’ve been messing with it, I can feel a lot of resistance and I’m seeing oil come out through areas of the press where it never has before. It felt like there was a blockage or air bubbles in the lubrication system. Pulling the lever felt different than it usually had. So I just kept working it until there was progress and I could tell the minute the blockage moved because the oil went down so fast and I had to keep filling it. Then the impression rod slowly loosened.

That combined with all the paper in the base that may have been pushing on the impression rod. But now both of those issues are cleared up and I’m able to print. Thank goodness.

Now I’m just worried there’s more parts that haven’t been getting enough oil. Most of the color indicators on my press have rubbed off. So I follow the philosophy “if it moves, it needs oil”, because I know how important oiling is. But I may be missing parts on the inside or if they are hard to see. Now I’m searching the internet to see if there’s a list of all the parts to oil.

@donprints Yeah, there was so much trash in that area. I pulled out several mounds of tightly stacked paper, along with type, furniture, roller trucks, bolts, clips – some real treasures. Although it was neat to see some of the old projects that were printed on this press before I had it.

Thank you so much for your knowledge and time. This online community is amazing and maybe this post will help someone else in the future.

Crawl and look around that press carefully, there are oil holes all over the place, there are a lot hidden behind the flywheel also. Do you have the oil pump for the nozzles that look like grease fittings? DO NOT PUT GREASE IN THEM!!
If someone has put grease in them fill the oil pump with 10W30 weight oil and pump them full of oil to wash out the grease. and after a while (a few weeks) switch to 50 weight racing oil.
On all the rest of the holes I use a oil gun with 50 weight racing oil.The racing oil contains zinc to cushion shock, like on the crankshaft bearings. Use that in your central lubrication pump also,
Open the back hatch and make sure the red oil cups are nice and wet. When you have a quart of oil run into your drip tray around the press then you are well lubed!
I roll old newspapers up and put around the base of the press to absorb the oil and change them every week or 2
That press will drink a lot of oil better to much than not enough. your drip tray is there to collect all that oil you should be using. Hope this helps, Happy Oiling