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The First European Monotype University, Geneva, Swiss, 13-20 june 2004     
  Report 2004

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Starting a Composition Caster

(BRIEF NOTES ON RUNNING THE CASTER) Tuesday September 21st, 2004, par David Bolton

These notes are provided as an aide-memoire. You should consult the Monotype Composition Caster Manual for fuller details.


  • Switch on pot (at around 730F or 390C) - allow approx 1 hour.
  • Skim metal, squeeze out surplus liquid, remove dross (fine powder). The metal in the pot should be almost at the top, and covering as much of elements as possible.
  • Stir pot, and re-skim if necessary.
  • Insert pump body, and piston, if not already in the pot.
  • Fit nozzle (screw right down to contact the base).
    Nb if nozzle, piston, etc had been removed, warm up in the pot before fitting - wipe piston with brush or cloth before placing in pump body.
  • Reduce pot temperature to that for casting (between 650F or 345C for 12pt and 700F or 370C for 6pt).

  • With machine at 10°, remove bridge, and fit the required mould, putting small drop of oil around water hole beneath mould (or use a paper gasket). Nb don’t forget the mould blade connecting pin.
  • Squirt mould oil into mould. Fit crossblock and mould oiler, making sure they are full of mould oil.
  • Turn on water (steady flow from main pipe, drips from overflow pipe)
  • Swing pot under machine, to help warm machine up. (Don’t raise the pot until ready to cast).

  • Put a few drops of machine oil in all the oil holes.
  • Fit required wedge. (Release wedge by turning matrix jaw latch anti-clockwise and then pulling toward the mould the sprung lever beside the mould blade abutment)
  • Fit required matrix case. Remember the draw bars will need altering if changing from 15x15 to 15x17 or 16x17 cases.
  • Turn on unit shift valve, if required for 16x17. Turn off NI/NL if using 15x15.
  • Turn caster by hand to check that all is in order. Nb caster rotates clockwise.
  • Switch on motor (but don’t run caster until draw bar positions have been checked).
  • Turn on air, put small piece of spool paper on air tower, punch G8 (or any central hole position), and pull on air bar connecting rod hook.
  • Turn caster by hand and position draw bars so that centring pin descends centrally in the cone hole.
  • Run the caster under power - the matrix case should not wobbling as the centring pin descends. Re-adjust draw bars if necessary. (Remember to lock the nuts tight when finished).
  • Release air bar connecting rod hook.

  • Set motor to required casting speed (135rpm for 12pt, 180rpm for 6pt)
  • Set column pusher, and type channel, to required point size.
  • Wind up pot, run caster under power, and then turn on pump, to cast quads.
  • Adjust the mould blade opening until the correct width quads are obtained (make sure you start with the micrometer screw roughly half way down, then use mould blade screw for coarse adjustment - one notch clockwise = .002" wider - and micrometer screw for fine adjustment - one notch down = .00025" wider).
  • Insert required line support in the type channel.
  • With the galley trip level locked (catch on side of tool tray), and the operating lever latch bar withdrawn, run several lines of quads, to warm mould up.
  • Punch spool paper with code for alignment mat, or em dash, or cap H if using a slip gauge. Engage air bar rod hook.
  • Cast the alignment character, and adjust centring pin micrometer screws to centralise character on body (or match the slip gauge). Remember to lock after each adjustment.

  • Set column width in galley, fit appropriate column support, release the galley trip lever (if you locked it), engage the operating lever latch bar. It is useful to have small supply of leads to hand (for separating sections of cast type when necessary). Also to have cast some 6 unit and 9 unit spaces to use for emergencies.
  • Fit paper spool on air tower (make sure it fits properly on the crossgirt pins on both sides of air tower). Also remember that the .0005 holes in the paper go on the right.
  • With the caster running, and with one hand for the air tower, and the other on pump release handle, connect the air bar rod hook as well as moving paper feed locking lever to start paper, and at the same time engage the pump.


  • After casting a few lines, check the bottoms and sides of the type. May be too hot, too slow, dirty piston, etc.
  • During casting, remember to check metal level in pot, if not using an ingot feeder.
  • Keep a check on water temperature (with finger) - and adjust flow if necessary.
  • If lines occasionally cause caster to stop, remember to adjust micrometer if the caster has been still for too long (otherwise set widths will be wrong).
  • Remember to check justification during casting, and adjust micrometer if necessary.


  • When spool has come to the end of its punching, the last line (ie the first line to be keyboarded) should have been punched overlength, and so the caster will stop.
  • Remember to disengage the pump.
  • Wind down pot.
  • Release air bar hook and the paper feed.
  • Examine type - it may be neccessary to recast some lines, or cast extra sorts.
  • When finished, remove matrix case and paper spool. If also removing mould, wind pot out of the way, remove bridge, remove mould, blow out water from mould, blowing in a few drops of oil. If then replacing bridge, put some marker to alert that no matrix case is fitted!
  • If preferred, also remove nozzle, (and drill out when cold), and remove piston (wipe down when hot).
  • Leave caster at 10°, ie in position of least pressure on springs, etc.
  • Turn off water. If a while before next casting, and if keeping the mould on the machine, blow some air back up the water pipe to remove any surplus water.
  • Turn off motor, blow loose metal off caster, and turn off air.

For information about wedges, keybars, oil, typefaces, etc go to List of Monotype Information

David Bolton, August 2004



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