Saturday, November 26, 2011

While My Voss Gently Weeps

Sad face Voss really has something to be sad about.  At least it's back together, not that taking it apart did any good :(

19 comments:

  1. Sorry to hear this happened to you. To think that it's such a handsome machine. Well, who knows, there might be a solution yet. All best.

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  2. Very nice looking typewriter. Too bad it will not type. I a Royal Companion that looks very much like the Quiet Deluxe I bought on line with a similar problem. Seller at least refunded the shipping cost. I'll get to it after my Underwood 4 bank. Your statement about meeting the seller on the street reminded me of my 3 from CraigsList. I arranged to buy 3 and dirt cheap. The seller delivered them to my work place free of charge (30 miles from her house) The total cost of the machines did not even pay for the gasoline! Good luck getting the Voss typing. It is a beautiful machine.

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  3. The Voss looks nice. How disappointing it doesn't type. As you might know, I've had a similiar experience on the PATRIA I got back in September. The ricardo listing stated "Everything works, great condition" and then the carriage wouldn't move. I'll keep it, though. Maybe I can find a solution to make it work someday.

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  4. Adwoa, please don't give up. The answer is staring you in the face - you just can't see it yet. Are there any damaged screwheads - indicating a botched adjustment? Are there any tiny threaded holes indicating missing screws? Or unthreaded holes where a missing spring might go? How about a paperclip masquerading as spring - lodged somewhere in the works? This is a beautifully clean looking machine and doesn't look to have had a a hard life. Are there any cracks or dents in the body or to the case showing it might have been dropped? This is a wonderful opportunity for a machine to teach you more than you thought you might learn. The only way it will ever type again (and I'm sure it will) is if you persevere. You have done the hardest part - rescuing it. Now, who else is going to care enough to fix it? What HAVE you done to inspire such confidence?

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  5. ...and those are drop-dead gorgeous spools!

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  6. I know nothing about the Voss at all, other than the fact that a few among our number own them: Richard Polt and "Duffy Moon" being two of them. I'd start there.

    I know that the Olympia portables have that squashed bushing problem that, when repaired, corrects all sort of ills, like scraping carriage and jammed up tabs. Are there any rubber parts that may have aged poorly over time? A weakened set of springs that might have lost their oomph over time? We're with you -- we want to see this work.

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  7. I'm sorry that my English is not good enough to help you... I'm going to try to say im simple words. I believe that your Voss has the same problem that my Hermes had. Not all keys are going to work. My "n" stills out of work... How I'm I going to say it in English... There some irons that make key stroke in the paper. And there is a space that is defined when you press the key. All you have to do is reduce the space with a pliers very carefully until the key strokes the paper. And also good lub is needed.
    And there is a wheel under the carriage that you have to dissemble and needs a new string and you have to twist it around many times to the spring have enough strength to move the carriage and the tiny balls have to be right aligned to make the carriage move but who have to be attention because the teeth or the carriage will jam.
    It makes sense in Portuguese but I don't know how to express it in English... I'm really sorry :(

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  8. Wow, what a gorgeous machine. Someone will come through with a cure. I'm going to watch because I have a similar issue with a Consul. Do the typebars make it to the platen by direct manipulation? is it just the keys or are they simply unable to move that far?

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  9. Wonder if it's that the carriage is somehow upset on the rails. Perhaps it's missing some ball bearings between the carriage and the rails. That would possibly account for it scraping halfway across, as well as probably explain the lack of contact with the keys. If the carriage is sitting low because the bearings or something is missing, the keys wouldn't reach.

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  10. Is the carriage lock jammed somehow? That is probably not it ... just a thought!

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  11. Oh my, I can FEEL your justified frustration! I would be BEYOND frustrated.

    For some reason Michael's comment about the carriage being upset on the rails rings true. Just a hunch; I'm not mechanically inclined.

    I agree with the others about not giving up, at least not quite yet! And if you do finally throw up your hands...is there ANYONE who could repair this machine within a reasonable distance?

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  12. It sounds a bit like a problem I had with an Olympia SM9. It turned out that the cross bar underneath the machine that controls the travel on the keybars for the margins and carriage lock was flopping around. The bars would not consistently cause the linked keybars to travel all the way to the platen.

    In my case, the solution was to replace a gimpy spring with a stronger one salvaged from a CD player so the cross bar retracts to where it is supposed to be.

    I wish I knew the terminology better. Good luck getting the Voss up an running. That's one of many machines I find attractive. West German engineering is impressive! Also, I agree with Rob - the spools really are to die for.

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  13. Thank you so much for your kind words of support, everyone! I can feel the concern and empathy of the entire typosphere, and I am humbled. I will do my best with this Voss, I promise. I shall try your suggestions and if I am unable to fix it, I shall set it aside till my next trip to Lausanne, where I will present it to Mr. Perrier of the typewriter museum for his help. When the sun comes out later today (a fog just rolled in, yikes), I shall take detailed pictures and post them, in case that sheds more light on the matter.

    @Rob: I keep telling myself that, too: the answer must be obvious, and yet I just cannot see it. No damaged screwheads, no missing screws, no cracks or dents, nothing. It's a head-scratcher!

    @Clemens: I have already reached out to Richard, and I hope Duffy Moon will see this and chime in. I kept your Olympias in mind and the first thing I did was check the rubber bushings and feet - they are all present, as far as I can tell, and still soft and pliable.

    @Fernando: I am reluctant to use pliers to force anything, because this is a machine that does not look to have been treated properly. Nor does it seem to need additional lubrication. The carriage drawband is also wound exactly right, so I won't mess with that. I like the hint about the "small balls" - ball bearings - though, and will look into it.

    @notagain: The first thing I did was manually move a key to the platen - and yes, it does not touch. It hovers right at the ribbon, and there is a gap that refuses to close. Does the type basket need to move forward? Does the carriage? Neither option seems physically possible, as there is no "play" and both seem well and truly fixed as they were intended by the manufacturer.

    @Michael: What an excellent idea! Missing ball bearings - I hadn't thought of that. I don't even know where they would have gone, or how they might have escaped, and I'll look into it. If that turns out to be the case, I'll solicit ideas on how to locate and install suitable replacements.

    @Richard: The carriage lock seems to stop the carriage when activated and release it as needed, so it seems to be working...

    @Cameron: Michael's idea sounds like an intriguing one, as well, although nothing seems to be egregiously out of place when I look at the Voss. As I said, Lausanne is a half hour away by train and while I don't often visit, it is a good bet that I'll find something to do there at least once next year, at which point I'll put the Voss at Perrier's mercy.

    @Dwayne: I know which crossbar you mean, and I, too, have been examining it to see whether there was a significant amount of play. That doesn't seem to be a factor, as even physically pushing down the type slug with my finger, I cannot get it to touch the platen! Ack. As I said, I'll put up better pictures today and perhaps we can crowd-source a solution to this puzzle :)

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  14. Oh, boy - what a beautiful greenish frowny-face Voss! You've got a heck of a machine there once you find the problem. I personally lack experience with that particular issue, but I would suspect that the problem lies with the carriage if *all* the typeslugs stop just short of the platen. Try shift-locking it into the upper position, then grab the platen knobs and pull gently towards you and see if there's any play that would suggest that the carriage is sitting farther back than it ought to. The fact that it scrapes in the middle suggests that something is out of whack - likely those who have guessed at missing ball bearings are correct.

    Please persevere - there are many who will help, and when you get it working perfectly, you'll feel such a great sense of accomplishment and will have a great reason to have a lot of pride as well. (:

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  15. ...oh, and often time passing can relieve the frustration and give you perspective to solve the problem. I had "Kipling" in my possession for 15 years and constantly hated on it for its smudgy typing until I finally found the cause and fixed it just a couple of days ago. I'm not suggesting you stick it in a closet for 15 years, though! :D

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  16. Work backwards: some dybbuk is blocking the last few millimeters of motion and if you hold one key down and patiently trace the linkages from key to typeslug, you may be able to cast out the demon.

    One specific thing to check: many typewriters have a trigger that's tripped when you type all the way to the right margin, allowing a bracket to block the typebars from reaching the platen and thus preventing them from carving a hole in the paper at the end of every line. This should disengage when you push the carriage return. I have some machines (most far older than your too-beautiful-to-gaze-upon Voss) on which that mechanism has become messed up, and the prevention bar is either locked in place or swings into action at random.

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  17. I recognise rn's decription of a line end block. One of mine did that occasionally (wish I could remember which) but it was down to a seized pivot in the backspace linkage (of all places). I can't see that being your trouble though - there doesn't look to be a trace of damp or over oiling to cause that extent of undue friction.

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  18. Sorry, I'm just now seeing this.
    I can see how that would be infuriating. I'm the same way: if there's one machine that's giving me fits, it's all I can think about. Never mind the dozens of perfectly functioning machines.

    I see you have an update - I'll check in again on that post...

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  19. Voss smiling again! courtesy of Shordzi's Repair Shoppe

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