Cleaning gungy Flexowriter

From: Tony Duell <>
Date: Thu Nov 4 16:23:49 2004

> 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?

When I did mine, I found that the flexowriter can be stripped down into
modules very easily. It's about 10 years since I did it (so I am going to
forget some details), but I can rememebr you take out the platten and all
the external covers, then stand it on its back and undo 2 screws holding
the encoder chassis in place. Swing that out, then uplug the punch and
reader cables, undo the captive screws holding the punch and reader in
place, and take hose out.

Loosen the setscrew on the encoder support rond, slide that out and
remove the encoder. Take out the screws holding the the decoder under the
keyboard, unhook it from the key rails, unplug the cables, take it out.

Take out the drive roller. This is spring-loaded towards the drive gear
side. Force it away from the drive gear with a screwdriver, it'll flip out.

Take put the drvie gear (the spindle stub presses out), the belts,
driveshaft/pulleys, etc.

I remember removing the carriage, and I rememebr it was quite easy, but I
forget the details

You then dismantle the carrirage return clutch at the right hand side,
take out the screws holding the main chassis in position, and take it out.

The individual modules strip down very easily. I cleaned all the parts in
various solvents -- white spirit (I think that's mineral spirits to you),
paraffin (kerosene), petrol (gasoline). The safety nazis can have a field
day over that, and obviously you must do the cleaning outside with no
sources of ignition.

I have never liked the idea of soaking a mechanism in solvent. I know
_all_ clock restores object to the practice, and these mechanisms are of
abotu the same size and precision.

Two more things I remmeber. You need a set of Bristol Spline keys for
some of the setscrews (it is based on an IBM design after all). And the
carriage step escapement has a 4 rows of ball bearings that will go
everywhere when you strip it unless you know to catch them. Stick them
back in place with grease when assembling as usual, of course.

Received on Thu Nov 04 2004 - 16:23:49 GMT

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