Here are the facts behind the previous entry, which was rather oblique and glorified because of my excitement:
Some two years ago I acquired a ‘Monotype’ Composition Caster – a machine that automatically casts individual printing types from molten metal and sets this type into justified lines, ready for printing. By automatically, I mean that the operation of the machine is controlled by a punched paper tape whose perforations are created by an entirely separate keyboard. For the printer, typographer or general enthusiast of machinery, a running ‘Monotype’ Caster is an amazing thing to witness.
I have had a great interest—okay, obsession—with these machines for several years. This passion culminated in my attending Monotype University 5, where I first met the amazing Mr Paul Duensing, from whom I acquired my first machine. Unfortunately, this caster was damaged in shipment! It took two years for me to fully recover from this minor tragedy and to locate a similar machine.
Finally, this spring…
Finally this spring, a similar, though slightly more worn out composition caster emerged at Heritage Printers, in Charlotte, North Carolina, under the care of Pat Taylor. As it happens, Pat Taylor was my tutor on the Monotype Composition Caster at Monotype University, so it seems fitting that I should acquire this ‘new’ machine from him.
With the expert help of Bill Welliver, the new caster made it safely back to my shop in Lititz, PA, where it has been lavished with preparations for its new assignment. In order to be fully operation at The Private Press of Ian Schaefer, the caster requires these accomodations:
- 3-phase power to the 3/4 hp motor – this will probably be provided by a variable frequency drive, which should allow finer adjustment at low speed settings.
- Propane gas to power the melting pot – the pot was previously feed by natural gas, which means that the burner orifices must be reduced, probably by soldering and re-drilling an even smaller hole.
- Water coolant – my shop has no nearby water supply, so the casting machine moulds must be cooled by a recirculating water system. I plan to start building a unit based on the model designed by Jim Walczak, and presented at the 2004 ATF Conference.
- Air power to control the machine at a steady 15 psi – this one is easy: I already have a very serviceable compressor.
I intend to document the progress here, along with photos of the ‘Monotype’ Caster and the entire shop.