Ok, since lens cleaning is so easy...

Discussion in 'Camera Building, Repairs & Modification' started by pbromaghin, Mar 23, 2012.

  1. pbromaghin

    pbromaghin Subscriber

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    After reading the current thread on how easy it is to clean a lens, I've decided to see what I can do. This is a pretty big step because I am a lot better at destroying things than fixing them. The patient is a 1938 Voigtlander Bessa 66 - with a dirty Voigtar lens in a slow-but-not-stuck Prontor II shutter - picked up on the 'bay for $10.

    My queston: If it survives removal from the camera, do I then just soak the shutter in lighter fluid for a few days, dry it, and start firing it? I've seen disassembled shutters, and taking one apart (even one this simple) and putting it back together is beyond my tools and talents.
     
  2. paul ron

    paul ron Member

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    They call that flood washing a shutter. Instead of using lighter fluid get some Coleman camp stove liquid fuel. It evaporates faster n leaves no residue. After soaking, it may need a light lube on the gear pins using a light watch oil or some music trumpet valve oil. You apply just a tiny pin dot of it at eash seat. At rub joints you use the tinest smear of lithium grease. Most times the shutter will work right out of the bath after dryiong for a couple hours, old shutter run dry anyway n need very little to get em going again.

    To fully clean a shutter, it is best to strip it down n clean each n every component. It is labor intensive but insures everything is clean of old gunked up lube, where the flood method can leave some old undisolved lube beind.

    In your old camera it may not make any difference if you flood clean or strip, how anal you want to get is up to you but you will have a great experiance once you hear that baby purring at 1 sec.

    .
     
  3. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    You may be able to just drip some fluid in the side of the shutter body without removing from camera. Take precautions not to get it all up inside the glass.
     
  4. pbromaghin

    pbromaghin Subscriber

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    Paul and Rick, thank you.

    In your old camera it may not make any difference if you flood clean or strip, how anal you want to get is up to you but you will have a great experiance once you hear that baby purring at 1 sec.

    I won't be very anal about this. This is an exercise to learn a bit about maintainence in a low risk situation. But you know, I have been seduced by these old folders and it sure would be cool to be able to take this one out for a spin knowing I brought it back to life. It came from one of those "I know nothing about cameras" sellers with lousy blurry pictures and 5 seconds after clicking the bid button I was regretting the purchase. It was only $10, but aside from a small hole in the bellows, it is in remarkably good shape. It looks like it was never used.


    Take precautions not to get it all up inside the glass.

    With me doing this, if it can get all up inside the glass, it will get all up inside the glass.
     
  5. dehk

    dehk Member

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    I would not recommend soaking the whole shutter in the fluid. You might leave residual stuff on the blades, and then you gotta clean it off again. waste of time. Why don't you use a small paint brush and apply fluids on the actual mechanisms. Especially its only slow. Do it the easy way before you try to jump in too much.

    You might also like to consider Naphtha.
     
  6. paul ron

    paul ron Member

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    The camp stove fuel (white gas) leaves no residue so soaking the entire shutter will do no harm n leave the blades nice n clean.. no fussing at all later. If there is still signs of stains n oil on the blades, soak it again till it is all gone, you haven't done a complete job.

    Use jars for soaking your shutters so you can swirl it around in the solution. My findings, over the years, has been the soaking method does a pretty thorough job. If the shutter refuses to work after a good soak it may need to be broken down to get the last of the stuborn heavy gunk lodged in the works generally put in by a DIYer, or there may be damaged n worn parts. Use very tiny amts of lube, think more on a molecular scale.

    Using a paint brush only smears the old stuff around n foces the oils n grease to lodge itself in other places after the lighter fluid evaporates, not really cleaning it out. Soaking disolves the oil n grease. I like to use a 3 step wash so I have fresh solution as I progress.

    Coleman fuel is naptha..
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coleman_fuel

    White gas is also sold as other brands like MSR, it is camping stove liquid fuel AKA white gas.

    .

    .
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 23, 2012
  7. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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  8. Mark Crabtree

    Mark Crabtree Member

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    The recent thread I saw was more about the idea that you don't need specialized equipment to adjust lenses after you've had them apart for cleaning. Maybe there is another thread, or somebody may have implied it is easy, but that is not always the case. There are plenty of ways to screw things up.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 24, 2012
  9. paul ron

    paul ron Member

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    Yeah but he is working on a $10 camera that isn't working and it's not a rare collector either.

    The worst that can happen; it still won't work. But the fun, the education... priceless! I am sure that is worth alot more than $10.

    Oh, and if it does work n he's hooked?... we have another guy we can sell our old broken cameras to..... shuuussssh.
     
  10. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Or, you could say that he has a $10 camera, what a great opportunity to learn how to do it right at minimal investment? The Prontor shutter isn't exactly crap, it merits being cleaned properly. Then he'll have a camera he can actually use with confidence, instead of something frustrating that may work for a few rolls and crap out again.
     
  11. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    these are the operative words that a lot of DIY folks, both novices and experienced, often don't want to acknowledge. It once bothererd me that they wouldn't listen and heed that warning. I'm now resigned to the fact that they may not mind that frustration. I now refrain from objection until they take the afore mentioned advise (and, yes PR, I know you were being snarky not serious) and sell the improperly cleaned and erraticly operting camera as "freshly CLA'd" but with a no return policy.
     
  12. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    The only problem is a full CLA on a Prontor shutter on these cameras is far more than it's worth. I pisked up a mint Prontor-S (post WWII) for £2 ($3.20) the other day it's never been used on a camera, another with a brand new Novar for £7 and a third with a Kershaw lens for about £10.

    So I'd say go for a self clean initially it's revived many shutters for me all of which still work perfectly some quite a few years later :D I tend to use a few drop of Isopropyl alcohol initially into the shutter mechanism them fire it off to free it up. This often does the trick and it's rarer I do a full flush clean.

    Ian
     
  13. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    That is an interesting dilemna. If one is going to use a camera for "serious work" (whatever that may mean) and really wants reliability... that attribute might well be worth the cost. "Worth" is an interesting discussion and quantifying worth in terms of dollars isn't always the best metric.

    You made a good find with that NIB shutter!
     
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  15. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    There will always be tinkerers. It's only human to want to test and explore possibilities. Some people dont have the financial means to send a $50 camera out for a $150 cla. So people should not worry too much about stressing DIY or professional cleaning to others. Lots of people are very talented with mechanics naturally, even if their main job is not in that field. I am also sure many professionals in camera repair have trashed just as many cameras too.

    I would stress that people go ahead with each option intelligently. Weigh the importances of each choice and ultimate consequences of it. If you do choose DIY find as much information like online guides, service manuals, and repair books. The right tools for the job go a long way. Photograph your steps if particularly complex. And most importantly take your time and think!
     
  16. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Totally agreed!
     
  17. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    It's important to weigh up the ecomonics on shutter repairs. I've a few 1930's rimset Compurs which are all remarkably accurate they'll outlast modern Copals by decades and they are modern shutter sizes #0. #1 etc, I've also got dial set Compurs which are just as accurate the oldest being 99 this year (made in 1913) :D

    With many of the older folding cameras it's worth looking for dud/broken cameras with scratched or foggy lenses etc for parts before emabrking on expensive CLA's. I struck lucky buying 6 shutters recently and solved many of my repair or missing shutter problems plus getting a 203mm f7.7 Ektar and two Novars in the deal. (The Ektar was worth 3x what I paid for the lot).

    I can't speak for the US but most repairs or CLA's here have a minimum £50 charge in the UK that means it's often unecomomic when you can pick up a similar camera in fully working condition for less.

    You need to take into account the condition of the camera and it's value when restored both in monetary terms and usability and that's really what I'd guess Brian and I mean by it's worth.

    Ian
     
  18. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    I understood, Ian. I was offering an alternative to financial worth. I have a lens in a 1925 Compur shutter that I still use for uncompromising work. Probably only worth $100, but I gleefully paid someone to overhaul it for me, paying $135, because I need reliability and accuracy. I doubt that I could find a more economical way and despite me only being able to sell the lens for $100 today, taking a loss, it was worth it to me. It really is an interesting cross between individual needs, values, and opportunity.

    ... and yet I could have done a overhaul myself had time not been an issue, saving $135 and staying well within the financial worth metric!

    p.s. Shutter overhauls in US vary in price: about $60 if you are willing to wait an indeterminate amount of time, $85 (+ shipping) if you want to send it to Mr. X who has quite a following, and $135 for the guy in my neighborhood who has "1000 years" of experience and a great reputation.
     
  19. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    another p.s. It seems to me that the cost of shutter overhauls versus the dollar value of the lens/shutter is what rightfully drives many people to D-I-Y solutions. I know that is how/why I made a transition from repairing clocks to shutters too. I am a prime example taht a passionate ametuer can indeed repair shutters without too many casualties if one takes a studious approach.
     
  20. paul ron

    paul ron Member

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    Worth has nothing to do with this thread.

    I'm sure all the guys with a 1000 years experiance got their feet wet just like this.. a $10 junker, flea market find or in a green moldy old box in the attic.

    It is so much fun to get that first one working no matter how you do it. Pour a can of lighter fluid on it, take it appart or just spit in the works, if it goes, you've been bit for life.

    I hope the OP will post some results before this thread gets way too long to read.

    .
     
  21. Old-N-Feeble

    Old-N-Feeble Subscriber

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    If you intend on servicing your own shutters in the future then experimenting on $10 clunkers is certainly worth your time for the experience. I know for a fact, though, that simply spraying or dunking in lighter fluid isn't good enough. Not in the long-run anyway. Also, it's imperative to remove the cells to avoid exposure of the lenses to the cleaners... if for no other reason than to avoid having to clean it off of them.

    Naphtha or white gas work fine but you need to work the shutters all all speeds while they're still wet. This may take some time... many workings. Lastly, leaving shutter mechanisms clean and "dry" is not good enough. As others stated, the moving parts need lubrication with ultra-light oil... just "tiny" amounts in the right places.

    I'm no expert on ANY shutter. I just use my eyes and ears... and do my best. I've never had a problem.
     
  22. clayne

    clayne Member

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    I can't believe we're dissuading people from learning to do things on their own here. Let's not assume the guy is just going to ditch out at the first sign of difficulty. :smile:

    Maybe that's the case - but history has actually shown that in a lot of DIYer cases they desire to take it to completion - because the same drive that makes them want to work on it in the first place is the same drive that makes them want to finish it.

    He should be encouraged to take the risk and self-educate along the way - for if we always had to rely on someone else for everything we'd basically be the equivalent of a useless cash dispenser.
     
  23. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    I see your point, but don't think there is much dussuading going on. More like helping people think the process through to accomplish their goal. Learning new skills is great and should be encouraged. But when it stops being great is when someone (not implying that the OP is that "someone" of course) gets the notion that they can do an incomplete job and have the same results as if the complete job had been done. My feeling is that if someone wants a reliable shutter than they should learn to do the whole job or send it to someone who does. Whole job = clean and lube per manufacturer spec. If someone can tolerate a potentially unreliable shutter, then flush it with solvent on it and see if it works good enough for the need.
     
  24. clayne

    clayne Member

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    Yeah I think I understand where you're coming from. Proliferate solid work, rather than hack-jobs approaches as a replacement for quality work.

    Agreed.
     
  25. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    No that's wrong, worth comes into it along the line.

    Yes having a go at a $10 camera / shutter is one end of the line but having a go at a more valuable lens/shutter and causing damage that would inflate the cost of a proper CLA is the other and we all have different cut off points.

    It's not about putting people off from having a go, far from it, it's more about having some sense to how & what you do, and having a fall back for failures. There's a few websites with details of shutter repairs/servicing but not enough to be really helpful.

    There's nothing worse than buying a good lens where someone's done bodged shutter repair.

    Ian
     
  26. pbromaghin

    pbromaghin Subscriber

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    Holy moly. An interesting conversation with lots of great answers. Ask a question and go away for a couple of days, and look what happens.

    Before the auction even ended, I regretted the purchase because I am a user, not a collector, and didn't want a piece of junk lying around, even for $10. Spur-of-the-moment purchasing is behavior I don't want to practice. When it arrived, I expected it to be a piece of junk, but the more I handled it the better it felt - it's a beautiful little piece of pre-WWII German engineering. The shutter does fire so it's marginally usable as it is. The lens is a mess. I removed the outer and inner elements and somebody must have put axle grease on the threads. I will need some new tools to get the shutter off because the retaining ring is one of those that screws on with surface notches 180 degrees from each other. The bellows could do with some beeswax. There is one small hole that will need some liquid electricians tape.

    When it's all done, I'll run a couple of rolls through it and maybe put it on the fireplace mantel or give it to my son-in-law so he can try medium format in the raw.

    BTW, I already have a 1948 zone-focusing Zeiss folder that is getting the $100 CLA from Paul Ebel right now. I paid $100 for it on the bay, played with it for a couple years and have decided to use it as a daily walk-arounder. So, economically, there's $200 plus shipping that I could never get out of it, but I don't want to. I want to make pictures with it.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 26, 2012