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How to Ink an IBM 026 Ribbon

e-mail from Duwayne Lafley May 10, 2017
Also see Tricks For ReInking Printer Ribbons

Hi Ken,

I took call today at Sparkler Filters to fix ribbon problem on 129 keypunch and fix 402 "not printing on right side of page".

We have had problem getting new ribbons so customer runs cards through 129 and interprets them more than once.

402 problem was 3rd set of read brushes was not seated properly on right side (column 80 end). I snapped brushes down and showed Lutricia how to check for wiggle on each end.

How to Re-Ink your Ribbon

Used ribbon MUST be in good condition.
Why are we using stamp-pad ink? Why not fountain pen ink? Ink in typewriter ribbon must remain wet and usable for long period of time. If it dried out overnight, you'd be left with yards of really pretty black ribbon and nothing else. Completely useless.

Stamp pads must also remain wet and usable for long period of time, otherwise you can't press rubber stamps into it! Because stamp pad ink shares same properties as typewriter ink, it's perfect re-inking tool for spent ribbons.

Apply ink in following manner:

  1. Having ensured ribbon is rolled up onto one spool (but tail is still attached to other), open bottle of stamp-ink. Mouth of bottle should be small slit, like this: -

  2. If it was regular bottle opening, ink would just come rushing out and you'd have huge mess on your hands.

  3. Holding ribbon spool in one hand and bottle in other, press mouth of bottle to ribbon and GENTLY squeeze bottle to encourage ink onto ribbon. In most cases, gravity alone will cause ink to dribble out.

  4. As ink dribbles out, use tip of bottle to spread it evenly along whole 1/2in. width of ribbon. Do one section, then rotate spool, and do another section, then rotate, do another section, until all 360 degrees of ribbon have been inked in this manner.

  5. DO NOT OVERDO IT! One drop of ink has to seep right through ribbon to bottom of spool. Use ink as sparingly as possible. No more than two drops for each section, spread out along ribbon. anymore than that, and ribbon will be too heavily saturated to be of use.
It is NOT necessary to unroll entire ribbon and do every inch of it. Roll it up and drip and spread ink onto it as I described. Ink will seep through layers of ribbon, saturating entire length of ribbon until whole thing has been re-inked. Fast, bit messy, but over and done with in 5 minutes.

Once ribbon has been re-inked, set it back into typewriter and position it for use. You're done!

Duwayne