Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Dream Machine

Groma Kolibri
Dream Machine

I worked on this machine sometime last year, when Kevin owned it, and struggled then with the skipping issues. It also was making a clanking sound, which we thought was something interfering with the bottom plate. There was also some evidence of this because of a spot on the plate with scratches. I tried padding it with foam, then tried shimming the bottom plate with washers, but it didn't really help much. Actually going without the plate ends up being quieter, but then you have the problems involved with interference with the mechanics underneath, unless it's sitting on an absolutely flat surface; forget lap-typing without the bottom cover.

There's an extension arm on the escapement rocker that's operated by the type linkages via an adjustable cam, one of the few adjustments on this machine. But gaining access is difficult, you need a special angled driver and adjustment tool. I've been tinkering with this and can get the skipping to become less frequent, but not go away entirely. Then I tried crimping a thin brass tube, a kind of shim, on the extension arm of the rocker, and that actually helped a whole lot, also making the touch a bit nicer -- but alas the brass piece slipped and I was back where I started. Finally I just put a piece of heat shrink on the arm and it seems to be working good enough for now; I only had one skip during this piece.

There's another arm of the escapement that rides on the bottom edge of the carriage as a dampener, the arm has a rubber sleeve but it's badly worn. I need to get a replacement, probably some thin Tygon tubing, about 1/8" diameter, much smaller than automotive vacuum hose.

I was also seeing some issues with the ribbon not auto-reversing, but I think it's because these new DIN-sized ribbons are shorter than a full sized spool and the sensing arms need to be reformed slightly to compensate for the smaller diameter of the ribbon pack.

That's one thing about the Kolibri, it's a beautiful machine but lacks a lot of built-in adjustments. Things have to be reformed or shimmed to compensate.

As for the clanking sound, it's dampened a bit by just typing on a thick pad, so that's the way I'll go; there's very little clearance between the mechanism underneath and the plate for any internal foam padding.

I was thinking the other day about naming this little bird. No, I don't name all my machines. Of course, there's Adobe Rose, the Royal QDL, but she's an exception. We used to have a VW Jetta turbo-diesel that we named Dieter, after the Mike Myers SNL character, but I don't see this little Kolibri as a black-clad Dieter in a German dance club. Maybe it doesn't need a name, it just needs to inspire me to write, and that's good enough for me.

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Blogger Bill M said...

Congratulations on your repairs. Beautiful typewriter.
I don't yet won a Kolbri. Maybe some day/

2:45 AM  
Blogger Richard P said...

This is one of my favorite typewriter models, for its look and size, even though its performance isn't ideal.

Thanks for the reminder of Sprockets!

6:55 AM  
Blogger Piotr Trumpiel said...

Congratulations! Knowing your talent for repairs I'm sure that in time you will solve all the issues with it. I admit: I am a Kolibri maniac (I blame Mr. Polt ;) ) - 33 birds in my flock so far :).
Kind regards

8:04 AM  
Blogger Phil said...

Your description of making adjustments on the Kolibri reminded me of a conversation 50 years ago with typewriter repairman. We were talking about a certain Model Teletype machine (Model 33 I think). He said he didn't like to work on them because they were a "bendadjust" machine. We asked "what?" and he said more slowly "bend to adjust" machine. They lacked threaded rods with nuts and lock nuts, and slots for screws to move before tightening. Instead, you had to find one of the stamped linkages that you could bend to make it shorter.

5:26 PM  

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