Putting the air tower back onto my Monotype caster


The ribbon I punched. It represents about 8-10 lines of text but is twice as long as necessary because of all the mistakes I made…

Inspired by my recent attendance at Monotype U 8, and given that I kept the ribbon I had punched on the keyboard there, I have decided to reinstall the paper tower which I had removed from my Monotype caster when I was first getting it working. At the time I had intended to make a computer interface that replaced the paper tower, but those plans never gelled so at least for now I’m putting the paper tower back on.


The paper tower, which has been sitting in a parts bin for several years.

Putting this on is a tricky job because 4 of the 6 screws that attach it to the main table are covered by other parts. The two rear screws are covered by the draw rod for the mould blade, and the two front screws are covered by the draw rods and spring box for the tongs. Clearing the mould blade rod is easy: it is just a matter of removing the pivot pin for the bell crank allowing the rod to swing out of the way without even losing its length adjustment.

The paper tower in position with the mould blade bell crank pivot removed so the arm can be moved aside to provide access to the screws.

The paper tower in position with the mould blade crank pivot removed so the arm can be moved aside to provide access to the screws (left side of tower).

Reaching down with an ultra-long home-made screwdriver to tighten the two other base screws on the paper tower.

Reaching down with a long screwdriver.

The tongs spring box is another matter entirely. I recall having to remove a lot of parts from the topside to get these clear of the paper tower screws. As it turns out though, an extremely long screwdriver can be used to install these two screws.

I couldn’t buy a long and thin enough screwdriver so I made one. It manages to reach down all the way to the base of the tower and slip in beside the tongs draw rods to allow tightening of the tower base screws. The screwdriver tip is not as wide as the head of the screw so I can’t make the screw as tight as I would like, but I hope they are tight enough.


In addition to the paper tower itself, there are pneumatic controls associated with the paper tower to be installed as well: Center is the unit which stops the ribbon feed when quadding is in effect, and lower right is the buffer which holds the Unit Shift selection from the time the ribbon is read until the matrix jaws are closed.

Line ButcheryThe air piping under the read left corner of the table seems to be a bit of a butcher job, with one pipe crudely cut off and another one patched together using several joints of differing types, so I chose to take this time to review all this piping, properly identify all the valves, and clean them all so they work properly.

Posted in Equipment Acquisition, Repair, and Maintenance, Kevin, Monotype Composition Caster

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