another mad project - no practical value

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by doug herr, Aug 31, 2004.

  1. Inspired by Huw Finney's mad project I've begun my own kind of madness in the form of a few beat-up Leicaflex SL bodies. The first one is a black paint body which I acquired when Al Kaplan got rid of the last of his Leica reflex equipment. Al uses his cameras, and uses them hard, and this camera showed it. Not only did Al use this camera hard, it was a beater when he got it: this SL was given to him by his repair tech when Al threatened to bring his R4s in for service again.
    When I got this SL it had a crappy non-original viewscreen and prism, a crudely re-glued viewfinder eyepiece, had holes drilled in the base plate, corrosion in spots, no functional light meter, and was jammed. I figured it was good for a few spare parts.
    The first thing I did was figure out why it was jammed. On the Leicaflexes, a sluggish or jammed self-timer will lock the whole thing up once the self-timer has been set. This was the case with the BP SL. It took an hour or so but by tapping, poking and otherwise fiddling with the ST I got it to finish its run and trip the shutter. Then I found the shutter release button was also jammed. I could trip the shutter with a cable release but not by simply pressing the button. Upon removing the shutter speed dial I found that three of the four tabs on the inner shutter speed dial that connect the dial to the speed selector shaft had broken, and one of the broken tabs had lodged itself under the shutter release button. Once that was removed the shutter operated perfectly.
    At this point I started thinking this BP SL could be rebuilt instead of dismembered. About this time there was an auction on the big auction website for a couple of Leicaflex bodies, conveniently already in pieces:
    One was a Leicaflex Standard, the other an SL. "Parts for the BP" I'm thinking. In this lot were enough parts to replace all the corroded or missing pieces on the BP camera. To date the parts I've used from the donor cameras include:
    baseplate from the SL
    flash shoe from the Standard
    meter galvanometer and main circuit board from the SL
    inner shutter speed dial from the SL
    viewscreen from the SL
    as well as misc. screws and fittings from both cadavers replacing corroded parts.
    The reconstructed BP SL isn't ready for regular service but has reached the point where everything works and just needs to be adjusted to specs. It's an impractical project because the time I've spent doing the work is worth far more than the value of the completed camera, but it has been an informative and entertaining project. I've learned which parts of the Leicaflex Standard can be interchanged with the SL (fewer than one might expect), and in poking through the cameras' innards I've gained a greater appreciation for the quality of design and construction of the Leicaflex series. On a more practical level I've learned how to re- calibrate the SL light meter to work with a 1.5 volt silver-oxide battery.
    Next is a jammed silver chrome SL with a non-functional light meter. Compared with the BL SL this one should be easy.
  2. Yup, when Manfred showed me that old black beater SL I was amazed that it still worked at all, but the reason for my being at his shop was my R4s, which didn't really look all that bad, but was completely non functional for the third or fourth time. What the heck, a free SL for me and Manfred wouldn't have to play nursemaid again to that cursed piece of Minolta made junk. I'd love to see a photo of it when you're all through.
  3. 10/10, I have put the M2 meter on hold, too busy enjoying the XPan but I feel another mad project comming on.........
  4. I have this image of a cat casualy walking over all this and playing with the bits and there is deep pile carpet below.
  5. huw finney wrote: I have this image of a cat casualy walking over all this and playing with the bits and there is deep pile carpet below.
    LOL! The cats - four of them - have been banished from the mad project room.
  6. Nice job Douglas. On a parallel path I've been learning about Contax/Kiev rangefinders. I did a presentation if you want to have a look.

    I spent about 8-10 hours on the Kiev, though I'm now ready to take on a couple of broken prewar Contaxes.
  7. Hmm. I have this image of a windblown lot in the New Mexico desert, the sun beating down on row upon row of bleached-out Leica SLRs amid the sagebrush, waiting to be cannibalized for parts to keep other Leicas flying.....
  8. Nifty project, Doug. Jay helping you? ;-)
  9. Doug you must be an Engineer by training.

  10. Gerry, yes I'm a Mechanical Engineer. Lots of good responses, thanks everyone.

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