#Arkive TC: Home made lens spanners

Started Jul 30, 2017 | Discussions
MOD Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 44,587
#Arkive TC: Home made lens spanners
5

Or at least - home made adapter by grinder.

The top RHS one was a single purpose one made to try and get a very tight retaining ring to start turning. I made protruding tabs to the right measurement (on second try). Then placed the flat in a vice and carefully mounted the lens tabs in the ring slots and applied rotational pressure to the lens body. It worked where "regular" lens spanners had failed.

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Tom Caldwell

E Dinkla Senior Member • Posts: 2,467
Re: Home made lens spanners
3

Notoriously hard to open Olympus OM 50mm 1.4 front side got grooves made with a small saw + file as there were none. Two metal saw blade backsides clamped/glued between multiplex to put the grooves over and an Olympus OM mount mounted on multiplex to transfer the twist force to the back of the lens. Cleaned it is a perfect lens. I wonder why Olympus added the grooves to the last version of that lens and not to the earlier types.

Chinese spanner extension with a home made arched bar for difficult jobs.

Plumbing parts like stops and tubes assembled for friction spanners, inner bicycle tube on 32mm pipe for the smaller rings.

Met vriendelijke groet, Ernst
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OP MOD Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 44,587
Re: Home made lens spanners

Thanks Ernst

Perhaps other can show us their self made useful tools for lens repair purposes.

My "need to know" is a lens spanner that is unlikely to slip (jump slot) when subject to high pressure to try and loosen tight rings.  Maybe a regular bar with short extension and some way to rigidly fix the extensions so that once set they will not move. This is where the divider style with infinitely variable screw thread adjustment has an advantage over thumb screws.  But the bar type I am advocating would not be useful for deep set lock rings.

But maybe if they are "that" tight then flooding them with "white spirit" (lighter fluid) to soften the bond is a good method to use?

I am open to suggestion as like many others am still learning on the job.

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Tom Caldwell

labradoodler Junior Member • Posts: 43
Re: Home made lens spanners
1

Nice bit of work there. But the sight of metallic tools anywhere near a lens element gives me Goose Bumps! The sort you get when you think someone else is in the room with you.

OP MOD Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 44,587
Sometimes we have to hazard an egg for an omlette

labradoodler wrote:

Nice bit of work there. But the sight of metallic tools anywhere near a lens element gives me Goose Bumps! The sort you get when you think someone else is in the room with you.

This is an issue well worth discussion and contributions from well experienced "lens mechanics" would prove useful.

There is no way that metal lens retaining rings can be removed without using metal tools.  Sometimes the retaining rings have holes but most usually they are just small slots to give purchase on.  Sometimes they are "easy" but often they are tight - some are even fixed (screws also) by glue.

Conventional bar-type lens spanners have adjustable sliding legs fixed at correctly found distances by way of thumb screws.  The legs are usually long so as to fit deeply recessed retaining rings.  Ernst's bent bar seems a good idea for awkward to get at slots.  Some legs can take angled alternative mount ends.  Usually "points" and not "flats" - I am a bit wary of points as the chance of a slip is much higher and therefore more like to cause lens surface disaster.  The slots themselves can become damaged due to a serious slippage. Paint and metal scrapes from slips look ugly and are unprofessional.

Furthermore the slide clearance tolerance between legs and bar is usualy a bit loose.  This combined with the thumb screw lock make for a device with a bit of movement play.  Therefore I try and set the bar type to the distance at the end of the play so that applying pressure will not cause a wobble that encourages the slot heads to jump the lugs on the retaining ring when pressure is applied.  The length of the legs also is a problem - ok to get reach but the longer they are the more the slack take up movement is exaggerated between bar and the take up point of effort.

Flat bars seem better than rods and double rod types are akin to mechanno sets and twice as floppy and even harder to adjust and stay adjusted.

There must be a better technique or a better device.

This is why I have made screw adjusted dividers into lens tools.  The screw adjustment is precise and there is little slack to cause movement when pressure is applied to the retaining ring slots.  Furthermore by making a few of these divider-based tools I can have different settings and just swap pre-set tools when re-assembling and not have to re-adjust for different retaining ring sizes.

The big issue comes when you meet up with a really tight ring.  The length of the bar type spanner give greater leverage but at the same time is harder to make and retain a very precise adjustment.  Long legs put the pressure plane further from the object both increasing the wobble effect and making it harder to exert clean pressure. Hence the flat made up plate in the vice trick.

Of course the true answer is probably as I noted - flood a known recalcitrant tight retaining ring with white spirit (lighter fluid) and let it work its way into the threads and simply clean up afterwards.

But if there is a better tool to be had or better techniques then I am very willing to learn.

I can see that perhaps a high precision tight tolerance set of bi-direction bar type with legs that have a geared adjustment mechanism with a lock (in each direction) would be a great idea but do such devices exist and at something like reasonable pricing?  Would such a device be so bulky and heavy as to destroy the advantage of the precise adjustment capability that I am seeking to achieve?

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Tom Caldwell

labradoodler Junior Member • Posts: 43
Re: Sometimes we have to hazard an egg for an omlette
1

In the UK White Spirits is in fact a turpentine replacement not a lighter fluid.It is slightly oily,a bit like Diesel fuel and is generally used in connection with Paint etc.

OP MOD Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 44,587
Lighter fluid by any other name?

labradoodler wrote:

In the UK White Spirits is in fact a turpentine replacement not a lighter fluid.It is slightly oily,a bit like Diesel fuel and is generally used in connection with Paint etc.

Hmm.  I might have to be corrected.

I have always been fascinated by the sheer number of names that "lighter fluid" can be known by:

Lets start a list?

Ronsonol, Shellite, Naptha, dry cleaning fluid, lighter fuel/fluid, white spirit (I thought but maybe not), ...... I am sure that there are more ....

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Tom Caldwell

DavidKennard
DavidKennard Regular Member • Posts: 213
Re: Home made lens spanners

My 'home made' lens spanner is simply a pair of scissors. Just stick the tips in the retaining ring notches and turn. I'm sure something more purpose built would work better, but it's quite rare I need to undo a lens.

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Suave Senior Member • Posts: 2,279
Re: Home made lens spanners

That's how my stock of dirt-cheap part lenses gets replenished!

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OP MOD Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 44,587
Vernier calipers

DavidKennard wrote:

My 'home made' lens spanner is simply a pair of scissors. Just stick the tips in the retaining ring notches and turn. I'm sure something more purpose built would work better, but it's quite rare I need to undo a lens.

If it works, it works.  Slippage with very tight rings (they exist) is more my worry.

Vernier calipers  can also be used where they will actually fit.  They would be ideal if they would fit a good range of situations - wide precise adjustment, work on a rail, and provide good leverage.

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Tom Caldwell

Travis Butler
Travis Butler Senior Member • Posts: 1,737
Stripped?

Tom Caldwell wrote:

DavidKennard wrote:

My 'home made' lens spanner is simply a pair of scissors. Just stick the tips in the retaining ring notches and turn. I'm sure something more purpose built would work better, but it's quite rare I need to undo a lens.

If it works, it works. Slippage with very tight rings (they exist) is more my worry.

How about strippage? ^^;;

Started trying to work on the fungus in my Hexanon 50/1.7 - it *looked* like it'd be easy, the name ring has a couple of notches for an optical spanner...

...except that it was very tight, not moving at all. Tried to be careful, apply steady pressure to keep the tips from popping out of the slots...

and then I felt a scraping, and saw a little curl of plastic. x.x Turns out that ring is plastic, and I'd just stripped one of the slots.

Trying to figure out where to go from here - use a file or an xacto knife to cut another slot?

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E Dinkla Senior Member • Posts: 2,467
Re: Stripped?

Sometimes one small screwdriver and patience does it with plastic rings, not force.

Try friction with rubber tools first. Thin plastic rings tend to deform when force is applied and rubber gives a good grip overall.

If the plastic ring fits into a metal part you could put the lens in the freezer, the plastic will shrink more than the metal. Becomes more brittle too though so be careful. Some sizzling fluid, Cola, to lower friction and remove dirt is another option.

Small holes at 180 degrees is the last I would try. But rather not.

Met vriendelijke groet, Ernst
750+ inkjet paper white spectral plots: OBA content etc.
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OP MOD Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 44,587
Re: Stripped?

Travis Butler wrote:

Tom Caldwell wrote:

DavidKennard wrote:

My 'home made' lens spanner is simply a pair of scissors. Just stick the tips in the retaining ring notches and turn. I'm sure something more purpose built would work better, but it's quite rare I need to undo a lens.

If it works, it works. Slippage with very tight rings (they exist) is more my worry.

How about strippage? ^^;;

Started trying to work on the fungus in my Hexanon 50/1.7 - it *looked* like it'd be easy, the name ring has a couple of notches for an optical spanner...

...except that it was very tight, not moving at all. Tried to be careful, apply steady pressure to keep the tips from popping out of the slots...

and then I felt a scraping, and saw a little curl of plastic. x.x Turns out that ring is plastic, and I'd just stripped one of the slots.

Trying to figure out where to go from here - use a file or an xacto knife to cut another slot?

I am always amazed how some find that lenses come apart easily.  Some do but many if not most take quite a bit of starting on their threads.  When I re-assemble I make them tight "enough" but not ultra tight in case I need to pull them apart again.

Check the filter ring carefully - even a small out of round can make the name rings very difficult or impossible to remove.

I have found that some plastic name rings actually are push-fit and can be so even with notches.  I have spent some time merrily twirling a name ring around without much apparent progress down the threads only to discover that it pops out.

But it is vey hard to know whether you have a popper or a screwer.  Furthermore how to you get a popper to pop even if you do know that it is in fact a popper?  Sometimes wooden toothpicks applied carefully are safer than metal tools when close to glass.

Some very basic clues from someone who has treaded the path before is usually helpful.

Unfortunately lenses are all different and I don't know this lens at all.

Other lenses I have found have fixed name plates (sometimes accessable for the inside) which can be revealed by screwing off the end of the lens itself.

All we can do is tinker around and get experience the hard way.

Certainly if it is proving too hard with brute force we might as well calm down and think logically.  I fixed my Hektors "impossible" rear lock ring by flooding it with lighter fluid.  Once the initial start was made it was easy afterwards.

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Tom Caldwell

Jtrcy Forum Member • Posts: 98
Re: Stripped?
2

Here's my $11 generic spanner purchased through eBay.

The "arms" were pretty loose as designed, but I added some small slices of metal shim stock with little bends at the ends to capture them in place.  The shims eliminated almost all the excess play while still allowing smooth operation.

The other mod I made was to grind a flat on one side of each of the points as well as to grind a more precise profile on the screwdriver tips...

couldnt ask for much from them - I've taken apart 15-20 lenses thus far.

Jtrcy Forum Member • Posts: 98
Re: Stripped?
2

Oops - here's the pic showing my shim peeking out:

labradoodler Junior Member • Posts: 43
Re: Lighter fluid by any other name?

Just checked my can of lighter fluid.Brand name =Swan. The contents are Naptha,a Petroleum spirit. Which I find, after digging around on wikipedia, is apparently the same as White Spirit. Although I notice the smell is different.
Apologies if I created any confusion.

Travis Butler
Travis Butler Senior Member • Posts: 1,737
Re: Stripped?

Tom Caldwell wrote:

Travis Butler wrote:

Started trying to work on the fungus in my Hexanon 50/1.7 - it *looked* like it'd be easy, the name ring has a couple of notches for an optical spanner...

...except that it was very tight, not moving at all. Tried to be careful, apply steady pressure to keep the tips from popping out of the slots...

and then I felt a scraping, and saw a little curl of plastic. x.x Turns out that ring is plastic, and I'd just stripped one of the slots.

I am always amazed how some find that lenses come apart easily. Some do but many if not most take quite a bit of starting on their threads. When I re-assemble I make them tight "enough" but not ultra tight in case I need to pull them apart again.

Check the filter ring carefully - even a small out of round can make the name rings very difficult or impossible to remove.

Good point - I'll take a look.

I have found that some plastic name rings actually are push-fit and can be so even with notches. I have spent some time merrily twirling a name ring around without much apparent progress down the threads only to discover that it pops out.

<nod> Gotcha.

But it is vey hard to know whether you have a popper or a screwer. Furthermore how to you get a popper to pop even if you do know that it is in fact a popper? Sometimes wooden toothpicks applied carefully are safer than metal tools when close to glass.

Absolutely; I've got a box of toothpicks sitting on the shelf in my nascent 'repair shop' because I trust them more close to glass. ^^;;

Some very basic clues from someone who has treaded the path before is usually helpful.

Unfortunately lenses are all different and I don't know this lens at all.

The best take-apart I found for it so far is Konica Hexanon 50mm 1.7 AR Cleaning the Diaphragma Mechanism - a set on Flickr, and it doesn't cover the front element. Ah well, onward ho!

Certainly if it is proving too hard with brute force we might as well calm down and think logically. I fixed my Hektors "impossible" rear lock ring by flooding it with lighter fluid. Once the initial start was made it was easy afterwards.

I admit, flooding the lens with lighter fluid makes me pretty nervous - is there any other damage it might be causing inside the lens?

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OP MOD Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 44,587
Re: Lighter fluid by any other name?

labradoodler wrote:

Just checked my can of lighter fluid.Brand name =Swan. The contents are Naptha,a Petroleum spirit. Which I find, after digging around on wikipedia, is apparently the same as White Spirit. Although I notice the smell is different.
Apologies if I created any confusion.

Not an issue, there are so many different names for the same product that confusion is bound to reign.  I am sure that I had not exhausted the names that are used.

Myself - I had not heard "Naptha" used and thought it was something akin to mothballs but it seems the most common description in the US - apart from Ronsonal.  I grew up with "Shellite", "White Spirit" and "Dry Cleaning Fluid"  

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Tom Caldwell

OP MOD Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 44,587
Re: Stripped?

Thanks for the tip.

I ahave a pair of these (and others which are even more sloppy-fit) - I will try the shimming process.  These are better than some but not shimmed they still are hard to get precise retained adjustment with.

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Tom Caldwell

OP MOD Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 44,587
Re: Stripped?

Travis Butler wrote:

Tom Caldwell wrote:

Travis Butler wrote:

Started trying to work on the fungus in my Hexanon 50/1.7 - it *looked* like it'd be easy, the name ring has a couple of notches for an optical spanner...

...except that it was very tight, not moving at all. Tried to be careful, apply steady pressure to keep the tips from popping out of the slots...

and then I felt a scraping, and saw a little curl of plastic. x.x Turns out that ring is plastic, and I'd just stripped one of the slots.

I am always amazed how some find that lenses come apart easily. Some do but many if not most take quite a bit of starting on their threads. When I re-assemble I make them tight "enough" but not ultra tight in case I need to pull them apart again.

Check the filter ring carefully - even a small out of round can make the name rings very difficult or impossible to remove.

Good point - I'll take a look.

I have found that some plastic name rings actually are push-fit and can be so even with notches. I have spent some time merrily twirling a name ring around without much apparent progress down the threads only to discover that it pops out.

<nod> Gotcha.

But it is vey hard to know whether you have a popper or a screwer. Furthermore how to you get a popper to pop even if you do know that it is in fact a popper? Sometimes wooden toothpicks applied carefully are safer than metal tools when close to glass.

Absolutely; I've got a box of toothpicks sitting on the shelf in my nascent 'repair shop' because I trust them more close to glass. ^^;;

Some very basic clues from someone who has treaded the path before is usually helpful.

Unfortunately lenses are all different and I don't know this lens at all.

The best take-apart I found for it so far is Konica Hexanon 50mm 1.7 AR Cleaning the Diaphragma Mechanism - a set on Flickr, and it doesn't cover the front element. Ah well, onward ho!

Certainly if it is proving too hard with brute force we might as well calm down and think logically. I fixed my Hektors "impossible" rear lock ring by flooding it with lighter fluid. Once the initial start was made it was easy afterwards.

I admit, flooding the lens with lighter fluid makes me pretty nervous - is there any other damage it might be causing inside the lens?

I don't like doing it either.  But with the lens element still in place and hoping that the seal was good it just filled the cavity the lense was sitting in.  Tipped the excess back into the container after a little while.  It is highly volatile.  Good ventilation necessary and don't smoke!

So it will dry out quickly.  Residue can be swabbed out but make sure that you blow away all fibres that might remain behind.  Similarly inside the lens I have used repeated (many many times) painting on oily aperature blades with lighter fluid using a clean artist brush to disperse the oil.  Work the aperture to spread the fluid and keep painting it out with "dry" brush afterwards until all the "liquid" is gone. Seems to work and saves pulling the aperture out of camera.  Best if you can access the aperture from both sides in situ.  I don't think it is as good as flood flushing the aperture directly ex-lens.  But getting said aperture disconnected and out then back in again often looks a bit of a business.

Same thing - repeat until blades are clean and then take some considerable trouble to remove any fibres  and dust that have ventured into the cavity or else they will end up on the inside newly cleaned lenses once re-assembled - been there - done that.

Tom's horror - don't ever do this at other than at your own risk - method for recalcitrant sticking aperature blades is to take said clean artists brush and rub it gently in a bit of graphite dust and paint a delicate film of graphite on the lens blades.  Don't put graphite dust directly into the lens.  And make sure that it is not over-done.  Many will banish me to some horrible place for advocating this - so don't ever mention my name as I will deny it .....

Fixed a few sticking apertures this way - I think it might be friction from a very thin oxidation of their surface from lack of use (dry blades only).  In any case I have not noticed any ill effects from this treatment sparingly aplied.  Certainly the last thing we could consider doing is oiling them

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