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Friday, 18 December 2015

Fixing the Flying I on a Triumph Norm-6 Portable Typewriter

The typeslug "Ii" on this lovely burgundy Triumph Norm-6 portable typewriter had decided to sprout wings and take flight. It seems someone must have toggled it and snapped the clip underneath it - a tiny, thin piece of metal which normally wraps under the head of the typebar and grips it in place. These typeslugs are like small sleeves that fit snuggly on to the typebar heads.
There was only one thing for it: good ol' Araldite.
But this of course meant a great deal of care needed to be taken to make sure it was refitted correctly, so that it left exactly the same impression as the other typebars. Once Araldite is applied, it dries almost instantly and a typeslug that's not flush and in the right place will be impossible to realign.
The operation proved a complete success and the typeslug will now stay grounded as long as this typewriter keeps working - probably another 200 or 300 years at least.
Araldite is a two-part epoxy adhesive that's been around since the Swiss Industries Fair in 1945. I figured it was good enough to reattach a Triumph portable typewriter typeslug, since it is used to join together the two sections of carbon composite which make up the monocoque of the Lamborghini Aventador.
As well, Araldite was used to bond the rib sections of the shells on the Sydney Opera House.
Plus Brian May (ex-Queen) used it to seal the pickups in his homemade Red Special guitar to prevent microphonic feedback.
In 1983, British advertising agency FCO Univas set up a visual stunt presentation of the strength of Araldite by gluing a yellow Ford Cortina to a billboard on Cromwell Road, London, with the tagline "It also sticks handles to teapots". 


Leigh Whitaker said...

Nice repair! Would you mind elaborating on how you made sure the alignment was correct? My husband got me a beautiful Torpedo for Christmas, and I only noticed that the m typebar had been previously mended when I had a 'flying m' happen. I may end up getting it welded. I tried with epoxy (gorilla brand) but it didn't hold) and my alignment was off anyway.

Robert Messenger said...

Hi Leigh. Sorry to hear you have had problems with your Christmas Torpedo. Where are you as a matter of interest? What I did was test the alignment many times until I got it spot on - I must confess I had my son help me in this process, as I figured four hands were going to be a lot better than two, and that's exactly how it turned out (his eyesight is a lot better than mine too). Once we were certain it was fitted correctly (of course testing before applying the Araldite means the slug starts to move again!), by looking closely and taking careful note of its position both nestling in the typebasket and raised, I then quickly took it out, put Araldite inside the sleeve (not on the head of the bar) and quickly replaced it.

Robert Messenger said...

Hope this helps, Leigh. I take it your Torpedo has the same arrangement, of the slugs being replaceable sleeves on the end of the bars? Otherwise, of course, it's a welding job, and a very tricky one at that! A last option, but possible, is to replace the whole typebar. Earlier blog posts here show how this is done.

ZetiX said...

Thank you very much for these instructions - I have Erika 5 awaiting similar surgery :)

x over it said...

Thanks for this! I have a Torpedo with this very problem, which I was unable to fix with JB Weld.