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04-17-2013, 01:34 PM   #1
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Stuck Filter

Hey... another stuck filter thread!

A month ago I went hiking and had to combine a BW ND filter with a BW polarizer to get the shutter speed I wanted, as I did not have a strong enough ND filter. Get back to the hotel and find out they have welded together somehow (I did not even tighten them with the strength of 18 lumberjacks).

After a few attempts of using my trusty jar-lid remover... nothing. Tried a few times over a period of a few weeks.

Today I decided these ARE coming apart, so I got out my jar-lid removing tool and did a search of the forum. Tried freezing the filters and heating the outer one (ND)... nothing.

Then I got the brilliant idea to try one of those sticky pads you can put on the dash of your vehicle to prevent things from slipping off (radar detector, phones, music players, etc.). To my amazement... it did not work

I was then in the mood that this was going to get done, no matter how much grunting, swearing, and force that could break the filters. So I froze the filters, then rolled the ND filter directly on the heating element of the stove-top. The straight to laying the ND filter down on the sticky pad and gripping the polarizer with the jar-lid remover... after 3 attempts I finally yelled at them and they came apart (had to yell for a few seconds)

So, the best way to remove filters is to yell at them.

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04-17-2013, 01:43 PM   #2
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ROFLMAO! Thanks for the secret!
04-17-2013, 01:55 PM   #3
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Okay genius, how do you get them apart if there are kids around, or if it's 03:00 (3am)?
04-17-2013, 02:00 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by kcmadr Quote


Okay genius, how do you get them apart if there are kids around, or if it's 03:00 (3am)?
Silent Scream?

04-17-2013, 02:09 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by kcmadr Quote


Okay genius, how do you get them apart if there are kids around, or if it's 03:00 (3am)?
I agree with Docrwm, silent scream, but I would also add some angry crying too
04-17-2013, 02:11 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by calculator01 Quote
I agree with Docrwm, silent scream, but I would also add some angry crying too
Perhaps the tears were the true lubricant that solved the problem
04-17-2013, 02:29 PM   #7
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Yelling always gets results, but not always the results that may be expected.

So, was there any galling of the threads?

04-17-2013, 02:52 PM   #8
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Canon's Official Solution for Stuck Lens Filters: Use a Hammer and Hacksaw
04-17-2013, 03:00 PM   #9
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That's brutal!
04-17-2013, 03:45 PM   #10
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I think most members here will know it anyway, but from time to time it should repeated:

If things like filters or other rotating gear is stuck, you may need a lot of force to get a tight grip on the stuck items. With this force, you may often slightly alter the form of the item, making it more elliptical, not visible by the eye.
So you try to rotate it, and at the same time you put a lot of pressing force on it to make it even more unmovable.

The trick is to have the pressure from outside the same on every point of the surface of the item. Jar-lid removers don't do this well enough. Using them may mean you try to rotate, at the same time blocking the rotation.

If you face this problem more often, I suggest to make a very simple tool: 2 strong, non-flexible, non-adhesive but slightly sticking tapes (width the same as the thickness of the filters/stuck items). Put them around the items, getting the ends of each together and hold them firmly with your fingers (if it's machine parts, with your hands), using the ends as a lever.

Some tools for removing oil filters in cars are working this way, and many tools to service machine parts. I learned it in my youth when I was with the German army, to disassemble the then standard gun this trick was absolutely needed.
04-17-2013, 04:48 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by RKKS08 Quote
I think most members here will know it anyway, but from time to time it should repeated:

If things like filters or other rotating gear is stuck, you may need a lot of force to get a tight grip on the stuck items. With this force, you may often slightly alter the form of the item, making it more elliptical, not visible by the eye.
So you try to rotate it, and at the same time you put a lot of pressing force on it to make it even more unmovable.

The trick is to have the pressure from outside the same on every point of the surface of the item. Jar-lid removers don't do this well enough. Using them may mean you try to rotate, at the same time blocking the rotation.

If you face this problem more often, I suggest to make a very simple tool: 2 strong, non-flexible, non-adhesive but slightly sticking tapes (width the same as the thickness of the filters/stuck items). Put them around the items, getting the ends of each together and hold them firmly with your fingers (if it's machine parts, with your hands), using the ends as a lever.

Some tools for removing oil filters in cars are working this way, and many tools to service machine parts. I learned it in my youth when I was with the German army, to disassemble the then standard gun this trick was absolutely needed.
Great suggestion. It is indeed possible to deform the ring just enough to create more of a bind, and with the small size of the threads it won't take much to get them bound up so much that even Hercules could not remove them.

I have used serpentine fan belts to remove hydraulic filters before. They have to be tightened mechanically after the gasket seats on the filter boss, and after having been on for a while the grip of sealing gasket really is difficult to overcome.
04-17-2013, 05:03 PM   #12
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I've found that an appripriately sized cable tie (zip-tie) and some "quiet" swearing is quite often effective.
I've never had to resort to lubricating it with tears or sonic vibrations from shouting.
04-17-2013, 06:13 PM   #13
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There was no galling of the threads at all.

I tried using the rubber straps designed for oil filters, etc. and found them far too awkward to use.

Normally, if I had a stuck filter it is in a step ring. These are simple to remove because my step rings let go of the ring easy enough. I just set my rubber grip, jar-lid remover, down on a flat surface, set the ring flush to it and remove away.

I agree that uneven pressure can cause a slight distortion of the ring, making it harder to remove and even damaging the ring. This is why I use high quality filters (BW). I have cheaper UV filters that are visibly distorted and some that are not visible, but will not roll on a flat surface.

I guess the lesson is to not tighten my filters too much (it was -20C outside and maybe there was an expansion difference) and if that's too much to ask, put some good old fashioned "pipe-dope" on the threads, straight from the oil rigs
04-17-2013, 07:12 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by calculator01 Quote
There was no galling of the threads at all.
This is good!

QuoteOriginally posted by calculator01 Quote
I tried using the rubber straps designed for oil filters, etc. and found them far too awkward to use.
Yes, they are far too wide for the narrow edge of a lens filter.

QuoteOriginally posted by calculator01 Quote
I guess the lesson is to not tighten my filters too much (it was -20C outside and maybe there was an expansion difference) and if that's too much to ask, put some good old fashioned "pipe-dope" on the threads, straight from the oil rigs
I would have to say the low temperature when they were assembled had a lot to do with the difficulty of dis-assembly later on.

Are both filter rings made of the same metal, or is one brass and the other aluminum?
04-17-2013, 07:24 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Racer X 69 Quote

Are both filter rings made of the same metal, or is one brass and the other aluminum?
You nailed it, the ND is a B+W F-Pro, awesome brass and the polarizer is the B+W Slim, 5mm of aluminum. I guess one does not have to be a metallurgist to figure out why they got stuck
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