A Packard Ideal No. 6 shutter can be installed without the control pin assembly, and we still have use of all three exposure modes.
This tip is not original with me, but when I learned of it I was so delighted I thought I would share it here.
A Packard Ideal No. 6 shutter is usually installed in connection with a control pin assembly. This mounts to the front of the lens board, and includes a pin with a small knob at its outer end, sliding in a guide sleeve.
When the pin is pulled all the way out (there is a stop preventing it from coming out of its guide), the shutter is in its Long Exposure condition (the same condition in which a No. 5 shutter always operates). There, by proper manipulation of the bulb and its vent, we can have either of two exposure modes:
- The classical Bulb mode
- A mode that provides the same functionality as the classical Time mode: the shutter staying open for an indefinite time without any ongoing pressure on the bulb.
When the pin is pressed in, it enters the shutter case through a hole and completes an escapement scheme making the shutter operate in the Instantaneous mode. There, when the bulb is squeezed (smartly!), the shutter opens and then closes. The exposure time is in the range of 1/25 second. It is not precisely calibrated, and the actual time will vary with how fast the bulb is squeezed. (Some users claim to be able to exploit this to intentionally provide a range of exposure times.)
Even if we do not contemplate using either of the Long Exposure modes for shooting, one or the other is vital for opening the shutter to compose and focus on the ground glass.
If we have no pin assembly
Sometimes we may acquire a used Packard No. 6 shutter but not get the control pin assembly for it.
Of course, we can by a replacement from the Packard Shutter Company. Their current posted price for this is $28.00 plus shipping.
Note that in any case, the proper alignment of the control pin assembly during installation is a little tricky.
But we can also install the shutter without this assembly and still avail ourselves of all three modes.
What we must do is install a permanent dummy pin. Take a box nail of the appropriate diameter to fit through the hole in the shutter case. We can find that hole, if it is hidden by the felt light seal, by first finding on the back of the shutter case a little "tower" - it has a hole in it to receive the tip of the pin when it is extended through the case. The entry hole is opposite this tower on the case front. Cut enough length from the nail (retaining the head) so that it will go through the hole and almost bottom in the receiving recess in the tower. (Be sure to do this so the head could lie flat on the case itself, not just on the felt.)
Cut a circular clearance hole in the felt to allow the head to indeed lie flat on the case front. Insert the pin. Mount the shutter.
The shutter mechanism will now in effect be permanently in the Instantaneous mode. But we can still operate in all three modes.
Now, to operate the shutter in the Instantaneous mode, cover the vent hole with your thumb and squeeze the bulb "smartly" (as would always be required in the Instantaneous mode). The shutter will open and close. When the bulb is released (with the vent hole still covered), the vacuum created retracts the pneumatic piston and resets the shutter for the next shot.
To open the shutter for composition and focusing (in a quasi-Time mode), cover the vent and squeeze the bulb a bit more gently. (The difference between the two types of squeeze is not subtle - it is easy to learn to do one or the other.) The shutter will open but not reclose - there is not enough force to trip the "escapement" mechanism that causes that. Then uncover the bulb vent and release the bulb. The shutter will remain open for composition and focusing (since the open vent prevents the development of any vacuum).
Then, when you are done focusing, with the vent uncovered, squeeze the bulb all the way, cover the vent. and release the bulb. The vacuum that is created will retract the pneumatic piston and (in this situation) close the shutter. (This is just like the normal operation in the Long Exposure Mode, or on a No. 5 shutter.)
More information on the shutter mechanism
If you would like more information on the mechanism of the Packard Ideal No. 6 shutter and its operation, this is covered with extensive illustrations in my informational article, "The Packard-Ideal Shutter", available here: