Oil/Lubricant for SLRs

Discussion in 'Camera Building, Repairs & Modification' started by kb3lms, Feb 3, 2018.

  1. kb3lms

    kb3lms Subscriber

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    Today, I got the shutter and mirror in a nice Ricoh A-100 unstuck. Had to remove the bottom plate a nudge a pin, after which it works great. But, a dried-up flake of grease dropped out (which probably jammed the pin) and it seems to me like the mechanism is sticky and could use a little light oil. What is recommended?
     
  2. Helios 1984

    Helios 1984 Member

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    I'd clean the area with lighter fluid then apply a micro-drop of watch lubricant.
     
  3. chip j

    chip j Subscriber

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    Yes, clock oil.
     
  4. shutterfinger

    shutterfinger Subscriber

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    90% Isopropyl Alcohol is a much safer (as in won't damage camera components) cleaner than lighter fluid.
    Cloth horizontal travel focal plane shutters use rubberized cloth, Naphtha, the main ingredient in lighter fluid, will damage the rubber coating on the shutter cloth.
     
  5. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    that's the problem; when oil and grease age they get hard and stickyehere a bit of lubricant is absolutely needed, I take a very light precision-machine oil, which I buy in a store for sewing machines;Even then, use as little as you can;If you can see the oil on parts, it's too much; I put a drop of the aforementioned oil on a cotton swab and lightly tab that on the part to be oiled.
     
  6. shutterfinger

    shutterfinger Subscriber

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    Cotton swabs leave fibers, I use a saturated round toothpick.
     
  7. Craig

    Craig Subscriber

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    There is a series of oils made for model trains by Labelle, and those don't get sticky over time. #107 is probably about right. If it's like a clock, you're better to err on the side of too little than too much.
     
  8. fdonadio

    fdonadio Subscriber

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    I use Moebius 9030 light click oil, applied with a proper oil applicator (I don’t know how it’s called in English). You could use a pinhead.
     
  9. AgX

    AgX Member

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    This is classic mineral oil. For cameras modern synthetic oils are the better option.
    You cannot get such locally and they are much more expensive.
     
  10. jim10219

    jim10219 Member

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    I’m a big fan of what I call WD-39. It’s basically WD-40, sprayed into a glass bottle, and placed in the freezer for about a week. That separates all of the cleaning agents and other junk from the oil. Then, using an eye dropper, I carefully extract the oil on top without disturbing the sludge below. What you’re left with is a pure, thin oil, perfect for delicate gears and such. Works a treat and doesn’t cost me a dime.
     
  11. albada

    albada Member

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    Why do you freeze it? It seems to me that the ingredients would separate faster at room temperature. Also, do you keep the bottle covered to prevent air-borne dust from polluting the oil?

    Mark Overton
     
  12. AgX

    AgX Member

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    If the ingredients are soluable into each other, they will not seperate over time
    However at lower temperature solubilty decreases, until even one component solidifies.
     
  13. jim10219

    jim10219 Member

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    Freezing it not only separates it faster, but more completely. Usually when you mix two a solid into a liquid you heat up the liquid so it will dissolve the solid faster and sometimes you can even supersaturate the liquid, allowing it to hold more of the solid than normal. Since we're going the opposite direction, wanting to sssentially unmix them, we want to lower the liquids temperature.

    And yeah, you definitely want to keep a lid on it to keep any dust or whatever else out of it. I actually make and store them in small glass bottles with eyedropper lids.
     
  14. shutterfinger

    shutterfinger Subscriber

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  15. Born2Late

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    If you leave WD 40 on an assembly long enough it will lock up like it was glued together. This isn't hearsay, I've had it happen personally. Triflow on the other hand is really great stuff, even at very low temperatures. The tiniest sub-drop is all you need.
     
  16. Craig

    Craig Subscriber

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    WD isn't a lubricant, it's a Water Dispersant for ignition systems. I never use the stuff because it's full of silicone, which is the enemy of anything that is to be painted.
     
  17. jim10219

    jim10219 Member

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    The one you have linked is a penetrating oil with solvents. Not much different from straight WD-40. That’s why you have to separate the oil from the other ingredients first, so you’re not applying all that other junk in there that will require you to CLA the shutter again sooner.

    WD-40 is a water displacement formula. That’s what the WD stands for. I certainly don’t recommend it straight. But separated, it’s a tried and true light oil used by many camera, gun, and watch repair technicians. I didn’t invent the technique. I learned it from others.

    And there’s no silicone in regular WD-40. They do have a silicon lubricant sold under the WD-40 name, but it’s clearly labeled as such.

    I’m not saying it’s the best option out there. But it’s a good one. And it’s cheap, can be purchased locally, and chances are, you already have it.
     
  18. shutterfinger

    shutterfinger Subscriber

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    No the linked TriFlow is not a penetrating oil but they do make one. It does contain Teflon which is desirable to keep old parts moving freely for an extended period of time. Any fine lightweight oil will penetrate, WD40 does and likely the oil used in it.
    Why go to the trouble of separating the oil when other fine products as good or better are readily available?
     
  19. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Subscriber

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    A one-size-fits-all approach to lubricants does not and never has worked.
    Cameras of the past often required specific weights of oils, plural, not one only. Taking the Pentax 6x7 / 67 cameras, no less than 4 different weights of lubricants were specified for original manufacturer servicing, and the application of each was miniscule. The lubricants were very good for their time, but they did begin to break down after many years and exposure of the camera to very cold and very hot cycles of use and storage.
    Of course today we have extremely effective PTFE/mix dry and wet lubricants, and manufacturers may in all likelihood specify their own proprietary lubricant.

    WD-40 is the right stuff for wet generators and connections in the engine bay. It is not and never has been used for internal camera lubrication, except by amateurs who don't care for the consequences.
     
  20. shutterfinger

    shutterfinger Subscriber

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  21. BrianShaw

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    Possibly just grease. Seems quite thick for watch/clock/shutter applications. On a clock I’d use it instead of mainspring grease/oil, which is often just 30-weight oil or synthetic equivalent.

    But I think you’re driving at a different point. Oils have vastly improved since the 1950’s and 60’s so modern lubricants may actually be superior to the original specs.

    Not preaching to the choir, I hope, but folks who want to lube things really should do a modicum of homework to find the right lube for the job at hand. There may be multiple answers.
     
  22. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    What has not been mentioned is the fact that applying fresh oil to dirty mechanisms is pointless and can actually be harmful in that it will loosen not only old lubricants, but redistribute contaminants throughout the mechanism causing accelerated wear. Mechanisms must be cleaned, and by "cleaned" I do not mean flushed with lighter fluid, I mean disassembled and brushed with solvent then cleaned in an ultrasonic, then inspected and cleaned again if necessary; some old oils degrade to an almost shellac-like substance, this must be removed. WD-40 is a nightmare to remove once it has hardened.
    In a typical basic mechanical SLR, say an old Pentax, at least two different oils and a light grease will be used. Teflon carrying lubricants can in certain areas replace grease. The amount applied is miniscule, so it pays to invest in quality lubricants.
     
  23. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Subscriber

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    Oh yes, most definitely. Light lithium grease is often employed in very certain servicing circumstances on the Pentax 67 cameras, and indeed some sort of grease was also originally used in the first generation Pentax 6x7 of 1969 (it was blue-green to aid visual tracing during mechanism movement). The clockwork-like mechanism governing the shutter, mirror and activation solenoid cycle is one area where lithium lubricant is applied during servicing.

    And oils aint oils. Dad used to put just about any sort of oil in his beloved EJ Holden in the 1960s, and it lasted to 1981 when he moved up to the new models, and did the same thing. It cost absolutely nothing for top-ups of unbranded oil from a cart outside the servos. Fast forward 40-50 years and he would be spin in his grave to learn that I have to pay $240 for 6.2L of synthetic oil for my Holden V6 and using cheap oil or having somebody else check/top it up is strictly verboten! :mad:
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2018
  24. Kawaiithulhu

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    I was recommended Nyoil and white lithium grease for my random old, Graflex shutters. Use depending on oil for pivots and grease for the sliding bits.
    (Yes, I know that it gets more complex than that for a professional CLA)
     
  25. RalphLambrecht

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    good idea!
     
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