Removing a Broken Filter Ring From a Lense

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Introduction: Removing a Broken Filter Ring From a Lense

15 years ago, on a whale-watching trip off the coast of Massachusetts, the rocking sea caused my father's camera to roll off of a table and hit the floor lense-first. Although the lense looked ok, the filter glass was shattered and the ring was bent out of shape. It was impossible remove it and it was also hard to tell if there was any damage to the lense barrel it's self.

It stayed that way until I inherited it a few days ago and figured, I could try and remove it my self. I had nothing to loose. As it turns out, with a little patience, it's actually quite easy. 

Step 1: Get Your Equipment Ready

All you need is different sizes of plyers. I used a paire of long nose plyers and a pair of spoke wheel plyers. Most importantly you need safety goggles.

Step 2: Remove the Glass Gently

Remember to wear your safety goggles at this point, for some reason flying glass always ends up in your eyes or so I learned.

Using the long nose pliers, gently remove the glass from the filter ring.

Step 3: Bend the Filter-ring Back Into Shape.

Using the spoke wheel pliers make sure you have a good grip (on the filter ring only) and gently bend the filter ring back into shape. By doing this you’ll most likely bend other parts of the ring inwards. That’s okay since were trying to fatigue the metal slightly.

Go around the filter and keep bending the filter back into shape until it actually loosens and it becomes possible to unscrew it. 

Step 4: Clean Your Lense and You're Done!

Do what you usually do to clean your lenses. I’d recommend using the blower to remove most of the glass fragments.

The entire thing took me little more than 15min and I ended up with minor scratches on the lense barrel but nothing seems bent and I’m sure that a new filter ring would fit perfectly on that lense.

Note, this wasn’t tested on plastic lenses. I’d be interested in hearing your comments. 
Have a look at my flickr page

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I would also suggest covering the broken glass with tape before attempting to remove the filter--that way there is much less chance of injury to either the lens or the person! Having this problem now and was glad for this instructable--thank you!

Another way that could be used (and this works with stripped screws and bolts etc., is to get a piece of metal (an old fork, spoon etc) that you will probably not be able to use again (not the silverware!!!) and superglue it to the ring. the longer the outer sides are, the more of a 'handle' you have, and using the lever principal, you can 'steer' it off with relative ease...
for screws, you can superglue a nut or something to the stripped head, and use a spanner to get it out (rather than damage the expensive thing you are trying to open...) :)
thanks for the 'ible, handy to know, I am sure I will need this some day :)

The method described here is by far safer. Gluing something to get a better grip on the filter and trying to screw it off will probably end up in the bent part of the filter ruining the lens' thread.

Superglue is NOT an option when you're working within several metres of optics. Its fumes are glue too, and they have a habit of finding optical surfaces and wrecking them. :)

well, hot glue could be used, if careful... only stating a different option, thats all...
(if the glass was not broken, but it was stuck in there good...) I have done it using my digital camera to remove the mounting ring bracket. seemed ok there, but obviously being very careful with the glue used...

Superglue can go places you didn't intend. If you use superglue in tight spaces like that, you are playing the odds...

Have you ever had an "easyout" snap off when trying to back out a broken bolt?

of course, and I was only suggesting it as an option... it doesn't work in all situations, but it has saved me from using too much force and potentially damaging some equipment (sometimes I get carried away when something doesn't work how I want it!)
so yeah, it isn't for all situations, but possibly could have worked here (depending on how badly it was bent out of shape... :)

Excellent! The instructable plus comments allowed me to remove a long-jammed filter that I had been afraid to mess with. Thanks!

Thats Great! I'm glad we could help!

Well done.
As a camera repair man I have to do such a job regularly. I always bent de filter ring inside using a pipe wrench, eventually on more than one spot. This way the diameter decreases and the filter comes off easily, or even falls off ;-)