Cambo rail difficult to fit on standard

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by eric_m|4, Jul 13, 2022.

  1. Hello all,
    I went to change rail on my cambo SC model from 24 inch to 12 inch (I'm pretty sure the cheaper models all have the same square rail) and had a real hard time fitting the rail into the front standard. Rail went in much easier on rear standard. I had to put pressure up against the workbench to get it in. I pressed in the small pin on rail and had the friction knobs unlocked. Once it was in the knobs were very stiff and would often spin without moving the rail any further. I've used it on and off for about 30 yrs but never had it lubricated and the last time I used it was about 6 - 8 months ago so I'm thinking it may need to be oiled/greased but I'm not sure how to take it apart and what/where to lubricate. Can anyone give me a simple explanation or a website with instructions on how to? Thanks.
  2. I would NOT have forced it in.
    Now you have to remove it, without damaging the camera, to check where it is binding, and repair that.
    The rail on that end could have been damaged and distorted in shape.

    Gud Luk
  3. I too fear that something was amiss with the assembly.

    Last time I used a Cambo was at college, over 50 years ago! And even then I never had the rail off it. However, most monorails have a similar focussing and friction-locking mechanism.

    So, there may be a small nylon (or other material) bush that's spring loaded against the rail in the recess for the locking knob. If that was displaced, then that might explain the difficulty in inserting the rail. The friction focus drive will also be tensioned against the rail with some sort of spring. It pays to inspect the inside of the hole in the standard for obstructions before ramming the rail into it!

    I doubt that the locking or focus mechanism needs lubrication. In fact the focus control relies on friction to drive the standard back and forth. Maybe the slightest smidgeon of grease on the drive shaft, but certainly nowhere near the friction roller.

    If the locking knobs completely unscrew, then it wouldn't hurt to lightly grease the threads before re-assembly I suppose. But most monorails live their entire life without needing lubrication of the moving parts.

    My Devere Devon must be 60 odd years old. Has never been lubed while in my ownership and works just fine.
  4. There's a small screw in the bottom of the rail rider. It adjusts the position of the drive roller. Back the screw off a little.
  5. Hi Guys,
    Thanks for replies. I can insert rail and remove it without anything being damaged or distorted, or even scratched. And once it's in it turns but with a LOT of resistance. Although sometimes the knobs spin without moving the rail any. It seems like it can be a fairly simple DIY solution. I don't really want to spend about $50 on another standard and sending it in for service doesn't make sense when you can get a whole new camera on ebay for about $150. Dan, I did turn the screw at bottom but all that did was adjust the resistance turning the knobs. I read somewhere online how someone had similar problem and he took it apart, lubed some part up, and was done. I can't find that site and I can't figure out how to take this thing apart. Seems like you have to get to some screws behind the knob but I can't figure out how to remove the knob. Eventually, I may have to lay out the 50 bucks but I'd like to try and solve the problem before I spend money on another standard. It just seems like there's a solution to this.
  6. Hello guys,
    I believe I found the page I was looking for. Hopefully, it can solve my problem - seems similar issue. Maybe it will help someone else out there :

    Cambo/Calumet SC-2 - standards not moving fore/aft

    Something Cambo users might wanna bookmark. Wish me luck!!!
  7. Just read the thread all the way through - looks like I may have to just bite the bullet and buy another standard.
  8. Does it still work, on your 24 inch rail?
  9. A couple of thoughts:
    Maybe the rail is slightly off square. Did you try rotating it through 90 degrees?

    Except it only affects the front standard?
    That sounds like the standard is at fault, not the rail.

    Have you compared the inside of the rear-standard 'hole' with that of the front standard? Especially comparing the freedom of the idler rollers as mentioned in the link above. And checking if any low-friction rider pads or high-friction locking pads are missing.

    Naptha is probably not the best thing to use on those rollers, if seized. A couple of drops of penetrating oil would be my 1st recourse. It'll likely rejuvenate any dried grease.

    Disassembly surely can't be as difficult as made out in that link. Old monorails were generally made to be 'field serviceable' with just a few hand tools.
  10. Gary, No the front standard doesn't work with either rail. It actually fits in but with a lot of resistance and only moves when you manually push it forward/backward. The knobs move freely without the rail inside, but once the rail is in it gets very difficult to turn. It feels like there is something stripped connecting the rollers to the knobs.
    Rodeo, It's definitely the front standard. I've checked the inside magnified and could not see anything different from the other standard but the problem only occurs with that front standard. I couldn't find a way to take it apart, there's a small bolt inside but you would need some special tool to reach in there - very small and tight working space. There's some tiny screws on outside, I'll see if I can tinker with it some more but I'm probably going to wind up with a new standard. I appreciate all the help, this place is always the first (and usually the last) place that I come to for photo help.
  11. Hi Guys,
    Just a little update on rail issue. Rodeo Joe kind of touch on the problem : "I doubt that the locking or focus mechanism needs lubrication. In fact the focus control relies on friction to drive the standard back and forth."
    There were tiny smudges of grease on the bottom rollers ( the ones that move the rail/standards) which led me to think that it was ok to have a just a bit of grease. I found the following which basically states you have to wipe down the rollers until you get every bit of grease off.

    Cambo SC help needed

    I also had to tighten the small screw on bottom of standard to increase pressure of rollers on rails - more friction. Before grease was wiped off, adjusting this screw made no difference. It still slips occasionally, but it works so much better than before. I'm thinking maybe a very small amount of dish washing soap might remove the very last bit of grease off. Anyway, I got it working. I keep referring to this as a "rail issue" but it's actually a "rollers on the standard issue" . Hopefully, this will help anyone one else that has similar problem with camera rollers/standards. Thanks for all the help.
  12. I have a Cambo SC II with the square 24" rail and never had any problems with it. Then again I never tried to replace it. If I remember correctly, one of the knobs moves the rail back and forth and the other knob locks it in place. I never had to use any grease on the rail, it works by friction as far as I can tell ?
  13. Yes that's right, it does not need grease on rails/rollers. I don't know how the grease got on the rail/rollers but the point is for it to work by friction there should be no grease on rollers.
  14. There are 2 little spring buttons one in the front/side of the rail and another in the back/side of the rail. These little buttons are supposed to be depressed fully when inserting the rail, otherwise the rail will not fit inside the standards. Maybe the front button on your rail is stuck, or not depressing fully so the rail is rubbing up against the inside of the standard ? Or it could be your rail is warped, Just a guess...
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2022
  15. No, the problem seems to have been the small dab of grease on the rollers. The little spring buttons on both rails work fine. once I wiped the grease off the rollers it worked much better.

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