Removing retaining rings

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Tony Egan, Jun 29, 2006.

  1. Tony Egan

    Tony Egan Subscriber

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    I had a quick search through the forums but couldn't see anything about removing very tight lens retaining rings. I assume there must be a special "screwdriver" tool to do this professionally. Apart from that any tips or homemade devices to unscrew retaining rings? Apply blowtorch? Immerse in boiling water? Spray with WD40?.... or something that really works. Thanks
     
  2. jovo

    jovo Membership Council Council

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  3. cdholden

    cdholden Member

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    I'd certainly be interested in SK Grimes design as John suggested, but if you're looking to keep it on the cheap, search the auction sites for "spanner wrench". There are different sizes or you can buy a common kit of 3 sizes. I've not purchased any, but see them frequently online. One could probably also find "snake eye pliers" or "retainer ring remover" at your local Sears tool section, but that would be more geared toward automotive and maybe not have options as small as 1mm as suggested on the SK Grimes site.
    Chris
     
  4. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    I have seen these much cheaper on ebay, maybe in the $10 range,
    but B&H is a source I can find right now.
    Rodenstock Metal Lens Wrench for Lens Retaining Rings
    Mfr# 260600 • B&H# ROW Our Price: $ 14.95
    I carry one with me in my field tool kit in case a ring gets loose.

    John Powers
     
  5. BBarlow690

    BBarlow690 Member

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    On the advice of Richard Ritter, master camera repair guy, PLEASE be extremely careful playing with lens retaining rings, and mess with them only at need. It's frighteningly easy to cross-thread either the retaining ring (breathe easy, simple to replace), or the lens (break into tears, can be fatal to the lens).

    Take care - literally.

    Bruce Barlow
    www.circleofthesunproductions.com
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 10, 2006
  6. Tony Egan

    Tony Egan Subscriber

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    Thank you all - very helpful. It boils down to knowing the right name for the tool!
     
  7. Jon Shiu

    Jon Shiu Subscriber

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    If there is no anti-rotating pin on the shutter, often you can rotate the shutter to unscrew the lens (and to tighten).

    Jon
     
  8. naturephoto1

    naturephoto1 Subscriber

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    When mounting lenses or retightening retaining rings it is usually a good idea to back thread the ring just like many screws for alignment before tightening by hand followed by a spanner wrench.

    Rich
     
  9. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    WD40 is a nasty four letter word around cameras. Sometimes a tool for one-time use can be improvised by imbedding pins in the ends of plastic pipe fittings, or by grinding and filing the end of a metal pipe or fitting down to leave blades that fit slots in the ring.
     
  10. Nathan Smith

    Nathan Smith Member

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    Cheap lens spanners aren't too hard to find, but they're often sorta wobbly - mine is anyway. Some folks make their own special-purpose spanners. I figure I'll do that if I ever find I need one repeatedly for the same size lens.

    One 'lubricant' you can use (sparingly) is lighter fluid (naphtha, aka Ronsonol) - it evaporates pretty quickly and won't harm most things ... though I might worry about what it might do to the glue in bellows. I've successfully used it in a jam where I didn't want to use anything messy.

    Nathan
     
  11. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    Another option to the spanners would be to take a long nosed plier And grind the tips flat. Parrallel to the opening direction. This gives you an easily handled spanner that works well IF the lens cells don't protrude too far.
     
  12. phfitz

    phfitz Member

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    Hi there,

    Tony "Apart from that any tips or homemade devices to unscrew retaining rings? Apply blowtorch? Immerse in boiling water? Spray with WD40?.... or something that really works."

    WHAT??? What type of lens / camera? Besides the tools already mentioned look out for set screws or bonding glue, many process lenses have either or both. Some techs painted the threads shut and it would need acetone to loosen it.

    Just be careful with it.
     
  13. Tony Egan

    Tony Egan Subscriber

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    My poor attempt at dry humour... I would never try those methods....
    Just bought a set of 3 lens spanners on eBay for $24. Thanks again.
     
  14. glennfromwy

    glennfromwy Member

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    For the smaller rings, I have a couple of needle nose pliers that I have ground the tips on, to the thickness of the average retaining ring groove width. No wobble or fear of bending. Whatever you use, use it with great care.
     
  15. Laurent

    Laurent Subscriber

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    I use a home-made wrench, close to the ones showed in nsmith01tx's link, and it works fine. It's just a matter of metal cutting/filing, and costs nothing but a few minutes
     
  16. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I shelled out for one of SK Grimes' superb spanners, and they are really worth it to me (but I have four times as many lenses as cameras, and only one lens board in each size for each camera - sizes 00, 0, 1, 2, and Compound 3).

    I do however have one problem: A dirt cheap Symmar 300/500mm is GLUED to a Technika board! That wasn't too bad, but now I've sold my last Linhof, and none of my cameras use Technika boards...

    Anyone with a good idea? I'll offer a G-Claron 150/9 with usable shutter as a price for the best suggestion! :D
     
  17. Donald Qualls

    Donald Qualls Member

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    Ole, any idea what glue?

    If it's epoxy, Loctite or something similar, or even white glue (and assuming the shutter has no soft plastic parts -- unlikely if 1950s or older vintage; heat won't hurt bakelite at all, but celluloid shutter or aperture leaves is a possibility to beware of even in early 20th century vintage shutters), remove the glass and put the board and shutter in the oven; heat to about 100-120 C (lowest setting, or "Warm" -- my oven has a setting for 200 F/95 C, but some start at 250 F/120 C), and you'll probably find the glue is softened enough to get the shutter off the board and/or unscrew the retaining ring. If not, gradually increase temperature to a maximum of 150 C -- don't go any higher than that.

    That level of heat shouldn't soften or anneal any steel springs, though it's almost certain to require a CLA to deal with migrated lubricants. Nor should it harm either wood or metal lens boards, though it'll blister your skin if you aren't slightly cautious... :wink: And it'll do no harm if the glue turns out to be something that doesn't soften with heat like celluloid househould cement or cyanoacrylate (both of the latter, BTW, respond to acetone, but that will remove paint from both wood and metal, will craze, soften, or curl most plastics, and is flammable and toxic enough to require considerable caution in use).
     
  18. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Donald, I'll give it a try in the oven!
     
  19. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    WOOOO! It worked!

    After 45 minutes at 120 C, the retaining ring (flange) screwed right off! And best of all - the Compound #4 shutter still works fine at all settings :smile:

    So now I have a fine Symmar 300/500 convertible for use with my 24x30cm camera, and a spare Technika lens board with flange for #4 Compound.

    Donals, PM me an address to send the 150 G-Claron to. The lens is fine, the shutter is an old Zeiss-Ikon Compur which originally must have held a 105mm lens: All f-stop markings are precise, but one full stop off. All times are "within reason" as of this morning (give or take 10%).
     
  20. vet173

    vet173 Member

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    Don, you da man.
     
  21. Donald Qualls

    Donald Qualls Member

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    Hurrah! PM sent. :smile: