Revitalize a Polaroid Land Camera

Post date: Nov 15, 2013 9:13:47 AM

Today I bought a #230 Land Camera from a user on a Photography blog. You may wonder why I bought #230 instead of others. Well, it has plastic case that can be drilled and cut easily. The end product in my plan will have a few switches, knobs and a number of LEDs, therefore a plastic case Land camera is a better option.

The condition of the camera is fair. It can be operated and the shutter etc. seems running smoothly.

There are two problems that I need to tackle. First is the rusty developing roller part and second is the "possible" light leaking bellow.

I cannot test the light leaking at the moment coz I don't have a darkroom at home. A limited test with a bright flashlight in a dark corner in my house suggested that the bellow doesn't have light leaking. So, I will tackle my worry later.

But the rusty roller part, I polished it with fine sand paper to remove most of the rust. Some hidden parts, however, cannot be cleaned. I, therefore, used WD-40 to spray those areas and try to dissolve the rust out. The result looks good. I will place it in an open area, open the film chamber, place an used Instant film cartridge (stuck with thick tissue paper) and wait for at least 2 days letting the WD-40 to vaporise before I paint the polished area. Drops of silicon oil will be added by that time to lubricate the rollers and joints.

The whole machine casing (except the lens) was cleaned with alcohol. Some area with rigid dirt was cleaned with a WD-40 sucked cloth. DO NOT use water to clean this machine.

DO NOT use WD40 on the bellow. I have not figure out if it is coated with PVC or other kind of rubber, but WD40 will harm these old synthetic rubber. SO, DON'T use WD40 on the bellow. Alcohol should be good enough.

The machine is cleaned now, and is ready to be modified with a micro-processor controlled manual and automatic exposure camera.

Of course, I will take it out and take a few shot before I start modifying it into a digital machine.

By the way, #230 is a 4.5V machine. The ex-owner connected a CR123A (3V) with a AA (1.5) battery to get the 4.5V to work. I must, at here, emphasis NOT to do so. It may result in fire hazard. The energy density of a Lithium battery is much higher than an AA battery. You need to use batteries of same type to power up the gear. 3 x LR44 (PR44 is the best) is a good choice if you are lack of experience to hack electronic gadgets.

A few photos are enclosed to record the "pre-modification" state of the camera.