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Ultrasonic cleaning for Linotype parts

Started by Roger Holmes, March 09, 2023, 11:13:42 AM

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Roger Holmes

Does anyone here have any experience using an ultrasonic cleaning device to clean small linotype parts and or mats or spacebands??

Dave Hughes

Hi Roger, I would say ultrasonic cleaning isn't that widespread amongst typesetting machine owners and maintainers, judging by the lack of replies to your post.

I did post your query in this week's newsletter.

From what I have read about the process on Wikipedia here: Ultrasonic cleaning I would suggest that the process is suitable for cleaning old metal machine parts, etc.

I'm not sure about mats and spacebands though. The Linotype mechanics I recall had a particular file for matrices which cleaned up the "lugs" to keep the mats running smoothly, they also used graphite as a lubricant which I believe is now considered to be dangerous!

Ray Loomis demonstrates a special "stick" on this video for cleaning the lugs:
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Wayne the Linotype mechanic I work with, did make up an ultrasonic bath to clean some parts from letterpress machines we were overhauling. He made his own bath what it contained I have no idea. It also did a pretty good job of removing rust from galleys.

For a C4 Intertype that was very rusty we cleaned a lot of rusty parts with molasses.

The following is the way I clean matrices:-

Put mats face down on a galley. When you are running the mats out of the magazine with a galley on your lap open to your right, this is the ideal way to place the mats. Scrub the back with a stiff brush dipped in shellite (called Naphtha in North America). Put another galley on the top of the other flip the galleys over and scrub the front edge. Then dump the lot into a dish of shellite and wash the mats around to clean the sides. Then pick up double handfuls of matrices and place into a large sieve containing fine sawdust. Mix the mats around in the sawdust to dry them. Then shake the sawdust off through the sieve into a suitable container to save the sawdust for future use. Then tip the matrices onto a soft surface such as a rubber mat. We used the blankets that stereotypers used to cover the flongs during molding. Pick the mats back up and stack them on a clean galley. Run the mats into a clean magazine.

Use a magazine brush dipped in shellite to brush the magazine, follow up with a dry brush to dry the magazine.
Wayne prefers petrol as it doesn't evaporate as fast as sheliite.

This is the method that was used by major newspapers in Australia and the method I used when working for Canadian Linotype in Toronto

George Finn (Mechanic)
Gold Coast

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