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MMD > Archives > August 2002 > 2002.08.05 > 08Prev  Next

10-Tune Spool Frame Tears Paper Less Often
By Craig Brougher

[ Ref topic "Piano Roll Tears While Rewinding" ]

The diameter of the roll core is certainly a consideration in
preventing rolls from tearing on reroll; however, that isn't the main
reason that commercial machine rolls are protected better than ordinary
player piano rolls.  The main reason the large commercial rolls don't
tear up is because of the way they are spooled, without flanges, so the
operator must carefully rechuck, align, and thus track the paper each
time they are chucked up, to start with.  They are just paper wound on
a very large, heavy core (for the most part), and their tracking
depends on the person loading the spool frame.

The takeup spool of a coin player does not need to even have flanges
for tracking purposes because they should not touch orchestrion roll
paper (or Violano paper).  Instead, the roll cores are given a
precision chuck which has a steel rod joining together two precision
turned flanges which exactly align themselves with each other and fit
tightly into the core to exactly align it to the steel rod.  The
operator, if done right, will tap down the paper edge of the roll paper
until its straight on the fixed flange, before he clamps down the
moveable flange on the chuck shank, making it tight and snug with the
(now straight) roll paper.  So when this is done correctly and the
flange is tight and tested, and re-snugged, where is the paper going
to go but straight ahead?

Then since the end plates of the spool frame are extra heavy and
precision drilled, often with bushings or bearings installed as well,
and since rolls are not reliant on small, thin cores with wobbly
flanges, are not changed by the pianolist each time it plays, and are
not subjected at all to the same wear and tear of rolls which have been
played on perhaps a half-dozen old players through their lifetime,
losing tabs and being damaged in the process, rolls for automatic
players do not tear up, even though most of them have been played far
more times than any ordinary home player roll.

The real danger to automatic rolls is the possibility of takeup flanges
being too close for the spool frame to control its paper within that
tolerance.  It's the roll flanges that track automatic rolls, but even
then there can be a certain percentage of paper wander on the takeup
spool due to overall stretching.  As the paper pays onto the takeup
spool, if it is met with a tight flange it will tend to weaken or
stretch the edge of the paper in places.  That rerolls just fine the
first time.  But after the roll is rechucked some time thereafter, it
will be seen to have cupped paper edges and no amount of tapping in the
process of tightening the roll flanges will allow it to restraighten
itself.  That's when it will tear, if its going to tear -- on the
reroll of the next rechucking.  Even then, it usually won't tear
because of other factors, all ideal to preserving roll paper.

As far as core diameter is concerned, small cardboard cores don't
necessarily stay straight, but thinner ones much less likely than heavy
ones, and heavy large diameter ones the least.  The percentage of
crookedness in a large automatic player roll core to its length is not
material.  The same thing cannot be said of player piano roll cores.
Also, the more support the paper has when coming off the roll or off
the takeup spool, the less likely it will move back and forth

Carousel-type roll changing spool frames use a specially heavy designed
precision roll with a leader guide that maintains precision paper
handling even when the roll has been fully rewound, so they are much
less likely to tear, and human hands don't get involved each time they
play.  However, they are still more prone to tearing than large
flangeless orchestrion rolls are.  Mainly at the tab hook, though.

So in general, I think what saves automatic player rolls is, first,
the fact that they can only be played on the type of spool frame that
they were built for since the transports are fairly identical,
precision, and do not facilitate continual hand removal and replacement
of rolls like a player piano does.

Second, the operator of an automatic roll resets its flanges each time,
thus fixing its tracking in a precision way on a steel carrier rod,
making sure each time the roll is rechucked that the edges of the roll
are clean and straight, and that the roll flanges are snug against the
paper edges, regardless of the swelling and shrinkage incurred between

Third, The precision and the large design of the transport, including
the larger cores combine to give the commercial machines many times
more precision support for their roll paper than any player piano ever
could have.  The only real danger to roll paper posed by a heavy
commercial spool frame (given that everything else is working right
and adjusted) is posed by its own takeup flanges.  The takeup flanges
on a commercial frame are necessary for one thing -- manually taking
up the paper as it is carefully loaded each time onto the transport.

This is the single most important consideration of protecting roll
paper, when designing a spool frame transport.  Make sure the takeup
spool flanges are out of the way of even the worst roll paper.

Craig Brougher

(Message sent Mon 5 Aug 2002, 14:51:06 GMT, from time zone GMT-0700.)

Key Words in Subject:  10-Tune, Frame, Less, Often, Paper, Spool, Tears

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