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Thread: Stuck screws and lens threads - what I (re-)discovered camera

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Dallas, Texas

    Stuck screws and lens threads - what I (re-)discovered camera

    Working on old lens or even newer ones and screw won’t budge. You probably know this but a drop of acetone will dissolve thread-locker and free old screws. Also, if there are threaded lens barrel components, it’s can also work like magic.

    Also, it does not leave a petroleum odor like WD-40 or penetrating oil. Zero residue!

    If you have a stuck screw, use a q-tip cotton butt that you shape into a crude point. Dip into acetone and deliver a small drop so that it goes around the screw thread. The acetone evaporates fast. Wait a minute, then add another drop. Some screws will be loosened almost like magic.

    Same for threaded interlocking lens barrels and threaded metal rings. Rubber lens tools used with muscle may fail but three drops of acetone and sometimes it it turn with two fingers.

    Be sure not melt any non-metal parts with this solvent.

    Again, this has been undoubtably been known and used for a century and is simply noted here for pilgrims who follows.

    Wishing you Great Light and happy repairs,
    Dallas Texas HABS / HAER / HALS Photography
    Photographer/Author Marfa Flights: Aerial Views of Big Bend Country (Texas A&M University Press)
    Petroleum Oil Pics

  2. #2
    Drew Bedo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Houston Texas

    Re: Stuck screws and lens threads - what I (re-)discovered camera

    A number of years ago (mid-1990s I think) I got ten or so oscilloscope cameras from a salvage company. They cost me around $5 each back then. Each one had a 75mm f/1.9 lens in a leaf shutter. Lenses just like this are still available on e-Bay every day. These lenses have a large aluminum collar screwed onto their front and rear lens barrel. Nothing I could do would get them off; solvents, heat, heroic leverage etc.

    So I brought them to a local gunsmith. He was hesitant, even reluctant to do anything, But I assured him that if the first one was ruined there would be no issue on my part. We agreed on a one-time no-fault try and a small charge for the others if successful . . . and he chucked up the front lens group in his lathe and went to work. He managed to gently cut away the collars on all ten lenses in around 30 min.

    Eventually I was able to sell off some of them at the Houston Camera Show. Two years ago I sold off a few more on e-Bay at a higher price point. They cover medium format (~6x6cm) at infinity, but I have used one for macro shots at, or larger than, life size in the past. Purists cringe. Some use abusive language. But the images look OK to me, and I had a good time working with them.

    So that is my stuck lens ring story and I'm sticking to it.
    Drew Bedo

    There are only three types of mounting flanges; too big, too small and wrong thread!

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