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  1. #1
    ohdanielsan's Avatar

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    Default Anyone familiar with the big old manual Challenge cutters or similar?

    Yo dudes,

    I recently acquired this old beast of a manual paper cutter, and am stoked on finally being able to cut in-house!



    Works great, but there is one kinda-major issue that I can't seem to get around: I can't seem to square up the backstop. What I mean is, when I'm facing the front of the machine and the paper is on the bed, I push the stack up against the backstop and the right sidewall, but if you look at the left end of the backstop, the stack is about 1/8"-1/4" off. In other words, the backstop isn't at a perfect right-angle to the rest of the bed/sidewalls. If my description is confusing, here's a diagram to illustrate:



    Problem is, I can't seem to figure out how to square it up. There is a bolt (A) on the back of the backstop, but it just holds the backstop to the undercarriage assembly - doesn't adjust anything. Then, there is this double-bolt thingy (B) that looks like it might do something, except that the bolts are so tight/rusted/sealed on there, that I can't loosen them to even find out if it works. I'm also scared to try, and skeptical about it even working because just looking at them, they don't seem to adjust the rotation of the backstop at all.



    By the way, I know for sure that the paper itself is square because ALL of the papers I've tried are the same amount out-of-square (different papers, different brands, etc.). It's definitely the machine.

    Other than that, I'm out of ideas. Anyone know anything about these things? Am I just S.O.L.?

  2. #2
    vrooooom's Avatar

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    You should be okay with adjusting bolt A, but you'll probably need to soak the works in a penetrating oil for a few hours at least. Have you tried cutting anything to make sure that it's not an adjustment the previous owner made to counteract something else, like a misaligned blade?

    If nobody here can offer better help, you need to truck this question on over to Briar Press | A letterpress community

  3. #3
    Premium Member
    crosshair's Avatar


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    I used the same damn cutter for years and had the exact same problem with it. Never solved it.
    You can try flushing and cutting each way and then measure to see which is the more crooked.
    But it is just not a precision instrument.

  4. #4
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    steve w's Avatar

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    yes, try cutting a piece of paper with it lined up flush on the back gate. if the side gate is bolted on, you can put a washer in between it and where it bolts in. My side gate broke off a while ago. Hasn't made much of a difference.
    "I guarantee, the image will not be fade off and you will be pleasure it too. " - a bootlegger
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  5. #5
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    Andymac's Avatar

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    what he said. first. check parallel you can actually do this by drawing a parallel line, then advancing it to the blade. Bring the blade down and kiss the line. Check your measuring guide if you know what the distance is. Cutter rulers are usually off.


    If it is not parallel to the back, then you need to adjust the back

    Soak the shit out of those bolts for a day with penetrating oil. if you loosen those two nuts B , and loosen A, it looks like by rethreading the nuts (b) and letting the centre swing over whatever direction it requires, the back bar will pivot on the A bolt. Tighten everything back up. the two bolts on B tighten against the washers and should be checked from time to time


    If it is parallel, the the side gate is out of square. look on it, you will probably find two honkin' bolts - ease them off and put in shims till it aligns

    If you can't get it to move and it is still fucked up and not parallel, you can create shims to bring the paper out the right amount. Smack your paper to the back to square the back edge, then shove a 1/4" shim (or whatever the measurement is) between the paper and one of the metal fingers. Bring the paper forward, and then clamp.


    If it came with a second blade, get it sharpened, and get some new cutting blocks (the white thing under where the blade falls) and keep a sharp blade in it. dull blades cut bad and they can wreck the cutter.


    Don't cut your fucking fingers off if you take the blade off. get a wood holder and be super careful


    Get some thin card or thick coverweight, you will need to pad underneath and over top when you cut, otherwise you will wreck your top and bottom sheets. Keep a box with padding nearby

    the side gate can/may have
    Andymac

    services www.squeegeeville.com
    equipment www.tmiscreenprinting.com

    Todo es empezar.

  6. #6
    ohdanielsan's Avatar

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    Thanks for the replies guys. I sprayed a ton of WD-40 on those two adjuster nuts on the backstop and let it sit overnight, but when I tried turning them this morning, they were just as stubborn. My scrawny ass ain't getting those things to budge. It really seems like they're sealed on (metal sealer or something).

    Steve or Andy: When you say "side gate" what are you referring to? The side walls? This is what my side walls look like (this is the right side, but the left side looks identical). No bolts or anything as far as I can see. It's all solid metal:



    The only bolts that are anywhere near the sides are on the outside of the entire unit, as seen in this photo, but they just attach the table to the sides. They're below the side walls, not part of any adjustment, as far as I can tell:



    If all else fails, I can do the shim thing with the backstop, like Andy suggested. I just want to make sure I'm exhausting all of my options before I start jerry-rigging.

  7. #7
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    if you own a machine of that stature, you can now justify going out to buy a big-ass crescent wrench. the long, heavy kind that's hard to lift. get to work on those two "B" nuts. loosen A, and use B to get the adjustment done, as specified above.

    also, i'm reminding you that andymac said this:

    If it came with a second blade, get it sharpened, and get some new cutting blocks (the white thing under where the blade falls) and keep a sharp blade in it. dull blades cut bad and they can wreck the cutter.
    Don't cut your fucking fingers off if you take the blade off. get a wood holder and be super careful.
    Get some thin card or thick coverweight, you will need to pad underneath and over top when you cut, otherwise you will wreck your top and bottom sheets. Keep a box with padding nearby.



    to which i'll add that you should remove ONE of the bolts which holds the blade to the machine. take it to the hardware store and get two bolts with the same thread, but about 5" long. these will be the handles you'll use to hold the blade when you eventually remove it to swap in the second blade which andy already mentioned that you'll have sharpened and waiting.

    this thread runs the risk of becoming very informative and useful.
    most of the time we never fish!

  8. #8
    ohdanielsan's Avatar

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    thanks jay. along with justifying the crescent wrench purchase, i wonder if i'll still need to justify a gym membership...or maybe a position as a part-time lumberjack...something to help me lose these teenage girl arms of mine and here i thought the squeegee pulling would be enough! bah!

    i'm fortunate to have a second blade (already sharpened), which came with the machine. it also came with two handles that screw into the bolt holes for mounting up the blade. for its age, this cutter is in great shape and was seemingly always in good hands before i bought it. it's truly a beautiful chunk of metal.

    i'm probably going to have to buy a new cutting block for it pretty soon. they're also called "cutting sticks", right? i think i saw a site that sells them for my width (26.5" wide). do you guys have any recommendations as to a specific place to order them from?

  9. #9
    ohdanielsan's Avatar

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    also, just to be double sure...if i want to loosen those two "B" nuts, i'm pulling the wrench BACK (toward the back of the machine) for the one closest to the bottom of the photo there, and FORWARD (toward the front of the machine) for the one higher up in the photo - correct? in other words, this isn't some kind of weirdo reverse-thread shit, right? "lefty loosey" still applies?

  10. #10
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    Default

    yeah. normal thread.

    with a proper wrench, and you are sure you soaked the nuts/thread....use a hammer on the wrench. wack it. it's like having an impact driver, but not.

    don't be ascairt of stripping these bolts or threads. these machines were made from real steel.

    I was wrong, the sides look fixed.

    did you measure and try cutting your parallel?
    Andymac

    services www.squeegeeville.com
    equipment www.tmiscreenprinting.com

    Todo es empezar.

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