Thursday, October 19, 2017

Adjusting carriage looseness on Fox portables

I fielded a request to help with a loose Fox portable carriage, an issue which seems to be rather common. For this purpose, I've created the following set of instructions (not that many others will likely need to use them).

Stay tuned later this week for a look at my newly restored Emerson typewriter!

Fox Portable Instructions: Adjusting carriage looseness

Note {1}: The work may be conducted on the carriage while it is still attached to the body of the machine, but may be easier if taken off.
Note {2}: before beginning, please take care to remember the following;
               1) Please note the position of the paper release lever in relation to its large washer.
               2) When dealing with the screws for the three carriage “anchors”, take extreme care that all pieces are level when tightening the screws; the threads in the holes will strip easily.

1.      To remove the platen:
a.      On left hand side, note cap on platen rod. Loosen the screw in the cap, and unscrew the cap off of the rods end.
b.      On right hand side, loosen screw on platen cap.
c.      Pull platen knob right, careful to collect washers and the paper release lever as they fall off rod.
d.      Lift platen out.
2.      To remove the paper bail:
a.      Flip machine onto its left side, or if carriage is removed turn onto its back.
b.      Slide carriage to the right. The following operations will be done on the right hand side of the carriage.
c.      Note escapement release lever. Loosen and remove screw.
d.      Note position of the nickeled carriage side, and the two screws holding it in. Loosen and remove the rear screw.
e.      Slightly loosen front screw.
f.       Pivot rear end of side away from carriage with the escapement release lever out of the way.
g.      The paper bail should now pull straight out.
h.      Rotate carriage side back into place, but do not add or tighten screws.
3.      To make carriage adjustment:
a.      Perform operation to loosen, but not remove, the two screws on the left carriage side.
b.      Once complete, return carriage to normal position and orientation so that you can see the three “anchors” which help hold the front and back of the carriage together.
c.      Gently loosen the 12 screws (4 per anchor).
d.      Note that each anchors screws are in angled slots, so that moving the anchor left or right will push and pull the carriage front and back towards or away from each other.
e.      Move anchors accordingly until desired tightness is achieved, while ensuring the edges of the front and back carriage frame are still in line.
f.       Gently retighten central anchor, being careful not to strip the holes.
g.      Test that the carriage runs smoothly from left to right by throwing the escapement release by hand (small arm at the rear that angles to capture release lever.)
h.      If not at desired tightness or too tight, loosen central anchor screws and readjust. Repeat process until carriage runs smooth and at desired tightness.
i.       Double check that front and back carriage parts line up well enough.
j.       Tighten screws on the left carriage side.
4.      Replacing carriage components
a.      Replace paper bail, and tighten right carriage side once back in place.
b.      Place escapement release lever back and screw in.
c.      If possible, remove platen knob. If you are able to;
                                                                        i.     Slide in the left side of carriage, replacing return lever and washers sequence as noted previously.
                                                                       ii.     Slide platen in, and push to the left. Ensure platen gear is situated properly with lever catch, and that lever spring is properly hooked for tension.
                                                                      iii.     Slide rod through, and replace paper release lever and large washer in proper order as note previously.
                                                                      iv.     Tighten platen to rod in proper position, reattach knob and left side end cap.
d.      If unable to remove platen knob from rod, slide in right side, replacing washers and levers in sequence noted previously.
5.      Test carriage functions to ensure proper reassembly.

Your carriage should now have little to no play, but should still run smoothly from side to side. When done correctly, you will find that the Fox portable carriage requires very little tension on the motor when compared to many other makes and models. This allows for a very smooth and easy carriage return, and a confident assurance that the Light Running Fox Typewriter lives up to its slogan. 

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The Victor Portable Typewriter: A Quick Video

As I was piecing the Victor back together, I decided to make a quick video to show off the base mechanics since its not often anyone sees this sort of thing, and pictures don't necessarily do it justice.

Click or copy the link, and be transported to a land where I have no idea what I'm doing, and the plot is made up as it happens.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

I'm Insane So You Don't Have To Be! The Victor Portable Typewriter

Warning: Viewer Discretion is Advised.

A package is on its way. A special sort of package, one which requires the workbench to be cleaned and prepared.

Lo. The UPS was able to deliver the package safely, something they don't seem used to doing.

As you have already guessed, the contents have a particularly familiar form.

Beneath the cardboard and the bubblewrap, we have a case.

And Houston, we have a typewriter. A Victor portable typewriter, to be exact.

Yes, this is the machine which languished on Ebay for over a year. The price finally came down enough that I decided to throw a best offer out, and it was accepted. So now I am the owner of one of the failed typewriter designs of the '20s. And I'll be honest. This thing is in good shape all around, save for the one part that was made of potmetal (and which also happens to be rather important); the frame-segment. Everything else is high enough quality steel.

Well, you know me. And what I tend to do to typewriters. So lets pop the hood, get to work, and give the typosphere the best glimpse its ever had of the Victor Portable.

The carriage lock is a cool feature, that seems to work well. 

The carriage knob is unique, in that the screw goes through the plastic part of the knob itself. It also turns out that the rod is spring loaded on the left side.

The carriage bearings are rather unique. They are like an Underwood 3-banks, save for extra star wheels.

The carriage rocks back for shifting.

The design is meant for the escapement to stay where it is, though, so the carriage escapement rail is designed to sway over the fatter gear.

A cool "feature" of this impressively designed machine is that the carriage is actually held in place by a swinging pivot. Unscrew the one on each side, and pop. comes right out (be careful around the ribbon vibrator).

Taking the keylevers out was a task which I was rather unorthodox in, to say the least. But theyre out.

The Victor portable (patents pending). It will clean up great, as there is no rust what-so-ever; just a very sludgy layer of grime all around. The real task at hand will be the repair of the broken up pot metal. That shall, indeed, prove a daunting task. But nothing that a blowtorch, some solder, and some grinding shouldnt be able to fix

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Type-Writer

Bringing machines back to life, one part at a time.

Happy Typewriter Day, everyone.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Speed Restoration

If my calculations are correct, when this baby hits 88 WPM, you're going to see some serious shit.

I fully expected it to take at least a solid week, based on my usual habits regarding time spent in the workshop. But for reasons not to be explained, I decided to see just how quickly I could get one of these turned around (especially due to them being my specialty).

The results were positive, though the expediency of the cleaning efforts was certainly helped by the fact that the machine actually worked with me, whereas most seem to actively resist my cleaning and restorative attempts. Save for the one thin rod not wanting to come out, all other screws and parts came apart properly, the rust was only a real problem on the topside of the carriage, and  by golly even without oil the cleaned pieces worked right.

Behold, El Zorro Espanol!

 Yes yes, I know I'm terrible at taking pictures. But it should be easy to tell how much cleaner this Fox is now. The paint is a bit iffy, and there is evidence that it was actually repainted previously, but I decided to just give it a layer of protective wax rather than really try to buff it up or anything. Apparently having sat in a Texas storefront for the better part of a few decades, I like to think it has a "Texas Sun-baked" sort of look.