The “Charming?” Yet awful Typecast Typewriter (updated)

Typecast typewriter review


A couple of years ago, the Michaels craft store began to sell a machine made by “We Are Memory Keepers.”  It is the Typecast Typewriter, and it costs about $170.
Let me cut to the chase: this machine is awful.  The construction is flimsy and cheap, the action is stiff, and the alignment is the worst ever.  So if you wanna buy it, click below!!!


I am not alone in my views, as many other enthusiasts share my stance.  This machine gives the typewriter a bad reputation among many people, especially craft people, who enjoy bearing the name “key chopper” for cutting the keys off of machines a hundred years old just to make a piece of jewelry.  When they are done, the rest of the machine is thrown away.  I really truly despise the lack of respect given to these historical artifacts, and the Typecast only seems to mock them, by perpetuating the inaccurate stereotype of the inconvenient, blotchy, uneven, and cumbersome typewriter.
There are plenty of machines out there from the 50s through the 70s that work amazingly well, and can be found anywhere from $1 to $100.  Much more affordable, not to mention the fact that they’ll last way longer, and type way nicer.  Not enough can be said about the sheer disappointment of this newly manufactured typewriter.  150 years of engineering, and they throw it away to create a machine that shames typography, mechanical engineering, and history.
 


Below is a type sample, courtesy of Snapping Monsters here on blogger.  I didn’t read their article, as I was afraid it might be a crafty person praising the machine, but in reality, they’re probably just as upset as I am, and wrote a blog post to vent it all out to an unsuspecting, undeserving, and slightly confused (and possibly indifferent) audience.

As for my review, I was forced to give it at least one star.

Anyway, to look at the machine specifically:


This machine is 90% plastic, yet it is still...substantial...?  However, fine machinery doesn’t operate well when it is made from plastic.  Such is the case with this machine.  First of all, the slugs are made with plastic, so they do not build up sufficient momentum to strike the page with ease.  The user must push the key harder to leave a good impression.  Secondly, the plastic slugs are very poorly made.  Some of the letters have gaps, and all of the letters are misaligned (they are also prone to falling off).  
The touch on the machine is more akin to pressing in a trampoline.  You really feel the bar-springs, whereas on a true machine, it goes down without a problem, and springs back up by some absurdly archaic dark magic.  The Typecast Typewriter is nothing more than the sticky residual after-affects of misused dark magic from wannabe-warlocks who flunked Hogwarts.


At least the plastic is shiny....
 
The mechanics are mostly plastic as well, and the linkages leave a lot to be desired.  The overall design is nice, but the stamped carriage return leaver makes it look kinda cheap.  The machine’s only real merit is the auto-space.  That button makes any machine fun.
On the underside of the machine, one will find much plastic, as well as a very interesting escapement gear.  Easier to fabricate this way, but sort of mysterious in its operation.  By observing the rest of the machine, the user might come to the conclusion that there was a lot of plastic used in the construction. 

I would write a snarky comment here, but I can’t think of one. 

That’s not gonna break any time soon...[sarcasm] 

 
Ugh...learn to connect bar-springs better.

If we turn our attention to the carriage, there is *gasp* more plastic.  The rubber in the platen is also a bit sub-par, and as seen in the photos, wears out quite fast.  Compare these to, say...Underwood 3-Bank platens.  Smoother than the coating on a non-stick frying pan.

Is that a...plastic segment...?! 


That’s about all there is to the machine.  It takes standard ribbon spools, and uses a (plastic) advancement mechanism that is very delicate.  All in all, the machine is a piece of carefully engineered junk.  But remember, it’s a craft machine, not an office machine.

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