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Favorite Classics Camera & Repair Articles Argus C3 Jammed Sprocket
Argus C3 Jammed Sprocket
by Margaret

As mentioned on the previous page, the Argus C3 series are very dependable as well as being easy to work on. If something needs to be fixed, in most cases, only simple cleaning and lubing will be required. Both my Argus cameras were purchased with slight problems. The Match-matic had a rangefinder that was completely fogged. It only required cleaning. The previous owner said the shutter did not function properly, but I found nothing wrong with it. Perhaps they didn’t know how to operate it. See the online manual.

On the other hand, my first C3 was said to work by its previous owner but instead the sprocket (the spool that has cogs to fit into the perforations of the film) was jammed. This spool can be removed by taking off the frame counter then removing the top cover. Also remove the big screw that retains the gear right next to the sprocket.

What appeared to have happened was that a small piece that is suppose to stop the spool from moving to the next frame was chipped/broken off and jammed.

There were two obstacles: First, I was unable to disassemble the spool further, therefore using a strong glue or epoxy to build up the damaged area was not possible. I only had enough room to apply a drop or two and stick the broken piece back on. Now the second obstacle was that a sizable force gets applied directly to the chipped off piece. Just hoping a couple drops of glue would hold it is very naive.

Therefore, what I did was make a piece from a brass shim (.005" thick) andglue it solidly on top of the broken piece as well as onto the rest of the part. In other words, using the brass shim stock as a "splint" I glued on the broken piece first, waited a couple hours until the glue was well set then glued the brass shim on with Pliobond. I figured that Pliobond was the best adhesive in this instance because it doesn't dry hard and brittle. It would give slightly when a sudden force is applied. Pliobond is rubbery yet strong.

As you can see in this picture, the assembly I made covers and increases the strength of the original part. And most of the force is taken on the new brass piece instead of the broken part. It actually went together pretty easily and works great!

This project didn't require many tools. I only needed a couple screwdrivers, the brass piece (which was a small piece of brass shim stock leftover from a pinhole camera I built). Pliobond can be found at ACE Hardware stores for around $2.50 a tube.


C3 Match-matic front cover removed

As you can see, the works of a Argus C3 are pretty basic. There were no other problems so I did not disassemble further. The photo shows as far as I had to disassemble. The green arrow is the shutter speed control. When the shutter dial turns, it moves the brown part and the appropriate shutter speed is selected. The 'viewfinder' window can be removed easily and cleaned. The red circles show the locations of the front cover screws. When you peel off the leatherettes, peel only at these places if you do not wish to remove the entire leatherette. The shutter is exposed in two places: 1.) the film compartment 2.) behind the lens (remove the lens, to figure out how to do this correctly, look at the Argus Accessory Lenses manual).