remove rollers to clean them?

I am curious if printers remove the rollers to clean them. I just got a new set of three for my C&P and want to take care of them. It seems that removing them would allow better access to them - It’s a bit of a pain reaching out to them and around the others while cleaning one. Or is that the way its done? I’ve been devising a cut-in-half large PVC pipe with ends capped and trunions to hold the core shafts. Then I can fill the PVC pipe with mineral spirits, give the roller a scrub with a soft brush, wipe down and install back in the press.One the other hand, removing rollers isn’t that fun either!

Is this way overkill? Seems like I’m missing a complete cleaning with the rollers still in the press.

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Here is the cleaning procedure from a 1950’s high school text book.

image: cleanup.jpg


The method above is basically what I do except I don’t dab the ink disc and rollers to soften the ink. I run the rollers up onto the disk and then pour out, from the valve top can, just a little press wash slightly above the top roller (not enough to drip off the disk or the rollers). Then I manually cycle the press several times, revolving the disk by hand more than usual, and the press wash softens the ink without the use of a cloth. Then I run the rollers up on the disk. I make a pad of the cleaning cloth in my hand, being careful that all the edges and corners of the cloth are tucked in and none are sticking out where they can get caught on anything. I put a little press wash on the cloth. Then I do as described above, wipe the disk below the rollers, and wipe all the rollers as they come off the disk at the bottom. I do this part probably 3 or 4 times to be sure all the ink is removed. I also wipe the edges of the disk.

Following are a few safety tips which come to mind, but not the only ones you should be following. When operating or cleaning a press, remove all rings and jewelry, do not wear loose fitting clothing, tie up long hair, and before you do anything at all, get in the habit of asking yourself, “is what I am about to do, the safest way possible?” And if it isn’t the safest way, don’t do it that way. (I learned the latter point during my 4 years in the US Air Force, and it has served me well in my 76 years of life. Despite having a career in printing, I still have all my fingers, hands, etc.)

My method is close enough to Geoffrey’s as not to matter, it works.

Some shops will leave the rollers on the press (roll them down so they’re not on the ink disk); we store them in wood boxes made hold the shaft ends. And by putting one in at a time, I can give each roller a final wipe-down.

I’ve got a C&P 8x12 and I keep them on. I put a bit of Crisco shortening on the ink disk and let it “ink” up so the ink loosens up. Turning the flywheel by hand (similar to explanation above, but I never let the rollers reach the ink disc) I use a clean rag to wipe off as much as I can, then another rag with only a little mineral spirits on it. Works great for me. This is similar to the way I learned in school, helps reduce the amount of spirits you have to use too.

Thank you everyone! I will try this technique. Seems like the key is to soften / dilute the ink before wiping it off.

As zbang said, I take the rollers off and store them in a wood box supported by the shaft ends, as well. One press I work on is in a building which is not always heated, and this makes it easy to take them to a heated building so they won’t get freezing cold.

This works well for me.
I clean the rollers on the press.
Next I remove them one at a time and thoroughly clean the ends of the rollers and the trucks. Failure to do this will allow ink to get into the ends of the rollers and swell the roller. It will also allow ink to jam the trucks.
Next the rollers go into a box the edges of which have been cut with half moons to support the roller ends.
My belief is that if I do this, the rollers will outlast me.

get some ink on your shirt


I’ve been hesitant to reply, as I think this method is a tad dangerous. But it’s quick and effective. It’s a cleanup method I’ve used on our 12 x 18 C&P. First, start the press, get it up to about 3/4 speed (1,500 iph). Apply some kerosene or press wash from your washup bottle, enough to loosen the ink, but not so much as the rollers start hurling it onto the platen. Apply a little at a time as the rollers approach the top of the ink disk. After the ink is loosened up, take a full-size newspaper sheet and lay it across the ink disk. (ie, a front and back page, folded once, double thickness) You have plenty of time while the rollers are off the disk. Hold the top edge of the newspaper, till the rollers touch the disk, at which time the rollers will roll across the paper, and you let go of the newspaper. As the ink disk rotates, you will need to re-position the newspaper. Repeat 4-5 times. This will remove most of the ink. Stop the press, throw out the newspaper, and wipe down the rollers and ink disk. Make sure your rollers and ink disk are completely dry, apply your next color. No need to remove your rollers, and it’s way cleaner than taking your rollers off to clean them.