Monday, March 14, 2011

The Amazing Floating Olympia

20110314 typecast pt1
Bushing locations
20110314 typecast pt2
Bushing detail
20110314 typecast pt3

I like to use "Bibb washers" from the plumbing aisle of the hardware store, although these photos show the machine using rubber gaskets from an auto parts store. You have a fair amount of flexibility here: you primarily need to accommodate the screw, and have something thick enough that it will support the weight of the typewriter and hold the workings up above the frame. Most carriage-related ills that I've seen on SM-x machines magically resolve with this fix.

Broken typewriter? Call a plumber
Old washer on the left, replacement on the right.

Smushed
Time + gravity does this to the original rubber washer: the synthetic replacement should last another 50 years, easy.

Typed on Morticia, the Olympia SM-3
"Morticia", the curbside Olympia SM-3, c. 1956

12 comments:

notagain said...

I used o-rings and just put them on top of the flat old rubber. worked great.

Richard P said...

A good tip that every Olympia lover should know.

I got an SM3 or 4 once whose original bushings had actually melted into runny goo!

twentyfourhourolympia said...

Could this also be the root of how when I shift-lock my SM4, it doesn't lift the carriage all the way that the shift key does, producing mis-struck characters (too high)? It's the last mechanical issue I have yet to iron out by fiddling around with it.

rino breebaart said...

Legend! Very helpful photos. I don't have the Olympia yet, but I do have some spare washers. I might also see if this fix might help a little dragging problem with the Hermes 3K.

I love typecast-by-request!

mpclemens said...

@twentyfourhourolympia: if it shifts normally, then it sounds like a problem with the lock lever itself. Once locked, can you push the shift keys even further? They should be at the bottom of their travel when the shift is locked.

@rino: happy to oblige. I don't know if this design also applies to Hermes, but if you see any obviously flattened rubber parts that are easy to replace, it's probably worth your time

twentyfourhourolympia said...

Yeah, if I push the shift key all the way down, it strikes right on the money. There's maybe 1 or 2mm of travel left after the lock lever is engaged.

Duffy Moon said...

Good work, Clemens.
My SM4 has the problem with the carriage return arm scraping the front (or, at some point it did, as evidenced by the absence of paint in that area), but I'm not experiencing any other problems.
I'll know, though, where to look should it become thus afflicted.

snohomishwriter said...

Good tutorial. I wonder how many people there are who had great Olympias but thought they were broken because of squished washers. I almost got rid of my current SM-3 because I didn't know about those. Good thing I found out because it's now the best machine I've ever owned.

ToriForte said...

I wonder if this tip might help with my Socialite. I need to drag her out of hiding and take a look...

Adwoa said...

Great idea to change out one at a time! I didn't think of that when I attempted my own repair and ended up being too scared to take it apart (as I was trying to do) since there are quite a few holes that should line up just so when putting it back. I have since parted with the SM-3 in question (too many H3Ks clamoring for my attention), but I'll come back to this post the next time I find one.

rino breebaart said...

This fix works a treat. Funny, the rubber feet on the SM3 are near-perfect, but the bushings were crusty and squished and dead. Popped the new ones in - and a mild grinding of the carriage about one third in is gone. Amazing carriage action now. Swish and Ding.

Update: http://rino.blogspot.com/2011/03/olympia-sm3.html

mpclemens said...

Rino, I'm tickled to hear it. It's truly like getting a brand new machine. My original SM3 sounded like a coffee grinder before I replaced those parts. Now it's perfect.