Wednesday, October 29, 2014

What Do New Jersey and Hawaii Have in Common?

The SX70 population of each State just went up by 1! Just finished these up in the last few days along with the latest and greatest custom yet... the Ivory SLR680. I was searching for a theme for this one... Hoth Edition, Disney's Frozen (let it go), maybe an Xmas theme? But in the end it looked like it just needed a purist's approach and I would simply call it Ivory. There. I did it. By the way, this camera will be for sale soon. :)

Short and sweet tonight. The days are getting shorter and I'm about due for a break but lately I've been doing a TON of research on what really makes the SX70 tick - the electronics and circuitry and ways to repair them using modern day resources. I really don't know what I've gotten myself into with this but I'm determined to find ways to eliminate the "this camera is beyond repair... best thing to do is find a new one" mentality. There is a threshold as to what can be saved and what is best used as a donor, but I still stick to my original concept for this beautiful Polaroid revival I've found myself in... Every Polaroid camera deserves a second chance to work again. Shop's closed!

New Jersey (left) and Honolulu (right)

And finally, the Ivory SLR680. I really like how this turned out. Reallyreallyreally like it!!! It's a bit difficult to figure out what parts can be painted due to changing tolerances when primer/paint/matte is added but visually it works. Still some tweaks needed but this is going to be offered for sale next week on the blog. 


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Gremlins and a Shop Update

I absolutely LOVE working on these cameras... I really do! There's no subjective thought involved when it comes to repairs. Either they work properly or don't. Rarely do I get frustrated and if I ever do it's probably because I made a mistake, accidentally broke a part, or in this case, face a camera that just didn't want to work properly. Yesterday I finished up on a Model 1 that I put almost 15 hours of work into. This camera seriously was an avalanche of problems. Once something was fixed, another thing broke or once I got the electronics stable, I'd get a current drain. I started to blame gremlins after a while. I have to admit I learned a TON on this camera, especially being able to properly follow a Failure Analysis Chart. I'll have pics of this one soon.

OK, for those that have a camera in the repair queue, I'm currently done with all repairs but I'm waiting on a new shipment of leather skins. I thought I was doing the right thing by stocking up on black and pebble black leather as I received ten SLR680s in the past month or so. Well, as soon as those came in I received seven Model 1s and have no tan skins but new ones are on their way. So I'll have this last batch finished up next week ready to ship by that weekend! After that I'll be able to take new submissions starting November 3rd.:)

I'll also soon have several cameras in stock starting off with 3 very beautiful SLR680s that will be for sale here through the blog. If there are any questions or if you'd like to reserve one please send an email.

Shop's closed for tonight but here's a 'before and after' of a Model 2 I just finished up. this was the filthiest camera I've had to clean yet and I got Popeye arms once I was done scrubbing but i think it came out beautiful!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

October - **Update for Repair Submissions**

What is it about October?! It’s gorgeous out, the greatest holiday is just around the corner (yep… Halloween), and the shop gets FLOODED with repair submissions! Thanks to all that have continued to support 2nd Shot by giving their cameras a total makeover! I’ve had the pleasure of meeting quite a few people over the last few months on Instagram, email, and even facetime as well... Polafans are everywhere and it's good to see such enthusiasm for a media that was almost declared extinct!

However (ugh)... unfortunately due to the large amount of repair submissions, I can’t accept any new repairs for another two weeks. It’s no lie when I say I’m up to my elbows in repairs (check out the pic below) but I couldn’t be happier with the amount of work ahead of me. This really is a pleasure to work on these cameras and I'll be back to accepting new cameras very soon.

I had to put the “Building a Sonar” on hold but stay tuned for parts II and III where I walk through the cleaning and final adjustments of the camera. There will also be a special announcement concerning this camera once finished! **it’s a surprise** Shop’s closed!

On to pics!!! I have several SLR680s that I’ve been sitting on for too long. 680 parts, especially cosmetic parts like faceplates, are very hard to come by. Instead of waiting for donors and avoiding any more waiting for customers, and with a little background in auto body repair, I did some cosmetic restoration. Epoxy, wet sand, primer, repeat, paint, matte coat, BLAMMO! The results came out very nice and I didn’t need to shell out insane cash for a donor. Thanks to the owners of these cameras for your amazing patience. This was a bit of trial and error and I wanted to do this right and not some half-arsed patch job.

I realized that I have a boatload of Fuji packfilm in my fridge and really don’t have a dedicated camera for leisure use… I sold my Four Seasons 110a last year. So with a few hours to spare while waiting for parts to soak in solvent, after reading the tutorial from Option8 (this guy’s got some insane Polaskills), I hacked a Packfilm 250 to house a 127/4.7 Yashinon/Seikosha. I’m still working to get a correct focus but I still can’t figure out why I didn’t do this sooner. With the demise of fp3000b film I might have to start shooting more color. I’m ok with that. J

I’m making it a point to take better pics of final cameras to send to customers as well and eventually post an online gallery of cameras that I've finished. Here’s a Model 1 on it’s way to Singapore. Thanks Jake!

And finally, the waiting room as of yesterday. The Post Office is gonna love me.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Building a Sonar - Part 1

I’ve been very busy in the shop these past few evenings getting two beautiful 680s finished up for a customer (the repairs include some faceplate reconstruction - more on that later) and while I’m waiting for skins to arrive, I figure I’d spend some time taking inventory of my donor cameras and see what can be gathered to build four camera bodies. Some chassis had been bent, busted hinges, nasty Fresnel lenses, broken shutter boards, cracked mirrors... but I found some really good parts that will make some very beautiful cameras that will eventually be up for sale. I figure I would post a brief rundown of how I build my cameras but skip the micro details like soldering, adjustments, and cussing.  

Part 1 will go through the chassis and body build as the four shutter/sonar assemblies were built earlier this week (pic on Instagram) and all I have to simply do is mount them to the shutter board and solder the flex cable in place. Please pay no mind to the clutter as the pics progress… I try to clean as I go but sometimes the parts and tools stack up quickly and I end up in an avalanche of what looks like disaster on the work table.

First I started with a bare chassis that was in great shape. It’s not entirely bare as all the mounting posts and some components are there but it’s missing the counter assembly, gear train, motor, flex cable, shutter/sonar, and fresnel/taking mirror carrier.

Next I found a good film counter assembly that had the switch contacts mounted properly. Sometimes when unsoldering the flex cable, the mushroomed heat stakes can melt off releasing the contacts. I’ve learned to lower my iron heat and unsolder away from the stake points.

Next was to mount the Fresnel carrier in place. As a side note, I make sure to gently clean the lenses before assembly. The Fresnel surface is unbelievably fragile and even some of the slightest scratches will show up in the viewfinder.

Next up is the gear train.

At this time I had an “oh darn” moment (I used different words) when I found that the donor rear mirror cover had a broken hinge. There was a reason this was in my parts bin in the first place I guess. Since the bellows are riveted to the shutter board on this model I decided to scrap this chassis and start over but using a chassis from a black plastic model. I really like the BC Series black and chrome look anyway so this little oversight will work to my advantage.

OK… fast forward an hour - I got all the previous parts mounted on the new chassis, installed the gear train, and closed the camera up.

Next up is the flex circuit with a reconditioned motor. I try to only use parts from similar models especially when it comes to electronics as many improvements were made as the camera evolved that aren’t compatible with earlier cameras. For example, there would be potential for all kinds of problems if I were to use an early model shutter substrate with a later model flex circuit that has a later style motor control circuit or MCC.

That’s about it for the body. I made some alignment adjustments and ran the gear train through several cycles to make sure everything will work properly. Then I mounted the shutter assembly to the chassis and ran several cycles. So far so good!

Finishing up, I found some good parts that will look fantastic when cleaned up and did a dry fit. There will still need to be some optical adjustments as there is a bit of shadow in the viewfinder. This is mostly due to the camera’s geometry becoming misaligned over years of use. It's not pretty yet but after an evening of cleaning this is going to look fantastic! 

Stay tuned for Part 2 next week which will involve parts cleaning, reskin, and final adjustments. Shop’s closed!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Big 2

While cruising the net last night (in between fighting with a stubborn model 1) I found some cool videos I’d like to share. There’s quite a few folks out there that offer some sort of service that gives attention to old SX70s but the two heavy hitters that have given me a HUGE amount of inspiration are The Impossible Project and MiNT (I'm not affiliated with either by the way). Both these companies have done a stellar job to take a defunct analog media and make it thrive among a crowd of high-tech disposables. The inspiration for me comes from the passion that these companies have for the SX70 on an emotional level and these videos do a tremendous job getting that message across.