Workspace … the final frontier.

Thought you might want a glimpse of my little world where I work.

Having a computer with multiple screens is handy to provide visual references (to remember what you did the first time) and also quickly surf the web to figure out something.

Tools … lots of tools, and I always seem to end up immediately needing a tool that I don’t have.

Note that beer is an important “tool” in my kit.

What would complete this is having a micro metal working shop to build parts … but I am not that ambitious, nor have the space for it (and the cash to buy all the stuff).


Canon rangefinder repair … note to self

Mental note of importance:

Do NOT remove the two black screws beside the winding knob if you are just going to clean out the rangefinder mechanics.

The top is made of two covers, so the screws on the lower plate do not need to be touched (six around the outside and the two black ones).

… unless you want to curse and swear … an then spend the next hour trying to re-attach the winding spool.

Another note;

When dealing with a dented circular metal piece that is threaded for a filter …

Get a wooden surface, a bamboo chopstick, and a light hammer.

Use the chopstick as a punch and lightly pound out the dented areas to form a circle again.

Not just handy for a smoke …

Fluid for your Zippo lighter ?…

Aliphatic hydrocarbon solvents, petroleum hydrocarbon solvents

Petroleum distillates is the term commonly used to refer to aliphatic hydrocarbons. Aliphatic hydrocarbons can actually be divided into two groups: petroleum distillates and synthetic paraffinic hydrocarbons. We use petroleum distillates to mean both types of products.

The aliphatic hydrocarbons may be of straight chain, branched or cyclic molecular structure. Aliphatic hydrocarbons such as alkanes, isoparaffins and alkenes are the major components of gasoline. Many solvents can contain a blend of different aliphatic types or aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons depending on the end use. Common aliphatic solvents are e.g. mineral spirits, petroleum naptha, petroleum distillate, cyclohexane, octane, pentane or isopentane, nonane.

Petroleum distillates include mineral spirits, kerosene, white spirits, naphtha, and Stoddard solvent. These products may contain trace amounts of benzene and other aromatics.

Aliphatic hydrocarbons can actually be divided into two groups: petroleum distillates and synthetic paraffinic hydrocarbons. We use petroleum distillates to mean both types of products.

They are typically used when water contact with the parts is undesirable. Cleaning with petroleum distillates lends itself to simple, inexpensive, one-step cleaning in situations where a high level of cleanliness is not essential. Petroleum hydrocarbons have high solvencies for many “hard-to-clean” organic soils, including heavy oil and grease, tar, arid waxes. In addition, they have low liquid surface tension, which allows them to penetrate and clean small spaces.

The petroleum distillates (and paraffinic hydrocarbons) work well on hard-to- clean organic soils such as heavy oil and grease, tar, and waxes.

These products typically have low liquid surface tensions (22 to 28 dynes/cm). This allows them to penetrate and clean small spaces.

Ronsonol lighter fluid was/is the most popular goto solvent to use for camera clean up for it’s naptha ingredient … I always keep a couple of bottles around to unstick those old gummed up leaf shutters … and to generally clean everything.

Rust … never sleeps.

Sooo, I was thinking … yes, I do that on occasion … about rust.

Many old camera’s that I get have been stored away for many decades and have developed rust/oxidation. Scrapping this stuff off with sandpaper is not the nicest way of removing it as it scars the surface around it.

Most old camera equipment is chrome plated brass (or in some cases it is nickel or nickel-chrome). This makes it look shiny nice and also creates an oxidation barrier over the brass material that most of these old cameras and lenses are made of.

The chrome plating eventually does oxidize/rust if given enough time in poor storage conditions.

Recently I got a hold of a Canon rangefinder with lens that had numerous spots on both pieces, so I thought I would look into removal without abrasives. I ran across some articles from BMX bicycle forums about how they remove the stuff … oxalic acid. They would take a large plastic tub and mix the stuff up and just let the bike parts soak in it for a day … and the rust would just dissolve.

The easiest way of getting a hold of oxalic acid is by getting wood bleach. Comes in various size tubs of crystals … I got the smallest tub I could find, as you do not need much of it.

Soooooo, I gave it a shot.

This is the image of the lens (from the seller, as I forgot to take a picture of it myself before I attempted the acid bath).

The rusty areas are a crusty orange.

I took the lens apart to remove all the lens element components. This left the upper assembly which included the aperture section.

I took a glass spaghetti sauce jar and filled it with cold water, then I added one rounded teaspoon of wood bleach crystals.

Be warned that you do not want to inhale this stuff, nor get any crystals or liquid on you.

I let the section soak for 3 hours, then scrubbed the rusty areas with a scouring pad. I let it sit for another 3 hours. Scrubbed again and then used some paper towels to dry it off.

I then drowned it in lighter fluid (it is recommended to wash the item in water, which is what I would do in the future before the Ronsonol) and worked on cleaning the aperture area, as I did not want the solution to crystalize in that area … would have been better to have disassembled it further so not to have that part in the solution.

This is the after shot of the lens mostly reassembled. It may not look all that different … but the brown areas you see are where the orange crusty rust was … it now reveals the brass underneath (the chrome plating rusted away).

Note that the painted numbers/lines were not removed during the acid bath process.

There are other solutions that are written about (including using Cola) and I gave this one a chance.

Canon F-1n, almost original

I picked up this one because it was cheap. It was described as having a non-working shutter … my guess, mechanical failure. Since I used to have the Canon F-1N (New version), I thought I would give it a shot.

Well it turns out that it was more than just a mechanical problem. I get the camera and the shutter button cannot depress, and the winding arm is in a locked position.

I open the back and do not see any shutter curtains … but wait, I see a small crinkle of thin metal poking out the left side … I take my tweezers and pull out the ripped titanium second curtain.

It appears that someone was clumsy enough to rip the shutter.

I am envisioning … opening the back to put some new film in.

Pulling the film leader across … camera slips and thumb goes right through.

Ok, now to figure out why the shutter release/winding is stuck.

For this I need access to the bottom gears.

Unlike my F-1N, the only thing holding the bottom plate is the battery door.

There are three plates to remove … though only the left one is actually needed in this case.

I tried turning the winder coupling to see if any of the mechanisms moved … and they did.

This is good news.

There is one part in the middle that has a notch in it. This notch allows the shutter button to be depressed. If the shutter is partially wound this notch will not line up with the shutter release arm.

After turning the winder coupling completely, knotch mated up to the shutter release arm and I was able to depress the shutter.

I noticed during the winding that a spring had come loose. This spring pulls two toothed arms together so that the shutter release cam can be turned. Since the spring fell off one side, the cam could not be turned into the correct position.