Replacing the spring on your Windmill’s swing away lay gauge

Our swing away lay gauge makes printing all types of forms on the windmill a snap. It allows the tight registration of lay gauges but conveniently swings out of the way before impression, meaning that no part of the lay gauge will come into contact with the plate or base.

Occasionally the spring that swings the arm back into position can break with use, so we sell a replacement spring.

Another repair that you may encounter is needing to replace the arm itself. You might have a broken arm if you’ve tried to use the swing away lay gauge for die cutting. No worries, we sell replacement arms as well.

In this article we’ll review how to disassemble and reassemble the lay gauge so you can replace either of these parts. Step one is to find a small wrench to remove the nut holding the gauge’s shaft.

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Once you’ve removed the nut, carefully remove the washer underneath. Then you can flip the gauge upside down and carefully slide out the shaft that connects to the roller arm. Note how the spring’s end turns upward and fits into a small hole in the roller arm. When you reassemble you’ll have to align the spring in the same way. Once the roller arm is out, you can remove the larger swing away arm. Note how this swing away arm is keyed to fit onto the roller arm, because you’ll also have to align this when you reassemble.

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To put the gauge back together, place the spring into the slot in the side.

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Then, slide in the swing away arm and align the key hole with the hole through the body of the gauge.

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This next step takes all ten fingers, and a little bit of patience. Slide in the roller arm. The spring’s end needs to fit into the hole on the roller arm, while the end of the shaft needs to fit into the swing away arm’s key hole.

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Once the shaft is in place, the spring fits through the hole of the roller arm, and the swing away arm is keyed in place, you can then put the washer back onto the shaft by its threads.

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We recommend one small drop of blue Threadlocker Loctite 242 to hold the bolt in place after reassembly. The swinging motion of the shaft can work the bolt loose during operation, so the Loctite holds the bolt in place.

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Quickly replace the nut and tighten up with your wrench. Don’t overtighten or you will restrict the swinging motion of the swinging arm–it should be as tight as possible without causing the swing away arm to bind. If you used Loctite (as recommended) you should leave the nut to sit 15 minutes to harden into place.

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Congratulations! You now have a swing away lay gauge ready to print AND the use of both your hands again. Let us know if you have any other tips to keeping your swing away lay gauge working well. Oh, and don’t forget to add a drop of machine oil down the oil hole at the end of the gauge. This helps keep the shaft from wearing out over years of use.

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