Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Paint it Black

For those of you riveted to your seats awaiting continued coverage our printing equipment prepare yourselves. Second, but by no means second best comes our old style Chandler and Price 8x12.

The serial number of this press places it somewhere around late 1896 as the date of manufacture. We obtained the press through sheer chance. We happened to find a gentleman in St Louis selling the press condition unknown but willing to deliver to Houston. After exchanging some pictures and emails the press arrived, intact, and in far better shape then expected Thanksgiving weekend of last year. Mechanically all seemed well with little play in the linkages , little rust, and freely spinning operation. The catch, and there always is one, is that the press was coated solid with a quarter inch of what appeared to be waxy, congealed grease (photos below courtesy of seller, prior to delivery).

We cleaned. We scrubbed. The waxy grease came off. So did the paint. And cast iron oxidizes fast when exposed to the atmosphere. Real fast.

History is paved with otherwise level headed individuals who achieve acts of greatness through moments of blinding obliviousness and sheer idiocy. Sure, why can't we sail around the world? A flying jump kick through a flaming hoop- no problem! Our moment would be where I uttered the phrase "We're going to have to disassemble and repaint the press". Idiocy indeed. The wrenches and wire wheels came out, fingers were smooshed and blackened, and I spent a month looking like a coal miner in some kind of new age Dickens play. The work was akin to a vacation stay in the seventh ring of hell. Wire wheel all the gunk off a part. Take a break. Return to find that you hadn't wire wheeled all the gunk off the part. Repeat.

Eventually success was achieved. Black and red paint were applied as befitting any badass machine. I cut and finished new feed and delivery tables. But we had no power. The original motor was toast so we needed a new motor and a way to mount it. After some deliberation we decided to purchase a cheap and readily available 1725 rpm 1/2 HP 110 AC motor and reduce the speed through a belt drive system so that it was appropriately safe for hand feeding. The final speed is about twenty impressions per minute which gives plenty of time to put paper in and get hands out safely. We fabricated the motor mount using bearings and angle iron sourced from Mc Master Carr industrial.

Another issue with the press was the rails that the ink rollers ride on. Older presses tend to generate waves and dips in their rails through normal wear and tear which can lead to uneven plate inking. This was the case for our press. Luckily old style Chandler and Prices have roller rails that are under type high. In short, we had room to face the rails with material and still ink our plate correctly. I chose to fabricate some adjustable rails using aluminum angle bracket. It repaired the waves in the rails and allowed us to make minute adjustments to roller height if needed. You can see the results in the below photo- the strips with the three visible screws are the roller rails.

The end result of all the toil is a press that runs almost silently and vibration free and looks stunning to boot. A special thanks to our good friends Chris and Zach for some welding and CNC machining of some crucial replacement parts.

And now- a video!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

12x18 Chandler and Price Craftsman AKA The Beast.

Howdy, hi there, hello! For those of you keeping score we've been pretty busy with a new office space, the Renegade Craft Fair in Austin and most importantly some new to us printing equipment.

Weighing in a few pounds shy of a Chevrolet Camaro and able to frighten the most steadfast of men, let me introduce our 12x18 Chandler and Price Craftsman press. Serial numbers date the press to late 1928 and although it was running pretty good upon purchase it was beginning to show its age. We've taken an as-thorough-as-practical approach to cleaning and refurbishing focusing mainly on preventative maintenance and repairs.

The most pressing issue we had was the degradation of the main shaft bushings on the driven side of the press. When running the shaft had approximately one quarter of an inch of freeplay to wobble around which had led to some fairly gnarly damage to the press's gear drive. Additionally it made the ground vibrate with a pounding bang so loud that it caused most individuals to flee from the room in alarm. After some careful measurements and a delivery from Mc Master Carr industrial we're back in action with a newly pressed in self lubricating bronze bushing.

We've spent countless more hours cleaning grease and goo, replacing hoses and fasteners, and locating replacement parts. There's still much more work to be done, but for now a preview of the payoff- a quick video of the press in action.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Renegade Craft Fair Austin!

Don't forget to come check out the Renegade Craft Fair in Austin, Texas this weekend, May 15 & 16! We're so thrilled to be a part of the first one here and even more so to be amongst all the other great designers and crafters.

Here are a few I'm especially looking forward to:

The Decoder Ring (I hope to find some kicking posters for my studio walls)

Folded Pigs repurposed restaurant ware

Campfire T-shirts

Moxie Doll stitchings

Loyalty & Blood Along with missing our friends Dave & Maggie, I've also been waiting on this cave shirt, and am really loving the handyman tool earrings!

It's bound to be a great weekend in Austin and hope you can make it!