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Sticky shutter on Series B

 
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Billy Canuck



Joined: 04 Apr 2006
Posts: 155
Location: Calgary AB Canada

PostPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2010 9:57 pm    Post subject: Sticky shutter on Series B Reply with quote

I have a 3x4 RB Ser. B with a shutter problem. When I press the release lever the mirror flips up (sometimes not entirely) but the shutter won't release. I've carefully squirted a very small amount of electrical contact cleaner (the high-quality kind that leaves no residue) on the axle on which levers M and H turn, and then the shutter will work perfectly a half-dozen or so times. Then it starts sticking again. This happens at all tension and aperture settings.
The camera had a thorough CLA about 4 years ago and has till now been working perfectly. Trouble is, the two technicians here in Calgary (pop. 1 million) who worked on mechanical cameras have quit because of insufficient business.
I'm thinking it may be a matter of lubrication, and wondering if this is something I could do myself (as long as the trouble is just on the outside -- I have little mechanical aptitude). If so, I don't know the best kind of lubricant to use and exactly where to apply it.
With the 2x3 rollfilm holder the Graflex is my favorite portrait camera, and I'd really like to get it working again. Any advice would be much appreciated.
In the meantime, a happy new year to everyone.
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semihemi



Joined: 25 Oct 2003
Posts: 85
Location: Boston, MA

PostPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2010 11:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

By all means, lube away. The Graflex SLR is akin to a Kalashnikov that shoots film instead of bullets. Just rinse 'er down and put some lube on the delicate bits and off you go. Pretty hard to hurt it.

For spots such as the pivot point for lever M, I have been using a bottle of Omega One Drop Instrument Oil. It has a nifty little needle tip that gets into tight places nicely. Also, the flow is easily controlled. I am sure there are many similar brands out there. By a good quality oil. $10 may seem like a lot of money for a 1/2-ounce of oil but it should last for many years. Gravity is your friend here. You can put a drop at one point on a shaft and let it run down to a vital spot that you might otherwise not be able to get at. I would not use any more of the contact cleaner, as it is leaving a totally unlubed surface behind. This surely stresses your mechanisms.

Feel free to put a drop or into/onto anything that pivots, turns, slides, etc. Certainly don't neglect the two tiny holes on the left (release lever) side of the camera. They lead directly down to the bushings upon which the shutter spools spin. You should notice a definite improvement in smoothness. On the right hand side of the camera the location of the bushing for the top shaft is self evident. The end of the bottom roller is under the little hex nut.

Although this will not apply to your camera if you had a true CLA within the last few years, many of the old survivors are ready to have the side mechanisms removed and cleaned with solvent. This gives you a chance to get all of the accumulated gunk out of everything and apply some top quality grease to vital internal points.

Graflexes often have the reputation of being noisy, graunchy and generally rough. This is true only of neglected cameras. A well-tuned Graflex should be smooth and sweet. It is a testament to their excellence that so many cameras continue to run even in the face of gross lack of care.

Lube away and let us know how you make out!

Best,
Semi
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45PSS



Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 3255
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2010 5:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When lubing camera mechanisms "less is more". Put only a drop or two the size of a small straight pin head or smaller. Too much lubricant will migrate into unwanted areas.

A good light weight machine oil is TriFlow with teflon, http://www.amazon.com/Tri-Flow-Superior-Lubricant-Teflon/dp/B001C69GO2

A good grease that can be used anywhere a grease is called for in camera repair is white lithium grease, sample:

http://www.amazon.com/AGS-American-Grease-Stick-WL-8/dp/B000KXLR7M/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=automotive&qid=1262497055&sr=1-3

A better grease to white lithium, sample: http://www.amazon.com/Finish-Line-3-5-Ounce-Teflon-Grease/dp/B002L5YYYA

When using grease use only a small amount that just covers the movement area and does not leave a big glob in the surrounding area.

It sounds like your camera was only flushed with cleaner and fresh oil used to rejuvenate the old grease. If it had been disassembled, cleaned, relubed then reassembled then it would not be giving you problems now.

The TriFlow applied to the pivot points and curtain roller ends should get you by for a while. Contact me off forum if you want me to CLA it.
Charles
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semihemi



Joined: 25 Oct 2003
Posts: 85
Location: Boston, MA

PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2010 5:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent point, Charles. Less is definitely more on the fine oil!

Great point also on the white lithium grease. Today we are blessed with greases that the Graflex designers could only dream of. White lithium lubricates beautifully, stays where put, doesn't degrade and is all around great stuff.

If you do decide to dig in a little deeper to the innards please keep us posted.

Best,
Semi
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Les



Joined: 09 May 2001
Posts: 2682
Location: Detroit, MI

PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2010 3:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Know your limit.
Grease responsibly.



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Billy Canuck



Joined: 04 Apr 2006
Posts: 155
Location: Calgary AB Canada

PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2010 5:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, everyone. I'll start off with a wee weenie glob of lithium grease on the end of a pin, then -- if that's not enough -- give the TriFlow a try.
Charles, if a complete proper CLA is called for, I'll certainly send you a PM.
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Billy Canuck



Joined: 04 Apr 2006
Posts: 155
Location: Calgary AB Canada

PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Success! At least for now. A minimal amount of lithium grease on the outside pivot points seems to have done the trick. Another question for the shutter experts: I follow the instruction manual and run the tension down to the lowest setting and ditto for the curtain opening after I'm done shooting. What I'm wondering about is should I leave the curtain open or release it one more time so it's completely loose?
This may seem like nitpicking, but I'm determined to keep this 79-year-old camera working.
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45PSS



Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 3255
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 12:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Congratulations on getting it going!

Leaving the curtain at any setting and returning the tension to 1 will not hurt for a short term rest but making a habit of running the curtain to closed after O, stepping the tension to 1, and leaving a film holder, bag magazine, or ground glass panel attached to the back will be the best for long term non usage.


To complete a CLA remove the lens/lens board, film holder, and set the curtain to O with the mirror up. Put a pin point drop of oil on the release lever pivots, mirror shaft at the body on each side, and a trace of grease on the mirror catch. When the tension knob gets hard to turn or step down then follow the instructions in post http://www.graflex.org/helpboard/viewtopic.php?t=5612, at step 5 release all spring tension slowly and count the number of turns to bring the tension to zero for reference when reassembling, and put a trace of grease on the gear teeth and step paw and a drop of oil on the shafts and reassemble. You will have completed a CLA at this point.
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Billy Canuck



Joined: 04 Apr 2006
Posts: 155
Location: Calgary AB Canada

PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 2:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you again.
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DHF845



Joined: 20 Jul 2008
Posts: 99
Location: Hudson Valley Area, Upstate NY

PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 1:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

semihemi wrote:
By all means, lube away. The Graflex SLR is akin to a Kalashnikov that shoots film instead of bullets. Just rinse 'er down and put some lube on the delicate bits and off you go. Pretty hard to hurt it.

Graflexes often have the reputation of being noisy, graunchy and generally rough. This is true only of neglected cameras. A well-tuned Graflex should be smooth and sweet. It is a testament to their excellence that so many cameras continue to run even in the face of gross lack of care.

Eloquently said, Semi. These were precision instruments, highly advanced for their day, with interchangeable mechanical parts. Yet they're designed with simplicity, reliability, + ruggedness at heart. They were made to be owner-maintained, and survive the abuse thrown at them by professional photographers.
A good Graflex shutter runs through with a smooth 'zzzip' and a gentle 'clunk' as the mirror flips up. A sweet, sweet sound indeed.
What a sad day for photography when Graflex, Inc. stopped building large-format SLRs.
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harrisburggrays



Joined: 30 May 2010
Posts: 6
Location: Pennsylvania

PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2010 7:47 pm    Post subject: Oiling a Graflex 820 film projector Reply with quote

Saw this post regarding using oil sparingly on Graflex cameras - what about film projecters? The manual says apply 16 (sixteen) drops of Graflex Instrument Oil (part number 39479P8) to the felt oiler pad after each 500 hours of operation or every 12 months.

I just bought this projector via ebay so not sure that last time it may have been serviced, but that seems like a lot..

Do you think I should apply 16 drops of Omega One Drop Instrument Oil or may be half that number or less?

Thanks
Scott
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45PSS



Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 3255
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2010 10:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On mechanical parts that move intermittently, or on occasion and are gravity or spring tension driven a drop of oil is all that is necessary to keep them moving freely and a lot of oil will act like glue.

On mechanical parts that are motor driven and in constant motion when the machine is in use or on requires constant oiling.

Use modern equivalent oil to the factory spec in the amount the manual states. Teflon base oils should work fine in the projector and may not have to be applied as frequency the manual states.

As long as the oil is not dripping off the felt pad onto other parts or areas that oil will be degrading to or the pad is not dry all should be well.
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harrisburggrays



Joined: 30 May 2010
Posts: 6
Location: Pennsylvania

PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2010 3:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

thank you!
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