IBM Selectric II typewriter repairs


Hello folks, this is my beautiful IBM Selectric
II, not any Selectric, the Selectric with the correcting button right here. Otherwise
known as the Golfball typewriter. The original Selectric I was unveiled in 1961, and it was
a true revolution. It achieved like 80% market penetration. The
Selectric II is 1971, the Selectric II with
correcting button is 1973. It is entirely mechanical, there is no electronics
in it at all. 2000 mechanical parts and a million adjusments.
The guy that invented this must have been friend with the guy that invented the helicopter,
it’s a completely un-intuitive design that shouldn’t work, but it does, works very well.
So, a little work on that one, the tab doesn’t work, the carriage return is sluggish, my
beloved correcting button is not working, and my head is a little bit out of alignment.
So we’ll take a peek inside and try to fix it.
Now taking this apart is a piece of cake if you do it in the right order. First, you need
to put the carriage in the middle. Then open this up, this goes forward, this goes backward.
Two thumbs on these levers. Don’t forget to take that piece out and also to flip those
levers up. And inside, there are two levers, push them forward. One, two. And if I didn’t
mess up that should do it. There is one more lever inside here that you pull forward. That
allows you to raise the machine, slide it forward, flip it up, and voila, you are ready
to work on your IBM Selectric. So how does this magnificent beast work. It
does print by controlling the spin and the tilt of the ball. There are two bands here,
one here, one there. And if I pull on them, I can see the ball turning a bit here. And
the other one does the tilt. Mine is cocked to the side, so I have to figure out which
arm moves this. And is attached to this guy over here, and there is a turnbuckle. So it
should be fairly easy to adjust. By the way, this thing is of mind-boggling
complexity. Here is a summary adjustment manual, and these are all the adjustments that you
can go through. And there are pages upon pages upon pages of this thing. It’s a 100 pages.
That’s just the concise form. And then you look at the mechanism and it just keeps going
and going. The guy that invented this was completely crazy.
So now I just have to work on my sticky tab key, the return is not that good either, it
sticks. It’s working again, that is fine. That was
the toughest one to repair, the sluggish carriage return. It turns out it’s these guys over
here that have to be adjusted properly first. There should be no oil on that one, because
it grabs the shaft that powers the carriage return. Of course it was bathed with grease,
so I cleaned it up. And this guy, you have to adjust. That’s the torque limiter, and
you have to pull this tail here back a little bit, to extend the spring and increase the force.
I made real progress here, the whole thing prints. And I can go back and erase things.
My auto-correct works again. It seems to work plenty fine.

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