Manual typewriter servicing?

The Mrs used to be a copy / touch / shorthand typist and I know would like to have access to a manual typewriter to have a play on now and again.
Ages ago we bought a couple of 'Imperial Upright' typewriters but neither of them work and are really a bit too big / heavy for her to move about. [1]
Mum is looking for a good home for Dads old Facet 1620 portable (in it's nice travel case) and I had a quick play with it last night and it seems to be ok other than the carriage is stuck (well, you can move it with the carriage release but not with the space bar or keys etc). Googling about suggests that it could be a gummed up escarpment so I should be able to free that up but I was wondering ...
I have access to a fairly large ultrasonic cleaner so if I could get all the delicate bits off, is there any good reason why I couldn't drop the chassis in that and then dry and re lube the bits that should be lubed?
Or do I just vacuum / brush it out and de gum any gummed up bits with denatured alcohol and lube with 3 in 1 or gun oil?
Cheers, T i m
[1] I might see if any of the local care homes want the uprights as I believe they often have such things for their 'memories' area.
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On 18/09/2018 21:34, T i m wrote:

My lovely wife got a job organising conferences for the local chamber of commerce. They issued her with a brand new IBM golfball typewriter. One day she wanted to reorganise her workspace and decided to move the typewriter from one side of the room to the other. She got it most of the way across the room before it became too heavy for her and she dropped it.
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On Wednesday, 19 September 2018 00:21:06 UTC+1, GB wrote:

yes, I remember those.

Ouch. But it probably still worked afterwards. I seem to remember a project in one of the electronics magazines for a printer interface board for them.
Owain
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snipped-for-privacy@gowanhill.com presented the following explanation :

Wireless World I think..
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wrote:

Ooops. ;-(
I'd say this little Facet portable is as heavy as a heavy laptop and that is something people 'notice' when you hand it to them.
In the same way as daughter realised just how heavy a 12V / 20Ah gel battery is when she picked one up with one hand yesterday. She picked it up ok but you could tell she was surprised by it's density and not wanting to drop it, continued with both hands. ;-)
I think there is a technique for picking up and safely moving heavy things and those of us who do regularly, learn such. Often it's because we drop or nearly drop something 'important' because we were caught out (like your Mrs).
You make sure it's fully disconnected and is 'safe' to move as it is (carriage bolts / fluids / trays / panels removed etc). A clear path from A to B and if carrying by and, enough energy / power to be able to handle the entire trip. A solid / non-slip handhold (and / or gloves to make that better / easier) and somewhere clear to put it down at the end.
It's funny when you see others work, moving stuff out of the way by putting them in the way for the next move or *not* capturing all the loose leads / cables to then have one snag on something along the way (in a way you couldn't do even if you tried). ;-)
Cheers, T i m
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On Wednesday, 19 September 2018 10:15:30 UTC+1, T i m wrote:

We of a certain age were taught to centre the carriage then lock it into position using the margin stops, if there isn't a separate carriage lock function.
And we could turn out a memo with four flimsies, correctly spelled, punctuated, and error-free, in the time it takes someone to boot up a PC and Word.
Owain
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On Wed, 19 Sep 2018 05:41:42 -0700 (PDT), snipped-for-privacy@gowanhill.com wrote:

I have toggled everything I can but feel it's a 'hard' fault.

Hehe ... yeah, those were the days. ;-)
My BIL is 'old skool' and I believe one of the last managers in the insurance Co to still dictate a letter to the 'Typing pool', get it typed up and back on paper and proof read before being posted or emailed off. Emails to him were also printed off by his secretary and given to him to read and comment on and them to reply etc.
His point that they were being paid manage to 'manage' (people and accounts) and not be distracted by typing letters and emails?
Cheers, T i m
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I recall a typewriter repair man that had a cleaner, much like a dishwasher uisng white spirit. A turntable in a sealed metal box, and a sprayer for solvent. The typewriter woulks it in there, spining in spray of solvent. He'd remove it, anf the go over the roller with rubber reconditioner, maybe something from the offset printers, and then re-lube...
I think it will be fine.
Thomas Prufer
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On Wed, 19 Sep 2018 08:13:37 +0200, Thomas Prufer

Hmm, a dishwasher you say ... <weg> ;-)

I think a very important part there would be 'the solvent' Thomas. Something effective enough to dissolve any grunge but to leave any 'other' stuff alone ... like glues retaining rubber stops or the plastic keys etc?

Well, I'm not sure it's particularly valuable even if it isn't but I don't particularly want to destroy it when just making it cleaner.
I think the next step might be to get the guts out of it's frame and see what might be vulnerable to say paraffin (the carriage has plastic knobs on the end for example) and go from there.
Some of they keys appeared sticky and the beginning but did seem to loosen up with just a few actions so apart from this stick carriage issue, I don't think it's too far off.
As a sort of an aside, when my mate first got his ultrasonic tank we experimented with it cleaning some old model railway track (amongst other things). I'd have to say it did a reasonable job, even on some badly rusted track but wasn't perfect.
I don't think we tried anything greasy because I didn't want to contaminate his new tank as it was really for cleaning PCB's.
I have a small US cleaner (Lidl probably) that I'm not sure cleans most things any cleaner than I could get them myself manually, although I have seen some dirt 'falling off' parts in the cleaner when it's running. Let's say the US cleaner hasn't 'fixed' anything that I felt might appreciate a good cleaning?
One thing it might clean easily could be a stainless steel watch strap but using an old toothbrush and holding it under warm running water seems to do a pretty good job?
Cheers, T i m
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I think it was Varsol, aka Stoddard solvent or white spirit.
For a typewriter, I'd probably go with water and ultrasound cleaner: there's the stuff the clockmakers use... Tickopure? Rinse with fairly warm water to get the metal warm, blow out with compressed air, dry for just a short while and oil/lube soon to avoid rust spots.

I have been told that professional US cleaners can do a much better job, up to disintegrating delicate parts when turned up to high -- unlike the Aldi/Lidl ones.
Thomas Prufer
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On Wed, 19 Sep 2018 13:01:34 +0200, Thomas Prufer

I don't know of the first two but I know white spirit and agree it might be a bit 'softer' to plastics / rubbers than paraffin.

I've not heard of that either but it sounds like it (Tickopur) would be good for clocks. ;-)

Check.

Check.

I might put a fan on it.

Understood.

<snip> >>One thing it might clean easily could be a stainless steel watch strap

I have been given such a thing (I think I posted about it elsewhere) and did a test with some aluminium foil and indeed it perforated it. [1]
My mates one should take this typewriter and cost over £100 from China but not sure if it would be considered 'professional' or not?
Cheers, T i m
[1] It's a fancy thing that I understand is typically used by dentists to sterilise the tools. It even has a built in printer to allow you to audit each cleaning run.
The display is very weak and so I can't see what to do to program it but was thinking bypassing the inbuilt controller and just replacing it with a basic thermostat for any heater and a clockwork timer for the runtime?
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Wiki says: "White spirit (UK)[note 1] or mineral spirits (US, Canada), also known as mineral turpentine (AU/NZ), turpentine substitute, petroleum spirits, solvent naphtha (petroleum), Varsol, Stoddard solvent, or, generically, "paint thinner", is a petroleum-derived clear liquid used as a common organic solvent in painting."
So a random mix of aromatic flammable hydrocarbons, sounds good.
If I had an US cleaner large enough: I'd spray the gummed metal bits with brake or carburetor cleaner, let soak for a bit, blow it off, and the drop the lot in the US cleaner.

It's what you have... use it. I was just warning not to set it to "continuous", and wander off to the pub and forget about the typewriter stewing in water being heated with a few hundred watts, all the while the US is pitting the metal:-)
Thomas Prufer
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Well up until fairly recently there used to be a project at one of HM Prisons which serviced old manual typewriters as they also did Braille machines, but apparently due to low demand I think it stopped. I'd be tempted to look for sticky grease as normally this is the problem with manuals. Its even worse if it belonged to a smoker at any time. I personally would be careful taking it apart though if it mostly works, so a good clean and some fresh oil might well do the trick. It can be difficult to get the ribbons though. Brian
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On Wednesday, 19 September 2018 07:31:54 UTC+1, Brian Gaff wrote:

There are still obsolete dot matrix printer ribbons on ebay. Black, purple, black+red, CMYK, take your pick. Just get the right height.
NT
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On 19/09/18 07:31, Brian Gaff wrote:

I was looking on eBay last night for current offers for manual typewriters and noticed that there were plenty of ribbon suppliers out there.
I have a little stash of redundant dot matrix printer cartridges and when I need a new typewriter ribbon I just re-spool one of them. It only types in black, mind, but I can't remember the last time I wanted to use red.
Nick
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On Wed, 19 Sep 2018 01:17:48 +0100, Nick Odell

Nor can I Nick. The only reason I can think why not was if there were any components that didn't appreciate whatever 'solvent' was used. I was thinking felt pads or plastic washers or spacers etc.

I think you could get this Facet down to a bare chassis fairly easily as like some big uprights, it's built on it's own chassis rather than being built *into* the chassis as such. The top unclips and then you can remove a panel on the bottom and then it looks like just a few screws (4?) would allow you to lift the guts out of the frame. At that point it would be begging to be submerged in something for a nice deep clean.

They sound like a good solution (excuse the pun). ;-)

The thing is, because it as lived in it's case, I don't think it's dirty (as in dusty) as such but just slightly gummed up in one place (the escarpment). Whilst I'm confident I could release that part, it stands to reason that many many of the metal to metal joints in there could do with a clean and re-lube.
I'm not saying it wouldn't work ok with just a brush out with some solvent and re-lube, just that it might be nice to give it a good once over.

That's a nice fact. ;-)

And another.
I can remember Mum always having a portable typewriter of some sort round there and all kids she looked after (including ours) being allowed to use it (as long as they did so respectfully).
Cheers, T i m
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T i m brought next idea :

They refurbed one on that BBC2 early evening prog.. He completely stripped the old typewriter down, cleaned the parts, reassembled and lubed. I thought at the time, what a lot of wasted time and effort.
Me, I would removed the roller and dunk the rest in a bath of parrafin, with some included movement of parts and gentle brushing, to remove all the gundge. Then lub up and good to go.
They are just metal parts and will take no harm from a good soak in parrafin.
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On Wed, 19 Sep 2018 10:20:10 +0100, Harry Bloomfield

I don't think I saw that one.

Well I guess it's all part of the 'show'. It also entertains those doing it as I'm sure it's nice to exercise your skills for others to see now and again? ;-)

I'm not sure how easy a job that would be?

Yup, that's the sort of thing I was asking about. As mentioned, my only fear would be for any felt pads or rubber stops that may also lurk within the machine being affected by any solvent used that was good enough to actually be of use?

Reading around it seems that many 'typewriter people' recommend running a typewriter mainly dry (except for those bits that really do need lubing, like the carriage bearings) because there is then less chance of it attracting more dust and dirt?
Given this is a portable, has a nice carry case and so unlikely being left out, I can't see that being an issue.

True, the metal parts wouldn't but it has plastic keys and I think there is a rubber strip where the arms land (plus the roller etc).
Maybe it's that sort of thing as to why I've not seem many people who seem familiar with typewriter repair recommend the dunk tank?
That's why, rather than relying on a good solvent and some mechanical agitation I was wondering if mostly water with a light degreaser (detergent?) and ultrasonic agitation might be 'better'?
Cheers, T i m
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On Tuesday, 18 September 2018 21:34:47 UTC+1, T i m wrote:

Your main problem will be getting new ribbons.
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On Friday, 21 September 2018 07:32:37 UTC+1, harry wrote:

bzzt
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