Restoring an Olivetti Typewriter

I chose this, because I always wanted to use a typewriter, and maybe use it in school for essays, or something like that. I also chose this, because this typewriter was used by my grandfather, and my dad. I kind of wanted to keep the typewriter, and hand it down to my children, etc. I am sharing this, so that people can know how to restore their typewriter.

Step 1: Materials

For this Fix it project, you will need a typewriter, alcoholic cleaner, cloth or rag, typewriter ribbon, and a toothbrush.

Step 2: Cleaning the Segment

First, you are going to clean the segment part of the typewriter, with some alcoholic cleaner, and a cloth. You have to do this, because if some keys in the segment part of the typewriter are stuck, this will help them get them working again.

Step 3: Cleaning the Keys Individually

If one specific key is stuck, you have to individually clean it, by spraying more alcoholic cleaner, and wiping it with a cloth. If the key is still stuck, spray some more alcoholic cleaner, and then get in there with a toothbrush, and clean it inside, and on the outside too.

Step 4: Clean the Top Part of the Keys

After you are done with this, you are going to clean the part of the key that has the letters on it. You spray alcoholic cleaner on each and every key, and then you are going to fold a cloth over the keys. Wait about 10 seconds, then press the cloth over the keys.

Step 5: Remove Cloth

After you have done all these steps, you will remove the cloth, to reveal all the ink you have removed from the keys.

Step 6: Putting the Ribbon in the Typewriter

The next step, would be to put the ribbon in the typewriter, for it to type, and properly work. After this, test if the typewriter types. If it does, you have a working typewriter again!



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    8 Discussions

    Miranda Yee

    5 weeks ago

    I like how you chose this project.


    6 weeks ago

    I like how you explain and show how to fix it, but try recording another angle so that we can see how you do it.


    6 weeks ago

    Great job! It is really cool that you restored such an old thing. It is nice that you included a video in your instructable. I would like your explanations to be more detailed though. But everything else is awesome!


    Question 6 weeks ago on Step 6

    Nice! I like how you are pushing yourself to fix hard stuff


    6 weeks ago on Step 6

    It was really cool that you decided to fix this and your whole explanation was clear. It was also great to see the video of you showing your finishing project.


    6 weeks ago

    For the Roller (platen): Remove from machine, and place it in a drill driver. Wet some 0000 steel wool with laquer thinner, and spin the roller as you move evenly up and down with the steel wool. Repeat with a soft cloth and laquer thinner.

    Comes out better than new, all the ridges removed.


    Nice. Old mechanical typewriters are really impressive machines.