Friday, November 22, 2013

Olympia SM5 Adjustments

Olympia SM5 Serial Number 2210659 (1962)

When this creamy white Olympia arrived it looked to be a beaut. No dings or scratches, it still had life in the platten and other rubber bits, except those washers is sits on, but that's easy to fix. But then I began to type ...


Oh dear ... the lower case characters were hitting the platten too low, even though the adjustment was at it's limit, and they were out of alignment with the upper case characters. 

Thanks to a tip from a friendly Typospherian on The portable typewriter Forum (thank you Grace!!!) I found Rob Bowker's detailed post on the same problem. I very much doubt if I would have worked out the solution on my own. The gist of it is that by very slightly increasing the distance between the carriage rails, the carriage (and platten) are lowered enough to get the type slugs to hit the platten properly, i.e., at a tangent so that the impression is even from ttop to bottom of the character.


To access both the screw and lock nut of the upper case alignment adjustment the machine would need to have an "out of body" experience. OK, fine, that would make it easier to clean also.
The feet then went back on to lift the machine off of the work surface to allow testing.











The lower case adjustment (lower left) is at its max, but the platten is still too high in relation to the characters. Moving the forward carriage rail (top) forward, very slightly widening the distance between the two carriage rails, drops the carriage and the platten just enough.

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By loosening the carriage rail hold-down (Rob Bowker Screw) on each side the rail can be scooched forward a wee bit. It worked! The lower case characters printed perfectly.
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Pertinent bits
It took about a full counterclockwise turn of the upper case adjustment screws to get the caps lined up with the small letters. It was really fun to get this nice machine set to rights, thanks to the help of the typoshperian community.
Now all is well

Once the adjustments were made I got out the Q-tips and alcohol and gave everything a good spruce-up, followed by a coat of wax. Wow! Now there's a fine typer!


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Max Rubber Rejuvenator (used as a solvent for freeing hesitant type bars - I don't think it has any rejuvenating qualities other than cleaning), Griot's Machine Polish 3 (very fine-grit polish - good for removing tough smudges, overall cleaning of the body and shiny bits), Mother's California Gold Brazillian Carnauba Cleaner/Wax (nice to use, pleasant, clean smell-I like to think it protects everything a bit, including the plated parts from further corrosion), and of course, alcohol for gunk removal and type slug cleaning.

12 comments:

  1. That's a gorgeous SM5! They seem difficult to find in super condition.

    What kind of wax do you use? I always wax my old shiny black enamel machines but never tried it on any others.

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    1. Nick, your question and the lovely early morning light have prompted me to add a photo of the materials used to spruce up that machine. The wax is Mother's California Gold Brazillian Carnauba Cleaner/Wax.

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  2. It is a beauty. I have the same model in the same colours - two years younger though - also in a very good shape and still with that Olympia scent. And I very much like the typing action, the feel of the paint and - of course - the looks. For me it is the best of the SM line (so far I've tried 3, 4, 7 and 9) - SM9 may have the advantage on the basket shift but is waaaaaay back on the looks :).

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    1. Oh! And kudos on the brilliantly detailed adjustment job here!!!

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  3. That's brilliant. Thanks for posting.

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  4. Fantastic job Tony!
    Keep it going - the momentum to fixing and cleaning is never ending, but I'm loving your updates! :)

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  5. Great job indeed! It's always nice seeing a nice typewriter back in perfect working order.

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  6. Hey! A screw named after me. The results speak for themselves, that iis typing beautifully now. I think my misalignment was actually down to gravity having its way with a slack-running carriage, I never got as far as removing the cover to play with those hard to reach shift adjusters but the main thing is you got to the place you needed to be. And I like the blue ribbon!

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  7. well done. I will have to bookmark this. I never have found a 5, and only one 4.

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  8. Hello, this is Grace from the Yahoo typewriter forum. Thank YOU for making this blog post. It is very helpful to me, and I am sure to others as well. I've always wondered what people use to get their typewriters so shiny for the pictures.

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