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07-9-2015 14:22:48  #1

skyriter restore

hello all, so i bought a 'good condition' skyriter(49-50) but came with a whole list of issues. this is my first time trying to fix a machine so idont know if it will work. the problem id like to solve at the moment is the ribbon vibrator. it appears to be bent and its not smooth when it goes up. it kind of goes up a little crooked. ive also noticed lots of dirt behind the basket. i was thinking of removing the basket so i can clean it but wasnt sure if it is a simple or complicated process. ive already fixed some things about the machine, but its just in such bad state, the platen is tough to roll, so i may need to lubricate that somehow?, i'd appreciate any tips or ideas for this project


08-9-2015 10:04:20  #2

Re: skyriter restore

Hi Alen, , wecome to the forum! Sounds as if you've bought a sweet little machine. The ribbon vibrator might be a little bit of a project, but the first thing you should do in any case is clean the typewriter properly; this will encourage everything thatbCAN work to wake up and work. The way you get to  the space behind the basket is to take the outer dody off, whichbwill obvs exposebthe bare workings...

The Skyriter is REALLY easy to liberate: you need to carefully get the ribbon cover off - it will involve applying a bit of pressure - and then, holding down the top row of keys,  slide the machine out of the casing.

Every single bit of tge machine should be cleaned, using naptha or denatured alcohol ( what is called in the UK methylated spirits), using a nice-quality paintbrush, and Q tips. Gently does it. Don't get solvents on the paint

Most bits of the typewriter can be reached without dismantling it; the carriage can be slid over with the margin tabs on the widest setting, and you can clean the carriage rails and under the carriage, and also the space behind the type basket.

Further advice to follow, no doubt, and you may need more specialist advice re the vibrator. I'm currently on the train home from dropping off a little Swissa Piccola with the Typewriter Man, because the vibrator is a bit bent and totally stuck (& maybe some other things, I don't remember...)

Once you've posted three comments on the board you can show us a picture of the stuck bit...

Good luck!

And btw, most people selling typewriters know nothing about them, they've found them in the loft or something. You develop a sixth sense for the listings... though most of us have been burned a few times! Bringing it back from the dead is part of the thrill..


09-9-2015 19:27:33  #3

Re: skyriter restore

yes i just bought a can of mineral spirits and tried it out on the machine, although i noticed that on the black metal parts inside it made them turn a bit gray. should i be using a different solvent on black parts? and the chrome parts i cleaned before with rubbing alcohol turned really shiny. i tried mineral spirits on them and they weren't as shiny, not sure if im using the right kind. i heard that stuff was better than denatured alcohol so thats why i used it. as far as the typewriter, ive noticed i have to press really hard on the keys to get the carriage to move, more so than on my desktop typewriter, are all small portables like this? or is that not normal,

     Thread Starter

09-9-2015 21:07:48  #4

Re: skyriter restore

Hi. The carriage should move easily with minimal pressure on the keys....

"Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the typewriter."

10-9-2015 12:06:48  #5

Re: skyriter restore

royaltypewriter wrote:

i tried mineral spirits on them and they weren't as shiny, not sure if im using the right kind.

I only use mineral spirits (Varsol) and it works great on all metal parts. The product is meant for cleaning metal, not giving it a high gloss shine. On exposed parts you need to wipe them off with a clean cloth after using the mineral spirits to clean them. You also need to know where exactly to apply the mineral spirits for it to have an effect on a machine with issues, and based on your description it doesn't sound like you're targeting the right spots. Could you be more specific with where or what you've been cleaning?

Stay Safe! 

10-9-2015 18:52:21  #6

Re: skyriter restore

thanks for the reply, the inside frame of the skyriter has some metal parts that are black, and when i use mineral spirits on them they turn a bit gray, this is the brand im using,
is it ok for chrome parts also?, im not sure. also, how would i go about making the carriage move without having to strike the keys too hard. the keys are soft themselves, but right before they are about to strike the paper, there is something in the mechanism that slows them considerably.  i thought that maybe all typewriters this size are like this, or maybe is it because its an older model skyriter.  

Last edited by royaltypewriter (10-9-2015 18:56:35)

     Thread Starter

11-9-2015 03:55:05  #7

Re: skyriter restore

I have a l950 Skyriter and it moves really well. One thing you can do, if you don't know the names of things, is take a picture and with some editing software draw a circle around the bits you mean. But it sounds like mineral spirits is a good idea for metal parts, so that is all the parts inside the typewriter. To get the carriage moving you might want to clean the rails it moves along on, and also the corresponding rails with which is moves along on them. A gunged-up set of carriage rails is not going to glide along easily! 

ultimately, of course, the answer is that you have to go over every millimetre of the machine, because there are SO many little hunges and moving parts. I was trying to loosen up a ribbon vibrator yesterday and traced the workings to bits inside the machine I've never even noticed before! 

The great thing about a skyriter is that it is a relatively simple and open machine. (You did get the body off it, right? Don't get solvents on the paint!)

The other thing I find, if the solvents aren't making sufficient impact on their own, is to alternate applications of solvent with applications of some sort of penetrating oil (ie which is part solvents) - this can be tremendously effective. And I know a collector who uses electrical contact cleanr - I've tried this too and also liked it.


11-9-2015 03:57:05  #8

Re: skyriter restore

The carriage rails especially will thank you for a TINY amount of oil - but never, ever use WD40 or similar  household oils! And never put oil in the slots where the type bars go up, or any part of that system (the segment).

The penetrating oil I find is good for just showing the part a bit of oil, but cutting it with the solvent.

EDIT: Right now, if I were working on that typewriter, I wouldn't be worrying abotu chrome parts yet - just get the thing working first! Nine times out of ten, a really thorough - and that means doing it a few separate times - cleaning will do the trick, interspersed with using it. They, like us, get stuff from lack of use. 

Another thing you could do is hold a Q tip of penetrating oil or solvent by the ends of the platen, inside the carriage where the wheels are turning, and just lubricate (& CLEAN) the bit that turns it. I think we get so hung up on segments and the underneath we forget that the poor carriage is probably gummed up with old oil and ink...

Last edited by KatLondon (11-9-2015 04:01:00)


11-9-2015 05:07:56  #9

Re: skyriter restore

For the chrome I use a bit of tinfoil and lightly rub it on the chrome, and it takes off all light rust.

Back from a long break.

Starting fresh with my favorite typer. A Royal Futura!

15-9-2015 14:25:17  #10

Re: skyriter restore

i have come across a few issues at the moment, first is the ribbon vibrator alingment with the slug guide, here is a pic(you can 'view image')

as you can see the three parts are not aligned. the front plate with the 2 screws, i tried to align it but the slugs kept scraping against it if i moved to the left or right. and the other issue is the platen, when i insert the paper and attempt to feed it through, the platen will not grab the paper. i turn the knob but it just doesnt grip the paper. ive already made sure clasp is closed and not open. i hope someone has some tips for these issues, thanks

Last edited by royaltypewriter (15-9-2015 14:27:37)

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