Saturday, November 10, 2012

Olympia SM3 issues & First Snow of Autumn 2012

I just noticed that my previous (and only other) post about my Olympia SM3 last year was also in conjunction with the first snow of the 2011-12 season. What is it about this time of year?
A bath in the meadow, anyone? I think not.
The pines in the distance are pretty with a light dusting of snow.
A close up of a clump of weeds growing near the Sky Deck.
The Sky Deck on the western side of the building.
...and this morning,  a view looking out the Sky Deck door. Cat Rupert's first (of many!) trips outdoors.
The "rocker arm" or whatever it's called, middle left, is currently not engaged with the teeth underneath the right ribbon spool, allowing it to move freely to the left.
When these teeth are engaged, the spool reverses and moves towards the right. This is happening prematurely, and we're trying to determine the cause. It doesn't happen when the ribbon spools are removed.


  1. what a frustrating project... hope it doesnt keep you too long from the scenic outdoors!

  2. There's nothing quite like the first snow of the year! Great blog sir.

  3. Anonymous2:39 PM

    I'd congratulate you on the snow but I'm already sick of it, since we've had some for three weeks already. We did have some pretty hoar frost this morning, pretty as cold things are, I guess.

    I wish I was more gadgety, I'd help with your typewriter issue. Grease it or whack it around a bit, maybe that will help? :)

  4. The engaging of the teeth is an effect of the ribbon reversal, not its cause. The cause is when the fork through which the ribbon passes is pushed toward the center of the typewriter, and that is supposed to happen when you're out of ribbon on that side and the remaining ribbon is tensed, pushing the fork.

    So it seems that something is tensing the ribbon -- it may be catching on something. Make sure it's passing smoothly through the ribbon vibrator.

    1. Richard, thank you for the clarification.

      I'm trying to approach this issue in a "fun", detective-like way rather than get "all het-up" over it.

      The ribbon must be passing through the vibrator just fine most of the way through the right spool, I think, because it doesn't hang up until the last 1/6th or so. I'm wondering why it would suddenly hang up on something. James suggests that it might have something to do with the metal spool itself. Perhaps I will try another ribbon on a spare set of Olympia spools to see if that makes a difference.

  5. Lovely photos of the first snow. I see so little snow here in AU, you it is a really novelty to actually see it! Thanks for sharing.

    As for the spools, I'd be inclined to shoot a bit of degreaser into the spool machanism and spin it till it shifts out all the old muck, before putting in some new oil.

    On the lower gear, is that a screw hole, or a grease nipple? Richard is right, the gear engaging is a symptom - not a cause. But I'm less inclined to look towards the vibrator as a problem, as the ribbon mostly needs to be feeding through it fine to pull tight enough.

    I would be inclined to look at the spindle movement itself. If you can pull both spools off for a minute, manually spin the spindle by hand on both to see if one feels more 'stuck' than the other. One way to do this is to get a bull clip and clip it to the top of the spindle so that there's some weight on it, then flick it with your finger and see how long in spins for before stopping.

    It is plausible that both sides have become gummed up in the same way though. So don't be surprised if the results are inconclusive.

    BTW... as of last week, I have stopped using sewing machine oil, as I found a far better substitute for typewriters that doesn't cause the same gum up. It is a Teflon based oil used for bicycles.

  6. Perhaps dirt or corrosion on the tension arm under the ribbon spool. I think Richard pointed in the correct direction. Something is causing tension on the one ribbon guide arm causing the reversal.

    The snow is beautiful. I miss snow and living in the country. Some of the best times I had was when a Nor'easter would blow thorough and take out the power for a few weeks. Sometimes due to large snow fall and other times ice and snow on the lines.

  7. Replies
    1. Absolutely! Thank you for asking.

      I'd like to follow your blog, as well. I enjoyed visiting today.

  8. Anonymous7:13 PM

    I had a similar problem of tension in a ribbon that eluded me for a while. It was the spools. I was using a generic plastic spool that came with the ribbon that was about a millimetre too large and rubbed sometimes. Once I transfered the ribbon to the original metal spools the problem was solved, so I think trying other spools may be the direction

  9. I have ribbon issues with my SM9, Cameron -- one side reverses fine, the other completely ignores the return fork and I wind up typing with the little metal grommet right up against the impact point before I notice that the letters are fading away. I think I need to bend the forks a touch to make the gap a little narrower. I have to reach around the edge of the lid to move the forks by hand to fix the reverse on that machine.

    If this is the same SM3 you brought to our mini type-in, then you've done quite well by it!

    1. Anonymous2:22 PM

      The SM9 takes a ribbon without a metal eyelet. I would presume it was the eyelet itself preventing the reverse.

  10. snow ! The first snow in November back in MI was a delight - a herald of the holidays. What joy.

  11. You can have the snow! I'll try to remind myself how pretty it is when it falls around here.

    I'm intrigued by that outdoor stove. Is it coal or wood? Do you use it when you are sitting on the Sky Deck, and does it take the chill off all year long?

    We have a little hearth of old dry-stacked bricks that we built out on the patio to burn paper trash in and enjoy a summer wood-fire of an evening but I don't think it throws as much heat as a proper stove.

    1. The outdoor stove burns wood. It is an old Franklin, which we found in the barn. We used a similar stove during our first winter in The Woods ('07-'08) and the bottom fell out. (That's the stove in the first picture of this post. James put bricks under the bottom to shore it up. Haven't tried it yet.)

      Occasionally we fire up the Franklin stove on the Sky Deck, in both Winter and Summer. We've been known to sit out there in sub-freezing weather and the stove provides a lot of heat, although it is not optimally efficient for burning indoors. It works fine in the outdoor setting.

      Fires in summer are usually discouraged because of the extremely dry conditions. We tend to use it more in the cooler, wetter months.