Cleaning gungy Flexowriter

From: Joe R. <>
Date: Thu Nov 4 15:41:09 2004

At 11:40 AM 11/4/04 -0800, you wrote:
>On Thu, 4 Nov 2004, Joe R. wrote:
>> I asked about cleaning up the Flexowriters and a friend of mine
>> reminded me that the old typewriter shops had vats of solvent that they
>> would dunk the entire assembly into (taking off electrical and rubber parts
>> before-hand). These are pretty nasty so I thought that sounding like a
>> good idea. I was thinking of using minerals spirits. Anybody have any
>> experience with using that on electromechanical stuff? Any sugggestions? I
>> thought I'd remove the platen and belt on the RH side and any other rubber
>> parts that I could see. Does anyone know if there are any parts inside the
>> Flexowriters that should be removed first?
>This sounds barbaric, and it has it's dangers, but my method
>is simple. I've used this on two Teletype Model 28s. One had
>been out in a field in S. Arizona, under a tarp, for 10+ years,
>and the other in a dusty garage and was filled with dust and
>cat hair adhered to ancient, gelled lubricant.
>Took the entire mechanism, rubber, electrics and all, placed
>on a concrete walkway.
>Sprayed with garden hose and nozzle to remove bulk crap.
>Used automotive "purple cleaner" and a paint brush to remove
>all the congealed lube and dirt.
>Sprayed with garden hose THOROUGHLY to remove degreaser and
>crud and most of the paintbrush hairs.
>Rotate and tilt to remove most water.
>Left in sun all day, tilted for drainage. Let dry inside for
>2? 4? days.
>The only damage was to the keyboard contacts inside the little
>tin box, I had to open and clean it out.
>I lube everything with synthetic grease and 0-weight synthetic
>motor oil.
>Water is a great solvent. It's non-toxic, and while it promotes
>electrochemical corrosion if it lingers too long (ie. rust)
>it's easily removed.
>I did #1 6 years ago and there has been no detectable problems
>since then (eg. incremental corrosion caused by trapped or
>residue degreaser).

   I opened up the Flexowriter today and decided against bathing it in
anything. There are too many open switches, electromagnets and other things
that don't look like they'd be happy in water or mineral spirits. I cleaned
it bit by bit with a toothbrush and a vaccuum cleaner to get the crud out.
I sprayed WD-40 in places where it wouldn't hurt and then wiped it up with
paper towels. That picked up a lot of the dust and dirt that was sticking
to everything. It took all day but I finally got it reasonable clean. A lot
of the mechanical stuff was frozen due to solidified grease. Even the motor
was frozen. I had to take it out and turn by hand for a few minutes to get
it lossened up enough to run.

    I finally got the first Flexowriter running. Sort of. The motor runs
but the belt slips most of the time. The gear train in the thing is TIGHT.
I don't know for sure why but among other things the clutch for the belt
that drives the carriage seems to be frozen on. The carriage runs to the
right and it's still trying to drive it. I can push it back to the left
(with power off) but it hard to move. Before I applied power I was able to
move it left and right easily. I don't know why it's so hard to move now.
Normally the black buttons on the left and right of the carriage release it
and let you move it back to the left easily but after the motor moves it to
the right they have no affect. I'd still like to find a way to take the
entire carriage off so that I can clean everything in the center under it.

   I REALLY need a manual that explains how this thing works!

Received on Thu Nov 04 2004 - 15:41:09 GMT

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