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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Film Handlers' Forum   » What type of paint should I use to restore a vintage Simpex projector? (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: What type of paint should I use to restore a vintage Simpex projector?
Randy Loy
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 156

Registered: Aug 1999


 - posted 01-14-2002 09:21 AM      Profile for Randy Loy   Email Randy Loy   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
This past weekend a friend came to visit my wife and I and brought us a Simplex Standard 35mm projector head with an RCA sound head and a pedestal. Our friend owns a cinema service and supply company and he picked up the vintage stuff he brought us when he was buying some more modern projection equipment out of a drive-in theatre that was long closed. The Simplex Standard, RCA sound head, and pedestal came with the lot of equipment he bought so he gave it to us as a gift since he knew he wouldn't be installing it in a cinema somewhere. The drive-in itself used Simplex Supers but my friend thinks the Standard may have come from an old indoor house the deceased owner of the drive-in once owned many years ago.

Both the projector and sound heads look to be in pretty good shape, mechanically speaking. Our friend who gave us the equipment is a projection and sound tech and he looked it over with me and said it should be restorable. Another friend, also a tech, also looked at it and gave me the same prognosis. I'm anxious to start working on it as the project will give me some hands-on experience with rebuilding 35mm equipment. Fortunately, some of my projection tech friends have promised to advise me and to bail me out if I get myself into trouble!

As I mentioned previously, both the projector and soundhead look to be completely intact and in good shape. Cosmetically, well that's a different story! The paint, inside and out, is peeling and will require a complete refinishing. Does anybody have any opinions on what type of paint I should use to paint the outside of the units (black) and the inside of the working side compartments (typical cream-like color)? Also, any suggestions regarding how to remove the old paint?

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Ken Layton
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1452
From: Olympia, Wash. USA
Registered: Sep 1999


 - posted 01-14-2002 09:59 AM      Profile for Ken Layton   Email Ken Layton   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Randy:

I just finished a total restoration of an RCA 1040 soundhead. I first completely disassembled everything and degreased all parts and castings in mineral spirits. I stripped the old paint off with Jasco paint remover. Don't sandblast projectors or soundheads---you'll lose the close tolerances. Only do chemical stripping.

The paints I used on the RCA is:
exterior black: Hammerite 41140 "Hammered Black" (barcode 051652411409) 3 coats
interior white: Hammerite Gloss White (6 coats)

For the Simplex projector try a black wrinkle exterior with Zynolyte Wrinkle Finish Black 1300 (barcode 036333013004) 3 coats and usually does not need primer.

I took pictures of my RCA restoration, but the film is still in the camera because I haven't finished the roll yet. I got all the gaskets from Wolk (ordered thru Scott Hicks' American Cinema Equipment in Portland, Oregon). To clean the metal nameplates (with the model/serial number info) I used Novus #2 Plastic Polish.

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Ken Lackner
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1871
From: Atlanta, GA, USA
Registered: Sep 2001


 - posted 01-14-2002 11:47 AM      Profile for Ken Lackner   Email Ken Lackner   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I have a related question. I've heard that porus (sp??) castings are one of the main reasons Simplexes leak. Would it be a good idea to apply a coat of some kind of sealer after you strip the old paint and before you apply the new paint?

------------------
This one time, at Projection Camp, I stuck a xenon bulb....


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Randy Loy
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 156

Registered: Aug 1999


 - posted 01-14-2002 11:49 AM      Profile for Randy Loy   Email Randy Loy   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thanks Ken, I really appreciate the detailed info! I'm sure it will be of great help to me during the project. Also, thanks for warning me against sand blasting. I wasn't planning to actually sand blast but someone had suggested "bead blasting" instead. I like your idea of using the chemical stripper better.



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Randy Bowden
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 146
From: Portland, OR, USA
Registered: Aug 2000


 - posted 01-14-2002 11:57 AM      Profile for Randy Bowden   Email Randy Bowden   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I also have a simplex standard circa 1922 by serial number. I did the rebuild on mine but opted not to paint because it is in decent shape.
I would suggest tearing the machine completely apart. strip the paint with jasco, don't get any on your hands though, it burns. pay close attention to the areas that require masking. Tape everything off and then paint the machine black. 2 or 3 light coats of a gloss black will look great. Just remember to use very light coats. After you are finished with the painting, put the parts in an oven at about 150-200 degrees. You will then have a nice even hardened finish. give the parts a day to cool and then reassemble.

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Randy Loy
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 156

Registered: Aug 1999


 - posted 01-14-2002 01:11 PM      Profile for Randy Loy   Email Randy Loy   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Randy,

How did you go about finding out what year your Standard was manufactured? I'm very curious to find out the same about ours. I haven't looked real closely at the serial number. Does a numerical sequence in the number indicate the year of manufacture?

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Jack Culpepper
Film Handler

Posts: 18
From: Gulfport, MS, USA
Registered: Jan 2001


 - posted 01-14-2002 01:49 PM      Profile for Jack Culpepper   Email Jack Culpepper   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Your story is similar to mine. I found two simplex XLs in a warehouse along with two RCA 9030 sound heads, two projector motors and the hugh and heavy cast iron super simplex pedestals. it took me a year to take every thing apart and clean it. I removed the old paint, grease, and grim with dow oven cleaner. Works pretty good. The old seals were not in good shape. I took them and use them as a pattern and made some new ones out of the material you can buy at auto parts stores. When the parts were re-assembeled that required seals, I used the new seals but I applied a sealant (its a blue sealant in a tube bought at an auto parts store but i can't remember the name now but if interested i can look on the tube for the name) In short, no oil leaks to speak of of any sort. The inside of the projector and sound head was repainted with creme colored enamel paint and the outside was painted with royal blue enamel paint. It looks pretty good, and works, as they say "like a top".

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Mark Gulbrandsen
Resident Trollmaster

Posts: 15991
From: Bountiful, Utah
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 01-14-2002 02:33 PM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Be sure to prime any alumnium or die cast parts with Zinc Chromate primer first. If ya don't, ya eventually risk paint peeling off. I've seen this happen on alot of nice rebuilds!! Zinc Chromate is nasty stuff, do not breath it in, be sure to do it in a proper spray booth, or outdoors! This is what almost all aircraft parts are primed with.

The preferred and environmentally safe thing to do is to completely strip all parts and then mask them well and have them powder coated. Powder Coating is available in Black Wrinkle, Black, White, and a multitude of other colors.
My VistaVision projector, on the picture pages here, was powder coated and has been all over the place. The paint still does not have a scratch on it! I can't claim that for the parts on it that I had black anodized. They are quite scratched up and I'm probably going to have them powder coated as well. Powder coating is pretty much a permanent coating and has to be machined off(literally) so get the masking correct the first time!

As far as sandblasting goes, there are safe methods and unsafe methods. It is ok to use for some of the steel parts and cast iron castings but plug up all the screw holes first and any tolerance related holes as well. Its about impossible to get all the sand back out of any threaded scerew holes. I used to have a full sized sandblast cabinet and I used to do shutter guards, operating and non-operating side doors and pad roller arms but thats about it. Its also very time consuming to do it. I used to use DuPont StarBlast which cuts through paint better cause of its shape. Getting the right amount of air pressures vs. the right kind of sand so you don't loose important tolerances requires experimentation.
There is also extreme high pressure water blasting that will do no harm whatso ever to any part. I've never gone that route but I heqr that it works very well. What I used to do when I rebuilt batches of machines was to have them dunk stripped as that was the most feasable way. Get the castings back, clean them, mask them, then either Powder Paint, or Zinc Chromate, then an industrial Gray Hammertone that had to be baked on.
Mark @ GTS


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Josh Jones
Redhat

Posts: 1207
From: Plano, TX
Registered: Apr 2000


 - posted 01-14-2002 03:41 PM      Profile for Josh Jones   Author's Homepage   Email Josh Jones   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
"I've heard that porus (sp??) castings are one of the main reasons Simplexes leak. Would it be a good idea to apply a coat of some kind of sealer after you strip the old paint and before you apply the new paint?"

simplex standards will not benefit as they are not an oil bath machine. the first oil bath machine was a copy of an ernamenn in the US by Fulco. The first US made oil bath machine was the Brenkert BX 80 in 1939. the Simplex XL soon followed in 1949. the coating would help very little as simplex oil leaks help keep the standards, supers, and E-7's clean by using new oil and flushing out the dirty used oil.

Josh


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Mark Gulbrandsen
Resident Trollmaster

Posts: 15991
From: Bountiful, Utah
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 01-14-2002 04:07 PM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Josh, There are two options to seal a porus casting. The forst is to send it in and have it sealed under high pressure. There is a company in West Bend, WI that specializes in this. IN fact they do all of Harley Davidsons castings there. Ya never see a leaking Harley anymore do ya. The next best thing to do is get the main casting powder coated. This will also effectively seal up the casting too. Having machined off alot of the fromnts of Simplex X-L's to install TU-2000 turretts I can attest that later Simplexes are cast from a much higher quality alloy than were the early ones. The later Simplex 35's fronts are also thicker as well.
Mark @ GTS

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Dennis Atkinson
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 129
From: Birch Run Michigan
Registered: Feb 2000


 - posted 01-14-2002 04:11 PM      Profile for Dennis Atkinson   Author's Homepage   Email Dennis Atkinson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Has anybody seen a projector that's been plated?
I saw one (non operational office decor) that was plated with the antique copper and black finish.
It looked very nice.

Dennis

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Will Kutler
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1490
From: Tucson, AZ, USA
Registered: Feb 2001


 - posted 01-14-2002 05:40 PM      Profile for Will Kutler   Email Will Kutler   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I ran into the "repainting" delima with a reknown historian and collector. Do what you can to preserve the origonal finish--it is part of the machines history.

If you need to repaint, then the Jasco stripper is good stuff. But when rinsing, run the castings under very hot tap water. The heat will help evoporate water and will help reduce immediate surface corrosion. As soon as you rinse the part, immediately apply a thin coat of Marvel Mystery or sewing machine oil to machined surfaces which will definately prevent corrosion. The rough, cast, unmachined surfaces resist corrosion very well. A light bath in an auto-body prep soultion/etchant will also help paint adherence. Properly protect yourself when using these chemicals, and be sure to have a well ventalliated area.

Sand blasting is a no-no. Glass bead cleaning is much better, but requires care, skill and know-how. All machined surfaces need to be protected and masked off to prevent damage, and these areas need to be avoided when blasting.

I too was wondering about powder coating, but after careful consideration, opted against it. The problem is that powder coating is a high temp process that may warp castings and can definately have a negative effect on some of the die cast parts. Also, some powder coatings are not suited for high temps. I took a brand new water pump for my small block Ford to be powder coated. I wanted it in Ford engine blue. The powder coating shop failed to tell me that this color was not suitable for high temp applications. The powder coating subsequently failed and I was given a full refund with apologies.

I am glad to see that some people were able to list specific paints for restoration. After consulting many references, including Wolk, Strong, auto/aircraft paint suppliers, etc., I was led to believe that those origonal finishes and processes were no longer available due to EPA restrictions, etc.

I have therefore relied on ceramic based, high temp, oil and gas resistant auto engine paints such as Duplicolor, which work very nicely. Multiple thin coats with a short time in a 150-200 degree oven for curing does wonders. I have painted my small-block Ford parts with this paint and it is just wonderful!

As far as masking is concerned, there are several options. Traditional masking. Model builders have also relied on petroleum jelly, and there are even paint on liquid masks available from your local hobby shop.

As far as plating is concerned, there were several parts on projectors that were nickle and chrome plated.


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Ken Layton
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1452
From: Olympia, Wash. USA
Registered: Sep 1999


 - posted 01-14-2002 06:28 PM      Profile for Ken Layton   Email Ken Layton   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
When painting, if I use Hammerite brand paint, I put the painted parts in the oven at 190 degress for one hour. For ordinary paints I put in oven same temp but only for 35 to 35 minutes and let air cool at room temp for a couple of hours.

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Mark Gulbrandsen
Resident Trollmaster

Posts: 15991
From: Bountiful, Utah
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 01-14-2002 06:39 PM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Will,
Its a Standard Simplex, one of a hundred thousand or so produced, and a 1050! Not a Grandeur Projector, or Kinemacolor machine. If he's wantng to use it for general film running at home then a good paint job is definately in order. In fact a good paint job on this equipment would actually increase its value substantially.
I didn't have any problems with parts warpage on the VV machine. I too was told about that possibility and checked things on a granite table with a digital heigth gauge before and after the Powder Process was done. There were no measurable change at all. I believe Strong is also now doing all of their finishing this way. Its incredibly durable.

Ken,
The baking on of the Hammertone in a spray bottle definately works well and gives a nice sheen to the paint. The Industrial Hammertone that I have used HAS to be baked on to get it to dry, and harden!! If left to air dry it takes about two months.

Dennis,
All open frame Powers projectors were Nickle plated! If dismantled and polished peoperly they look inicredible and will sometimes fetch up in the 10 grand region from an antique dealer.
Mark @ GTS


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John Eickhof
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 576
From: Wendell, ID USA
Registered: Jan 2000


 - posted 01-14-2002 08:51 PM      Profile for John Eickhof   Author's Homepage   Email John Eickhof   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Randy, email me your serial number, I have a complete listing of all Simplex products from 1911 through 1954. By the way, a Regular (os standard) Simplex will have semi-gloss enamel black paint, inside and out. NOT wrinkle if you want it to be original. Only post 1940 heads had any white paint inside of them or earlier heards that were rebuilt.

------------------
John Eickhof President, Chief Slave
Northwest Theatre Equipment Co., Inc.
P.O.Box 258
Wendell, ID. 83355-0258
208-536-5489
email: jeickhof@nteequip.com

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