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Tools of the trade?
Old 02-27-2006   #1
Stephanie Brim
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Tools of the trade?

I'm going to have to do a few small repairs on some of my cameras before I can sell them...I want to clean and lube the Meopta and I need to clean the battery compartment of the MG-1. I also want to see if I can get my Olympus Pen EE working...may need a new light meter, though, which would make it nothing more than a good show piece if I got it looking good.

What tools am I looking at needing? I know I'll probably need a spanner. I saw a set of jewelers screw drivers for around $40 somewhere (I'll have to remember) and that seemed to be a good deal. What should I be using for shutter cleaning and lubrication?

I'll be doing some more research before I actually tear into anything and would like to hear opinions.
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Old 02-27-2006   #2
jlw
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I got the interchangeable-tip spanner from Fargo Enterprises. It works OK, but don't expect the tips to fit everything perfectly without modification. One of the dirty little secrets of DIY camera repair is that you often need to make or modify your own tools (see below.)

I'm not sure you need to spend $40 for the most common jeweler's screwdrivers. I got a set of six at Radio Shack that fit most everything I've tried, and are more nicely made than my expensive Wiha screwdrivers, yet were much less expensive.

For cleaning, a lot of people use Ronsonol (lighter fluid) because it evaporates fairly quickly and doesn't leave much residue. But something that's even better on both counts and is readily available is auto brake cleaner (mechanics usually refer to this generically by the trade name "Brakleen.") WARNING! This stuff is basically the same chemical used in dry cleaning fluid, and is just as nasty -- use it only with really good ventilation (especially seeing as how you're young and female and who knows, might want to have children someday.)

Now the secret super-tip. One tool you'll find very useful is a handheld motor-grinder. Dremel is the best-known brand name, and they make a nice tool with a lot of accessory support. But I've gotten quite a bit of use out of the cheapo knock-off I bought for $12 at Harbor Freight Tool.

The secret about this is that you DON'T so much use this tool to work on cameras -- you use it to customize screwdrivers, pliers, etc. into tools for working on cameras. For example, to remove the tiny disc that covers the Canon 7/7s rangefinder's vertical adjustment port, I used to squeeze my spanner down to its smallest size and try to tweak the cap off. Fiddly and lots of scratches. Finally I got smart, took a cheap screwdriver of the right width, and ground a slot into the center so it perfectly fits the holes in the port. Now I've got a custom tool that's easy to use and fits perfectly. Tip: Cheap tools are actually better for modifying because the metal usually is softer and easier to grind. WARNING: Wear eye protection whenever you're modifying metal in any way!! Again, you're too young to spend the rest of your life being known as "One-Eyed Stephanie"!!!
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Old 02-27-2006   #3
Stephanie Brim
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Heh, thanks. I have a feeling that once I start doing this I'm going to want to keep doing it, hence the question about good tools. I've done the whole cleaning of the rangefinder/viewfinder thing in my Vito CLR, cleaned up my Canon Demi, cleaned up a Bilora Bella...and now I want to ungunk a couple shutters. I know I'll need a spanner for that. I also want to see what I can do with the bloody Nikon FE body that I have sitting around here doing nothing...I have a feeling, though, that I'm going to need parts to make that fix. The body is so great cosmetically...it's a shame to see it just sitting on my shelf.

But yeah, most of this was done with screwdrivers much too large. I really need some smaller, better tools to use.
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Old 02-27-2006   #4
Kim Coxon
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Hi Steph,
Many people will think this is heresy but I often find the cheaper tools are best. I do have a set of the lens spanners but only rarely use this and that is for the larger jobs. I find the pliers work much better in most lens and other repairs. I learnt this one from my usual pro camera tech! As far as the jewellers screwdrivers are concerned. I just use the cheaper ones from the likes of radio shack. Any set is going to have to be replaced at some time and the $5 sets don't last that long. However, the $40 sets only last twice as long so it makes more senses to use the cheap ones. As they wear you can also grind them to make other tools. For removing the rear elements from Canonets, I ground down some $1 paint scapers! A pin vise for very fine drill bits is useful. Best advice I can give is only get new tools when you can't do the job with what you have and can't make! I have attached a pic of the pliers. I have also attached a couple og pics of my "other" hooby. This was made from etched brass and some whitemetal and brass castings. Apart from a temperature controlled soldering iron and some old dental scrappers I scrounged for free, I only used the basic tools I have been talking about.

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Old 02-27-2006   #5
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Don't buy the $40 screwdriver set!!!

Sears sells a set of 15 Craftman screwdrivers for $19.99. I use them for the little bit of camera repair I do and they work fine. Much higher quality than the Radio Shack one's, too. Buy those if your'e going to need to do a custom job.
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Old 02-27-2006   #6
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I think the tips on tools are great; I've got a spanner that is really useful, but if I'd read these tips I might have gone that way.

Anyway, not tools, but here are some tips on supplies I use. Most can be found in a drugstore or similar.

Wooden cutical sticks: good for digging out gummy/grungy light seals. You can grind/whittle them down easily to fit, but they work pretty well as is. Being soft, there's little chance of marring surfaces.

High purity isopropyl alcohol. Somewhere I found 91%.

Guaze pads. I use these for final polishing/cleaning of simple glass surfaces such as the glass for RF and VF windows. They're absorbent without lint. Kimwipes are another good option here, but they usually have to be ordered from a scientific supply house.

Plastic tweasers. These are really handy for picking up delicate items without fear of scratch/marring.

Compartmentalized parts boxes. Not necessary, but it makes keeping parts secure and organized.

As mentioned above, Ronsonol or Zippo fluid.

Invisible Glass (TM). This is the best glass cleaner I've ever used. It's the "secret" glass cleaner of car detailers. I get it at Target for $3.99 or so, which is cheaper than on the manufactuer's website by a lot. I generally spray a bit on a cotton swab or small piece of gauze to use it.

Magnet ... makes for easier finding and picking up small metal parts that fall to the floor no matter how careful you are.
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Old 02-27-2006   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captainslack
Sears sells a set of 15 Craftman screwdrivers for $19.99.
Oops! I lied. It's a 12 piece set, not a 15. My bad.

Also, in case you hadn't found it already, check out this site:

http://www.kyphoto.com/classics/repairmanuals.html

They've got repair manuals for the Demi, the FE, and lots of other cameras. Not to mention a great forum.
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Old 02-27-2006   #8
Stephanie Brim
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Awesome. Thanks guys. I also have to put this out there.

I LOVE SEARS!

I hope you'll all be supportive of yet another new adventure. I love cleaning things...I'm sure that lubing and adjusting them will be equally exciting.
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Old 02-27-2006   #9
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Hello Stephanie

In addition to all that was already being told, my experience shows that most spanners
will not work for very small openings as you need for example to open the ee counter screw.
Those who will allow small opening are very expansive.
In a lot of cases you'll find that you need to make a special tool.

Now, as for the Oly ee please see my replies to Andrew
http://www.rangefinderforum.com/foru...ad.php?t=10905
what I can advise:
1. be careful with screws opening direction! not all are CCW
this is true for every repair job you do
2. light meter if dead, than it is dead. No repair possible out of
replacing it with another one. But before you declare it is dead,
check its connections and needle cover and repair iris/shutter
in case it's stuck.

If you'll need more advise with Oly Pen's I'll be happy to assist
Avi
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Old 02-28-2006   #10
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Do your work over a darkroom tray to catch pieces that may fall out...They can bounce a long way...I just have the basics, qtips, canned air, rosonol, alcohol, windex, cheap screwdrivers and a few homemade tools. I also have a digital multimeter for testing batteries and continuity in circuits.
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Old 02-28-2006   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob
Do your work over a darkroom tray to catch pieces that may fall out...They can bounce a long way...I just have the basics, qtips, canned air, rosonol, alcohol, windex, cheap screwdrivers and a few homemade tools. I also have a digital multimeter for testing batteries and continuity in circuits.
I found that using a medium size baking sheet for a work area works nicely. I'm super afraid of losing one of those really tiny screws and not being able to find a replacement. Should I fumble something, it always lands on the sheet and not on the carpet.

Tweezers, hemostats, nail polish, and NPR all come in handy. If any of the wiring is broken or corroded, a small soldering iron (not to mention being able to drive it) comes in handy.

A large hobby shop will always have a good assortment of small pliers, screwdrivers, soldering irons, etc.

Also, a good light on the work area really helps.
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Old 02-28-2006   #12
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If I really do this I'll be setting up a completely new work area. My computer takes up most of the space on my desk so I don't have room for it on this one...but there's another desk that's not being used that I can set beside this one to use as my camera repair desk. I figure that this way I keep losing things to a minimum. I also have a nifty little case that's meant for embroidery floss that I can use for screws and small parts.
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