Jump to content


Bolex Maintenance


  • Please log in to reply
20 replies to this topic

#1 SEC

SEC
  • Guests

Posted 06 May 2006 - 08:41 PM

Greetings,

My ol' Bolex has a sticky filming button. Is there a simple, non-invasive (first do no harm) manner to lubricate it, or is a matter best left to the professional "clock repairman"?.

Any advice would be helpful.
Thanks,
Happy Shooting!

SimoncSc0bURmRev2jtpf241SBvgfyyV2.jpg
  • 0

#2 Nick Mulder

Nick Mulder
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1023 posts
  • Other
  • Auckland, New Zealand

Posted 06 May 2006 - 09:52 PM

Greetings,

My ol' Bolex has a sticky filming button. Is there a simple, non-invasive (first do no harm) manner to lubricate it, or is a matter best left to the professional "clock repairman"?.

Any advice would be helpful.
Thanks,
Happy Shooting!

SimoncSc0bURmRev2jtpf241SBvgfyyV2.jpg


Sticky as in >> does it feel like a mechanical object is restricting movement or is it just tight ?

>> will go in and then stay there ? or it wont go in in the first place ?

also is it both the front switch and the M-P switch ? if its just the front switch it might not be so bad...

I've opened my rx4 a few times but have only gone as far as removing the prism/shutter parts from where a fair amount of the inards can be accessed - the parts you will need to get to are further down the front near the governer tho so it would take a bit more work...

If it is simply tight I'd would try a little spray lube on the external parts, hopefully it will work itself in over time and break down the offending gunk - down here we have 'CRC' or WD-40 - I'm not sure what you call the same sort of product in your neck of the woods...
  • 0

#3 SEC

SEC
  • Guests

Posted 07 May 2006 - 10:19 AM

Thanks for getting back.
I'm very familiar with WD-40. I like a little in my coffee... The trigger is simply behaving like it needs to be de-gunked. It doesn't seem a mechanical problem at all. It just takes a few extra seconds to shift back to "stop" from "m" when the trigger is released. I hope you don't mind my asking, but where is "down here"?
Simon

Edited by SEC, 07 May 2006 - 10:23 AM.

  • 0

#4 Nick Mulder

Nick Mulder
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1023 posts
  • Other
  • Auckland, New Zealand

Posted 07 May 2006 - 03:27 PM

Thanks for getting back.
I'm very familiar with WD-40. I like a little in my coffee... The trigger is simply behaving like it needs to be de-gunked. It doesn't seem a mechanical problem at all. It just takes a few extra seconds to shift back to "stop" from "m" when the trigger is released. I hope you don't mind my asking, but where is "down here"?
Simon



Mine had that issue, I think I didn't even lube it as it simply got better with repeat usage - but I'm sure the WD40 will help but just a little to begin with or you will stink your shoot out - heh

Down here... New Zealand :ph34r:
  • 0

#5 James Erd

James Erd
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 187 posts
  • Director
  • Palo Alto, CA

Posted 07 May 2006 - 03:30 PM

Thanks for getting back.
I'm very familiar with WD-40. I like a little in my coffee... The trigger is simply behaving like it needs to be de-gunked. It doesn't seem a mechanical problem at all. It just takes a few extra seconds to shift back to "stop" from "m" when the trigger is released. I hope you don't mind my asking, but where is "down here"?
Simon


If you can find a watch maker or a clock repair shop and buy a small amount of clock oil.... it's just the best stuff. After all they don't call them clock work cameras for nothing... I have an old H16 like yours and it conked out in the middle of a project. I was living in Hawaii at the time and didn't have time to ship it to the Mainland for repair. My friend who was a watch maker gave me some clock oil and it did the trick. The stuff is expensive though.

Also I have to dis-recommend the use of WD-40 on any thing. It's has a lot of wax which tends to aggravate the sticking problems after the volatile solvents evaporate. The only good use I have for WD-40 is taking stickers off of things. That's the other issue with WD-40. It likes to break down adhesives. It can get into the tolex and really mess it up. The oder is also likely to persist for a long time after the initial application.

James
  • 0

#6 SEC

SEC
  • Guests

Posted 07 May 2006 - 11:35 PM

If you can find a watch maker or a clock repair shop and buy a small amount of clock oil.... it's just the best stuff. After all they don't call them clock work cameras for nothing... I have an old H16 like yours and it conked out in the middle of a project. I was living in Hawaii at the time and didn't have time to ship it to the Mainland for repair. My friend who was a watch maker gave me some clock oil and it did the trick. The stuff is expensive though.

Also I have to dis-recommend the use of WD-40 on any thing. It's has a lot of wax which tends to aggravate the sticking problems after the volatile solvents evaporate. The only good use I have for WD-40 is taking stickers off of things. That's the other issue with WD-40. It likes to break down adhesives. It can get into the tolex and really mess it up. The oder is also likely to persist for a long time after the initial application.

James









Thanks Dudes.

Thanks for the sound advice. The camera dates from about 1956, as near as I can tell. It was well maintained and not very expensive. I should just throw down some money and take in for a "tune-up" I could get another 50 years out of it, really. Providing, of course, film continues to be available... I will first run a test reel through it, and make a final decision.

Happy Shooting! >[ ]


One of the many advantages of the Internet is that I am able to get advice from as far away as New Zealand- on the same day.
  • 0

#7 Nick Mulder

Nick Mulder
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1023 posts
  • Other
  • Auckland, New Zealand

Posted 08 May 2006 - 03:37 PM

Thanks Dudes.

Happy Shooting! >[ ]
One of the many advantages of the Internet is that I am able to get advice from as far away as New Zealand- on the same day.


not the best of advice re. the WD40 tho huh... hmmmm James, would sewing machine oil be better ? I have some of that kicking around and I have a new project in cleaning this lil puppy up:

http://www.trademe.c...spx?id=55467995

not sure exactly what condition its going to turn up in.. but the price was right(ish) so if its a dog its worth more than its wieght in parts for my other bolexs (and it has the 13x viewfinder ;))

Edited by Nick Mulder, 08 May 2006 - 03:40 PM.

  • 0

#8 Michael Carter

Michael Carter
  • Guests

Posted 09 May 2006 - 08:21 AM

I should just throw down some money and take in for a "tune-up" I could get another 50 years out of it

That would cost 3-400 dollars plus shipping both ways, add another hundred.
  • 0

#9 James Erd

James Erd
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 187 posts
  • Director
  • Palo Alto, CA

Posted 14 May 2006 - 11:18 PM

not the best of advice re. the WD40 tho huh... hmmmm James, would sewing machine oil be better ? I have some of that kicking around and I have a new project in cleaning this lil puppy up:

http://www.trademe.c...spx?id=55467995

not sure exactly what condition its going to turn up in.. but the price was right(ish) so if its a dog its worth more than its wieght in parts for my other bolexs (and it has the 13x viewfinder ;))



I'm sorry but you must have misread my post.... I was dis-recomending WD-40. Please reread my original post. I only recommend WD-40 for removing the labels on cheap tuper ware dishes bought as garage sales.

I did say the judicious use of high quality oil such as used in clocks is a better choice of lubricant. WD40 Sucks. I don't know if sewing machine oil is good for anything but sewing machines so I have no opinion on its use in a movie camera, but I will stand behind clock oil as my Bolex H16 has been running sweetly since I rebuilt it ten years ago.
  • 0

#10 James Erd

James Erd
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 187 posts
  • Director
  • Palo Alto, CA

Posted 14 May 2006 - 11:44 PM

not the best of advice re. the WD40 tho huh... hmmmm James, would sewing machine oil be better ? I have some of that kicking around and I have a new project in cleaning this lil puppy up:

http://www.trademe.c...spx?id=55467995

not sure exactly what condition its going to turn up in.. but the price was right(ish) so if its a dog its worth more than its wieght in parts for my other bolexs (and it has the 13x viewfinder ;))



Please disregard my earlier post.... Just got back from a shoot and haven't had a chance to sleep yet. I thought you were saying I was recommending WD-40. I tried to edit the post but I got an error when it tried to repost. That could have some thing to do with sleep deprivation as well...

So here's what I wanted to post... again my apologies


WD40 is mostly solvent and paraffin. That is why it works so well for removing labels from Tupperware. The solvent makes it a good penitent, so it could solve some problems temporarily but after the solvent evaporates you tend to wind up wit a worse mess that you started with.

I don't know if sewing machine oil is good for anything but sewing machines so I have no opinion on its use in a movie camera. I do know it cost less than clock oil which cost less than watch oil. The difference between clock oil and watch oil is watch oil is much finer than clock oil.

Watches have much less torque than clocks hence the need the finer more expensive oil. Sewing machines have a LOT more torque that a Bolex, so I suspect that clock oil would be just about rite. Also Bolex and other spring powered movie cameras are often described as clock work cameras. Having had the chance to work on both I can say it's a fair comparison.

The two essential differences are that a clock has an escapement where the Bolex has a governor, and where the clock use it's power simply to move the hands perfectly in time the Movie camera exposes frames perfectly in time.

I will stand behind clock oil as my Bolex H16 has been running sweetly since I rebuilt it ten years ago.

James
  • 0

#11 Nick Mulder

Nick Mulder
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1023 posts
  • Other
  • Auckland, New Zealand

Posted 16 May 2006 - 06:05 PM

^_^
  • 0

#12 Michael Carter

Michael Carter
  • Guests

Posted 18 May 2006 - 12:06 PM

What will dissolve old WD40 spray lube? White gas? Lighter fluid? :ph34r:
  • 0

#13 Nick Mulder

Nick Mulder
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1023 posts
  • Other
  • Auckland, New Zealand

Posted 20 May 2006 - 03:57 AM

I fully opened up an SB today that had the same sticky trigger - that part of the mechanism is pretty independant of the rest of the main driving gear/spring system. You could treat it pretty rough and not worry about too many follow on problems...
  • 0

#14 James Erd

James Erd
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 187 posts
  • Director
  • Palo Alto, CA

Posted 22 May 2006 - 02:03 PM

What will dissolve old WD40 spray lube? White gas? Lighter fluid? :ph34r:



Actually more WD-40 will dissolve the old WD-40... :blink: but lighter fluid which is really just naphtha does a better job and does not smell half as bad. I suspect WD-40 is also naphtha based but I don't have a can in front of me to check. I am not that familiar with white gas. I remember it as being highly flammable but my only experience was using it in a camping stove. I suspect it is just a lighter distillate than is lighter fluid. Lighter fluid is good enough and tends to last just long enough to take away the old oil and contaminants.

The only question with these approaches are where is the old WD-40 and any dirt or grit that has accumulated going.... Sometimes it just goes deeper in the mechanism necessitating disassembly or taking the item in for service. So the old saying less is more definitely applies here.

If the root of the problem is not too deep within the mechanism then you have a good chance of success as long as you don't flood the area. In the case of my H16 the trigger stuck because a screw had worked it self loose. So I had to take the clock works out of the camera. Since I had access to the entire mechanism I started with a thorough cleaning. It's amazing how much dirt collects in 50 years. Even so there was very little ware and I was able to get away with cleaning, oiling, and adjusting, for the most part. I have to say the governor mechanism needed the most work and it might have been better had I replaced it, but the camera works great so I am quite happy with it.
  • 0

#15 Nick Mulder

Nick Mulder
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1023 posts
  • Other
  • Auckland, New Zealand

Posted 23 May 2006 - 06:18 AM

I have to say the governor mechanism needed the most work and it might have been better had I replaced it, but the camera works great so I am quite happy with it.


How much grease/gunk was in the bottom bell part of your governer, ? mine was full of some very dry grease which I cleaned out and replaced, however I think I may have put in too much as I no longer get that 'TING!' sound when the camera stops running ...

If any thing the grease is slowing the camera down a bit more, which as long as its constant over the full spring wind down range I'm still happy
  • 0

#16 James Erd

James Erd
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 187 posts
  • Director
  • Palo Alto, CA

Posted 23 May 2006 - 02:57 PM

How much grease/gunk was in the bottom bell part of your governer, ? mine was full of some very dry grease which I cleaned out and replaced, however I think I may have put in too much as I no longer get that 'TING!' sound when the camera stops running ...

If any thing the grease is slowing the camera down a bit more, which as long as its constant over the full spring wind down range I'm still happy



Hmmm... The governor. This is the area where I feel it is best to go to the source, ( search ebay for a repair manual )because it gave me a lot of trouble and this is something you'd like to deal with as rarely as possible. Besides your governor is a crucial part of the camera. It needs to be consistent in speed over time. Over cranking and under-cranking should be any thing but accidental.

In my case I worked it out by trial and error.... ( mostly error) since I could not get a hold of a manual. I did test to make sure the camera was shooting what it said it was on the dial. When it said 64 I check to make sure the rite amount of film had passed through the mechanism. Then I check it's lowest speed and did the same thing. Then finally I ran it at 24 & 16. After I was sure I was as spot on as possible I buttoned up and sealed it to prevent any more junk from getting into the camera.

In any case if it's full of dried grease that definitely won't due. Mine actually performed best with out grease but I felt it needed some thing lest it ware out too quickly. I finally settled on a small amount of graphite. I felt this would be enough to prevent it from waring out and at the same time the graphite would not dry out over time. Although this seems to have worked out very well for me, I can Bolex experts every where cringing as they read this. If so, I hope they will be kind enough to chime in with the official factory procedure.
  • 0

#17 Nick Mulder

Nick Mulder
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1023 posts
  • Other
  • Auckland, New Zealand

Posted 23 May 2006 - 04:18 PM

the speed dial is arbitrarily placed by loosening the screw and moving it around, so its better to leave the governor and move that if accuracy in terms of the knob setting and cam speed is the goal ...

As for the governor itself, its a reasonably robust mechanism as I have seen it do some hairy things in my experimentation and since then a factory qualified bolex tech has given it a good bill of health ...

I have built a tacho that mates to the 1:1 spindle on any camera, on all the wind ups I have tested they all suffer from a loss of just under 2fps over the range of the spring wind down - ie. of you start at 25, you'll end up tapping on 23fps on the same wind - I suspect with the amount of grease in mine this will be worse, but haven't set up the tacho yet for fear of adding another job to my already full list :rolleyes:
  • 0

#18 James Erd

James Erd
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 187 posts
  • Director
  • Palo Alto, CA

Posted 24 May 2006 - 12:42 AM

the speed dial is arbitrarily placed by loosening the screw and moving it around, so its better to leave the governor and move that if accuracy in terms of the knob setting and cam speed is the goal ...

As for the governor itself, its a reasonably robust mechanism as I have seen it do some hairy things in my experimentation and since then a factory qualified bolex tech has given it a good bill of health ...

I have built a tacho that mates to the 1:1 spindle on any camera, on all the wind ups I have tested they all suffer from a loss of just under 2fps over the range of the spring wind down - ie. of you start at 25, you'll end up tapping on 23fps on the same wind - I suspect with the amount of grease in mine this will be worse, but haven't set up the tacho yet for fear of adding another job to my already full list :rolleyes:


I'm curious, what did your tech recommend for a lubricant? Also I did much as you recommend and adjusted the dial by loosing the screw. In my case I chose to make the 24-fps setting the most accurate. Still on first try other settings were not accurate. I still basically had to tweak the mechanism and try different things to get it all to work accurately.

Rite now I have another Bolex H16 Rx that chirps when the trigger is depressed. I hate to get into it because it seems a little more delicate that the H16 Standard. Most of the time I run it with using my Tobin Crystal Sync motor so the governor is wide open and does not affect any thing.
  • 0

#19 Nick Mulder

Nick Mulder
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1023 posts
  • Other
  • Auckland, New Zealand

Posted 24 May 2006 - 07:13 AM

I'm curious, what did your tech recommend for a lubricant?


I haven't spoken to him about it yet as I am writing up a list of questions for the next time I go around to his place - my cam is in bits with parts off being machined into super16, but when the time comes and all is good to re-install and I'm ready to light proof the film chamber again I'll open it up one last time and get him to give it a final check, as if it gets his bill of health I may part with my RX4 which is the standby parts model in case of mishaps in all my experimentation - but anyhoo, i'll ask about the lube then as it is really quick to clean it out and replace it with the proper stuff (if my grease isn't the go)
  • 0

#20 James Erd

James Erd
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 187 posts
  • Director
  • Palo Alto, CA

Posted 24 May 2006 - 05:44 PM

I haven't spoken to him about it yet as I am writing up a list of questions for the next time I go around to his place - my cam is in bits with parts off being machined into super16, but when the time comes and all is good to re-install and I'm ready to light proof the film chamber again I'll open it up one last time and get him to give it a final check, as if it gets his bill of health I may part with my RX4 which is the standby parts model in case of mishaps in all my experimentation - but anyhoo, i'll ask about the lube then as it is really quick to clean it out and replace it with the proper stuff (if my grease isn't the go)


Let me know how the Super 16 conversion goes. I haven't decoded if I want to go for it yet.
  • 0


Glidecam

Abel Cine

CineLab

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

The Slider

Paralinx LLC

CineTape

Willys Widgets

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Technodolly

Opal

FJS International, LLC

Rig Wheels Passport

rebotnix Technologies

Tai Audio

Metropolis Post

Visual Products

Wooden Camera

Aerial Filmworks

Ritter Battery

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Ritter Battery

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Willys Widgets

rebotnix Technologies

Tai Audio

CineTape

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Abel Cine

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Aerial Filmworks

Metropolis Post

Opal

Technodolly

Visual Products

The Slider

Glidecam

Paralinx LLC

Rig Wheels Passport

FJS International, LLC

CineLab

Wooden Camera