Packard shutter piston lubrication?

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by DannL, Aug 3, 2009.

  1. DannL

    DannL Member

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    I was curious if there is a prefered lubrication for the piston on a packard shutter. I tried sewing machine oil, but considered it too messy and removed it completely. I am now using graphite with good results. This shutter is 5.75" square with a 3" diameter aperture. Thanks.
     
  2. Barry S

    Barry S Member

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    If the piston is clean and undamaged, it shouldn't need any lubricant.
     
  3. DannL

    DannL Member

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    Thanks Barry. That's what I was hoping. Being brass I'd think dry would suffice. But this shutter has been unreliable at returning to the closed position. That is until I used the graphite.
     
  4. Neanderman

    Neanderman Member

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    Graphite is the way I would have gone, too.

    Ed
     
  5. Wade D

    Wade D Member

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    Graphite is OK but it should be used sparingly. If the piston and bore are within tolerance no lubrication should be needed. Of course, being an older shutter, it might need a little help. Glad you got it working.
     
  6. Whiteymorange

    Whiteymorange Member

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    If the shutter hesitates in closing, the problem is probably not the piston. Try taking the blades out (these things are ridiculously simple - even I have been able to take them apart and put them together again with no left over bits and pieces!) Cleaning, and then a tiny touch of graphite at the pivot points made the difference on the two old and crusty ones I have.
     
  7. Barry S

    Barry S Member

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    The pistons on Packard shutters are made of fairly thin and soft metal, so they can easily get slightly bent out of shape. I've had some success carefully bending the pistons to retrue them and they work perfectly without lubrication. If a little graphite solves your problem, that's good, but if you ever run into one that sticks after the blades and piston are clean, you may be able to carefully true the piston.
     
  8. DannL

    DannL Member

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    I think we're good on this shutter. It has operated as desired for the several days now. I opened the case and cleaned the blades, a little graphite at the pivot points as suggested, and a dusting of graphite between the blades themselves. Silky smooth. I dusted the piston previously with graphite, so we're good there also. After generous bulb sqeezes and flattening the bulb completely, it takes the bulb a minute or so to re-equalize in pressure. So, we think got a good seal throughout the system. I'm going to find an in-line valve to bleed the system of it's vacuum as required. Thanks to everyone for the assistance, that's for sure.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 7, 2009
  9. DannL

    DannL Member

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    Update: No valve is required. With a soldering iron I melted a small hole in the bulb. The palm of my hand covers the hole when I queeze the bulb. Cool! Problem solved.
     
  10. TracyStorer

    TracyStorer Member

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    The bulbs sold for Packards typically have a hole on the end you cover with your thumb. The company is still in business (http://www.packardshutter.com/)
    and the tubing and bulbs they sell are exactly right. I once tried other tubing, which was a bit narrower, and the shutter didn't work properly until I replaced it with the right size bought from Reno F. at Packard.