Mar 4, 2011

Rebuilding a Jacobson, The Final Steps

I have become fairly efficient at building sound blimps, but I had never refurbished a Jacobson before.

There were several main factors that needed to be fixed. The first glaring problem was that the foam had deteriorated. It would crumble in my hands. So that needed to be removed and replaced. The next step was to bring the shutter release up to date. Then finally, installing some new foam.

Step 1. Remove the nasty foam...

Cleaning Supplies.
After removing all the foam, there was still some pretty nasty glue residue that you can see in the first picture. I have used lighter fluid in the past as a solvent. A combination of that, Kimwipes, a utility knife, and lots of elbow grease got rid of the leftover residue.

The original button. Shutter release only.
Not only was it a 3-pin adapter instead of the 10-pin needed for the Nikon D300, but this Jacobson was build before the days of autofocus. That means there was only one button, the shutter release, but no button for autofocus. The one button was on the back of the blimp, and we wanted to put the second release on the front. I ordered a small switch from (which is a great website full of DIY goodies), and a D300 shutter release from Amazon. Really all I needed from the shutter release was the D300 pin adapter. I stripped the wires of the D300 pin adapter and soldered them to the two buttons on the Jacobson. Hold one for autofocus, and tap them both to shoot.
The new button, all wired up.

Second button installed to enable autofocus.

New foam
Finally, I bought 1/2" skinned foam with an adhesive back from McMaster-Carr. It was then a matter of cutting the new sound dampening foam. I am so happy with this foam, that I bought a bunch of it and I'm using it for my Pelican blimps as an upgrade from the stock foam that comes with the Pelican cases. It's a much denser foam, and the skin coating helps keep unwanted dirt and particles out.

So there you have it, a refurbished Jacobson. It was a fun project, but in the end, this blimp is still limited because of the old design. As you can see from the above picture, the hinge is on the front, not the back (like my Pelican Blimp), which makes it difficult to take the camera out to look at pictures, or change the camera settings. Oh well, it is still a Jacobson!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

hey nice work, I just inherited an older Jacobson which looks very like yours and in pretty much the same state, however the tube opening on the box is only 3.5 inches and not 4 which is the standard these days, I emailed Jacobson and they can only provide tubes for this newer larger opening. What tubes were you going to use with this blimp ??

and also how much padding should I order ?


Martin ( Ireland )