4x5 field camera plans?

Discussion in 'Camera Building, Repairs & Modification' started by cooltouch, Jan 4, 2009.

  1. cooltouch

    cooltouch Member

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    Hi Folks,

    I'm new to the APUG forums and have conducted a few searches here regarding the subject line, which have borne some fruit, but not specifically for plans for a 4x5 field camera.

    I build custom guitars, have my own lathe and mill in addition to all sorts of other woodworking tools, both powered and hand. I have wanted for some time to try my hand at building a nice little field camera. I'm figuring it can't be any harder to build than a guitar, eh? Er . . .

    I didn't really want to go the kit route, besides I see that Bender has now closed its doors, so that's out, regardless.

    You know, I can buy sets of excellent drawings for dozens of different guitars, made from world-class builders, but I haven't been able to find anything equivalent to this for, say, a Deardorff or a Gandolfi. Guess I'm a bit surprised about this.

    So, given that I've come up with pretty much zilch trying to google this infio, I'm hoping that somebody here might be able to point me in the right direction.

    Thanks in advance.

    Best,

    Michael
     
  2. Pinholemaster

    Pinholemaster Member

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    I'd look at a cheap Tachihara camera for your foundation, and then apply your quality wood working ability to make your camera.

    I have no idea if drawing exist on-line. There got to be someone at a Houston area camera club, or professional studio, who has a camera from which you can make your own drawings.

    http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/tachihara.htm
     
  3. DannL

    DannL Member

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    Here's an address to an excellent website for numerous view camera models. Just follow the menus on the left side of the web page to view the different manufacturers. Granted the dimensions of the cameras are not given, but if you have a film holder then you can surely build a camera around it. That's how I built my first 8x10.

    http://www.fiberq.com/cam/ao.htm


    And one of the reasons I'm stearing you towards this website is because it also shows the Champion Variation 3. I purchased a modified version of this camera in the 8x10 format recently. I must say they wasted no money on engineering this camera. If I were to build another camera myself, I might start with a simple design such as this.

    http://www.fiberq.com/cam/anthony/amchampl.htm

    Some ideas to ponder.
     
  4. Greg_E

    Greg_E Member

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  5. cooltouch

    cooltouch Member

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    Thanks for all the links, guys. Some of them I ran across during my search. The Tachihara looks like an interesting design also to try and copy.

    I guess that, before I attempt to finalize my plans, I should do as Pinholemaster suggests, and check into the local camera clubs. Make friends with somebody with a good field camera and maybe even put together my own set of drawings. I've done this sort of thing with guitars before.

    Best,

    Michael
     
  6. jmcd

    jmcd Member

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    If I wanted to study a known design to build, it would be a Wisner. I have both a Tachihara and Wisner 4x5. The Tachihara is a very clever, stable, and about as small and light as possible. Being very small and light, I think the overall tolerances are pretty tight, as is fitting in a proper bellows that will fold up. Great camera.

    The Wisner traditional or technical is a little looser in its overall tolerances, and is a bigger camera, too. I would rather carry the Tachihara, but I would rather use the Wisner, as it works super smooth and intuitive for me, but locks down tight.

    Both of course are great cameras.
     
  7. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    Have a look here for some good ideas: http://www.raymentkirbycameras.co.uk/workshop/index.htm I have translated some of these ideas to CAD. If you send me your e-mail address I can send them to you.

    I have built a few guitars too. I would say that a camera is easier to build than a guitar so you shouldn't have any problems. As you have found out though, the difficulty is finding out what to do in the first place rather than actually doing it.


    Steve.
     
  8. cooltouch

    cooltouch Member

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    Hi Steve,

    PM sent. Thanks for that link -- it looks to be very informative, just what I need to gain some perspective.

    Last night, I spent some time just making a few rough sketches, without benefit of any images of field cameras to go by. I quickly realized that they are deceptively complex instruments. A monorail would be so much easier to build, it seems, but half the fun of a project is the challenge, eh?

    Best,

    Michael
     
  9. bspeed

    bspeed Member

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    please do update with build pictures :smile:
     
  10. BradS

    BradS Member

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    Some time ago, a fellow up in Washington state (?) did a design and helped a few folks build their own. I thought he was going to make the plans available for purchase...and perhaps, a kit. Haven't heard much from him. I think it was user: SchwinParamont ? :confused: ?

    They posted regularly here.
     
  11. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Thanks Steve, I've looked at Ray's site before but not noticed those pages. Very useful.

    Ian
     
  12. Venchka

    Venchka Member

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    Howdy, Neighbor!

    Michael,

    I'm in Houston also. I could put you real close to a Zone VI 4x5 field camera. As a matter of fact, it's in my car right now. I have two friends who own 4x5 Shen Hao field cameras.

    I have contemplated the same thing. The wood bits shouldn't be too difficult. The metal bits and bellows will be the hard parts.

    PM me if you want to proceed further.

    Cheers!

    Wayne

     
  13. bspeed

    bspeed Member

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    :D Bwahahaha,

    as in, "I cut it 3 times, and it's still too short"

    :D
     
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  15. Venchka

    Venchka Member

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    Given Michael's current skill level and hardware resources, the wood bits won't be difficult.

    Michael, I forgot to add that I am fluent in Autocad 3D and have the software.
     
  16. bspeed

    bspeed Member

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    I don't doubt it :D
    but the saying is always worth a post :wink:
    esp from "been there done that"
     
  17. cooltouch

    cooltouch Member

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    Hey Wayne, PM sent.

    Yeah, the "wood bits" will most likely be the easy part. I've got about 10 board feet of cherry sitting here that's probably been seasoning for better than 20 years. I've got all sorts of tools for cutting and shaping wood. With my lathe and mill, I should even be able to fabricate some of the metal parts. I reckon I'd go with brass, since it's easy to cut and will have the right look.

    Lee Valley Tools has not only a lot of cool woodworking tools, but also a very nice selection of all sorts of hardware -- hinges, knobs, locks, corners, brackets, etc.

    http://www.leevalley.com/home.aspx?c=2

    You'd want to click on the "hardware" tab, and then select from the choices to browse around. I reckon some of the stuff they offer could be adapted easily enough.

    Best,

    Michael
     
  18. Venchka

    Venchka Member

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    Lee Valley Tools is almost as dangerous as some of the camera toy web pages.
     
  19. bspeed

    bspeed Member

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    You know what would be very pretty, is the brass hardware made to be dovetailed-fit flush into the wood (where/if possible)
     
  20. jrcrowe

    jrcrowe Member

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    As a source for bellows google "Western Bellows". They don't seem to have a website but they have phone numbers. They used to custom make bellows to your specifications or they could make bellows for almost any camera. Not sure how they operate now.
     
  21. SadowskiPL

    SadowskiPL Member

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    Hey,
    Does somebody have a plans of LF 4x5" Camera?
    I don't have access to english books about this subject, and I don't have money for buy new camera.
    I would be grateful for technical plans.
     
  22. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    If you go back through the thread you'll find a lot of information & plans if you read the links.

    Ask Steve for a copy of his drawings.

    Ian
     
  23. eclarke

    eclarke Member

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    Hi Michael,
    I'm a monorail man but have run the gamut of modern cameras. I have never had a folder that I like but I do have a nice little Ebony 45S which is the nicest wooden camera I have owned or seen. It's a joy to use, compact and simple in construction. I think it would be a good design for you to consider. I make fancy pool cues (see schoncues.com for my stuff)for a living and have around 30 lathes and 10 various CNC machines plus all the little support machinery. I would have built my own long ago but there a lot of parts to a camera and I make better money making cues and buying the camera....Evan Clarke
     
  24. P C Headland

    P C Headland Subscriber

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    You could also get in touch with Sandeha - he has built himself a few large format cameras, so could give you some practical pointers.

    His website has some photos and info on the cameras.
     
  25. cooltouch

    cooltouch Member

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    Geez, Evan -- your cues are works of art!


    Best,

    Michael
     
  26. pauliej

    pauliej Member

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    You should check with Dan Dozer, and see if he is still selling his camera build journal. It is an incredible resource, a cd with 160 pages, or something like that. Highly recomended. I hope this helps you.

    paulie