View Full Version : Ilex No. 5 warped plastic composite shutter blades

17-May-2009, 11:22
Hi Everyone,

I was hoping to see if anyone can help me. I am cleaning a seized Ilex No. 5 Universal Synchro shutter. One of the problems that it has seems to be the shutter blades. The plastic composite shutter blades are warped (wavy) and interfere with each other when they close. Is there are way get the heat the plastic and get them to be fairly flat? I have them between the pages of a book right now to see if they will flatten out but I have very little faith that this will work. Any suggestions would be appreciated.


Glenn Thoreson
17-May-2009, 14:31
At the risk of sounding like an idiot, why not try ironing one to see what happens. They're no good the way they are, right? I have made some of my own blades if they only have holes and not pins. I have also been successful at grafting a few new blades onto the old mount. Hard to describe. It would have to be seen. If you decide to try an iron, start out with the lowest heat possible. Place the blade on a solid flat object (metal or hardwood or ?). Press the iron onto the blade and remove. Immediately place another flat object on top and clamp or weight it down. Leave it for several minutes before checking it. The warp was caused by moisture or someone got fluid on it whille trying to "clean" it. Perhaps some steam would help reverse it. A couple of drops of water before the iron may do it.
Im interested in this. Please let us know how you do.

17-May-2009, 15:16
Hi Glenn,

Ironing seems like an interesting idea. I was concerned that it may warp further if too much heat was applied. I will see if there are other suggestions first before trying this method.

You mentioned that you made your own. I have considered this. What material did you use? I have not seen a decent candidate for the material. The blades are the ones with holes, so this can be done.

Thanks for the suggestions


Glenn Thoreson
17-May-2009, 18:35
Kirk, material for making shutter blades is a very hard thing to come by. For small shutters it's easy to find blades from a larger junker to trim down.
For a shutter the size of yours, I'm not sure where to look. Some spring brass about .010" thick would seem the likely candidate. Blackening solution is available for brass. If a person couldn't locate spring brass, it can just be hardened by heating it and letting it cool very slowly. You may try asking a major auto parts house about some .010" brass shim stock. That should be easy enough to get. It might be springy, too. If you can measure the thickness of your old blades, it will give a better idea of the material to look for.

Nathan Potter
17-May-2009, 18:58
You need to measure the thickness of the blades. Then you can buy either stainless steel or brass shim stock (Small Parts Inc. in Miami FL). Make sure it is flat stock and not rolled. Trace the outline of the blade then cut (very carefully) with a Dremel tool or shears. Smooth any burrs using 600 grit lapping paper after hole drilling. I don't think the blades have to be blackened but some others do think so. I have done this once using brass unblackened without any detectable negative results. Its all a bit tricky.

Nate Potter, Austin TX.

Lynn Jones
20-May-2009, 13:13
Hi Kirk,

I don't know what will work, but I can tell you why they are made that way. #5 and #& shutters had such large openings that using metal blades developed aerodynamic lift causing the the blades to "fly" laterally, jamming them regardless of shutter speed. My dear late friend, Manny Kiner (former Pres./co-owner of Ilex) tried to figure out a way to make metal blades but found that the original design made of "hard rubber" was stiff enough and light enough to work at about a 1/25th or 1/50th of a second, all things considered.


James E Galvin
20-May-2009, 14:43
S. K. Grimes has newly made Ilex #5 shutter blades.

21-May-2009, 14:14
Thanks Nate, It looks like the .010" or .008" are all rolled from the company you mentioned. But I may try it if the ones i have are ruined.

Hi Lynn, Thank you for the background info. I can see how the lift of the shutter blades could be a real problem.

James, I will take a look at SK Grimes later, if i can find it.

So it seems that Glenns' suggestion of a low heat iron may be attempted in the next couple of days. I will report back soon.


21-May-2009, 14:16
Ironing hard rubber? .... good luck with that project! I suggest you try it outside.

21-May-2009, 14:20
Toyon, Good point, will do. Kirk

21-May-2009, 14:37
Seriously, I would give Flutot's camera repair a call.

21-May-2009, 15:48

I can understand your apprehension. I feel it too and that is why I asked the question. I was given the shutter as a project to see if I can get it to run. The disassembly and cleaning of the metal parts of grease and debris. Trying to understanding how the gears work was interesting. At this point, I have assembled and disassembled the shutter twice. There may be spring metal fatigue, but I do not have the expertise to tell at this point. Barring any other details, it is the shutter leaves that cause the shutter to jam.

I will not go excessively with the heat, I will just test it on one leaf. No money spent and a few hours of self-education. If it works, Great, on to the rest of the leaves. If the leaf looks worse, I will yield.


Paul Fitzgerald
22-May-2009, 07:31

it was recommended to put the blade between 2 pieces of thin metal, hold it firmly with tweezers and run it under hot tap water. Don't squeeze too tightly, they will compress and warp out of shape.

Gene McCluney
22-May-2009, 11:35
I would think that you could fabricate a new blade from some of the same material used on modern Fidelity/Lisco film holder dark slides. It is quite thin, compared to older dark slides, and light.

22-May-2009, 12:39
Hi Paul,

That sounds interesting, I may try that first.
The second may be wooden board, leaf, then paper, which I will iron on very low heat. Then ensure it is flat with a book until it cools.

Hi Gene,

The leaves I have are 0.008". I have checked the thickness of the dark slides, they are around 0.019-0.024" [depending on the brand] for the ones I have sitting around and it will be too thick. I love Digital Caliphers. I randomly measure stuff for no reason.


24-May-2009, 04:23
i boil/heat some water on an electric stove in a pot. i turn off the heat. let it sit for a few minutes.moment.

i just set the object onto the counter and put the pot on it. works in a flash. i use it on my packard shutter leaves all the time.

25-May-2009, 07:00
Thank you everyone for their input. So here is the update. I attempted to straighten the leaves last night. I started with a hairdryer to try and warm the leaves before trying to flatten it. It did not seem like the best idea, there was no way to control any curl if there was any.

I eventually did this, I took two flat metal sheets and placed the leaf between them. took 5 clothes clips and held the sheets flat. Then boiled water and poured it on the sheets. cooled it quickly with cold water and dried the leaves. worked well enough to straighten them out. I have assembled the shutter again, everything is running for smoothly except for the (T)ime speed, I may have just put a washer in the wrong place.

Thank you again for all the help.


James E Galvin
26-May-2009, 07:07
I wonder how long the fix will work. I measured over the weekend, old warped blade .009, new blade from SK Grimes .010 http://www.skgrimes.com/index.htm#nav. Dark slides .030-.031. Grimes doesn't list the blades on his website, call him.