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Light seal replacing - the alternative way.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2012 11:30 pm    Post subject: Light seal replacing - the alternative way. Reply with quote

Replacing the light seals

First thing to do is raid the craft shop, there you can find grey sticky back, closed cell foam in A4 size sheets and about 2mm thick. It might seem a bit thick but it's compressed nicely on every camera I've tried it on so far. Then get A4 sticky back black felt. So far, very cheap.
Then get a rotary cutter and a small cutting mat. You might be tempted to save a bit and not get these, but don't. The rotary cutter is a marvel, it will cut both the foam and the felt into strips less that 1mm wide perfectly, where a knife will drag and make the strip uneven the rotary cutter sails through. If you don't get the cutting mat the blade will get damaged and your wife will kill you for making deep cuts in the antique dining table. You probably have a good ruler, but an 18 inch 500mm is nice. use a plastic one because if the rotary cutter does slip onto the ruler, a steel one will damage the blade. It really is very easy to cut thin strips with this tool

This cutter was quite expensive, my wife bought it to do quilting or something girly. It's perfect, for cutting foam, felt, and fingers.

Raid the kitchen and steal the cocktail sticks, plastic or wood, they both work although I prefer wood. Grab a roll of paper towel as well. Leave the beer till after. Then find out where she keeps her make up and steal the nail varnish remover, you could buy alcohol, but nail polish remover works ( NPR from now on ) just fine, better than Zippo lighter fuel as well. Then you need something to apply the NPR without causing floods to the inside of the camera. Steal a syringe from a junkie, do them a favour, or get one from a model shop, they sell blunt ones for oiling small mechanical things like clocks. Whatever you get, use it to apply the NPR sparingly onto the gunky foam. A small artists paint brush would do as well.

Put some NPR - alcohol of choice - in the syringe and apply sparingly to the gunky stuff in the grooves, let the old foam soak it up and don't swamp the insides of the camera., I do one seal at a time, once it's soaked in a bit prod it with a cocktail stick and see if you can get under the sticky part of the seal. Like most sticky backed stuff the original foam has a layer of plastic / paper between the foam and the glue surface - it's easy to remove the foam and leave the sticky gunk in place. So get under it, and in theory it will peel out in one long strip. In reality tiny bits of crap come out on the end of the stick. Don't get it on your clothes or your wifes best tablecloth, it's horrible stuff, use the kitchen paper.
On the end of the camera there's usually some felt by the hinge, do the same there. Soak and remove. Of course you've made a note of how big these bits of felt are ? Top tip - cut the new ones before you remove them.

Gently does it, don't drown the camera

Don't poke the stick or the pick through the black bit in the middle, it's the shutter.

Gunk on a stick

Use the pick gently, let the solvent do the work and you won't scratch the camera.

It's like being a dentist getting into the corners.

If you're very lucky, it comes off like this.

If the film door comes off easily, a lot of them do with a little plunger on the hinge, take it off, it's just easier without it flapping about. I like to have a lens on the camera because it makes it easier to stand on an angle, don't use the most expensive and rarest lens in your collection, borrow a cheap one from someone you don't like. I put a cheap filter on the lens as well if they want it back.

I use a bit of cushion floor to work on, I have a bit for dirty work, removing the gunky seals, and a clean bit for clean work. I also have a large stainless steel tray about 1 meter square that I sometimes us as well, I put the bits of soft flooring in the tray. In some of these pictures the whole table is covered by a big off cut of flooring because we do some other craft work on the dining table, which is a genuine antique from my wife's family. I know better than to hack chunks out of it !

The tools - at the large craft shop ( Hobbycraft in the UK ) there's also an excellent modelling department full of lovely things. I've bought some good quality screwdivers from there, and sets of dentists style stainless steel picks, riffler files, diamond dust needle files and lots of other small tools used by model engineers. All you are likely to need for light seal changing are the picks, but you could manage without..

Set of picks, about 7 at a model shop.

Clean the grooves and the felt surfaces with some clean NPR and cotton buds / soft cloth. If there are stubborn bits of gunk, I use a toothbrush. ( Wipe it on a rag before you put it back in her glass in the bathroom. )

Shiny !

Once the camera is clean, peel back a bit of the foam strip paper backing - about 25 to 30mm - and with the camera resting on the soft surface, on it's lens at about 45 degrees, fit the foam tightly into one end of the groove. I leave the paper on to show which side of the foam has the sticky on it, it's easy to twist it as it's just about square section. The paper also stops it sticking to everything it shouldn't until you make it stick. I find a curved pick is absolutely right for applying the foam seal, the back of the pick pushes it into the groove, and the point will drag it a bit . Practice makes perfect here, and given the cheapness of the foam and how many cameras one A4 sheet will do don't worry about messing it up, just take it out and put another one in. The foam goes nicely around the corners, push and shove with the pick and it's there. Don't cut the foam to length before fitting, just cut it down a bit at a time with good scissors until it fits.

Work the foam in with the pick

Cut to length

Then fit the felt across the camera by the hinge, this often goes on top of the foam light seals. Again the pick will push and pull, the plastic base of the felt is surprisingly strong and will take a fair pull with the point. If it rips, it's cheap and you've got plenty. This is why I don't buy kits. Because the felt pieces are shorter and more of a fiddle I leave the paper on, peel a bit back and stick one end in place, then pull the protective paper off slowly while positioning the felt. I dont press it firmly into place until it's right.

Job done.

Then I do the film door, in this picture you can see the sticky gunk in all it's horror. That's thinner foam than the stuff I get from the craft shop, so I replace the foam with felt. Once the door has been closed for a while you can see the impression of the 'seal' on the felt so it will work OK. .

Stick horrible gunk

Nice new felt

Fit the door back on, and press it closed. It will feel odd, very spongy and as though it wont close properly. The new foam is thicker than the gunk, but it will compress and stay more or less compressed. After a day or so every camera I've done is fine, and a clear impression of the seal can be seen all around the new foam and felt.

Get a cold beer and some film from the fridge, enjoy both Laughing

Next, gluing the leatherette back on and painting the scabby bits.

PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2012 11:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great tutorial!

That's almost exactly how I use to do it Winke
I got the same cutter and similar polypropilene A4 sheets for the seals.
Only I don't use metal tools at all: I prepare some bamboo sticks cut off to the width I need to avoid scrapping the painting underneath the gummy foam.
Nice trick the syringe one Wink
I use to use instead kitchen paper strips soak into Isopropylic alcohol and placed into the groove with the help of the bamboo tool. After a while, the gummy foam comes out easily.

Thanks for sharing!.


PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 12:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very nice guide ! Many thanks to sharing it!

PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 12:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Even I can follow those destructions!

PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 2:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent tutorial Dave! Can we have the beer now?

PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 7:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

peterqd wrote:
Excellent tutorial Dave! Can we have the beer now?

Only if you've finished and done the job properly. Wink

PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2014 1:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One neat trick i picked up was to wet the sticky side of the foam with methylated spirit. This stops it sticking to anything and allows you time to get it fitted spot on without twisting etc. Then the meths evaporates and the sticky stuff then sticks the foam down as normal.

Great tutorial LLoydy.


PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2014 10:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bychance wrote:
One neat trick i picked up was to wet the sticky side of the foam with methylated spirit. This stops it sticking to anything and allows you time to get it fitted spot on without twisting etc. Then the meths evaporates and the sticky stuff then sticks the foam down as normal.

Great tutorial LLoydy.


I've always licked the sticky side if I want to slide the foam or felt around, but meths will dry quicker. Or maybe drink copious amounts of strong spirits before licking the sticky foam ? Laughing