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vandercook 15-21 - help needed

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  • Caryl Peters
    I need some help with a Vandercook 15-21 which, until now, has printed from both lead type and photopolymer plates beautifully. Just recently, it s printing
    Message 1 of 12 , Jul 10 12:51 PM
      I need some help with a Vandercook 15-21 which, until now, has
      printed from both lead type and photopolymer plates beautifully.

      Just recently, it's printing many faint copies, some very dark
      copies, and the odd perfect print - randomly spaced. No matter how
      much or how little I ink, the majority of copies are pale grey with
      the odd word here and there much darker. The really dark copies
      feel heavier as the cylinder moves over the plate. The good copies
      are a bit of a surprise and are too few.

      So far, I've played with the adjustable bed - totally cleaned all
      the bearers and rails, etc. - raised the rollers - played with
      moving the plate base around so that I was printing side-to-side or
      upside down. I've changed the packing and played with make-ready
      (something I've never had to do with plates before). Nothing has
      helped. Any ideas?

      Caryl Peters
      Frog Hollow Press
      Victoria, BC
    • Gerald Lange
      Caryl Before going into the mechanics of the press I was wondering what kind of paper you are using? Is it something you might not have used previously? The
      Message 2 of 12 , Jul 10 1:08 PM
        Caryl

        Before going into the mechanics of the press I was wondering what kind
        of paper you are using? Is it something you might not have used
        previously? The only reason I ask is because your description is
        characteristic of handmade paper where the sheets may be thick and
        thin or may have surface variation, end to end or randomly.

        Gerald
        http://BielerPress.blogspot.com



        > I need some help with a Vandercook 15-21 which, until now, has
        > printed from both lead type and photopolymer plates beautifully.
        >
        > Just recently, it's printing many faint copies, some very dark
        > copies, and the odd perfect print - randomly spaced. No matter how
        > much or how little I ink, the majority of copies are pale grey with
        > the odd word here and there much darker. The really dark copies
        > feel heavier as the cylinder moves over the plate. The good copies
        > are a bit of a surprise and are too few.
        >
        > So far, I've played with the adjustable bed - totally cleaned all
        > the bearers and rails, etc. - raised the rollers - played with
        > moving the plate base around so that I was printing side-to-side or
        > upside down. I've changed the packing and played with make-ready
        > (something I've never had to do with plates before). Nothing has
        > helped. Any ideas?
        >
        > Caryl Peters
        > Frog Hollow Press
        > Victoria, BC
        >
      • Caryl Peters
        ... wrote: Gerald, I m using Magnani Biblos, a mould-made paper I ve used for the last few books I ve published - quite a smooth surface - no problems with it
        Message 3 of 12 , Jul 10 1:44 PM
          --- In PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com, "Gerald Lange" <bieler@...>
          wrote:

          Gerald,
          I'm using Magnani Biblos, a mould-made paper I've used for the last
          few books I've published - quite a smooth surface - no problems with
          it before.
          I might mention that a retired printer )who had a lengthy
          apprenticeship in England many years ago) has had a look at the
          press (without taking it apart) and couldn't find anything wrong.
          Since then I've spoken to Fritz (who advised me to clean the bearers
          until they were shiny!) and Harold (who suggested that I raise the
          rollers after I questioned whether it might be the plates).
          I've been using the same rubber/composition rollers since I bought
          the press almost six years ago - I've published about 20 books since
          then (most of them chapbooks, but some longer), as well as ephemera.
          I could understand this a bit more if I didn't get the odd really
          good print.
          I should also have mentioned, Gerald, that the impression on the
          back differs with the darker copies having a more noticeable "kiss.

          I should have mentioned this earlier, but my mind is addled because
          I have deadlines looming.

          Thanks,

          Caryl

          >
          > Caryl
          >
          > Before going into the mechanics of the press I was wondering what
          kind
          > of paper you are using? Is it something you might not have used
          > previously? The only reason I ask is because your description is
          > characteristic of handmade paper where the sheets may be thick and
          > thin or may have surface variation, end to end or randomly.
          >
          > Gerald
          > http://BielerPress.blogspot.com
          >
          >
          >
          > > I need some help with a Vandercook 15-21 which, until now, has
          > > printed from both lead type and photopolymer plates
          beautifully.
          > >
          > > Just recently, it's printing many faint copies, some very dark
          > > copies, and the odd perfect print - randomly spaced. No matter
          how
          > > much or how little I ink, the majority of copies are pale grey
          with
          > > the odd word here and there much darker. The really dark copies
          > > feel heavier as the cylinder moves over the plate. The good
          copies
          > > are a bit of a surprise and are too few.
          > >
          > > So far, I've played with the adjustable bed - totally cleaned
          all
          > > the bearers and rails, etc. - raised the rollers - played with
          > > moving the plate base around so that I was printing side-to-side
          or
          > > upside down. I've changed the packing and played with make-
          ready
          > > (something I've never had to do with plates before). Nothing
          has
          > > helped. Any ideas?
          > >
          > > Caryl Peters
          > > Frog Hollow Press
          > > Victoria, BC
          > >
          >
        • Gerald Lange
          Caryl I suppose the obvious never hurts. Were there any minor changes made to the configuration of the press before you became aware of the problem? You
          Message 4 of 12 , Jul 10 5:49 PM
            Caryl

            I suppose the obvious never hurts. Were there any "minor" changes made
            to the configuration of the press before you became aware of the problem?

            You mention here that the impression seems harder on the darker sheets.
            Can you determine if it is indeed the impression that is fluctuating?
            That is to say, does the impression of the light sheets also seem
            different than the correct sheet? If so, that might help in isolating
            the problem. I'm assuming a concentric may be somehow out of sync here
            but am also wondering–since you mentioned it earlier–about that
            adjustable bed.

            Gerald


            >
            > Gerald,
            > I'm using Magnani Biblos, a mould-made paper I've used for the last
            > few books I've published - quite a smooth surface - no problems with
            > it before.
            > I might mention that a retired printer )who had a lengthy
            > apprenticeship in England many years ago) has had a look at the
            > press (without taking it apart) and couldn't find anything wrong.
            > Since then I've spoken to Fritz (who advised me to clean the bearers
            > until they were shiny!) and Harold (who suggested that I raise the
            > rollers after I questioned whether it might be the plates).
            > I've been using the same rubber/composition rollers since I bought
            > the press almost six years ago - I've published about 20 books since
            > then (most of them chapbooks, but some longer), as well as ephemera.
            > I could understand this a bit more if I didn't get the odd really
            > good print.
            > I should also have mentioned, Gerald, that the impression on the
            > back differs with the darker copies having a more noticeable "kiss.
            >
            > I should have mentioned this earlier, but my mind is addled because
            > I have deadlines looming.
            >
            > Thanks,
            >
            > Caryl
            >
            > >
            > > Caryl
            > >
            > > Before going into the mechanics of the press I was wondering what
            > kind
            > > of paper you are using? Is it something you might not have used
            > > previously? The only reason I ask is because your description is
            > > characteristic of handmade paper where the sheets may be thick and
            > > thin or may have surface variation, end to end or randomly.
            > >
            > > Gerald
            > > http://BielerPress.blogspot.com <http://BielerPress.blogspot.com>
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > > > I need some help with a Vandercook 15-21 which, until now, has
            > > > printed from both lead type and photopolymer plates
            > beautifully.
            > > >
            > > > Just recently, it's printing many faint copies, some very dark
            > > > copies, and the odd perfect print - randomly spaced. No matter
            > how
            > > > much or how little I ink, the majority of copies are pale grey
            > with
            > > > the odd word here and there much darker. The really dark copies
            > > > feel heavier as the cylinder moves over the plate. The good
            > copies
            > > > are a bit of a surprise and are too few.
            > > >
            > > > So far, I've played with the adjustable bed - totally cleaned
            > all
            > > > the bearers and rails, etc. - raised the rollers - played with
            > > > moving the plate base around so that I was printing side-to-side
            > or
            > > > upside down. I've changed the packing and played with make-
            > ready
            > > > (something I've never had to do with plates before). Nothing
            > has
            > > > helped. Any ideas?
            > > >
            > > > Caryl Peters
            > > > Frog Hollow Press
            > > > Victoria, BC
            >
          • Gene
            It sounds like the press is not dropping onto impression fully each time you run it down over the form. A number of things could be causing this, but most
            Message 5 of 12 , Jul 10 6:29 PM
              It sounds like the press is not dropping onto impression
              fully each time you run it down over the form.

              A number of things could be causing this, but most likely
              it is one of two things.

              1. Lubrication
              The gear train that shifts the cylinder up and down, depending
              on whether you are printing or returning to rest is not working
              smoothly without friction due to a lack of lubrication somewhere.
              You may have to go in and lubricate (oil) directly on surfaces,
              rather than relying on oil holes to get the oil everywhere it is
              needed. Oil holes (tubes) may be plugged and not letting oil
              drip onto moving surfaces.

              2. Outside cylinder edges and the press bearers they run on not
              scrupulously clean. Any build-up of dirt or sludge on the smooth
              outside edge surfaces of the cylinder than ride on the bearers on
              the bed of the press during impression will cause the cylinder
              to rise up, thus causing a loss of impression.

              Other things to look for...

              Form roller height...
              If your rollers are indeed composition outside over rubber, then
              they will shrink and expand depending on humidity and temp, and
              you may have an issue with correct roller height. You should
              check this.

              Form roller gear, is it tight on one form roller, so the rollers
              are forced to turn over the form and ink it evenly?


              Cylinder packing....
              Is it tight and firm? and of the proper thickness?

              that covers about everything that could cause your problem.

              Gene McCluney
              Old Van Buren Press
            • alex brooks
              ... I courteously disagree. There are about a million things that can be wrong. Luckily troubleshooting presses can be very logical and straight-forward.
              Message 6 of 12 , Jul 10 7:07 PM
                > that covers about everything that could cause your problem.

                I courteously disagree. There are about a million things that can be
                wrong.

                Luckily troubleshooting presses can be very logical and
                straight-forward. Unluckily, I find that touching, seeing, and
                operating the press in question is essential. I'll do my best to
                describe my "theory of press diagnosis"(in progress)

                Any press works with two main principles 1) inking & 2) impression

                *part 1 (inking) has many variables including ink, roller
                characteristics, roller height in relation to printing surface, etc.
                etc. Most others so far have discounted inking. It's hard to tell
                without seeing, so i'll discount it for the moment and move on to #2

                *part 2 (impression) also has many variables. The basic relationship is
                the surface of the paper to the printing surface. Things that affect
                impression include (from top to bottom as it were)
                a) height of cylinder (can be variable and complicated)
                b) packing & makeready
                c) paper thickness
                d) height of printing surface (type, block etc.)
                e) height of bed

                Apart from (a) these are all separate and apart from all
                mechanical-printing functions of the press.

                The best way to troubleshoot is to keep everything stable and change
                one variable. Simplify and minimize variables.

                Turn off the motor. Don't ink the type. Print a sample and look at the
                impression. Change each of the variables, one at a time. If you can't
                get a good constant impression this way, without ink, you'll never
                succeed with ink. If you can't standardize the impression this way, I'd
                say you have a major mechanical problem.

                Others have pointed out the ways these variables can change. The
                cylinder height can change due to objects on the rails (the bottom one
                is most important since it creates impression resistance) or other
                mechanical issues. Your packing can be loose and changing each time you
                print. Or the make-ready can be moving underneath the tympan. Paper can
                vary in thickness (especially hand-made). You've said you've checked
                these already, as well as the bed height.

                The last variable that hasn't been mentioned is the height of your
                printing surface. It is quite possible, because of tight or loose
                lockup - or other factors, that the printing surface is moving. Bowing,
                hopping, creeping, etc. I would rule this out before major mechanical
                exploration. If this were the case, with each print you would get
                varying inking and impression.


                If none of this worked, I would try to make sure the adjustable bed was
                level and working properly, as it's fairly simple and easy to
                troubleshoot. Then i would tackle the cylinder/bearings/etc.

                good luck
                -alex
                press eight seventeen
                lexington kentucky
              • Gerald Lange
                Caryl I went over to the Vandercook Resourse site to check out the 15-21. This particular press has an automatic short travel cylinder trip. You might want
                Message 7 of 12 , Jul 10 9:03 PM
                  Caryl

                  I went over to the Vandercook Resourse site to check out the 15-21.
                  This particular press has an "automatic short travel cylinder trip."
                  You might want to check out how that functions in regard to the
                  impression cycle. It could just be a linkage problem of some sort.

                  Gerald
                  http://BielerPress.blogspot.com
                • wa0dfw@copper.net
                  Can you determine if it is indeed the impression that is fluctuating? THat is my first impression (no pun intended) that the impression mechanism is hanging
                  Message 8 of 12 , Jul 10 9:36 PM
                    "Can you determine if it is indeed the impression that is
                    fluctuating?"


                    THat is my first impression (no pun intended) that the impression
                    mechanism is hanging up and not going completely onto impression all
                    the time, and possibly some careful lubrication of the impression
                    trip-off mechanism would cure your problem?

                    Hard to tell, but the variation on impression depth would be the
                    first clue as to where to investigate.

                    Mo
                  • Caryl Peters
                    ... all ... Thanks Mo, I m not sure but I think I may have answered your question in the reply I posted before yours showed. Gerald: One thing you mentioned
                    Message 9 of 12 , Jul 10 9:55 PM
                      --- In PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com, wa0dfw@... wrote:
                      >
                      > "Can you determine if it is indeed the impression that is
                      > fluctuating?"
                      >
                      >
                      > THat is my first impression (no pun intended) that the impression
                      > mechanism is hanging up and not going completely onto impression
                      all
                      > the time, and possibly some careful lubrication of the impression
                      > trip-off mechanism would cure your problem?
                      >
                      > Hard to tell, but the variation on impression depth would be the
                      > first clue as to where to investigate.
                      >
                      > Mo
                      >

                      Thanks Mo, I'm not sure but I think I may have answered your
                      question in the reply I posted before yours showed.

                      Gerald: One thing you mentioned was the "automatic short travel
                      cylinder trip" - I couldn't figure how it worked from the manual.
                      This wasn't helped by the fact that there were two missing screws
                      that I hadn't noticed before - I did find one on the floor, but it
                      wouldn't stay back in. I would prefer to have it on "short trip" as
                      I seldom go beyond 12 inches in my printing.

                      Caryl
                    • Mark Wilden
                      ... From: Gerald Lange ... Parenthetically, I d had my 317 for six months before I realized it had this same feature. Saved a lot
                      Message 10 of 12 , Jul 10 10:08 PM
                        ----- Original Message -----
                        From: "Gerald Lange" <bieler@...>

                        >I went over to the Vandercook Resourse site to check out the 15-21.
                        >This particular press has an "automatic short travel cylinder trip."

                        Parenthetically, I'd had my 317 for six months before I realized it had this
                        same feature. Saved a lot of muscle-power on small-form jobs.
                      • Gerald Lange
                        Caryl Oh yeah, you kind of always want to look on the floor. Usually a good clue. Gerald
                        Message 11 of 12 , Jul 10 10:19 PM
                          Caryl

                          Oh yeah, you kind of always want to look on the floor. Usually a good
                          clue.

                          Gerald


                          >
                          > Gerald: One thing you mentioned was the "automatic short travel
                          > cylinder trip" - I couldn't figure how it worked from the manual.
                          > This wasn't helped by the fact that there were two missing screws
                          > that I hadn't noticed before - I did find one on the floor, but it
                          > wouldn't stay back in. I would prefer to have it on "short trip" as
                          > I seldom go beyond 12 inches in my printing.
                          >
                          > Caryl
                          >
                        • Bill Whitley
                          Hi Mark, OK, I ve had my 317 for a couple of months now - how exactly does this work? Bill Whitley ... [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          Message 12 of 12 , Jul 11 3:21 AM
                            Hi Mark,

                            OK, I've had my 317 for a couple of months now - how exactly does
                            this work?

                            Bill Whitley

                            On Jul 11, 2006, at 1:08 AM, Mark Wilden wrote:

                            > ----- Original Message -----
                            > From: "Gerald Lange" <bieler@...>
                            >
                            > >I went over to the Vandercook Resourse site to check out the 15-21.
                            > >This particular press has an "automatic short travel cylinder trip."
                            >
                            > Parenthetically, I'd had my 317 for six months before I realized it
                            > had this
                            > same feature. Saved a lot of muscle-power on small-form jobs.
                            >
                            >
                            >



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