building a back that rotates, or you know, is turnable if not connected always...

Discussion in 'Camera Building, Repairs & Modification' started by himself, Sep 23, 2012.

  1. himself

    himself Member

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    mornin'

    Just a quick question about building a back that could be turned to shoot landscape and portrait.

    I'm not so bold as to try to build one of them rotating types. My plan is to make one that can come apart be turned and then just put back in. I have a basic idea of what I'd like to do and was looking for some ideas on how I can fix the 2 bits together so it's strong and can be done relatively quickly.

    My only thought so far is nuts and bolts, so industrial, fiddly, but strong.

    Attached is a very crude version of what I have in the brain, so please excuse its inaccuracy, I'll just say that the board will be square and so will the bellows, so there's no need to worry about anything getting the way - so to speak.

    back.jpg
     
  2. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    If you get a chance to check out 8x10's and such, many have pins (facing out) on the removable back's edge. The camera has corresponding metal tabs with holes that line up with the pin. At the top, the tabs are slightly flexible so the back "snaps" in. Some have a hook&eye latch for extra safety.
     
  3. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    You're attempting to reinvent the wheel the hard way :laugh:

    Most LF cameras except Press cameras (Speed/Crown Graphics) have backs that are easy to remove and re-attach rotated 90°, 180°. 270°. It's dead easy !!!

    Ian
     
  4. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    Do a search for images of Wisner and Wista cameras. Wisners have pins which locate in brass strips at the top and bottom and Wistas have a similar arrangement but with pieces of brass bent to ninety degrees to hold the back in place. The back is stepped so it locates itself into the rear frame.

    wisner_r.jpg

    wista45dxiii.jpg

    The back locates onto the bottom set of clips/brackets then two slides at the top draw it into place either by pulling in on the pins or directly onto the rear plate.


    Steve
     
  5. himself

    himself Member

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    so, but how do they do it smarty pants?
    I've never used or actually gazed upon a "real" one, only the one I built myself.

    And thanks jp, you gave me a good Idea (capital I good)
     
  6. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    You need to see how backs are fitted, it's so simple but diagrams and even photos don't tell you everything. What I'm saying is the fittings needed are so simple, nothing hi tech.

    Ian
     
  7. himself

    himself Member

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    thanks Steve, but I should add that I have very basic materials and tools, so anything that would require really detailed machining of metal is out of the question.
     
  8. himself

    himself Member

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    ok, I'll see if I can find one to take a proper look at...
    thanks
     
  9. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    You could make the brass bits similar to those used by Wista with hand tools. A hacksaw, file and drill would be enough. You would ideally use a vice to put the bends in but you could probably use a Mole grip wrench instead. You don't need any fancy machine tools to make them.


    Steve.
     
  10. himself

    himself Member

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    hmm, don't have a vice or mole grip...
    I'm gonna have to get the holes drilled anyway because I don't have one of those either
     
  11. Andrew Moxom

    Andrew Moxom Member

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    Deardorff had rotating backs in some their larger commercial view or studio cameras. The idea was that you could rotate the film rather than the entire camera to align verticals etc.
     
  12. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    You could also use strong magnets to hold the back in place.

    Steve.
     
  13. Diapositivo

    Diapositivo Subscriber

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    Pardon my ignorance.
    If your back has a square shape, why don't make it with a slot above, and a slot on the side?
    You don't need rotating the back.
    You would insert the sheet film from above for a portrait shot and from the side for a landscape shot.
    Fixed "guides" would centre the sheet on the lens.
    Considering that the back is square, and the sheet film is rectangular, the guides for portrait orientation would not interfere with landscape orientation and vice versa.
    Am I missing anything? (never used a LF camera).
     
  14. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    Without even a drillpress you're going to struggle building a back whether rotating or not. However...

    The Toyo back design is made of folded metal so would be hard to directly replicate but the idea is not. Consider the back to be a square wooden thing which rests in a square recess on the rear standard of the camera. You can put the back in in any of 4 orientations and it will sit in exactly the right place as long as something is clamping it in. Toyos use sliding metal latches similar to the ones that typically hold a lensboard onto the front standard. Steve's idea of using magnets to retain the back is excellent though, especially if the non-magnet side was constructed from a 1.5mm sheet of mild steel.

    See this photo. While it's the front of the camera, you can see the sliding bit of metal at the top that retains the lensboard - that's how the backs are often clamped in. Think of the back as being like the lensboard - square thing in square hole and clamped in somehow, though of course the back protrudes from its "hole" a lot further so that you can get film holders in. That's all you need to do.
     
  15. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Here's a Half plate back, before a new screen was installed. It ists on two brabkets at the bottom then gets held in place by two brackets that swing in/out of place at the top. OK this is old style book form but any back can be fitted in a similar way as long as the base part is square The parts would be simple to male but you'd need to make some small drill holes to attach them.

    [​IMG]

    Ian
     
  16. himself

    himself Member

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    thanks for all the tips.

    I've now got a good idea of what my plan is.
    The camera back won't be made of thick wood, so I don't need a drill press. I'm trying to keep it as light and compact as possible because it will be coming with me on a month long trip in Sri Lanka, so with this in mind I'd like to keep the back side and it's mate a similar size, or the back bigger if either has to be.
     
  17. himself

    himself Member

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    just realised I made my bellows too small to be square, so the back my now not be square, but oblong...
    but as long as where they join is square it shouldn't matter right?

    edit: scratch all that, of course it's not gonna work...
    bloody hell
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 24, 2012
  18. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    I think it takes a few cameras before you get it right. I have just started my fourth with numbers two and three not yet complete! You think of new ideas and solve problems as you go.

    An example of this is the mechanism to rotate the front and back. For ages this was a mystery to me but after spending some time looking at pictures of cameras, mainly Wistas, I realise now how simple the mechanism is and have it drawn up to be included in the current camera.

    It was also quite a help to see Ian's Wista a few months ago. If you know anyone near to you who owns a similar camera, try to have a look at it and get the owner to show you all of it's functions/movements.

    My advice would be not to worry about getting it all perfect at first, just make a camera which you can use then learn from your mistakes and make a better one.

    If you have managed to make a rectangular bellows then make a simple camera without a rotating back. Put a tripod thread on the bottom and on one side and rotate the whole camera instead of just the back. If you want light and compact for travelling, this might help.


    Steve.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 24, 2012
  19. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    There are so many inexpensive ready-to-use cameras, I wouldn't build one unless it was for a yet unmet need.
     
  20. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    But some of us enjoy the building.


    Steve.
     
  21. himself

    himself Member

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    Steve's right, it's the building that's a huge part of the fun, besides "inexpensive" is relative, non?

    Steve,

    yeah I guess the next one will the all singing, all dancing one, this will probably be the smallest view camera ever made.
    it's funny because the first bellows I built was too big, so I scaled down - a bit too much I guess.