Enlarger Advice - Something easy to modify

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by feilb, Jul 9, 2012.

  1. feilb

    feilb Member

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    Looking for some advice from those of you with experience in such matters.

    I've got a great techy idea involving an enlarger and some electronic bits that I think could be pretty cool. I love the idea of taking classic methods and introducing some tech to them (in the same vane as the open-source f-stop timer and such). Assuming I can get this to work out, I'll probably open-source the hardware and software associated with it.

    That being said. I need an enlarger. Requirements are that it has to be easily modifiable (the light source must be easily removable/replaceable, etc), accept at least 6x6 negatives, and preferably be somewhat compact (probably no 4x5 behemoths).

    Any help would be much appreciated!
     
  2. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    Locate an Omega D2 although it will go to 4x5 it is not that large. I am not into tinkering very much but I easily changed the light source a couple of times with the current one being an Aristo VCL4500.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
     
  3. graywolf

    graywolf Member

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    Probably the cheapest that fits your requirements is the Omega B22. It is a small light 6x6 enlarger with interchangeable heads. Usually go for $50 or less, mine was free.
     
  4. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I would suggest a Beseler 23C series model - lots available (including new!) and very "modular". You can even get "exploded view" parts diagrams from the Beseler website.
     
  5. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    Omega c700. Only thing simpler than this machine is contact printing lol. Its that basic and no frills. You can lift it with one hand. Goes up to 6x6. The head unscrews in half a twist and disconnects from focusing base/condenser carrier. Single column light base board. But build quality is good. Still being sold parts are plentyful.
     
  6. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    Any Omega B or C series, or the Beseler 23C.
     
  7. Slixtiesix

    Slixtiesix Subscriber

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    Kaiser enlargers are easy to modify. They are comparably compact too. They have a modular system, so you can easily replace nearly everything without using any tools. They are very common here in Europe, but I doubt it´s the same in the US. Had a look on Ebay and there was only one, which was totally overpriced...
     
  8. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    Would you let us know what your ideas are in advance or would you prefer to wait until you have something working?

    The only thing I can think you are doing is changing the light source. Some of us have experience of LED light sources and could be of some help if this is where you are heading.

    Steve.
     
  9. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    While we're discussing modifications, I'd like an LCD near the film plane for masking purposes. With pixels just out-of-focus. Calibrating registration would be annoying but once done, you could make up a mask digitally from a scan and save the hours spent doing that traditionally and end up with a totally analogue end-product. As long as you don't need a high-res mask; it'd be ok for replacing dodges, burns, SCIM masks and the like.

    In fact, sounds like a plan...
     
  10. feilb

    feilb Member

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    polyglot- That's the idea actually! I figured a similar concept to DIY projectors, disassemble the backlight from a small LCD.

    In a perfect world, I'd like to use something like a kinect to track your finger and apply burn/dodge appropriately.
     
  11. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    While you are at it, can you implement an "UNDO" feature? :laugh:
     
  12. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    Kinect sounds like a lot of work. I'd just figure out which pixels represent the corners of your neg carrier mask and write a little bit of software that displays the mask scaled to fit that rectangle. There are lots of tiny arm-linux boards available cheap now, some of which have integrated LCD-driving electronics; try the beaglebone series or maybe the Raspberry Pi (though that's only HDMI out).

    Don't forget that if you use a colour LCD, you get an extremely powerful multigrade tool that would allow you to apply different contrast to different parts of the scene. And if the LCD has enough contrast of its own, it can act as a precise shutter, which means the controller for it becomes your enlarger timer. Port some f/stop timer software (see my sig) to it and you have IMHO the ultimate darkroom tool. Making me jealous already just thinking about it.

    One of those crappy $100 7" android tablets might be a good source of LCD and controller CPU.
     
  13. feilb

    feilb Member

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    I ordered a cheap 7" lcd + driver off the bay. You're right on with beaglebone or the like. Contrast ratio on the screen is supposedly 500:1, which is about as good as I can find. I'll have to do some testing to see what the actual ratio is once I get ahold of it.

    Kinect would be for geek cred :smile:
     
  14. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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  15. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    Mount it on springs and add a small motor with an off-centre weight to wobble it a bit and blur the edges.


    Steve.