Minolta Autocord – the knobless one

Minolta decided to use a poor choice of metal (pot metal to be precise) for the focus lever. Not sure why they did so as the rest of the camera is constructed with stronger metal.

This became the weak point of this camera. If the focus lever is left sitting in the middle focus position it becomes vulnerable to the back film door as is swings open … which is why you will find many Autocords with a slightly bent (upward) focus knob. Those bent ones that develop a crack in the metal are doomed … those that survive the attack will just continue on their way as if nothing happened (except being a little horizontally challenged).

Hmm, now that I read over that last bit it sounds a little phallic … actually this whole post sounds like that.

Combine this with an old camera that has not been used in a while you can end up with disaster … the knobless Autocord.

If the lube on the focus set is stuck/gummed up and some fool (I pity the fool !!) tries the focus lever movement with a lot of force, this may cause the cracked metal focus knob to snap off (due to the force + weakened bend in the metal).

So far in my research there is no perfected way of repairing the focus lever. Luckily my knobless Autocord still has the knob (many are sold with it missing), so I started researching any ideas on fixing it back to the arm.

Epoxy glue ? Soldering ? Tap n die new knob ? Manufacture a new one ?

I did find out that it is very difficult to solder pot metal as it has a very low melting point, almost the same as the solder being used to weld it. I did find info about Muggy Weld Super Alloy 1 which they say melts at 350, so this may be a way. I might try this at a later time.

The epoxy glue idea is possible but it would mean the removal of the distance scale (not enough room for a glued knob) and it would not look too good (large slop of glue holding on the knob) or it would not be strong enough under continual use. There is a website somewhere that shows someone who did do this.

The tap and die idea to attach a new knob would be a better idea than the epoxy … assuming the pot metal is strong enough to handle a new drilled hole and threaded which I suspect would not be. This also would require that the distance plate be removed.

Manufacturing a new focus lever with knob would be a great idea if I had the tools to do this, though I do know someone who may have the capability of doing such a thing. This would require a lot of work, but it would pay off by selling this custom part to others. Possibly in the near future when a 3D metal printer becomes available, this would be easy.

In any case I decided not to bother figuring the best solution. I got a parts camera instead and replaced it … you can refer to my last post about that.

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