Build Your Boredom Away!

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by happyjam64, Apr 18, 2011.

  1. happyjam64

    happyjam64 Member

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    At my school, I'm part of our yearbook class. The position I hold is "Go-To Guy". I take care all the technical problems (other people make! :tongue:). Anyways, one of my duties is to make sure our editors finish sections so I can send them to the press. This involves quite a bit of waiting. So much waiting that I started building a 4x5 camera with the materials I could find in our graphics room. I started it yesterday, and it's almost done!

    The body is made from the box of an IC enlarger timer, the film cartridge carrier (?) is made from a fuji film box, the bellows are just hockey tape and black paper, and the focusing rails were made with a length of wood and some rubber bands.

    As for lenses, my graphics teacher has saved two Konica Hexanon GRII's. A 150mm and a 210mm. I chose the 150 as cardboard cannot support the beastly 210! Unfortunately this means there's no real option for a shutter. The Konica's are great lenses (super SHARP!), but they were made for enlarging. I've thought of making a basic focal plane shutter as there is more than enough room in the camera for it.

    The only things I have left to do is some minor light-proofing and cut the back out of the fuji box so I can add some ground glass.

    Finally, here's some pics! What do you think?
     

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  2. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    Its beautiful.

    Stop down to the max, use a slow enough film or paper negatives, and you can use a hat (or lens cap) for a shutter.

    Mark the sticks with distance markings and you can use the thing for, er, snap shots.
     
  3. happyjam64

    happyjam64 Member

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    Thank you!
    Yeah, paper negatives, that's a good idea.
    And I suppose if I use a hat, they'd be called "hat-shots". haha!
     
  4. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Hockey tape in the graphic arts lab. Nice. You guys really are bored...and it must be COLD in there! :D

    Nice camera!
     
  5. mark

    mark Member

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    cool, in several ways. As a teacher I am in a constant battle with my students to be original, to create, to think on their own. I was feeling like it was a lost cause.
     
  6. moki

    moki Member

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    The word "awesome" doesn't express the awesomeness of this camera :D

    Seriously, this is great and very inspiring. Do you mind, if I steal the focussing mechanism for my own project? The simplicity is great and it allows for some front swing too, when it's done right.
    I also like the back. I always had problems with a mechanism to hold the film holder. Sure, building a spring back is not that difficult, but I also like to limit myself to materials that I already have around: cardboard, glue, various kinds of tape, rubber bands and some random lenses.
    How are the bellows holding up? I guess, they're more stiff than usual bellows, but can they be folded and extended without anything breaking?

    As for the exposure: You could try to build a guillotine shutter, using either gravity or rubber bands to get the necessary speed. They're similar to a focal plane shutter, as you can vary the exposure by different slit sizes while speed stays the same but they're usually mounted in front of the lens. Wood is a better material, but smooth cardboard (several layers to make it heavy enough) could work too. Calculating the shutter speed with a gravity-powered shutter is pretty easy, but with rubber bands or springs, you'd probably need to guess and test by the good old "trial and error".
     
  7. nhemann

    nhemann Member

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    I'm with moki on this one - fantastic piece of work. I have done cigar box guitars before and this just put a serious bit of serious inspiration in my head...be sure to show how you do the grond glass. I'll be watching closely! I love well engineered lo-fi!
     
  8. George Nova Scotia

    George Nova Scotia Subscriber

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    It's Canada, what else would he use!!!
     
  9. pgomena

    pgomena Member

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    If your teacher doesn't give you an "A", he's nuts. Very inspiring, imaginative and neatly done. Have fun with it!

    Peter Gomena
     
  10. happyjam64

    happyjam64 Member

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    Haha, we have everything from a small press to 10 enlargers in our graphics room. Our teacher is a crazy old French-Canadian from NB, so of course we're going to have hockey tape! :laugh: He thought thinks it's hilarious and it's because he's nuts that I'll get an "A"!

    @Mark, yeah, I look at the younger grades and can see their lack of creativity. But the ones who really like working with photography will find there own way and promote their own creativity.

    @Moki, thanks! Go ahead and use the focusing mechanism. That was actually the biggest problem. I had no idea what to use to focus this camera. Then, I had kind of an "Aha!" moment and quickly rigged this up. Now, I glued the cardboard lens support to the wooden pieces that attach to the rails. What you may want to do is make the lens support more rigid, that way you can drill holes in it and attach the wooden support with screws. That way if you drill more then one hole in the wooden support, then you can move the lens up and down and thus have vertical shift! The bellows are a bit stiff, and a little fragile, but they work well.
    Hmmm, I never thought of a guillotine shutter, that's an excellent idea! I'm sure I can rig something up with rubber bands and other various materials in our graphics room. As for shutter calibration, I read somewhere that you can attach a photo-diode to the mic port of a pc. Then place the diode behind the shutter and record the amount of light that passes the diode as sound. Then just measure the length of the sound with Audacity.

    @George, duct tape!!! Remember the Red Green Show?!
     
  11. domaz

    domaz Member

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    Very nice but don't turn the burners on!
     
  12. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    Excellent. The bellows look particularly good. How about making some more and documenting the process in pictures?

    Similarly, my son sometimes makes things in class when he is bored. Last year he gave me a wallet which he had made out of black gaffer tape!


    Steve.
     
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  13. moki

    moki Member

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    Yep, homebuilt shutter testers do exist. Just google for "shutter speed tester" and you will find several instructions of varying difficulty and preciseness. I'm absolutely clueless about anything electronic, so I have no idea, what kind of batteries, resistor and photodiode will work together, even for this simple circuit... I guess, you'll figure it out without setting anything on fire :wink:

    About the focussing mechanism... I thought about something like this: http://i239.photobucket.com/albums/ff252/mogul-/temp/mech_focus.jpg
    The red things could be either pieces of wood or very long screws. They're attached to the bottom board while the top only has holes and can move freely. It's all held in place by the blue rubber bands and a little friction. Now you can just insert the lensboard (drawn grey) between those four screws (be sure to make it fit tightly) and can move it left to right or up and down if you put a little stopper underneath it.
    That's probably a bit too much for your current materials... it's just the idea that came to me when I thought about your very simple mechanism. I think, that's actually the easiest way to have basic movements (except tilt) in a camera. I'll definitely try this some time soon.
     
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  15. bblhed

    bblhed Member

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    That is really cool!
     
  16. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Moose dung? Fish paste? Frozen boogers?
     
  17. happyjam64

    happyjam64 Member

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    @Steve, yeah, one of these days I'll post an instructable on bellows. I think they're pretty easy to make. I've made lot of them, and in all shapes and sizes, tapered and square. I've even made ones that twist in a spiral!

    @Moki, well, no fire so far! Yes, you're mechanism is very similar except for the two red pieces. I agree, it makes more sense to make those out of screws or something so the lens can move up and down. But with this camera, I'm sticking to the KISS principle, keep it simple stupid!

    Here are some more pictures. As you can see, I've cut out the back of the camera. That way I can put in a "sudo" gg to focus. This gg is made from just cardboard and tracing paper (again, stuff from the graphics room). I can almost guarantee the gg is off by a good bit, but it's better than shooting blind! You'll also notice a different lens. I took this lens from our school 4x5, it's a 150mm computar symmetrigon. Not a great lens, but okay. I intend to use it until I build a shutter for the konica or until my graphics teacher notices the missing lens! :D
     

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  18. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    I have made bellows myself but it's always interesting to see the way others do it.

    On purpose?!!

    A few years ago, I had plans for a shed roof based on two sides of a square bellows rotated 45 degrees.


    Steve.
     
  19. mjs

    mjs Member

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    Lovely job! Very straightforward, very resourceful. I am worried a bit about the Fuji box back, though: sure looks to me as though it's going to be a massive light leak around the end of the negative carrier. Perhaps some felt or soft foam might help. Surely there's something they use in hockey which would be perfect? :wink:

    Mike
     
  20. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Another option for a shutter would be a Packard shutter - you can mount it inside the back of the front standard, and then use it with multiple lenses. They're pneumatic, controlled with a squeeze bulb on the end of a hose, and a small one would probably fit inside your camera. If not, you could front-mount the Packard on the lens. The default shutter speed is around 1/30th of a second (depends on the size), and then of course they'll stay open as long as you maintain air pressure inside the bulb.
     
  21. threemilesfinal

    threemilesfinal Member

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    that is pretty freaking cool!

    sounds like a great project. i'd be interested to see some scans of the shots from it when it's done! :smile:
     
  22. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Looks great. I see that we are neighbours. What school are you attending?
     
  23. happyjam64

    happyjam64 Member

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    I just need to get myself some felt for light-proofing. Then I'll scan and upload lots of stuff!
    Huh, small world. I'm currently attending Delta Secondary, so yep, I'm a Ladnerite!
     
  24. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    I love it!

    Jeff
     
  25. guitstik

    guitstik Member

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    Good on ya eh.

    I love it, now I have to get off my butt and finish my projects or be shown up by a 12th grader:D
     
  26. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    You have to finish projects? I thought it was enough to just start them then move on to something else!


    Steve.