Recommended tools for Russian rangefinder repair?

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by Lowenburg, Sep 16, 2006.

  1. Lowenburg

    Lowenburg Member

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    I'm interested in learning how to repair the Russian rangefinder cameras: Feds, Zorkis, Kievs, etc. Can anyone recommend a list of tools that would be helpful? Also, if there are any repair manuals available, websites, etc.

    I've never worked on cameras before, but I'm reasonably mechanically minded, and I have a friend who restores old folding rangefinders as a business, so I can get some pointers there. I figure at the prices these cameras are available, why not have some fun and learn something?

    Please share your experiences and pointers. I'm looking forward to learning a lot.

    Bill
    http://www.crashburnlove.com
     
  2. ZorkiKat

    ZorkiKat Member

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    Hello Bill

    For the elegant FED and Zorki, the tools you need to repair or calibrate them are few and simple. Here are some of them:

    1 .Jeweller's screwdrivers. Flat heads whose tips start at 1 mm to around 5mm are all you'd need. Philipp's and cross screws weren't used in these cameras.

    2. Small needle-nosed pliers. These can be used to grip parts. You must sheath the tips with rubber to protect the metal parts though. You can even file of the tips of really small pliers to fashion spanners out of them.

    3. Tweezers or forceps. Have two types handy- the fine-tipped variety. One straight, and the other curved.

    4. Small files.

    5. Small insulin-type syringes for injecting cleaning fluids and lubricants.

    6. A plastic fuse pliers. Round off the jaws with a file. You can use this to turn RF/VF bezels.

    7. Toothpicks and Q-tips.

    8. A small child's toothbrush. Used is better.

    9. Lighter fluid or watchmaker's cleaning solution for removing old lubrication.

    10. Various lubricants. Watch oil is good. Or you can thin ordinary fine sewing machine oil with lighter fluid. For grease: moly grease or Synco "Super Lube" grease.

    11. Rubber mats. You can cut of pieces from an old inner tyre tube.

    12. A Dremel or Dremel-like tool with various tips. Not really necessary and you can do without this.

    If you do get a FED or a Zorki, basic adjustments for calibrating rangefinder,
    rangefinder camming, and shutter can be found here. The principles involved in doing these remained the same even as the models changed. You can even repair or replace shutters. :smile:

    Jay
     
  3. elekm

    elekm Member

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    That's a very good list. If you live in the U.S. or Canada, Radio Shack sells a nice 17-piece screwdriver set that is excellent.

    Three other things:

    -- Plain white unscented facial tissue. Get as big a box as you can. Make sure it's plain white and unscented. The store brand is usually a great deal.

    -- Optical cleaner. Eckerd sells a large bottle for a few bucks that will last for several years or a small bottle that will last for about a year.

    -- Saddle soap and shoe polish for treating the leather.

    At some point, you'll want to pick up a spanner wrench.
     
  4. desertrat

    desertrat Subscriber

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    I recommend Jay's (Zorkikat's) site for repair and adjustment info. It gave me the confidence to replace a damaged shutter curtain strap in a Zorki-1.

    I got this tip from a website on repairing old watches and clocks as a hobby:
    Get a table or bench that is fairly high, or a chair that is lower than usual. This will put you closer to the work where you can see the small parts better. You might consider a magnifying visor for working on the really small parts. Get an old bedsheet and fold it as many times as will allow it to fit over the top of the table or bench. When you drop a tiny screw, ball, or spring on the sheet, it will stop right there instead of bouncing or rolling onto the floor or rug. If a part lands on a hard floor, it can roll a long way. If it goes onto a rug, it won't go far, but you probably won't be able to see it. Tiny balls, screws or springs are usually made out of steel, so you can sometimes get them out of a rug by passing a strong magnet slowly over the rug where you think they landed. Don't ask me how I know this.

    Working on these cameras can be a lot of fun. Hope you enjoy it!
     
  5. elekm

    elekm Member

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    Oh, I forgot. Unless you have good close-up vision (and even if you do), get a pair of reading glasses. And make sure you have good light. That's very important.

    And if you have a cat -- a rolltop desk so he won't jump up and bat the parts around.
     
  6. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    LIES, ALL LIES. They don't stay in the rug. They go into hiding with the individual socks that disappear.
     
  7. jmailand

    jmailand Member

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  8. ZorkiKat

    ZorkiKat Member

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    When I started tinkering with Russian cameras four years ago, I could work with them without glasses. It was so easy to see the smallest screws and fit pins in the tiniest holes. Now, I couldn't even read the numbers on a shutter dial without using some form of lens or another. Got to admit it- I now NEED reading glasses!

    I also didn't have a cat in my workplace. Now there's always one sitting or sleeping next to the mouse (er, should I say cat?-) pad on the table where I also do the camera repairs...:D

    Jay
     
  9. Lowenburg

    Lowenburg Member

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    I'm in about the same shape as Jay. My vision has gone completely to hell in the past five years. I can't even make out the numbers on my watch without glasses these days and my vision used to be 20/15. No matter, carry on is all we can do.

    Ok, I just bought three FED's: a 2, a 3b, and a 5V. All, of course, are claimed to be in remarkable condition. Anyway, the price was right... I hope that at least one of the three is working when they arrive so I can have some fun shooting while I try to get the others going. And that may be some time, given my lack of experience.

    While I think of it, how go you guys recondition the outside of your cameras, the metal and the leather or whatever covering is on the body?
     
  10. zenrhino

    zenrhino Member

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    If you find out how to clean and lubricate the rangefinder coupling on a Fed 2, please let me know. Ive got one that must be all gunked up.

    Thanks!
     
  11. ZorkiKat

    ZorkiKat Member

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    Clean the surface gunk with a bit of cleaning cream (the same stuff used for cleaning computer and electronic appliance surfaces) and an old child's toothbrush.

    If the trim looks faded and dull, you can refinish it several two ways: shoe polish for minor moderate dulling or paint over the whole vulcanite/nylon/leatherette covering with quick drying enamel paint.

    Ratty leatherette or nylon coverings can be replaced with equivalent leatherette (surface and colour your choice). Sources would be old diary or purse covers. Or you can opt to use real leather like goatskin.

    Jay
     
  12. ZorkiKat

    ZorkiKat Member

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    Which part of the coupling is this? If it's the pivot arm, lightly injecting some lighterfluid in the joints would clean the dirt and probably free it. Then follow up by injecting a very, very, very small amount of very fine oil.

    The rf arm could freeze for various reasons other than dirt or lack of oil. It could also mean weakness in the spring which powers it.

    Jay
     
  13. Lowenburg

    Lowenburg Member

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    I'll bet one of the other guys who have contributed to this thread could help out on that. Good luck -- if I do find out I'll post it up.
     
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  15. Lowenburg

    Lowenburg Member

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    Thanks Jay - by cleaning cream do you mean something non-abrasive, or doesn't it matter? I happen to have a mildly abrasive cleaner which is used on our ceramic stove top, and it works great, never leaves scratches or dulls the finish... might work on a camera too...

    Regarding the replacement of coverings - what type of adhesive do you recommend?

    Again I want to thank everyone who has contributed to this thread. I have really learned a lot in a short time, and am now anxiously awaiting my cameras to arrive. Maybe they'll arrive in mint condition and not require any work whatsoever! :wink:
     
  16. ZorkiKat

    ZorkiKat Member

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    Yes, the cleaning cream should be non-abrasive. The one which I referred to is just like hand cream- it has the same consistency and is likely just emulsified detergent. It's probably a couple of degrees better than using soapy water alone, but does the same thing, that is to soften stubborn detritus off non-metallic surfaces.

    With metal surfaces, you might find success with using metal cleaners. These would be the same stuff you would use for cleaning cutlery and silverware. Fine rusty marks can be cleaned with very fine sandpaper and some jeweller's rouge.

    For adhesives, rubber contact cement would be best. That would be known as 'Pliobond' there. In fact, I'm using such an adhesive now to cover my FED with home-tanned goatskin.:D

    Jay
     
  17. zenrhino

    zenrhino Member

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    Its the part that sticks out and touches the lens. It moves very very slowly. I suspect gunked grease.

    What kind of fine oil do you recommend?
     
  18. ZorkiKat

    ZorkiKat Member

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    Slow movement may mean a weakened spring. Lubrication may not help.

    However if it's just a matter of fossilised grease, clean out with lighter fluid and relube with fine oil. "3-in-1" diluted 1+1 with lighter fluid can work.

    Jay
     
  19. zenrhino

    zenrhino Member

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    A huge thank you to ZorkiKat and everyone in this thread. Some torque with the jewelers screwdrivers, ACP's zorki webpage, and a few drops each of lighterfluid and fine machine oil and my Zorki 4 is back in fighting shape.

    Now to learn rangefinder calibration and lens CLA'ing... :D
     
  20. Lowenburg

    Lowenburg Member

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    I've received my 3 FEDs and they appear in generally good shape, though in need of the anticipated cleaning and lubrication. More details on the other thread about Kiev 4 or?

    http://www.apug.org/forums/showthread.php?t=31516

    I've assembled some of the recommended tools and will try to pick up some of the other materials this weekend. Then the fun begins. Actually it's fun already, opening the packages and seeing what's what. They really are nice cameras! (I even like the 5V, which seems to have gotten a bad rep. Hey, how wrong can you go for fifteen bucks? It actually fits in my hand more comfortably than the much smaller model 2a.)
    Regards to everyone-
     
  21. matti

    matti Member

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    Did anyone mention that you need a TV to calibrate the shutter? I used one to test my fed 2 and concluded one curtain was slower than the other. I didn't dare to touch anything, though so now the camera is unused in a closed.

    /matti
     
  22. fparnold

    fparnold Member

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    Idle question about the springs: are they replacable with anything standard, or do you need to get a box of real Zorki springs?

    I don't have one, but I've wondered about this question for a while.
     
  23. ZorkiKat

    ZorkiKat Member

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    The TV screen stripe test helps. If the curtains seem (much of what appears to be needed done are based on impressions- how they sound, how they look) to be moving slow, the adjustment is rather easy. It's just a matter of retensioning. The method is very simple, it often takes barely a turn or two on the tensioning spring to adjust the curtain tension.

    Maizenberg's repair notes suggest adjusting the shutters by ear- that is, by how they sound. One who has been around these shutters would tend to "know" what 1/25 sec would sound like and how different it sounds from 1/100 sec. This 'sound' method sounds unsound (pun), but it surprisingly works quite well. My shutters adjusted this way seem to be exposing with acceptable accuracy when used with BW or negative film. The method may not be accurate enough though, if reversal films are used.

    Jay
     
  24. ZorkiKat

    ZorkiKat Member

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    Depends on what springs are involved. There are several types found in a Zorki.

    The largest and hardest is a big flat spring found on the baseplate. I've actually fabricated one from a strip of stainless steel spring as a replacement for a missing original in one of my cameras.

    The coiled spring (a rather tiny one) which powers the RF arm can be replaced with one which has the same dimensions- if it fits the adjustment screw, it may likely be used. I've used a spring from a discarded retractable ball point pen. These pens have springs to pop the ink cartridge in and out. The springs found in these pens though come in different sizes and strengths- its often a matter of luck in finding one which can fit these cameras.

    There are also two, small curved flat springs which prop the pressure plate (for Zorki-1/C/2/2C/5 and FED-1). These also appear to be replaceable with equivalents if these can be shaped and sized properly.

    There's one big coiled spring inside the shutter dial. This too can be replaced- it's not a powerful spring, and I've replaced this with a spring from a ballpoint pen, stretched out then recoiled to fit the shaft.

    The most difficult spring to find IMO, -and one which you'd probably need a real Zorki spring (or at least a real camera spring) is the one which powers the shutter rollers.

    Jay
     
  25. matti

    matti Member

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    Hi Jay,
    Maybe I should give it a try then. But I suppose the best test is to expose something like the sky and adjust until I get an even exposure and not one side darker than the other.
    /matti

     
  26. Lowenburg

    Lowenburg Member

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    I've assembled my tool kit and want to begin working on these babies...do you know how hard it is to buy lighter fluid these days? I went to 6 stores before ending up in a smoke shop, where, of course, they had it. Used to be you could get it in any supermarket or variety store.

    Anyway, I think the first thing I'd like to try is to unstick the lens of the Fed 3. It focuses, but with considerable wrestling involved. The shutter fires nicely, sounds about right, and the film advance works ok, though I think it could use some lubrication. If anyone has directions (esp. illustrated though not crucial) I'd appreciate you posting them up.

    Jay, I tried your Fed/Zorki survival site but didn't see anything about unsticking the Industar 61 lens... I'll continue looking.

    Thanks!!

    Bill