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Arri 2b maintenance - help needed with camera and magazines


George Clark
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I've been shooting bits and pieces with an Arri 2b 35mm camera and want to give the camera a clean and do some minor maintenance.

Following discussions on the forum about Arri grease and oil i located some Kluber Isoflex 18 lubricant and oil for the motor but I'm not sure how or where to apply these. As you can see in the photo below inside the camera there's a notice to apply grease but how much and where should i apply it? Should i clean out the old grease first?

 

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Also should I apply oil to the motor or other parts to ensure smooth running? On the same topic should i apply grease or oil to the camera magazine gears or bearings? I have a 200ft magazine that didn't run smoothly when i tested it - is there a way to clean or oil the gear in the magazine?

I have a pdf scan of the 'Repair & Parts Manual for IIB and IIB Arriflex 35mm Cameras' which is great but it doesn't always show how or where to apply grease or oil so some advice would be great. If there is another manuel with more detail that on maintianing an Arri 2b would be great to know peoples recommendations.

Thanks in advance

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For a proper service the camera would be dismantled, parts and roller bearings checked for damage or wear, and everything thoroughly cleaned and relubricated. While some of that procedure can be done without specific tools or knowledge, some of it also can't. Even though it's quite a simple camera mechanically, certain tolerances are pretty fine.

 

But for simple preventative maintenance which can be done by an owner rather than a technician, the manual recommends greasing all moving parts of the claw movement and placing a small drop of oil in the hole above the cam (marked with a white arrow), and also a drop in each of the holes just behind the cam which are revealed when the claw is in a fully forward position. On later cameras (like yours from your pictures) the hole marked with a white arrow (accessing the mag drive gear bearing) is lubricated with grease instead of oil. The manual recommends doing this procedure every 25,000 feet or twice a year. I would apply the grease lightly with a good quality brush that doesn't shed bristles.

 

You can try and clean off some of the old grease, but it's difficult to do so properly without actually dismantling the movement first. Sometimes you just end up pushing dirt and contamination further in.

 

With the mags the important part is generally the take-up clutch, which often needs to be serviced and the slipping tension measured and set with a specific Arri tool. Also important is the throat which should allow 2 film thicknesses through both channels. Film chips can get caught in there. The gears are not lubricated, but you can clean the teeth if they are getting grotty. Could be a few reasons why a mag isn't running smoothly.

 

The motor uses roller bearings which are lubricated with grease, I wouldn't oil them.

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  • 4 weeks later...
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Where are you located? I would suggest finding an Arri tech in your area and paying him to do it and let you watch. That's the best way, like an apprentice to a watch maker. There are so many little tricks and issues to deal with it would be best to watch an experienced pro who likes to share knowledge.

 

Often you can find camera techs at rental houses that are now maintaining lenses and other gear that used to do what you are trying to do for 30 years.

 

I do know that the oil was very specific to those cameras and fairly expensive these days.

 

Dom, maybe you can make a video on proper lubrication/maintenance for an Arri 2C? The world needs to have one.

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Dom, maybe you can make a video on proper lubrication/maintenance for an Arri 2C? The world needs to have one.

 

I've actually been photo-documenting some service procedures on older film cameras as I do them, but with 2 kids under 4 I don't have the time to completely overhaul a camera unless someone pays me to do it. And that is becoming increasingly rare.

 

I did recently get to do a full overhaul of an Arri 16 St which I documented, and which I plan to put up on my cinetinker blog soon. If someone pays for their 2B or C to get a service I'll definitely document it.

 

Or perhaps I should set up a charity called Cam Aid and become the Bob Geldoff of old movie gear, making the world a better place for obsolete camera owners. :)

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  • 1 year later...

Sure, just like I'm a vintage camera technician rather than an obsolete one! It sure feels like an obsolete skill these days though, at least in this part of the world.

 

I did get around to documenting an Arri 2C overhaul, essentially the same as an Arri 2B:

http://cinetinker.blogspot.com.au/2014/04/arriflex-35-iic.html

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Do not give in! Obsolete is the mindset that brought planned obsolescence, the computer world in its eternal short-sighted opportunism.

 

To the OP: Dust and dirt must first be done away with in your camera. It’s not so built that you can simply drip in a few droplets of oil. Such cameras exist(ed), the ARRIFLEX certainly is not one. Not to diminish the practical value of it!

 

As Dom explains, have a trained technician taken care of the instrument. It’ll be worth every penny.

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Do not give in! Obsolete is the mindset that brought planned obsolescence, the computer world in its eternal short-sighted opportunism.

 

One of my great-grandfathers was a blacksmith, a noble and ancient tradition that one, but the motor car came along and required different skills. He kept his smithy and forged intermittently, but work dwindled. He went on to become a politician, probably an even older tradition if not always as noble. Are horses obsolete because of cars? No, but nobody rides one to work anymore. Was something lost in that transition? Undoubtedly.

 

The analogy is actually false because many people do still ride horses, or need metal worked by hand, whereas without film or film labs, film movie cameras are simply ornaments. Outside of a handful of monied Hollywood filmmakers film is already becoming just a hobby for enthusiasts. Not to diminish that spirit, but it doesn't really pay for professional support.

 

You don't give in or not give in to obsolescence, you adapt or starve.

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I remain a carbon based human and therefore there is an innate preference for carbon based things like food and film over silicon based things like digital images that lack some unidentifiable something when you look at them. It is that there is something there that feels too much and something there that feels missing.

 

But I have a vintage brain that is on its way to obsolete by choice, and I still need Doms Cine Tinker articles that I saved in pdf form for reference when the memory fails me.

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