Monday, 21 November 2011

SM3 that needs I took a chance with some tools and...

This circa 1954 Olympia SM3 arrived about a week ago. It was safely packaged, but the box had split slightly and the typewriter itself had seen better days.

This was gonna be a tricky fix for me. However, I remember M. Scott Peck writing in "The Road Less Travelled" about how he had to repair some machine or other and what he did was sit and stare at it for several minutes to get a grasp of what pieces went where, and which section was attached to which other section.  Anyway...

 A few minutes with the Leatherman tool and part of a coat hanger and...

Voila! I had to make sure that the little 'hook' at the end would be small enough to go through here...

Yes, that narrow gap of light in the middle of the frame. Heh, heh!

It would appear that the carriage sits a fraction too low. I bet all it needs is a slight adjustment of some tiny little screw somewhere, I'm not typewriter-repair-savvy enough to attempt to fix this. Besides, aren't there like, about 637 ball bearings on the carriage rail that come spilling out the minute you undo it?


  1. Good job with the drawband!

    To stop the scraping / catching problem, you need to replace the squashed rubber bushings on the bottom part of the typewriter. A common problem on these machines. Fortunately it's easy to do, and many different sorts of rubber pieces will do the trick.

  2. I'm sure I've told the story elsewhere, but when I was buying my Remington #5, the ad described it as "not working." A broken draw chord, obviously. I also got a good deal on my Remington Noiseless #8 because the carriage would not move. Broken chord, again. Likewise, the Underwood that recently arrived needed the drawband replaced.

    Our typewriters might be built to last, but their draw chords/bands are clearly the weak link in the system.

  3. I had a similar escapade with one of my SMs. I'd hooked the drawband onto the drawband hook while trying to figure out the shift problem, but carelessly nudged it off. Whack, it rewound onto the motor in a trice. Instead of the coat hanger dodge, I remembered the saved the spokes from an old bicycle wheel, they even come with a ready-made hook. Building on Richard's comment regarding the grinding carriage: half inch tap washers replaced the four badly compressed underside bushes. Scrape out the old ones. Do them one at a time if you are nervous. You may need to ream the hole in the washer just a bit to get the bolt through. If you can't get tap washers, a cunningly whittled eraser would match the originals for springiness. Then you will have true typing joy. Good luck.

    PS: A Leatherman is my tool of choice as well, though mine's the less business-like Juice model. I'm on my third. The backsprings break every couple of years and I send it off to the UK distributor and they send me a new one. I wonder if Leatherman and Zippo are the only companies to guarantee their products for life these days?

  4. Nice machine. I have had similar experiences with some of the machines presently in my shop, electronics shop, I'm not a typewriter technician. The suggestions mention all sound good. I have a curvey Hermes 3000 waiting in line with a similar problem of the carriage hanging partly through its entire travel. The machine frame is aluminum and the machine was dropped so I have an easy fix; straighten the frame. Working on the machines I think is half of the fun of collecting them. The other half is using them. Very nice typeface on the 1958 machine you used for your typecast.

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  6. Hello! I've just finished repairing my new (old) SM3 which had the identical problem with the carriage catching on the body. As noted already, the problem is solved by replacing the washers on the bottom of the frame at all four places where they attach the body to the typewriter mechanism. The revaluation I had was that what was needed were 8 Danco #88569 - 00 Flat washers commonly found to repair faucets and found in Home Depots, everywhere. They come in 10-packs for less than $2. You will need to use 8 of them. Their hard rubber is a durable and perfect fit for this job! While at HD I also purchased a package of 1/4" metal flat washers over in their hardware department. These fit over the bolt followed by the first faucet washer then through the frame and the 2nd faucet washer and finally into the typewriters mechanism. Be sure to tighten the special bolts, completely. The washers will compress very slightly. This raises the mechanism about an eighth of an inch which is just enough for the problems with the carriage to end! Good luck! It's a simple fix.

    1. Thanks Marty! In the end, I got the typewriter serviced and that carriage scraping problem got sorted out with replacement washers. It now types like a dream. Thanks for the detailed instructions. No doubt they'll come in handy one day, but this typewriter is so sturdy that I probably won't have to replace them anytime soon.