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WWII Flak Binoculars "CXN"

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#1 mercurio

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 11:52 AM

Hello all,
I am trying to find anyone who might have experience working with these
binoculars -(german 10 x 80 flak binos) is there a forum for this piece of equipment?
(I cannot get the eye pieces off)
Additionally I need parts for my Binoculars - If anyone has a lead on parts
I would greatly appreciate the help. I need the 4 power lens and screws &
other assorted parts. :question:

#2 Gordon Rayner

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 02:13 PM

Where are you? I have a set of the Busch plans, from a WW II Leitz file, and have worked upon and modified many during the past 40+ years. ( Delrin-ized, aluminum-ized, etc.. I even made an IPD rack gear).

I made sets of aluminum headrest supports for these, to hold on the Flak 10 x 80, molded copies of the Zeiss 25 x 100 headrest cushion, which is more comfortable than the Busch Flak design's cushion.
Have you already tried to remove the diopter scale threads ,which have a LEFT HANDED THREAD, by turning them as though they were right handed? Many specimens show evidence of this mistake. Do you have the proper tools?

What is the " 4 power lens"? Do you mean the four position filters? 3 colors in early models, 3 shades of gray in later production, plus the clear dummy filter ( to avoid refocusing when changing to the unfiltered view).

The screws are all DIN metric sizes. Those are interchangeable, as far as I am aware, for your purposes, with modern DIN or ISO , or JIS, metric . M5 x 0.8mm pitch females mate with US/Unified 10-32 males, for unstressed applications such as a binocular ( but not for airplanes, race cars, etc).

#3 mercurio

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 07:11 PM

Hello, I am in Maryland/Wash D.C. area.
This is my first set, I have been searching for a decent set for a few years.
I could use a copy of the plans if they are available.
Every thing on mine look as if they have been removed & reassembled several times(I think I got the repair training set).
I have many tools and have optical experience, I determined that the objective lens is a 4 power LENS by measuring the curvature of the front and back surfaces, and calculating its power. I am hoping to find a replacement lens(and retainer) for the adjustable side of the binoculars. I am investigating having one ground for me, but if there is one out there I think getting a original would be more cost effective.
thanks for tip on screws - do you know of any suppliers?
Lastly any tips on removing the eyepieces?

Thanks for the response

#4 Gordon Rayner

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 10:41 PM

Find the setscrews/grubscrews in the eyepiece interfaces to the prism housings. Remove , or at least loosen, them. They are often hidden under wax and/or paint. Remove the left hand threaded diopter scales. A rubber strapwrench (Harbor Freight, NAPA, etc. ) is useful.

The Busch 10 x 80 design requires a long screwdriver with a thin tip. I have heard this called European pattern. One can grind a "normal" tip to suit. Do not overheat the steel. Dip in water frequently. It is for the six screws which hold the tapered tube on the moving side to its prism housing.

The objective is f/3.5. BK7 and F2. Do you have a good one, to copy? A good spherometer and/or optical bench?

As one can see, there is a need for spare objectives for these, to avoid cannibalizing Peter to fix Paul. Yours may be a Peter which has been cannibalized. You have been searching " for a few years" for a decent set. It should not be that difficult, even now, unless you have been rather parsimonious. Perhaps you have not chosen good places for your search.

A good optical spanner wrench/wrenches,WITH THE PROPER TIPS. Patience! If you do not have proper tips, buy or make them. Many lenses have been scratched by improper tools. Marvel Mystery Oil (NAPA), a good cleanup solvent such as odorless painter's thinner(Home Depot), very low heat propane/butane ( only if needed), film cans ( if yet available), Sharpie marker, food storage plastic jars, are among supplies one should have.

ACE Hardware sell metric screws, in stainless steel.

#5 mercurio

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 05:22 PM

Hello again and thanks for your help, as you can see I am A "newbee"
so please bear with me. Three screws on fixed side interface removed.
Penetrating oil applied days ago. Strap wrench affixed to black eye piece
where it meets with green prism housing(1/2 inch band width). light heat applied with heat gun. Reverse threads so turn clockwise to loosen, right ? SOB's will not budge :foreheadslap:
If my sequence is correct I will keep trying but I thought to double check before turning them into a door stopper.

Adjustable side - no screws just a hole at 12 o'clock in the prism housing
is that a set pin ??

#6 Gordon Rayner

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 07:59 PM

It has been a long while since I worked on one. I could go get one of mine, as a possibility.

There may be setscrew(s) to hold the diopter ring. ALWAYS LOOK FOR SETSCREWS/GRUBSCREWS BEFORE TURNING ATTEMPTS ON RINGS, in general.

I do not recall any pins in the mentioned region. But that does not mean that they are not present. In general , if you see a shallow hole, gently probe with a toothpick, or a screwdriver tip, or a scriber tip. Especially if you think that there might be a lens or filter edge at the bottom of the hole .

The plans say " Alle Stiften durch Koernerschlag gesichert". That loosely translates into " stake all pins", as a precaution against fallout from vibration or shock. There are pins on the IPD dovetail stops, and in the steel IPD dovetail itself, and in the moving "shelf" and the non-moving "shelf", both at the interfaces of the prism housings to the body, IIRC.

#7 Gordon Rayner

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 01:05 AM

A serial number 31, xxx Leitz mfg. specimen (beh) of the Flak 10 x 80 with 45 deg inclination, shows no setscrews holding the diopter scale. There is a small hole, between the graduations corresponding to + 6 and -6 D. That presumably is for the pin of a spanner wrench of the usual quarter circle to nearly semicircular construction, with a handle, ( not a two bladed or two-pinned spanner used for eccentric rings or lockrings around lenses), such as used for many mechanical adjustments within and outside the optical industry. That small hole is not for a setscrew, because such a screw would not have a useful purpose there.(Except perhaps to lock the diopter setting? ) Doubtful, because such a small size would be weak. I did not check for threads there with a magnifier.

I do not recall making or using such a spanner for the diopter rings but I may have. I made some for other purposes on other binoculars. I recall that rubber bands tightly applied to the diopter ring, and a twist of the hand, sufficed. I have used the narrow rubber strap wrenches also.

What does the red X mean? The blue circle indicates one type of cold weather grease. If I ever read about the red X, I have forgotten its meaning. I lightened that specimen with a mild aluminum-ization and Delrin-ization. But the filters and their mechanisms are yet present, as is the heavy steel IPD internal dovetail.
The heavy bottom dovetail, and all of the headrest and its steel support, including the small top dovetail, are removed. That specimen weighs 12 pounds in its present condition. The optics are not antireflection coated. Many of the Leitz production were antireflection coated ( soft, probably cryolite), at least internally.

#8 Aerialist

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 11:31 AM

mercurio and Gordon ~ I have also just come to own a pair of Emil Busch CXN "flak glasses" I found them in a pawn shop a couple of weeks ago and they seem to be in great shape for being older than I am. Extensive googling got me this thread, as well as this one here on Cloudy Nights by Nils Shoultz:
http://www.cloudynig...php?item_id=196
but also another link that is informative:
http://www.flickr.co...wpg/6063248432/

#9 Aerialist

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 03:56 PM

I'm going to try to post some photos of my binocular telemeters.

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#10 Gordon Rayner

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 11:44 PM

From front to eye, the glasses are:

BK 7/F2, air, BaK 4, air, BK 7/F2, air, BK 7, air, SK5/SF2, air, cornea. The inclined slashes indicate cementing. The internal radii of the pair which form the cemented field lens are very short.

At F/3.5, there is lots of field curvature.

I remember the term "telemeter", from the late 1960's and early 1970's. Was that a WW II German term? Individually , they have no rangefinding capability, except roughly reading the distance to a Lancaster or B-17 from its size on the reticle.

As a pair, there could have been triangulation from the mil scale angular readouts from the double fork mounts. I do not know if this was the case. It seems much slower than a normal rangefinder. Perhaps the bombers were too distant for other than very long baseline stereoscopic or concidence rangefinders. Perhaps this information was used to set timing devices on non-proximity Flak shells?

Photos show female Luftwaffe auxiliaries or Hitler Youths (?) in roofless dugouts, with fork-in-a-fork mounts, which have rather elaborate gearing, and other readout equipment and radio headphones, to link to Flak gun batteries or plotting board teams. Most of this was too heavy to be "liberated".

I took a hybridized, coated pair, dkl 81925, to Oaxaca, Mexico, for the 1970 eclipse, the longest of the last century. I used welder's filters in pre-objective mounts for the partial phases. The internal filters are NOT enough. Also, they could overheat, crack, and .....!
That was before aluminized Mylar was widely used, for EXTERNAL filtration.

Eta Carinae, Crux, et al were first timers for me, at about 16 deg N. No moon, of course, with the eclipse, and no clouds , in early March.

Has anybody been to that region since the small airports and other "improvements" have been made at Huatulco and Puerto Escondido? The eclipse centerline covered the region around Suchixtepic, south of Miahuatlan , south of Oaxaca city, at 6000 or 8000 ft, IIRC. That shows less than black zone now,on the light pollution maps, but the altitude helps. There was essentially no rural electrification that I recall near Suchixtepec.

#11 Aerialist

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 03:30 AM

I remember the term "telemeter", from the late 1960's and early 1970's. Was that a WW II German term? Individually , they have no rangefinding capability, except roughly reading the distance to a Lancaster or B-17 from its size on the reticle...


The term "Telemeters" is what we called these devices in the competitive skydiving scene back in the day. They were used for observing falling bodies (human type, not celestial) and not for any type of rangefinding or distance measurements.

I've decided to refinish my set, probably destroying it's value for a WW2 Nazi memorabilia collector. It's a nostalgia piece for me so I'm not concerned about originality.

Awesome view of the Moon, some color fringing around the circumference but a solid single image so I presume good collimation at least to my untrained eye.

The Turkey that roost every night in the tall Oaks behind my home have come into sharp focus even in the twilight dimness when they fly up to roost and the early morning dawn when they glide down.

The wide angle of view and the silky smoothness of my Manfrotto 501 video head make tracking the the Turkeys in flight very easy. This of course was why they are so useful tracking skydivers as they plummet to Earth at 120 mph.

I've polished the lens hoods and to my delight discovered they are made of bronze and now have a golden glow that's very striking:

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Now I'm polishing the aluminum main casting and it's slow going. Probably will take weeks or months to get the finish I want. I've inquired about getting them cleaned and collimated but no luck as yet. I'd even like to get the lenses coated for optimal performance anyone here have some ideas?

#12 Mark9473

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 03:37 AM

I'd be interested in what product you use to polish the cast aluminium (my stove needs some attention ;) )

#13 Aerialist

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 06:46 AM

I'd be interested in what product you use to polish the cast aluminium (my stove needs some attention ;) )


I'm aways away from the actual polishing process, there's plenty of sanding to do before I'll be ready for polishing. I do have a jar of Mother's Billet Polish for aluminum wheels that I'll be using as well as Brasso for the hoods when the time comes.

#14 kcolter

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 09:57 AM

Aerialist
I have one of these 10X80 binoculars, and have used it on a Univesal Astronomics Millenium parallelogram mount that I have. I own a Manfrotto tripod like the one pictured with your binocular. I'm curious about what adapter you put on the bottom of the binocular to use it on the Manfrotto tripod. What you have looks like a nice set up that is much more portable than what I have been doing. Thanks.

#15 Aerialist

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 06:34 AM

All my photo and video gear use Arca-Swiss dovetail mounts. The dovetail on the bottom of the telemeter is very similar but too narrow for my Arcs-Swiss clamps so I simply took out the fine threaded original bolts and used a tap to rethread the holes to standard pitch 1/4 threads and then bolted an Arca-Swiss plate directly to the original dovetail. Now it clamps directly to any of my tripods. The video tripods work best because of the fluid dampened pan and tilt that the video heads have.

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Note the rough surface after sanding off the two layers of original paint. It's going to take a lot of elbow grease to bring that surface to baby's *BLEEP* smoothness and the a lot of polishing with Mother's metal polish to make it shine like chrome.

Your Manfrotto tripod probably uses standard plates so you would have to attach a compatible plate to your glasses. The Manfrotto video heads use a proprietary attachment plate but those would work as well.

I considered using the standard Manfrotto video plate since I'd be using the video heads, but I opted for the Arca-Swiss plate so I could mount the glasses on any of my tripods, which are all modified to accept Arca-Swiss dovetails.

#16 Gordon Rayner

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 11:23 AM

When you retapped the M6 x 1 holes to 1/4-20, what happened to the aluminum chips which gravity likely pulled into the body? The usual #7 tap drill for 1/4-20 is much smaller than the diameter of an M6 x 1 tap (which is slightly larger over its crests than 6mm), so this often seen shortcut is not for stressed applications, such as motorcycles, aircraft, race cars, etc.

Who/where did the term "telemeter" originate? Would it include the 25 x 100, 25 x 105, or 12 x 60? I never saw it in any WW II records. But that does not preclude such an origin. It certainly became a generic, such as "make me a Xerox", among the parachutists, but was never heard elsewhere.

#17 Aerialist

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 06:28 PM

It didn't seem like the holes went all the way through the casting, in any case I only taped out enough for the 1/4-20 screws to take hold, seems pretty solid, but I didn't put a lot of torque on them.

We used the term telemeters to refer to these types of flak glasses only, big binoculars were just big binoculars. Could very well be just skydiver jargon, I've never seen a pair anywhere else until I spotted these in the pawn shop.

#18 eolian

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 07:09 PM

Greetings all, what a small world i picked up a pair of CXN flack glass Bino`s this very morning at a yard sell. They are in decent shape, good paint but the lens filter button is broken but the filters do work. They too need to be cleaned because of haze and some kind of spots or stains on the prisms i had thought they were just dirty on the outside but after careful cleaning this evening i saw the haze.
"update" I think i`m going to go with cleaning for the comet ISON viewing. I have ordered a optical wrench. The worst Spots seem to be on the eyepieces because they rotate when i change focus. fingers crossed all go`s well!

#19 Gordon Rayner

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 01:04 AM

Please delete the sentence about the #7 tap drill . It is 0.201 inch . That is only about 0.004 inch larger than the nominal tap drill size for M6 x 1. So, that is not the problem.

But 1mm pitch is 25.4 threads per inch. So, the 1/4-20 tap is going to cut across existing female threads , resulting in a non-uniform, weaker thread pattern , a mixture of 20 TPI and 25.4 TPI. How can one be sure to start the 1/4-20 fastener in the (partial, irregular) 1/4-20 threads, and not in remnants of the M6 x 1, in which it will try to self-tap?

This, and the problem of chips in the body, makes it much better to find M6 x 1 screws, than to re-tap as 1/4-20. They are in the fastener offerings at automotive parts retailers, ACE Hardware, McMaster, Home Depot, ...

#20 Aerialist

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Posted 12 April 2013 - 10:56 AM

After much sanding and buffing my telemeters have come into shape. I've added a NOS headrest and an AimPoint aiming device on a custom post that uses the original dovetail.

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#21 planetmalc

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Posted 12 April 2013 - 11:08 AM

Cool! :)

#22 hallelujah

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Posted 12 April 2013 - 11:18 AM

Very bright and shiny. :cool:

Stan

#23 planetmalc

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Posted 12 April 2013 - 11:36 AM

Very bright and shiny. :cool:

Stan


That's why there's a sunglasses emoticon. :grin:

I'd love to get a look through it.

#24 Gordon Rayner

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Posted 12 April 2013 - 12:55 PM

Lots of work, no? How did Aerialist sand, and then polish , in the internal corners, such as are near to the IPD knob housing on the main body? Some type of rotary tool with spherical abrasive pads?

The "NOS" headrest: Aerialist, is that the Navy headrest for the shipboard 20 x 120, and the Mk. 97 gunsight(?), etc.? I have guessed that those US Navy headrests were a shape copy of the WW II Flak glass of this thread, because the fit on my face, and the shape, are very similar, if not identical. The Navy version is too hard. Most of the WW II Busch shape are too hard now also, after some 70 years.

The USN and Busch shape is not comfortable for me, and for others whom I have asked. The Zeiss shape for their WW II 25 x 100 is comfortable for me and others. The Busch shape presses against the lower part of my cheekbones. I am somewhat dolichocephalic, with a "normal" Caucasian/northwest European face, forehead, and nose.

I made a mold to copy the Zeiss shape, and dozens of sets of aluminum supports for them, to replace the heavy steel of the WW II Busch headrest supports. Those adjustable aluminum supports use the original holes on the top ,which held the small steel male dovetail.



#25 Gordon Rayner

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Posted 14 April 2013 - 04:17 PM

I Googled "NOS headrest". The returns were for older muscle car seat-mounted whiplash preventers. They do not look like the Busch-US Navy (Kollmorgen, Kollsman, Optic-Electronic, Varo, etc.) shape. ??

Time-Life Books, Alexandria, Virginia, published a series on WW II.
Volume 32 is The Home Front:Germany
Charles Whiting is the author.

ISBN 0-8094-3409-1 or -3, or -3419-9

D757.865 Is that a LC catalog number?

My copy is dated 1982. I bought some 20 volumes of the series at a thrift store a few years ago .

The subject of this thread, and its related equipment, appears with female operators, on pp. 86-87 and p. 93. P. 87 speaks of the Busch type 10 x 80, (in its fork-in-a-fork mount with mil angle readouts), as a "direction indicator, which determined range and altitude", of approaching Allied bombers. Also shown in that chapter are plotting boards, flak gun batteries, rangefinders,searchlights, firemen attempting to extinguish a phosphorus incendiary, and giant ear listening devices.

There was another type of 10 x 80, with 90 deg. inclination ( not the 80 deg inclination type with Kriegsmarine markings and integral fork mount) and integral fork mount , made by Feuss in Vienna, as I recall, which was designed for use with those "giant ears" , whose operators listened for the sound of approaching enemy planes.

The Churchill-Harris night area fire bombing of civilian centers with phosphorus was costly in RAF crews' lives, and had little effect on production of war materiel or civilian morale. Hundreds of thousands of older men, women, and children died. Centuries-old cultural monuments were destroyed.

I wonder if the young women did any 10 x 80 stargazing, which was probably very good in blacked-out wartime conditions , when no bombers were approaching?






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