In my ongoing effort to republish my now defunct Fujipet site, here are the pulling apart and putting back together pages! Well, mostly pulling apart, but just read it backwards to put the camera back together.
So you finally found a Pet, and you're aching to use it. But, wow, is it dirty! These cameras are old and probably haven't been used for quite awhile. The first task at hand is to give it a good cleaning, inside and out. To clean the grime on the outside surface, I just use window cleaner and a Q-tip, and some paper towels for wiping up. You can clean the outside without pulling the camera apart, but you will find quite a few places where dust and dirt likes to hide that you can't reach otherwise. Canned air is also useful, but you are really going to give everything the once over manually. The canned air can be used later to keep the dust to a minimum.
One of the nice things about the original 120 Fujipet is that it is very easy to break down for cleaning and maintenance. Many toy cameras are all plastic and glued together. The Pet is a whole of its parts, and almost every part can be removed and put back together again. And, most parts can be swapped between Pets. The red Fujipet that I now use most often is made up from the best parts of two different cameras. I was a bit nervous the first time I pulled one apart, but it ended up being very simple. There are a few parts in the shutter that I don't want to mess with, but I will show you as much as possible and what to do with it all.
You need few tools to break a Pet down. A Fujipet is, of course, a necessity. A set of small screwdrivers is all you really need. I picked up my set of screwdrivers at a hobby store. This is the lucky Pet that is undergoing surgery. I am using my "extra" Pet, just in case. Not to scare you or anything.
The first step is to remove the back, which is as easy as unscrewing the bottom mount. Turn towards O to open. I assume C stands for close.
Be extra careful not to push on the clear plastic piece on the small end of the viewfinder, as it may push inward. If you do happen to push in the little plastic window, you need to try to glue it back in place through the screw holes in the viewfinder, which sounds extremely difficult and frustrating. The front chrome piece does come off, but you stand a very good chance of breaking it trying to do so.
If you look closely, you can see a date stamp on the underside of the cap. Both of my cameras have one, and they are different enough that I can't decipher them for sure. I think this one was made in 1961. There is another stamp on the bottom of the camera under the plastic.
You can put these back together before preceding, but I like to keep them off so I don't scratch anything or push in the viewfinder by mistake.
Removing the front may be the most difficult job. You need to turn the inside ring with your thumbs counterclockwise. It may be very sticky the first time this is done. I found that it wasn't so much the pressure you put on it (like opening a jar) as getting the proper angle of pressure. The first one I removed wouldn't budge, and then it just gave way, smooth as silk, when I found the sweet spot.
This also offers an opportunity to mess with the focal length a bit. I think that if you keep the lens back further than it is supposed to be (which is pretty much flush with the front), you can increase your blur at the edges of your photos. You have about a quarter of an inch to play with. If you have more than one Pet, you can swap lenses that offer different results. I haven't tried it yet, but you can even give it an angle, which would probably give a blur to one side.
It's easy to put back together at this point. You only have five screws to keep track of. Of course, the reason for doing all this was to clean each part. You may need some WD-40 or oil to lubricate the shutter mechanism. They get old and gunky and tend to stick. Just coat liberally with your preferred lubricant and wipe the excess off. Put her back together and go take some pictures!