Smith-Corona Skyriter Carriage Study

I’ve been looking at the carriage a bit more on this guy and aside from the obvious scary amount of tension on it, there’s a few other things that might be worth mentioning…

The entire carriage is attached  with 2 sets of 2 screws. The law of two, as Scott K mentioned in a comment! It is mainly attached to what I’m calling the Shift Plate. Then it is also attached to the frame by 2 other screws which creates the pivot point for it to allow the shift action.

The Shift Plate itself is the foci, to some extent, of tons of attachments. Not only is the carriage attached to it, but the ribbon guide as well as the line indicators. Which means, if the Shift Plate is detached from the main mechanism, the entire carriage comes free along with everything else! This leads me to believe that this was build in a modular way because this kind of piecing would allow someone to focus on just that section and attach it later.

That thought lead me to another point…

Carriage Assembly

Why not remove it?

This was a bit tricky because there are things attached:

  • The backspace is attached in the form of a bar that pulls on a pivot that pushes another bar into a ratchet that pushes the carriage back one space. This is a simple hook. However, there is a screw that may be undone.
  • Also attached is the bar that causes the keys to lock. This is on a horizontal pivot about a screw. This mechanism is insanely elementary as it simply blocks the movement of a striker. And what makes it even easier is that it’s attached by only 1 screw.
  • There is a more complicated bit that associates several key functions but, yet again, it follows the law of two screws. One of which has its own hole drilled into the frame clearly suggesting its modular design nature.
  • Lastly there are the two screws that act as the pivot for the shift to work. To add to the complication, I believe they need to be set “just so” in order for everything to work. There is a degree of freedom to either side in order for the shift to work, which means this sucker has to be centered based on these two screws alone! If you’ve got calipers — specifically digital ones! — get them out now.

There is a definitely order of processes to this. The very last thing you undo are the two pivot screws. In order to get an accurate measurement for either you need to undo both of the screws that control the complicated functions. Before this you can undo both the backspace screw and the key-lock screw.

Let’s get to it then, shall we?

I started with the key-lock screw. Just move the carriage to the right to get access to it then use a 3/16 (5mm). This screw comes with a post, so do not lose it otherwise things won’t line up correctly! Once it is undone, you can push up on the rear of it so it comes free from the back. Now, you do not have to remove the rod! In fact, I would suggest you don’t: if you do, it has to pass through the front of the typewriter under the keys.

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With that connection done, I went for the backspace connection. Using the same 3/16 (5mm), unscrew it. Now, don’t do anything else with it! Let it be, just take out the screw and set it aside. You’ll see why soon.

The screw is easily accessed once the carriage is moved.

The screw is easily accessed once the carriage is moved.

Now for the major connections. I did the one with its own hole in the frame first. Same 3/16. This would appear to be a total beast to put back together but if you have magnetic tip screw drivers, you’re set. This comes out easily enough and with a little jigging, the screw comes free and you can add it to the growing pile. The second screw, which you can probably tell from the angle of the photo, is just a bit tucked away. This too can be undone with a 3/16 — just make sure it has a long shank!

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All the screws are now undone and the only thing remaining is the most stressful bit: undoing the pivot screws. Take out your calipers and take photos. These screws have to be set exactly the same way again! My left screw had 1.81mm of clearance from where I measured. My right screw had 4.92mm from the nut to the first turn. Now, these have nuts on them so they are designed to be used as markers. You do not have to turn the nuts. Just turn the screws. Remove both. I did the right then the left. The entire mechanism should come loose. There is a spring attached to the frame on the left side that connects to a black plate on the carriage: undo it from the frame, not the black plate.

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Here is why I said not to bother with the backspace bar: you can undo it now! I happened to just jiggle it a bit and it came right off.

Carriage Assembly Removed

And there we go!

Hopefully y’all enjoyed this. Thanks for reading, have a great day and be safe out there!

(Per usual, this is an opinion driven guide. Do what you will at your own risk. I cannot be held accountable for any damage to your typewriter, your person, or anything else.)

5 thoughts on “Smith-Corona Skyriter Carriage Study

  1. Ouch….. You went in where angels fear to tread! The carriage is definitely territory that I’m reluctant to visit again. You’d best to make sure it doesn’t roll off its bearings, otherwise you’re going to be in a whole world of hurt. I still have nightmares about re-positioning the bearings in an Olivetti Valentine.

    However, hats off to you as this will be a great learning exercise. And it is a simple enough machine that you shouldn’t have too much of a fight to get everything back into place.

    That said, you may still have quite a challenge ahead of you. Repositioning the carriage will require a fair amount of adjustment of what is know as ‘ring and cylinder’. Most typewriter mechanics don’t remove the carriage unless it is completely necessarily, or it is a carriage that is built to be removed with ease.


    • Thanks. 🙂 I was definitely a bit leery doing this, but I also wanted to see how easy it was to take off. It’s still locked into the sprocket/gear system that holds it still, but I’ll keep an eye on it/be careful about the bearings… I can only imagine how horrific that must have been!

      Definitely anxious to get everything back together and see if it works, but I’m also glad I did this because now I can clean out some areas that would have otherwise been a total beast to reach. All I can do is hope!

      Certainly am glad this is a simple machine. Not sure if I’d be brave enough to try this on my SM3! I’ve got a Adler J5 in need of repairs, but that’ll be a different thing all together.

      Phew… Hopefully I haven’t gone and done something idiotic. Stupid drive to get the thing absolutely clean, haha!


    • Hi and thanks for reading! If you can wait until Sunday (11/9), that’s when I have an entire day off. I took a look and it looks like they’re both very similar machines. I’ll see what I can figure out. No promises though! 🙂

      Until then… Keep calm and carry on, hahaha! The Skyriter is a rather robust machine — even for being an ultralight. The real annoyance is realigning everything and making sure the typebars hit flat and it types straight. The latter is still on my list as mine types with a slight down curve at the beginning then levels out.

      Anyway… I’ll see what I can figure out. 🙂


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