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RB series D new user questions
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Jim C.



Joined: 18 Feb 2011
Posts: 59

PostPosted: Fri Feb 18, 2011 4:45 pm    Post subject: RB series D new user questions Reply with quote

Hi, I recently acquired a RB series D graflex and I'm excited to get some film
loaded and do some shooting with it. After reading all the info
available here I still have some questions about this camera, most of the
operation of it I have down pat, but I'm wondering about the focusing.

When the lens is extended there is some spring back of the lens board, unlike the
other LF cameras I have which have a method to lock the standards, the RB's
focusing knob seems to just do one thing, extend the lens, is there a way
to lock the rails so that the bellows don't pull the the lens back, a secret use
of the focusing knob ?
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adamgarrickrobins



Joined: 02 Jul 2009
Posts: 38
Location: St. Johns, Oregon

PostPosted: Fri Feb 18, 2011 6:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jim,

I am also a new RB Series D user. I am a little confused as mine doesn't spring back like you say yours does, but you may want to check to make sure something isn't loose, and another idea would be to extend the bellows and let it sit somewhere safe with extended bellows for a while to see if that overcomes the springiness a bit. It could be that yours has been closed up for a long time and that the bellows have become stiff and resistant to being anything other than bunched up in the camera.

The rack on mine for focusing is a little looser than on my Speed Graphic. It could be that one is normally intended to hold the knob in place while firing the shutter with the thumb on the other hand.

Best regards,
Adam
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45PSS



Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 3231
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Fri Feb 18, 2011 8:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The focus track on Graflex cameras varies in physical design from model to model but all are friction hold type.

There are several good leather cleaners and conditioners on the market and some sometimes leave the leather sticky one time and not the other.
http://www.pledge.com/ the yellow can works very well. Coat the bellows fully on all sides and allow to sit for 30 minutes to an hour then wipe off and rub in while supporting the bellows from the inside.

Most Graflex bellows are easy to remove, a lock plate at the rear with 4 to 8 screws and 4 to 6 screws around the front standard.

This site does not host photos but there are a number of free image hosting sites where you can upload the photo and link it here and have it show up in the post. Please keep the image to around 600 pixels wide to prevent side scrolling. If you cannot figure out a fix for the wandering focus then post some detailed pictures of the focus track and control and I or others will give you some tips.
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Jim C.



Joined: 18 Feb 2011
Posts: 59

PostPosted: Sat Feb 19, 2011 5:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the quick replies, the bellows on my Series D are so pristine that
you could swear they were new, so I guess stiffness of the bellows may be the reason,
letting them sit at full extension seems to make it a little better, and it could be as
adam says the cameraman was to hold the focusing knob while firing the shutter.
I'll post some images of the focus track tomorrow.

And speaking of shutters, the shutter curtain is pretty toasty and it broke while I was
testing out the camera, I figured out how to get at the spools but I can't seem to figure
out how to take out the part that has the guide rollers, there are 2 screws on each side
that I removed but it seems to hanging up on something on the bottom, any
guidance as to what else has to be moved to take that part out ?

I would love to know when this series D was made, my guess is the 40's, it's serial number is
347229
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adamgarrickrobins



Joined: 02 Jul 2009
Posts: 38
Location: St. Johns, Oregon

PostPosted: Sat Feb 19, 2011 6:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My serial number is 319389, and both Ken Metcalfe of GHQ and member 45PSS here said it was made in 1943. If the numbers were sequential, then yours came up a bit later than the batch in which mine was made. Ken said that 400 were in the same batch as mine, including his.

45PSS here seems to have serial number information.
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45PSS



Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 3231
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Sat Feb 19, 2011 7:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mid year 1945, 11 from the end of the first batch of 300 listed at the beginning of the year with a second batch of 300 listed mid year.
If the bellows were like new then they would be soft and flexible and stay where they were put. One should not have to hold the focus knob or block movement of the front standard while tripping the shutter to keep the focus setting. Did you miss the Online RB Graflex Manual link at the Reflex Help section tab? Its available at http://cameraeccentric.com/html/info/graflex_8.html also.

If the shutter curtain broke then its history. There is not enough room in the curtain roller areas for a patched curtain to go into and any patch will need to be equal across the width of the curtain (equal each side of an aperture opening) to keep the curtain winding even if you figure a way to make a thin patch.

Have you noticed the private message feature of the site? I can email you a copy of shutter lube/adjust and curtain removal instructions if I have your email address.
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Jim C.



Joined: 18 Feb 2011
Posts: 59

PostPosted: Sun Feb 20, 2011 4:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

45PSS, Thanks for dating the my Series D, it's in extremely good shape except for the mirror,
and shutter curtain, and I had suspected it was from the 40's, I read thru everything that is
here on the RB series D.
This is the bellows at it's full extension, it seems to be better now than it was when I first received it
I guess it needed a workout after years of storage.



This is where the curtain tore, I temporarily gaff taped it together so I could
wind it back into the camera. Hopefully I can make a new shutter curtain
to replace it.

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45PSS



Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 3231
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Sun Feb 20, 2011 8:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From your picture the front standard support rails have gear teeth on the bottom, is the front standard square to the body?

There should be? a wave washer between the focus knob and the focus pinion retainer plate on the side of the camera. Has it been pushed flat, or missing? You should be able to remove the focusing pinion by removing the 5 screws holding the retainer plate to the body then sliding it out. Once out support the shaft at the knob and drive the retaining pin out with a hammer and pin punch. Reform or replace the wave washer if present or defective or add one if none is present.

http://graflex.org/helpboard/viewtopic.php?t=2809
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Jim C.



Joined: 18 Feb 2011
Posts: 59

PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 8:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

45PSS wrote:
From your picture the front standard support rails have gear teeth on the bottom, is the front standard square to the body?


Yes the front standard is square to the body. The lens board travels smoothly in and out also.

Quote:
There should be? a wave washer between the focus knob and the focus pinion retainer plate on the side of the camera. Has it been pushed flat, or missing? You should be able to remove the focusing pinion by removing the 5 screws holding the retainer plate to the body then sliding it out. Once out support the shaft at the knob and drive the retaining pin out with a hammer and pin punch. Reform or replace the wave washer if present or defective or add one if none is present.

http://graflex.org/helpboard/viewtopic.php?t=2809


I'll have to take a look again and see if there is a wave washer there
but I don't recall seeing one, I assumed that the knob worked in the
same fashion that Kodak 2D front rise mechanism does, pulling the knob locks
it in place. Is it a straight retaining pin that holds the knob or is it a tapered pin ?

My other restoration projects have taken a back seat to the Series D and I decided to
pop the tension setting/shutter speed plate off to see what the buildup around the brads
were and to polish the plate, I was surprised to see it's a waxy substance, easy to clean off
but it was odd how it built up behind plate where the brads are.
The plate is an odd metal, very soft, I'm assuming it's tin, doesn't look like I'll be
able to polish it.
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45PSS



Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 3231
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 7:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do not know if it is a roll or taper pin, a close examination should show which it is. If no washer is present add one that is just thick enough to add tension to the movement. The focus shaft should be fixed, no in/out movement.

The metal used on the plates is usually Brass. In the early days it was covered with a thin layer of silver after that they painted them gray then ????
Being this one was made close to the end of the war they may have used another material. The control plates are suppose to be dull gray or black crinkle finish, it's not tarnish.
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Jim C.



Joined: 18 Feb 2011
Posts: 59

PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2011 6:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good to know about the shutter speed plate, I guess I can stop trying to polish it now !


I got the rear inner baffle out ( thanks again 45PSS) and have removed the torn curtain
that I have set aside for now, I'm not sure what if anything is wrong with the Tension Plate,
I can turn the knob and get the click sound as the hidden gear passes the pawl, the Tension Plate
is off the camera btw, there is an in between the numbers click, which I guess is fine according
to what info I found in this forum, the numbers lock center in the window, all but # 1 ....
clicking past # 6, the # 1 mark clicks but doesn't seem to lock the # 1 in the window, I can
get it to center in the window if I turn the Tension Knob reverse slightly till it resists.
Is this normal for the #1 tension ?
I would disassemble the Tension plate further to see if there's problems underneath the large gear
but it's a riveted construction.

I'm curious about the lower roller and I wanted to take it out to see what the spring is like, the lower roller
bushing is out but I don't see a way to take out the lower roller, the bushing end of the roller has what
feels like a spring loaded pin, but it doesn't push in far enough to clear the body, any tips on taking out
the lower roller ?

Sorry about all questions !
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45PSS



Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 3231
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2011 7:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The lower roller is removed by 1). releasing tension on the lower roller and removing the tensioning plate, 2). removing the plate on the bottom of the camera that is directly under the lower roller, it usually has the patent dates on it, 3). slide the lower roller to the right until the left edge clears the bushing/body and then lifting it out until it clears the bottom of the camera then sliding the roller to the left until the right edge clears.

The lower roller shaft turns independently of the outer roller and is connected to the roller by the spring only. With the roller out of the camera and the curtain removed from the roller check the ends for threads and if present then the ends of the roller unscrew using a spanner in the small holes in the flanges. The shaft should only move about 1/8 inch with the spring attached and the roller flanges on.

All sounds correct for the tension plate. The flat spot in the large gear is what stops it at the 1 setting when it is on the camera with the lower roller shaft gear engaged.
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Henry



Joined: 09 May 2001
Posts: 1443
Location: Allentown, Pennsylvania

PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2011 8:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

45PSS wrote:

There are several good leather cleaners and conditioners on the market and some sometimes leave the leather sticky one time and not the other.
http://www.pledge.com/ the yellow can works very well. Coat the bellows fully on all sides and allow to sit for 30 minutes to an hour then wipe off and rub in while supporting the bellows from the inside.


Do you apply the Pledge directly to the bellows? I've heard that it's better to apply to a cloth first, then rub the loaded cloth onto the surface. I think the purpose is to avoid pooling or saturating the material unevenly.

I ask because this would be relevant to all our bellows-type cameras, not just the reflex models.
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45PSS



Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 3231
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2011 8:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I apply direct to the bellows, then spread it out depending on the spray pattern. Very dry bellows or leather covering needs the conditioners to soak in some. Routine cleaning/conditioning on good, well maintained material one needs only to apply to the cloth.
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Jim C.



Joined: 18 Feb 2011
Posts: 59

PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2011 5:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

45PSS wrote:
The lower roller is removed by 1). releasing tension on the lower roller and removing the tensioning plate, 2). removing the plate on the bottom of the camera that is directly under the lower roller, it usually has the patent dates on it, 3). slide the lower roller to the right until the left edge clears the bushing/body and then lifting it out until it clears the bottom of the camera then sliding the roller to the left until the right edge clears.


On mine I had to extend the bellows so that the rear of the rail doesn't
block the notch, I fiddled with for a while till I saw the rail, once extended
all I had to do was push in the spring loaded shaft and use a flat tool to
hold the shaft in and guide the lower roller out.




Now I'm ready to tackle making a new shutter curtain, the curtain fabric
that I'm replacing is .010 " thick, I believe that measurement is spot on
since the fabric closest to the core of the lower roller looks in pretty pristine
shape ( no crackly sound when handled ), I found some fabric locally
that is .012" thick, would the extra .002 thickness make a difference in
how well the shutter will travel ? What about thinner fabric like.008" ?
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