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Grease for Arriflex 16S, 16M, 35 IIC, etc.


Stéphane Mandelkern
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Hi to everybody.

I would like to evoke a subject often adressed in this forum. The question of the lubrification of older Arriflex cameras like Arri 16ST or 16M, 35 IIC etc.

Dom Jaeger answered extensively in this forum, for instance in its post from 7/01/2021. And in his tutorial on his blog Cinetinker, He explained using mainly Isoflex LDS 18/05 and Chronosynth 1/8.

These grease are difficult to provide. And it seems only Arri produce or produced them.

Kluber produces Isoflex LDS 18 but it is maybe not the same as 18/05.

I was wondering what were the alternatives. Why it is not possible to find greases on the market which mechanics characteristics would correspond to Isoflex LDS 18/05 and Chronosynth 1/8 ?

What do you think of it. Has anyone have found some ?

Thank you in advance.

Stéphane

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I'm using Kluber "Isoflex LDS 18 Special A" which is readily available in the US from Amazon, and Nye synthetic clock oil #140B, also readily available in the US in various sizes from a seller on eBay (I got 8 oz which should be 10 lifetimes' worth...)

I don't have enough time on my camera to tell you for sure that these are good equivalents, but I have a little bit of the originals and they do seem quite similar.  The Nye clock oil is a tiny bit less viscous than the Chronosynth, but A) the Chronosynth I have is very old, which could be affecting it and B) synthetic clock oil does seem like the right type lubrication for the purpose.

Duncan

Edited by Duncan Brown
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31 minutes ago, Duncan Brown said:

I'm using Kluber "Isoflex LDS 18 Special A" which is readily available in the US from Amazon, and Nye synthetic clock oil #140B, also readily available in the US in various sizes from a seller on eBay (I got 8 oz which should be 10 lifetimes' worth...)

I don't have enough time on my camera to tell you for sure that these are good equivalents, but I have a little bit of the originals and they do seem quite similar.  The Nye clock oil is a tiny bit less viscous than the Chronosynth, but A) the Chronosynth I have is very old, which could be affecting it and B) synthetic clock oil does seem like the right type lubrication for the purpose.

Duncan

While it is certainly possible that Klüber would make a special run just for Arriflex, there are also good reasons to suspect it's the same stuff: 1) The amount needed for all Arriflex cameras of the world is extremely tiny even when all put together compared to the needs of other industries (or even bicycling enthusiasts, some of whom use this Special A for their expensive bikes). 2) No chemical stays good forever, so if Arri had bought a special run from them for a large quantity several decades ago, they wouldn't be able to sell fresh lubricants now.

I don't own an Arri, but servicing older Eclair ACL movement I decided to go for these very same lubricants Duncan is using.

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Pretty sure I've recommended the same thing in some post or other. 🙂

You can always email lubrication companies like Kluber and see if they can recommend products for the exact applications you describe. 

Chronosynth was the original Arri oil, in later cameras they used PDB-38 which was also a Kluber product, somewhat lighter. Clock oil is more like PDB-38, but I don't think it would be a problem using a lighter oil. Heavier oils tend to stay put better and support heavier loads, but they offer more resistance and can get thicker in cold weather. A movie camera doesn't have particularly heavy loads.

Few film cameras today are working as hard as they did back when they were constantly shooting TV series or covering news. Back then using the exact factory recommended lubricants was probably more critical to avoid early wear or seizing. 

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