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Thread: Cleaning of slow shutters

  1. #1

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    Cleaning of slow shutters

    I have several shutters of the Copal type from 0 to 1's that are way out of time and hang up due to migrated oil or dust over the decades onto the blades. I have a large ultrasonic cleaner and was wondering if I could place the shutters in a container filled with the appropriate cleaner and set the container in the ultrasound cleaner filled with water. I can also control the temperature as well.
    I would like your opinion on using this method and what cleaners would you use?

  2. #2

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    Re: Cleaning of slow shutters

    I have never heard of these "ultrasonic cleaners" so this thread will be interesting to me. I have Copal #0 and #1 shutters, and undoubtedly photograph in similar conditions to you -- sand, dust, wind, heat, low humidity, freezing temps, etc. My shutters are all decades old and seem to work fine, but I usually use SLOW speeds. My high speeds might be off, but that is typical, and not a concern to me. Still, I have some smaller format shutters that have problems, so I await responses.

  3. #3

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    Re: Cleaning of slow shutters

    Quote Originally Posted by Rapidrob View Post
    I have several shutters of the Copal type from 0 to 1's that are way out of time and hang up due to migrated oil or dust over the decades onto the blades. I have a large ultrasonic cleaner and was wondering if I could place the shutters in a container filled with the appropriate cleaner and set the container in the ultrasound cleaner filled with water. I can also control the temperature as well.
    I would like your opinion on using this method and what cleaners would you use?
    Wouldn’t you be wiser if you directly asked this question to a camera repair shop or lens manufacturer?

  4. #4

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    Re: Cleaning of slow shutters

    Quote Originally Posted by Rapidrob View Post
    I have several shutters of the Copal type from 0 to 1's that are way out of time and hang up due to migrated oil or dust over the decades onto the blades. I have a large ultrasonic cleaner and was wondering if I could place the shutters in a container filled with the appropriate cleaner and set the container in the ultrasound cleaner filled with water. I can also control the temperature as well.
    I would like your opinion on using this method and whaet cleaners would you use?
    IMHO - what you describe sounds like it could be a recipe for disaster.
    If cleaning is successful, do you know what parts to lubricate and do you have with the proper shutter lubricant ?

    If you truly value the shutter(s), best bet would be send to a qualified repair shop for the proper attention.

    OTOH if you are just looking to play and willing to risk damage, go for it ! ! !
    I know just enough to be dangerous !

  5. #5

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    Re: Cleaning of slow shutters

    I can see a couple of problems. The first is that quite a bit of solid crud gets into a shutter through small holes over time. In order to really get it out you will at least have to partially disassemble the shutter--taking the front off at the minimum. That will give direct access to the first layer of works. However, the shutter blades and some of the mechanism are still deeper and not directly accessible by the cleaning fluid, and the diaphragm layer is below that. So by digging in as far as most people with a screwdriver might feel comfy, you are only 1/3 into the works.

    The second problem is that if you do not go deeper, then you will be dissolving and redistributing the crud. The nature of mechanical things is that the worst of it gets pushed to the side (think of your windshield wipers as a good example). By doing an incomplete deep cleaning you'll be redistributing that evil stuff back into the center of the action.

    That's aside from what Dennis mentions of washing out all the lube, especially from places you can't reach to put it back even if you had the right lubricants.

    There are shutters designed to work without lubrication, but I don't believe Copals are among them.

  6. #6

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    Re: Cleaning of slow shutters

    Quote Originally Posted by Rapidrob View Post
    I have several shutters of the Copal type from 0 to 1's that are way out of time and hang up due to migrated oil or dust over the decades onto the blades. I have a large ultrasonic cleaner and was wondering if I could place the shutters in a container filled with the appropriate cleaner and set the container in the ultrasound cleaner filled with water. I can also control the temperature as well.
    I would like your opinion on using this method and what cleaners would you use?
    Recently I DIY lubricated a compur and a seiko. In the compur case I had to clean oil from the shutter blades, I used Isopropyl Alcohol 100% (IPA). Very, very carefully I helped the blades to close in order it could be cocked, then some IPA drops and repetitive shots, and cleaning very carefully the blades and IPA drops again, this way the dirt goes outside, without dissembling the blades. I lubricated the sutters with Interflon Food Lube (oil, not grease, of course). I got complete success with the compur, perfect !! the Seiko was at first perfect but after some 2 month it became slow again, I've to try again with it.

  7. #7

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    Re: Cleaning of slow shutters

    Quote Originally Posted by Pere Casals View Post
    Recently I DIY lubricated a compur and a seiko. In the compur case I had to clean oil from the shutter blades, I used Isopropyl Alcohol 100% (IPA). Very, very carefully I helped the blades to close in order it could be cocked, then some IPA drops and repetitive shots, and cleaning very carefully the blades and IPA drops again, this way the dirt goes outside, without dissembling the blades. I lubricated the sutters with Interflon Food Lube (oil, not grease, of course). I got complete success with the compur, perfect !! the Seiko was at first perfect but after some 2 month it became slow again, I've to try again with it.
    Best advice, don’t put any type of lubricant on shutter blades unless the shutter manufacturer specifically recommends it be done and names the type and amount of lubricant!

  8. #8

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    Re: Cleaning of slow shutters

    Alcohol is not really a solvent for oils and grease. I see it recommended a lot, and for the life of me can't figure out why.

  9. #9

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    Re: Cleaning of slow shutters

    I have a Crown Graphic that I used naptha to clean the shutter and graphite to lube, long ago. Still works great. I had some camera repair manuals and may have found the info there. Pre-google.

  10. #10

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    Re: Cleaning of slow shutters

    A mechanical shutter is somewhat similar to a mechanical watch. A watchmaker will completely disassemble a watch, clean the individual parts in an ultrasonic bath, and finally inspect the parts for a complete clean (there is sometimes just a bit of crud remaining). Only then are the parts reassembled and lubed.

    I would never just dunk the shutter in the ultrasonic, as there is the possibility of the parts vibrating against each other causing damage.

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