A DIY 4x5 vacuum film holder

Discussion in 'Camera Building, Repairs & Modification' started by konakoa, Oct 12, 2006.

  1. konakoa

    konakoa Member

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    Hello folks,

    I'm a long time lurker and first time poster to APUG. I'd like to present a webpage I've created for making your own vacuum film holder; the text and accompying photographs are a bit too lengthy to post here. I designed my holder for a 4x5 camera, however the design could be easily adapted to larger formats (for you folks who have film falling out of 8x10 holders!).

    The page can be seen here: www.deadbread.com/crumbs/vac.html

    I've been working on this project for some time, and comments or suggestions (improvements?) would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Jerevan

    Jerevan Subscriber

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    Welcome to posting on APUG!

    I don't think I'll ever need to use a vacuum film holder, but I am amazed by the inventiveness and execution of this project! Cool with a big C. :smile:
     
  3. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I think this is a really neat project and not a terribly complicated design.
     
  4. Peter De Smidt

    Peter De Smidt Member

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    Great work! I'll give it a try with an older 8x10 holder sometime this winter. I wonder if using a suction bulb would provide enough suction?
     
  5. noseoil

    noseoil Member

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    Danny, great idea and well executed. Welcome! tim
     
  6. konakoa

    konakoa Member

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    Thanks for your kind comments all.

    Peter, I originally replied here that a squeeze bulb probably wouldn't work. I was wrong! I found that a Giottos 'rocket air' bulb works perfectly -- 3/16" tube fits well in the bottom valve of the bulb, and it will generate a vacuum.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 13, 2008
  7. Peter De Smidt

    Peter De Smidt Member

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    I was thinking of using the bulb from my pipettes. This is a standard lab accessory. First, you squeeze the air out of the bulb, while holding open the valve on the rear of the bulb. To suck, you then open the valve on the front of the bulb. See:

    http://www.coleparmer.com/catalog/product_view.asp?sku=2480520

    Since I already have the bulb, I'll give it a go and see what happens.
     
  8. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I think I've read about something like this that uses a bulb just like the bulbs used for old-style air-piston operated shutters. Probably for most LF shooters, a bulb could provide a sufficient vacuum for ordinary exposures, but this may not be enough for your astrophotographs.
     
  9. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Very cute. I had no idea that those pumps for minnow bucker aerators could be reversed.

    One caution, though. Penn Plax products, especially air pumps, are notorious among aquarists for short life. I don't know if other brands of pumps like the one you used come from the same factory so can't recommend something that will last longer. But you might consider making and carrying a spare pump, just in case.
     
  10. argus

    argus Member

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    You must have read my mind. I use a similar model on a packard shutter.

    G
     
  11. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Very cool!

    For the longest time, I have been meaning to make something like this to hold down my fiber paper in the enlarger.

    A holder like this would be very nice for shooting directly to paper in a film back.
     
  12. ZachInIsrael

    ZachInIsrael Member

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    I am planning to make some of these soonish. For a vacuum pump I was going to use a little keyboard vacuum that I found in a local office depot. It takes a few AA batteries and costs about 35NIS ($7). So I figure it will work. Actually I am going to get 2, I'll use the other to clean out film holders.
     
  13. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    I figured you could use some parts from a blood pressure kit. I see them in thrift stores every once in a while.
     
  14. walter23

    walter23 Member

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    Really nice job. Until I saw your application I was wondering why you'd want to go to all that effort for 4x5, as I've never had any problems with regular holders (well, okay, once a sheet slipped because I forgot to tap the holder before a long exposure...).

    For long exposure astrophotography on a motorized mount it makes sense.
     
  15. konakoa

    konakoa Member

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    A year later and there's still interest! Pretty neat. For the folks using the squeeze bulb, please keep in mind the system (at least mine) isn't 100% air-tight. A little air will creep in under the film, so you have to constantly squeeze the bulb to maintain the vacuum. A rubber bulb surges - the film will be pulled in - the film relaxes - then is pulled in again when the bulb is squeezed once more. With the aquarium pump the force is constant and the film stays flat the entire time the pump is on.