Monday, October 5, 2009

Disassembly Begins

This project began with the desire to show some old 9.5mm films. The narrow film gauge had been used by my father to record family activities during the 1950s and his collection of a few dozen reels of 9.5mm, both colour and black and white came into my keeping a couple of years ago.

Although the Pathé Marignon projector worked when plugged into its 110 volt transformer, it clearly was in a bad state of disrepair.

Superficial cleaning would not be sufficient. There were signs of oil in every nook and cranny. The paintwork had turned from grey to a dirty olive colour. And the myriad modifications over the years had left the chassis pock marked with holes, some of which were covered with makeshift patches of cardboard, plastic or tinplate.

In any case it would be a challenge to take apart the machine, clean every piece thoroughly, patch the chassis, repaint it, and reassemble.

So began the process of disassembly…

above Here we see the upper cast Aluminium chassis removed from the lower chassis which was added by my father and was not part of the original machine. The cast chassis bolts onto a small folded steel base. In this photo you can see how part of that base had been cut away to accommodate the flywheel for the sound drum.

The gears which drive the feed and take-up sprockets have been removed. Each gear fits onto a spindle which feeds through a cast Aluminium “housing” mounted on the film side of the chassis. These “housings” have been removed also and you can see the three holes for the mounting screws, top and bottom.

After removal, I placed each part into a small plastic used yoghurt container and carefully labelled the container with the function of the part. In some cases I also made notes and sketches in a notebook in order to guide the reassembly process later. The order of washers or pieces which fitted onto a shaft is an example of information which would be easily forgotten and the absence of which could make reassembly difficult.

above In this photo of the film side of the chassis, the lens assembly, sprocket housings, feed rollers and reel arms have been removed. It gives you a better look at the dirty and adulterated condition of the chassis. A lot of holes which are no longer needed — in particular those associated with the optical and magnetic sound systems which the projector had sported at various times.

The folded steel base was no longer straight. Repairing this would be impossible. Simpler to just replace it with a new steel base made for the purpose.

above Now a closer look at the area of the chassis which had accommodated the sound machinery. The three holes at the left are part of the original Pathé manufacture. They accommodated switches for motor, lamp and speed control. However they had been disconnected when these functions were moved into the secondary chassis in the 1950s. The old holes had simply been covered by a piece of tinplate painted grey.

The condenser lens assembly for optical sound had protruded through the left hand hole in the folded steel base. The right hand hole had accommodated a socket for a photo-electric cell added in the 1950s and subsequently replaced in the 1980s by a phototransistor pickup.

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