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Thread: Do-it-yourself permanent coding with a Dremel?

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    Do-it-yourself permanent coding with a Dremel?

    OK, after you stop laughing, tell me all the reasons why one should not code your M lenses at home with a Dremel. Just use a coding kit to mark the location, and, "drill baby, drill!"

    Obviously not a good idea with certain Zeiss lenses that have a screw located at the "drill site".

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    Senior Member Per Ofverbeck's Avatar
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    Re: Do-it-yourself permanent coding with a Dremel?

    Quote Originally Posted by tom in mpls View Post
    OK, after you stop laughing, tell me all the reasons why one should not code your M lenses at home with a Dremel. Just use a coding kit to mark the location, and, "drill baby, drill!"

    Obviously not a good idea with certain Zeiss lenses that have a screw located at the "drill site".
    I did it to three of my old lenses, and it works perfectly with all of them. Can think of only one reason NOT to do it (unless you´re hamfisted enough to botch it...), and that´s to preserve the second-hand value of these lenses.

    And, if you do have a screw head where you need to place paint, why not use it instead of a Dremelled pit? Screws usually are counter-sunk enough to apply the paint on the screw head without it being worn off when mounting the lens. The "thin" Tele-Elmarit 2.8/90 I own does have a screw about where the sole black bit should be, so that one is coded without any Dremelling at all.

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    Re: Do-it-yourself permanent coding with a Dremel?

    I had some concern that doing this while the mount is still attached to the lens might cause damage due to severe vibrations.

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    Senior Member simonclivehughes's Avatar
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    Re: Do-it-yourself permanent coding with a Dremel?

    I'd also be worried about getting any metal filings or debris into the lens mechanisms.

    Cheers,

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    Senior Member Per Ofverbeck's Avatar
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    Re: Do-it-yourself permanent coding with a Dremel?

    Quote Originally Posted by tom in mpls View Post
    I had some concern that doing this while the mount is still attached to the lens might cause damage due to severe vibrations.
    While I can´t say for sure this can´t happen, I´d say the vibs are not severe at all. I used a small, spherical file (just like a scaled-up version of what dentists use to make your day...), and it does cut rather quickly, so you don´t have to apply much force; you only want pits that are less than 0.5 mm deep.

    And, you only need to do the black bits, not the white ones that are on the "real" Leica codings, so for many lenses it´s just a little milling to do. BTW, if there are adjacent black bits in a code pattern, don´t try to make separate pits for each of them; just make a single area that covers them all.

    I strongly recommend trying and practising on some scrap metal first; the file is prone to wander on the surface if you´re not careful, and you certainly don´t want that! Another thing: even those shallow pits will go through the chrome and expose brass, but then, of course you´ll end the work by painting it. I didn´t just "brush" the paint on; I filled the whole pit with Humbrol Mat Black Enamel from a model shop. When it dried, it had shrunk somewhat, so the paint surface was below the plane of the mount itself.

    Quote Originally Posted by simonclivehughes View Post
    I'd also be worried about getting any metal filings or debris into the lens mechanisms.

    Cheers,
    A real danger, of course. Wrap the lens almost entirely in a plastic bag or similar, using masking tape, so only the actual working area is exposed. Blow and brush away the filings from the covering before removing it.

    Besides, even if you use a template, try at first to code with just a marker to ascertain that the code is placed exactly where it should be, before starting to mill.

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    Senior Member simonclivehughes's Avatar
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    Re: Do-it-yourself permanent coding with a Dremel?

    Quote Originally Posted by Per Ofverbeck View Post
    A real danger, of course. Wrap the lens almost entirely in a plastic bag or similar, using masking tape, so only the actual working area is exposed. Blow and brush away the filings from the covering before removing it.
    I would also suggest having a vacuum cleaner going to catch the filings as you drill.

    Cheers,

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    Re: Do-it-yourself permanent coding with a Dremel?

    I'd probably rate mutilation of my Leica/Zeiss glass with a dremel as being as advisable long term as home dentistry ...

    I know that many folks are demons with a dremel and can craft the Cistine Chapel with one but I know that I personally wouldn't ever buy a lens that had been home coded that way unless the price was VERY VERY attractive.

    I'd rather have the lenses coded professionally and ADD value to them vs the dremel alternative.

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    Re: Do-it-yourself permanent coding with a Dremel?

    i've been machining flanges since the M8 came out and have done plenty to OEM quality. an alternative for the non do-it-yourselfer usually about 10 days from when you mail to when you receive it back

    [email protected]

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    Re: Do-it-yourself permanent coding with a Dremel?

    OK, if John can do it, that would be an excellent alternative to start hacking with a Dremel; he´s one to be trusted.

    My premise when doing my lenses was that they were way too old for Leica to offer coding. I did know about the Milich adapters (eg LTM to M), but not that he offers to code M lenses.

    So, put away your Dremel and use him instead!

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    Member JimBuchanan's Avatar
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    Re: Do-it-yourself permanent coding with a Dremel?

    I have coded several Leica lenses. I thought about the degradation of value that could happen with hand coding, but decided not to worry because the idea is to allow the M camera to read info from the lens and the area is quite large for 6 bits.

    I read up on the procedure and got a very exacting template for $5 on the internet. Sorry, can't remember where. I used a dentist scribe to outline the ovals. I then used a very small spherical bit to dremel a line down the centerline of the pit. Then used a larger spherical bit to make the pits. The initial thin line helped to make the oval pits symetrical, and looked good. I then applied paint with a toothpick. The paint made the pits appear more irregular, but with use, the paint would conform to the pits and clean up. The tolerances are so precise on Leica lenses that a sharpie will eventually wear off.

    Ideally, it is most precise to remove the flange and anchor it so 2 hands can hold the dremel, or can be clamped to a milling machine. The idea is to make the pits deep enough to hold the paint, thats all.

    On a separate note, I just received a "6 bit" M to LTM adapter for about $40 that I fitted to a Summitar 50mm. I just painted the appropriate pits and the M8 recognized it correctly.

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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: Do-it-yourself permanent coding with a Dremel?

    I'd talk to John Milich about getting the flange milled professionally. If the thought of removing and replacing the assembly concerns you then Don Goldberg can do the job for you (and as i understand it, John does the milling for him).

    I've got one of John's milled screw mounts, zeiss replacement mount and WATE uv/ir filter adapter and can attest to the quality of the workmanship as being excellent.

    I'd be interested in seeing some of the home coding solutions. I'm sure that some are excellent. So far the only dremel jobs I've seen have been just simple lines of dots.

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    Re: Do-it-yourself permanent coding with a Dremel?

    I know this is not exactly answering the original question, but a talented technician here in Istanbul is coding the lenses on as-you-wait basis. He charges only $50 for good, clean work.
    Osman

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    Re: Do-it-yourself permanent coding with a Dremel?

    Quote Originally Posted by tom in mpls View Post
    OK, after you stop laughing, tell me all the reasons why one should not code your M lenses at home with a Dremel. Just use a coding kit to mark the location, and, "drill baby, drill!"

    Obviously not a good idea with certain Zeiss lenses that have a screw located at the "drill site".
    Hi Tom
    well, there are plenty of reasons it seems
    I've laboriously sent all my lenses off for coding . . . until it came to a recent MATE - I've coded it with a marker pen, and I redo it on the first of the month (when I change my file naming), it takes 20 seconds, and it's always worked perfectly. If I get around to it I'll probably send it away for coding, but it's simple, cheap and it works.

    all the best

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: Do-it-yourself permanent coding with a Dremel?

    It is safest method for self-coding, is to first unscrew the mount, then do the encoding and replace the mount. This method avoids getting any filings into the lens. Rangefinder lenses are simpler to disassemble the mount than most SLR lenses as the mounts are not interconnected to the diaphragm, etc.

    However, some mount screws have loctite on them. To remove these screws, first apply a hot soldering iron to the screw head and then un-screw; repeat for each screw. (Needless to say, you do need the proper screw driver.)

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    Re: Do-it-yourself permanent coding with a Dremel?

    [QUOTE=JimBuchanan;
    On a separate note, I just received a "6 bit" M to LTM adapter for about $40 that I fitted to a Summitar 50mm. I just painted the appropriate pits and the M8 recognized it correctly.[/QUOTE]

    Jim,
    Can you kindly provide the vendor name of this adapter? I recently bought one from the bay (the vendor is jinfinance) for $17.50. The adapter is very poorly made. Not only the lens is not coupled properly with my M9 after mounted, the 6-bit coding is also not being recognized.

    Thanks.

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    Re: Do-it-yourself permanent coding with a Dremel?

    Today I successfully coded my first lens with a Dremel / Proxxon, the Voigtländer Nokton 1.4 40mm as a Leica Summilux 1.4 35mm Asph.

    It was a lot easier than I imagined. Ok, you need a steady hand and a bit of time (30 minutes), but it's worthwhile.

    Here you can find the description, what I did:

    https://sites.google.com/site/wosims...adremelproxxon

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