Setting up our Harrild & Sons Albion: Part 3 - assembly sequence
Trying to have a conversation with others about our problems with our Albion has been difficult for a couple of reasons.
1) We are new to iron handpresses. Since the formal beginning of Lead Graffiti in 2008 we've wanted to print at least some quality work on an iron handpress.
2) Trying to talk from the same page is difficult. Everyone we talk to is a lot more experienced and trying to define the part you are talking about and what is happening with and around that part is difficult on the phone. Through email it is worse, except you have a record of what was said that you can go over it multiple times.
So, the purpose at the moment of this page was "stop and start over." Take the entire press apart from the platen up, pull out all of the parts, clean the parts well, and photograph related parts in group portraits. We've supplied names to the parts trying to make sense of the relationship between this 1928 Albion and the Washington-style iron handpress which is thoroughly illustrated in Richard-Gabriel Rummonds' "Printing on the Iron Handpress." As it turns out the way the two presses work is quite similar and many of the parts operate in the same general manner.
Above: Albion stripped down with the piston separated from the "head."
While we were doing all of this we even got rid of that scuff, which seemed like dried caulk, on the upper left.
Above: Piston in place with the "piston support pin" in place.
Above: Spring, spring washer, eye bolt, nuts for eye bolt, piston support pin, and cotter pin.
After some online advice we thought it might be best to add a couple washers at the bottom of the sprint to lift it to help us get the gain in height we THINK we need. Home Depot had exactly the right washer. The photo above shows 3 washers added. After putting it together it seems like it might need 5 or 6.
Above: The handle is attached. You can just see the top of the handle pivot pin showing on the back side. The connecting rod is in position (it has to be inserted through the handle and piston before the handle is locked into place. The caps on both ends are not in place and the round connecting rod nut is not in place.
Above: Handle, tapered handle pivot pin, connecting rod, and brass connecting rod enclosures.
Above: the back of the pivot point for the "bar." The vertical tapered pin is the "bar pivot pin." You can also see the "handle stop" in the lower right.
Above: a closeup of the near end of the "coupling rod ".
Above: The far end of the "coupling rod" shown from the back of the press. There is a circular lock bolt that has not been added to the threads.
Above: round connecting rod nut, conneting rod locking nut, and connecting rod brass enclosure piecs for the far end of the connecting rod.
That round nut and the encasing mechanism is quite amazing the way it sits on both ends inside a socket. The ball at the other end of the "coupling rod" is welded to the rod and is not threaded on.
Above: Wedge area. You can see the coupling rod passing from the bar through the piston to the toggle lever.
The toggle lever is in position, but does not have the chill supporting its left side.
The red arrow points to a flange that runs up the backside of the cheeks. At the 2015 APHA conference on "Printing on the Iron Handpress" we had the chance to print on the Kelmscott-Goudy press in the Carey Collection at RIT. The Kelmscott printers had wrapped a heavy iron strap vertically along both sides of the cheeks to provide support when they were printing the "Kelmscott Chaucer." We don't know if perhaps the flange shown here is a reaction to that or is built into earlier Albions. You typically don't see photos of the backs of iron handpresses. Below is a photo showing that flange. It is possible that there might be some adjustments to this press as it was ordered from Harrild & Sons with a specific printing project in mind. That was "The Frick Collection: An Illustrated Catalog" which is a large format book. Adding the flange would have been a fairly easy process when making the sand casting moulds.
Above: toggle lever (J-shaped piece), toggle lever pivot, chill, wedge-shaped chill support, and wedge.
There has been some questions raised about the chill (3rd piece down from the top) and if it is symmetrical. As best we can tell it is. You can tell that the fulcrum that fits into the chill is not perfectly circular and that might be contributing to some of our problems.
We've been taking some of the major threaded pieces to Doug at A-F Machine, located just to the right and across the street from us in the Sandy Brae Industrial Park. He has the complete set of taps and dies to clean up the threads. The first piece we took to him was the "connecting rod." He pulls out a cardboard chart out of his shirt pocket which I think he has been using since the 60s, measures the threads and announces "7 8 9". I look at him with a blank stare and he says "7/8th inch with 9 threads per inch." He walks over to a 5-foot-high cabinet, opens the bottom drawer, pulls out out a die (the part that does the rod). Three minutes later it is as clean as it was the day in 1928 when they made the press. Sweet.
Anyway, we gave him the wedge with the bent bolt. That took him an hour as he had to be really careful with that cast iron support which kept us from getting the bolt out. Tray did a great job figuring out where the pin was and then drove it out with a punch. All better now.
Above is a photo of the wedge and associated parts before the bolt was straightened.
We are really liking being across the street from Doug and all of his machining equipment.
Above: Albion with most everything in place. At this point the connecting rod lock nut is not on it and it has not been adjusted for printing.
Above: Closer view from the side.
Above: Main toggle area from the back.
Above: This is the final reconstructed press. We still have the problem at this point that the platen seems to be too low. If you'll notice there is a curve along the top of the piston. We think that should be hidden in this photo and that the platen needs to be raised at least 1/4".
The platen being too low causes the pull of the bar to bottom out after only a very short pull when the bar should essentally come close to being parallel to the near side of the platen. It is only getting maybe 25% of that distance at the moment.
Since we wrote the information above we've made two additional changes. We've gotten the bolt that pulls / pushes the wedge straigtened and it works completely through the cycle.
We added 3 washers over the eyebolt at the bottom of the spring and that lifted the platen to at least where it was when we stared all of this. We are going to try adding a couple more and see if the pull of the handle gets closer to going parallel to the side of the bed.
Below you can see a Youtube video of the pull being executed. The end of the handle is moving about 8" or 9". we think it should be more like 24"