Help! Argoflex has arrived!

Discussion in 'Collector's Corner' started by JamesD, May 5, 2005.

  1. JamesD

    JamesD Between darkrooms

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    I just got it in the mail today! I'm thrilled! It's in pretty good physical condition; however, it's got a fair amount of dust and dirt, and a few paint chips around on it.

    The shutter, however, is stuck in the open position. I've hit the shutter release a few times, and it clicks, but does not close. rotating the shutter speed ring causes the gears inside to whirr and click, though not too consistently. The aperture works, and the focus is smooth and appers consistent between the viewing lens and the taking lens (I held a piece of negative sleeve across the film plane to look at the image).

    I've read a few articles on restoring these cameras, but I'm not the best with "precision" devices, and I don't want to damage anything. Is there any place I should start or anything I should try off the bat?

    Help greatly appreciated!
     
  2. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    I have sent a few cameras to camerarepair.com

    I've been happy with the repairs, and the turn around has been very fast.

    Here's the link to their Argoflex repair estimate

    http://www.camerarepair.com/camera/repairs/3-Argus-ARGOFLEX

    Unfortunately it looks like the average repair price is way more than the camera is worth. You might want to give it a try yourself.
     
  3. JamesD

    JamesD Between darkrooms

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    Well, that was a lot easier than I thought it'd be. I actually had to disassemble it down to the point of removing the shutter leaves... then I put them back in backwards and had to disassemble it again. I didn't notice til I got it to the point where the shutter was working... and I noticed that the shutter clicked shut for an instant when I hit the shutter release, rather than clicking open for an instant. :er: I took pictures of the assembly, too. It's an interesting contraption.

    Anyway, it's all together now, repaired, and working great, and it wasn't even that hard. I think I got the focus set right for both lenses, and I'm gonna run a roll of film through it in the next day or two. I'm excited to see how it works out! :cyclops:

    -James
     
  4. Mitica100

    Mitica100 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Good job! Have you used any shutter cleaners at all? Chances are there's a lot of dirt caught in them little parts and the dirt/dust will make them stick again. If you took it apart and put it back easily you might want to try it again and this time use some shutter cleaner to clean all moving parts. Best shutter cleaning liquid is Ronsonol, which is the lighter fluid for the wick lighters (old style). You can get a good size bottle fur under $4.00 at any grocery store or Pharmacy like Walgreens, in the tobacco section. Place some Ronsonol inside the shutter (after removing the lenses, of course! :) ) and then blow hard in it. The Ronsonol helps the dirt particles become dislodged and a good blow will make them fly away. I have disassembled shutters and cleaned them this way, they come back to life about 85-90%. Another method is taking the mechanical shutter down from the camera body (lenses removed, of course) and dunking it in Ronsonol for about 30 sec. to a minute. Then take it out and blow hard, like above. Do not oil shutters, it's a common mistake that many make, most of them were designed to run dry. However, if you must oil it, a little bit will go a very long way. Use only good oils such as Nye Oil (from Micro Tools) or REM oil used to clean guns.

    Let me know if you're going to restore it, I have some experience in restoring older cameras (currently working on a 120 size Korelle) and I know a few tricks.

    Good luck and congrats!
     
  5. JamesD

    JamesD Between darkrooms

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    Thank ya! Yep, I did use Rosinol, which I had on hand for my zippo. I disassembled the shutter down to the leaves, but not as far as the aperture iris, since it was working fine and, as an maintenance tech, I have a strong aversion to fixing anything that ain't broke. I pre-cleaned the parts with Hoppes #9 gun cleaner, then repeated a couple of times with the lighter fluid, til everything was degummed and smoothly acting. Reassembly automatically fixed the other, mechanical, problem: the shutter trip flange was outside the cam-ring fork, so it didn't rotate the ring and the leaves weren't moving. Most of what I've read leans toward not oiling the shutter parts unless they specifically need it to restore operation, and this one is operating great, so I left it dry. I've got some T-Max 100 loaded into it now, which I'm sure I'll wind up developing this weekend. After I figure out a way to scan it, I'll post a couple of pictures, if they come out. Barring that, I'll pick up some chromogenic BW and have the local lab do it.

    One thing I would like to do is clean off the reflex mirror and the inside of the ground glass. There's a lot of dust in there, and it's annoying, if not a hassle for viewing. I haven't found any instructions for that on the internet yet... do ya know any tricks for that process?
     
  6. Mitica100

    Mitica100 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Well... Cleaning mirrors is one of the most difficult tasks because of their silver layer's fragility. I mean you could look at it and get it scratched!!! I don't assume the mirror on the Argoflex is irreplaceable, even so, there are some websites dealing with camera parts and I remember seeing one that offered replacement mirrors. I'll have to check again...

    I have attempted in the past to clean the mirror with mixed results. My first one was a disaster, cheap camera though so the loss wasn't that great. Nowadays I try to blow on the mirror with compressed air only (not the computer/electronics blow guns offered on the market, they can damage the mirror) and if necessary, very lightly run across my little finger wrapped in photo quality microfiber cleaning cloth. The ground glass should be easy to clean.

    BTW, a very inexpensive blow gun can be made from a rubber foot pump (from your local thrift store), the type used to inflate rubber rafts and to which you can add a compression nozzle so the jet of air is coming out strong. That way you'll have both hands free for work. :wink:

    I'll search for that mirror replacement site meanwhile...
     
  7. Mitica100

    Mitica100 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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  8. mygrain

    mygrain Friend to nose goblins everywhere

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    WHAHOOO!!! Mit the mirror links helped me too. My Rolleiflex needs a new one. THANKS!
     
  9. capinbuck

    capinbuck TPF Noob!

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    Hello JamesD and others,

    I have an old Argoflex that I am trying to resucitate -- has a shutter that is stuck in the open position. I have disassembled per Ken Olsen's diagram, but I need to remove the rear lens -- any ideas on how to do this? Is a spanner wrench required? I've never done any camera repair, but as this camera was a freebie, thought this would be the perfect specimen to give it a go...:lmao:

    Thanks for any reply!
    CB
     
  10. Mitica100

    Mitica100 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Hey CB,

    First of all, welcome to TPF and don't forget to introduce yourself later. :D

    Removing the rear element from a lens requires a spanner wrench which you can buy for about $30.00, or you can make one like this:

    (sorry, I tried to insert pictures but for some reason it won't allow it to me today! :confused: )

    I made it from Stainless Steel, cutting two identical pieces, drilling in the middle and putting a screw through.

    Be careful though when working with tools for removal of the lens elements, cover the lens with something like a cloth so you won't scratch it if it slips.​

    Good luck.
     
  11. capinbuck

    capinbuck TPF Noob!

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    thanks for the info -- I will try to fashion myself a spanner substitute and give it a go in a couple days... I just discovered this forum. I have a few years of amateur photo experience, started with 35 mm many moons ago, mostly digital now. Look forward to trying out the 6x6.
     
  12. mygrain

    mygrain Friend to nose goblins everywhere

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    I used a carpenter's compass divider thingy and filed down the edges to fit. works great and it's adjustable- not to mention the reach it has. Good luck! It's a fun learning experience!!
     

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