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Thread: Liquid electrical tape for bellows repair

  1. #11

    Join Date
    Dec 2018
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    Guelph, Ontario, Canada
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    46

    Re: Liquid electrical tape for bellows repair

    Things are getting more complicated. There appear to be two sources of light leaks where the bellows mounts to the back end of the camera (a Wista 45VX). The

    1. It looks like the person who made the bellows used a clear glue to attach the bellows to the frame. It smells like Gorilla Glue. Where it's a thicker layer of glue, a bit of light can shine through.
    2. The foam seals don't seam to be making good contact with the bellows frame. The seals aren't rotted out so they're either compressed, or someone replaced them with too thin foam.

    For problem #1 a bit of silicone caulk should help by covering over the clear glue and filling in any spaces that weren't glued down properly. For problem #2, I could make thicker seals -- but that creates a whole new problem. The bellows already don't compress enough to easily fit into the body and allow the camera to fold shut. Making those seals thicker makes it impossible to close.

    So now a new question... am I making a mountain out of a molehill? My test setup is a lightbulb equivalent to a 60W incandescent mounted to a lensboard and shining inside the camera. The light leakage is at the rear (sadly right next to the film) but it's within the cavity of the Wista 45VX body. It's only visible close in to the camera, looking straight into the body cavity from the lens side. I've been presuming that if I can see any light coming out -- anywhere -- then I can expect ruined shots due to light coming in, especially during longer exposures. What do we think? Are your cameras 100% light proof? Do you check?

  2. #12

    Join Date
    May 2015
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    SooooCal/LA USA
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    1,469

    Re: Liquid electrical tape for bellows repair

    Problem 1 can be solved with painting the clear glue with black acrylic paint from the art store...

    For #2, where exactly is the foam??? Is it on the inside or outside back??? Are you seeing light through them when the foam is compressed, or uncompressed??? Foam might have some light coming through the pores uncompressed, but will close when pressure is applied... Or is it just not making contact??? Depends, but there are options...

    Steve K

  3. #13

    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Location
    Guelph, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    46

    Re: Liquid electrical tape for bellows repair

    Foam seals are shown in the picture, below. The bellows simply press against that foam square. They clip in at the bottom and at the top; you can see the bottom clip but the top clip is out of view. By the way, this is the "body cavity" I mentioned earlier. The entire front standard and the bellows are stored in this space when the camera is closed. It's clever and well designed.

    I've seen lots of rotten foam seals. These don't look rotten. They also don't look like replacements unless the person doing the work was extremely neat and careful. The bellows frame is nice and straight so that's not the issue. I'm starting to think this isn't so much a "bug" as a "feature". That's why I asked about "zero tolerance". Is it even possible to eliminate 100% of possible light leaks from all sources (screws, film holders, bellows, etc.)?

    And as a fun aside, I've also been searching the forum for advice on light leaks. It seems I'm not the first person to ask... Here's a great post from a couple years ago. The gist of it is "light leaks are a thing -- get over it and drape your dark cloth over your camera. Harumph." As usual we seem to divide nicely into two groups of people: those who have zero tolerance for imperfections (and light leaks), and those who throw their dark cloth over the camera.
    https://www.largeformatphotography.i...our-dark-cloth

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Quote Originally Posted by LabRat View Post
    Problem 1 can be solved with painting the clear glue with black acrylic paint from the art store...

    For #2, where exactly is the foam??? Is it on the inside or outside back??? Are you seeing light through them when the foam is compressed, or uncompressed??? Foam might have some light coming through the pores uncompressed, but will close when pressure is applied... Or is it just not making contact??? Depends, but there are options...

    Steve K

  4. #14

    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    SooooCal/LA USA
    Posts
    1,469

    Re: Liquid electrical tape for bellows repair

    So that just seals the bellows to the frame???

    It probably never much has been removed, so it probably compressed, even if still not melted, so I'd vote for replacement while parts are availible... It shouldn't cost too much for the foam kit...

    I'm of the school of what can go wrong, will, so given the choice...

    There are strip foams on a roll that might work at your home store if you can't get a kit... Even the grey light foam will seal off light once compressed enough...

    Good luck!!!

    Steve K

  5. #15

    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Location
    Guelph, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    46

    Re: Liquid electrical tape for bellows repair

    On really close inspection, the foam looks to be in good condition, but it's definitely compressed in places. It's an easy repair if I can find the right material. I had some weather sealing foam strips handy for comparison. The concept will work -- I just need to find a slightly thinner one.

    Thanks for all the advice folks. I think this is entirely and fairly easily fixable.

    Rob

    Quote Originally Posted by LabRat View Post
    So that just seals the bellows to the frame???

    It probably never much has been removed, so it probably compressed, even if still not melted, so I'd vote for replacement while parts are availible... It shouldn't cost too much for the foam kit...

    I'm of the school of what can go wrong, will, so given the choice...

    There are strip foams on a roll that might work at your home store if you can't get a kit... Even the grey light foam will seal off light once compressed enough...

    Good luck!!!

    Steve K

  6. #16

    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Denver metro.
    Posts
    19

    Re: Liquid electrical tape for bellows repair

    I have had good results with urethane poron foam. It remains flexible through the range of temperatures that we work with. It can be found with pressure sensitive adhesive and in a multitude of thicknesses, lengths, and widths.

    Michael

  7. #17

    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Posts
    35

    Re: Liquid electrical tape for bellows repair

    I have used wetsuit repair glue.

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