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Discussion in 'Camera Building, Repairs & Modification' started by firstname.lastname@example.org, May 26, 2009.
If you had and could pick what wood your next camera would be made of, what would you choose?
Since I have Wood (cherry/mahogany) and Aluminum I'd think it would be cool to build a carbon fiber camera. There are not a lot of CF cameras out there, so having one as a kit would be unique. The CF can be cut to higher tolerances than wood, so for a kit, I would think it could make a very high quality and precision camera without a lot of sanding, filing, filling, finishing and gluing by the builder.
I voted for mahogany as I have used that for various things in the past, such as guitars, and I like working with it. However, my current camera is going to be oak (as was the last one).
I had a look through your blog and I see you cheat at making finger joints... just like I do! I have an Excellon CNC router/drill at work which was originally bought for printed circuit board manufacture.
It seems to get used for all sorts of things now that I know how to use it. I call these items training pieces!
CF can be hard to make light tight. Remember that it is fabric weave with clear epoxy, so the light may come right through depending on the construction.
Also CF is dangerous to work without a good breathing filter, those tiny particles of carbon can really do some damage (ask a coal miner). It can also dull cutting tools very quickly. Mix graphite with the epoxy to help reduce the clear aspects of the binder. It is also extremely expensive in sheets check prices at http://www.onlinemetals.com
Cherry or Walnut with a natural clear sealer would be nice. Maybe leave it in the sun for a couple of months to darken after sealing.
Alternate would be a nice billet aluminum camera, maybe anodized to a color with minimal leather on the grip areas.
Here is an example of what I was thinking. These racing model car kits are made of CF, aluminum and GRP. They are very strong and relatively light weight. This type of construction would make a very sturdy and durable kit. I suspect it could be more rugged than my aluminum Horseman, though, perhaps heavier.
I'm familiar with CF sheets like that.. They are super expensive when you try to buy a sheet of the material. Would be slightly cheaper to make a foam core and lay up sheets and resin then vacuum bag it. Would be really cool looking. You could then put black flocking inside to make sure it was light tight and no reflections. The foam core would probably need to be done as a lost foam technique where you melt the foam with solvent after the resin cures.
I'm not too picky about camera materials
Don't care a single bit since I'm not building or having one built
why not bamboo?
why isn't maple used more? Maybe its used a lot and I just don't know
Of the choices given I'd choose rosewood. Something very distinctive with wild grain patterns Pollock styled or multiple woods
Walnut and Cherry are great to work with because they are easy on your tools and cut/shape easily. They are both light and strong, unlike some of the other exotic woods that are strong but not so light. Mahogany is another good wood. Dimensional stability is a really critical characteristic of a good camera wood and cherry has it in spades.
Maple has a reputation of being a bit harder to work... especially the cool stuff like the birdseye maple.
Some of the prettiest grain patterns are in the exotic woods and make a beautiful camera but not necessarily the best camera.
I have seen bamboo used to make an acoustic guitar: http://www.giles.com/yamaha1/pressreleases/PAC/bamboo.htm
Maple (and its twin brother sycamore) is a very common guitar and violin material. No reason why it wouldn't work on a camera.
Chrome is the shiny electroplated metal choice of the devil!
Nickel plate is what you want on a camera.
If / when I build a new camera, I'll try maple.
In fact I already have some maple bits ready for this, just need the time, which means that I first have to finish all (or most of ;-) ) the house improvements that are on the radar (this includes the darkroom).
I owned and used one of the most marvelous cameras ever made for over 25 years. It was a 8x10 Szabad. Made of Ebony and Ironwood in Sweden during the 1960's, it was a all black behemoth with a purpose. The uprights and controls for shift and swing were of a soft finished shiny alloy and very large and prominent. You could easily manipulate it wearing gloves.The front rise and fall were geared and of a blackened brass. They had to be geared because of the weight. A lens package as heavy as a 300mm 4.5 Voightlander Apo-Lanthar in Compur Electronic 5 was too much for a Deardorf or most other wooden or strained metal cameras like my Sinar, hardly phased the Szabad. The locking system was brilliant. It could apply as little or as much tension as you needed. Locked down, was absolute. Nothing moved.
Even though I have no idea what I would do with it now, I really do miss the beast. It was a terrific camera to use and despite its bulk it was very responsive and stronger than almost anything else. With it and my Sinar Norma, and for location work a Horseman 450 and a Technika V, even though I had little awareness of it, I lived in large format bliss.
Production of the camera was voluntarily stopped by Szabad because of South African politics and in support of the efforts of Nelson Mandela and the ANC.
Szilárd Szabad and his cameras http://prittsel.googlepages.com/szilardszabad
Zebrawood, it's different, light w/dark stripes planning on a P&S with a 58 Grandagon & 6X7 roll backs & pistol grip. Planning on around 6X6X2+" & 5-10 degrees of fwd tilt.(tripod use)
I don't know about using flocking on the interior, I'd be concerned with flaking. Just going to use flat black paint.
Rockler tools & Bell forest products both carry small hardwood, 1/4X3X24ish" so there's not a lot of thickness planing involved(I hope)
Lloyds Approved Shelmarine khaya marine plywood.
John, zebrawood looks amazing but it's a total PITA to plane and it stinks badly when working with it. Good luck! Post pictures when it's done.
I have to say, I am a bit surprised at the results of the poll. I was expecting more interest in exotic woods. Very interesting.
I used poplar for the only camera I've ever built; cheap, soft, local.
Not what you'd want to use for a commercial product I suspect!
I am in the process of making a couple of cameras using Australian Lacewood. Beautiful figure but granite might be easier to plane. :>)
I plan to use Lime for my next camera, and tripod. It looks nondescript, but has all the right characteristics.
Light in weight.
Exeptional bend strength.
Stable in varying humidity levels.
And it doesn't resonate or vibrate -like some wood do.
Lime? I believe you call it Basswood in the US.
Was searching for woods last night and found Zircote
If I'd ever have someone build a camera it'd be crazy sweet. 2 or 3 contrasting grainy woods and one more plain grain and what about inlay it would have plenty of that
can you do inlay? Don't know why not.
and freaking chrome. CopNickshowChrome
Black chrome might be cool. Black chrome for lens board thing and the ...lets just say all metal besides knobs black chrome. Chrome Knobs, Baby ..and no knurling
Balsa wood...and I am being quite serious.
This is something I'd consider, in association with CF, for a very lightweight camera.
Balsa is hardly light proof until you get way past 1/4 inch.
Whatever wood you choose should be tested. Go to a dark room with a very bright flashlight (torch) and wait for your eyes to adjust. Then put the light behind the wood and shine it through, try to seal the light so that none can escape around the sides. If you see any sort of dim glow, the wood is not a good choice.
I once though 1/16 thick aircraft grade plywood might be a good choice, I found after gluing two sheets together (now 6 ply and 1/8 thick) that it still let far too much light through. Took about 4 heavy coats of black paint on the inside and outside to finally block everything that I could see and not fog film when left in the sun for several hours. Lessen learned there.
If I am going to build a camera myself it would be some brazilian wood.
Maybe in a couple of years or so.
It does not need to be. That is what the bellows are for.