Fitting an enlarger on a smaller baseboard

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Cybertrash, Jul 12, 2013.

  1. Cybertrash

    Cybertrash Member

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    Greetings fellow APUGers

    My current darkroom is something I've set up in my bathroom. I've got a Durst M650 (which does up to 6x6) enlarger on a rolling cart from IKEA that is roughly 54x54cm, and it has no problems acommodating my M650 as you can see here:

    [​IMG]

    However, I do shoot a bit of 4x5, and for many subjects I don't think contact prints are quite satisfying, so I'm looking at getting a 4x5 enlarger. I've been in contact with a gentleman who is selling a Durst Laborator 1200 that is left after his grandfather passed away. However, his grandfather had fitted the enlarger to a custom-built table that is way too big for my purposes. So I was wondering whether or not it would be possible (or even a realistic idea) to "retrofit" the enlarger onto a baseboard that is smaller and will fit my rolling cart (in fact, I think this will be an issue for most 4x5 enlargers as the baseboards seem to be larger in general).

    I should mention that I do not have a lot of woodworking skills, I might be able to get help from some relatives, but I don't think any super-advanced projects are realistic. I do however wonder if there is something special that I ought to keep in mind if I decide to go ahead with this, such as the choice of baseboard or mounting hardware.
     
  2. paul_c5x4

    paul_c5x4 Subscriber

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    The L1200 baseboard is 640mm wide and 690mm deep - Reducing the size would compromise stability. Also, if you reduced the depth, you'd often be overhanging the front edge with the easel. Weight would also be a concern. These things weigh 45Kg, more if it includes a transformer for a colour head.

    Certainly grab the L1200 especially if it comes with a good set of accessories (masks & mixing boxes) - It is a solid piece of kit that will last years.
     
  3. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    If you have set up your darkroom in the bathroom because of the availability of running water and can make the adjoining room light tight why not keep the enlarger and even the chemical trays there and just do the wash in the bathroom.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
     
  4. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    Do what you have to do, and don't listen to anybody who says it's not optimal. That's all you CAN do. Half a loaf of bread is better than going hungry. GL. You don't need woodworking skills. You don't need to be a sailor on a sailing ship to tie your shoelaces. Likewise on a baseboard.
     
  5. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    The baseboard isn't the only, or even the most important issue - the important issue is the cart it is sitting on.

    You don't want a Durst L1200 tipping over.

    You do need to factor in the distance that the L1200 head sticks out from the frame it is attached to - that will determine a minimum practical side for a baseboard.
     
  6. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I have my Omega D2 (which is a 4x5 enlarger) on a custom made baseboard. I went to a Home Depot and had them cut a 3/4 inch plywood in roughly half. I glued them together and screwed them together. The part that the post bolts on is, therefore over an inch thick.

    You don't really need woodworking skills. You just need some glue and an electric screw driver.

    Enlarger this/that size is heavy and it is top heavy. Just make sure your table can handle it safely. Also, being mobile setup, I'd suggest strapping it to the table, so should it tip, they'll stay together.
     
  7. BMbikerider

    BMbikerider Member

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    I don't know the design of your proposed 4x5 enlarger, but would it not be possible to mount it onto the wall and use a simpler baseboard. It would not be too difficult to get the device completely vertical and then there would be no chance of shake. Adjustment could be made with the use of shims of varying thickness to get the column right.
     
  8. Mark Feldstein

    Mark Feldstein Member

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    This is really very good advice. While at Home Depot (or somewhere like it) pick up a few bar clamps of appropriate size to hold the base to the cart. And consider using some old-fashioned 1 3/4 bolts with nuts and washers with holes drilled through the pieces of plywood. You can use a socket wrench to attach the bolts. Plenty strong.

    I'd also consider getting another cart and keep the one you pictured to handle that enlarger. Even a strong PVC restaurant service cart would work well with some very minor modifications. The wheels are generally sturdy, it's easy to modify and quite strong. You can pick them up really inexpensively from used restaurant equipment companies.

    Take it light ;>)
    Mark
     
  9. richard ide

    richard ide Member

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    A PVC cart will fail over time as the plastic flows; particularly if a constant load is applied. I would suggest building a heavy duty cart out of 3/4" plywood as large as your bathroom will accommodate. Mount your enlarger on the cart permanently and use a sheet of plywood as large as you need on top of it to hold your easel. Remove it when not in use.
     
  10. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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    Dear Cybertrash,

    I'm with Tom1959, do what you have to do. I used to plop an old D2 on a tv tray sit inside a shower to print. Your cart looks pretty sturdy (Much more so than a tv tray!) and if you keep the head low when transporting the odds of tipping go down. Larger wheels might be a good idea as well. Make sure you find a 135mm lens (the Nikons are usually a steal) to keep the head height as low as possible when printing.

    Good luck,

    Neal Wydra
     
  11. Cybertrash

    Cybertrash Member

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    Thanks everyone for your answers!

    It seems as if I might have underestimated the sheer bulk and weight of a 4x5 enlarger, I'm not certain that my poor cart could support 45kgs of enlarger, neither would the wall I think. I may have to reconsider this endeavour... Are there other, more lightweight 4x5 enlargers, or are they all this size?

    I feel that I should also clarify, the reason I'm using the bathroom as my darkroom isn't really because I need running water, but because it's the only other "room" in my flat (I live in a studio flat). I also don't tend to cart around the enlarger too much (I realize this isn't optimal for the lifespan of my enlarger, but I do take care to protect it from moisture), as the thing is fairly heavy.

    Are there floor-stands for enlargers? That seems like it could be the most realistic option right now.
     
  12. David Allen

    David Allen Member

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    Hi There,

    You need to consider your available space and the fact that professional 5 x 4 enlargers are beasts - doesn't matter if it is a Durst, De Vere or Beseler.

    There are floor standing versions of all of these enlargers but they are even bigger and heavier.

    Taking the baseboard off a baseboard version allows you pretty easily to mount on a wall BUT only if it is a solid wall - a simple frame and plaster board internal wall will not be strong enough.

    Well that's the bad news about 5 x 4" enlargers of a professional nature. However, there is a good solution to your situation - it might need a bit of hunting around and asking on various forums such as APUG, FADU, etc. The british firm Lines & Jones made an enlarger right up to the 90s. With the advent of digital and the availability of De Vere enalrgers in the UK at low prices they stopped making them and moved into kitchen extraction.

    The Lines & Jones enlarger was relatively light and used a cold-light light-source that weighed very little. For the first five years that I did traditional landscape photography using an 5 x 4" MPP camera I had to set up my darkroom every time I wanted to print. This was very easy with the Lines & Jones as I could easily carry it (try doing that with a De Vere 504 every time you want to use it) into the bathroom. In my next flat, I made a black-out system for my kitchen, took the baseboard off, mounted onto a wall and fitted a bottomless kitchen unit around it to hide it away when not in use and also protect it. This worked a treat and was on a fairy thin internal wall.

    The later models of the Lines & Jones were the best as my father worked with them to improve the carriers and cut down light leaks (easy enough to deal with when using a bit of fablon). Despite being a great solution to having an affordable and relatively light 5 x 4" enlarger people generally looked down on the Lines & Jones as being 'amateur' and this became more pronounced once digital led to a flood of professional enlargers onto the market.

    Being 'out of fashion' they go very cheap. A friend of mine who still lives in the UK bought one through his local newspaper for £35. The cold-light still worked but for smaller negative sizes he found it too slow and got a relative to build him an LED light-source. As you already have an enlarger for smaller negatives, this should not be a problem.

    If you can find one, the Lines & Jones would be the perfect solution for you.

    Best of luck,

    David
    www.dsallen.de
     
  13. paul_c5x4

    paul_c5x4 Subscriber

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    The Durst L1000 is a little smaller and lighter, but not particularly common - Spares also seem to be excessively expensive.

    The LPL 7451 weighs in at around 26Kg, and the baseboard measures 600x600mm, so that might be an option for you. Again, not very common from the usual sources (ebay).

    Floor standing enlargers do appear from time to time (seen four or five Devere 504 in the UK over the last month), but they are even bigger and heavier than the bench mounted versions.
     
  14. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    VCP (Vermont Center for Photography) has 4 4x5 enlargers set up, a Durst 1200, an LPL, an Omega, and a Beseler.
    The Durst dwarfs the other three. Of those, I would say it is the least suitable for a mobile platform.

    But, you have what you have, and it is a great unit. The problem is that it's physically very large, and very heavy, and much of the weight is very high. It would easily topple any usual sort of kitchen or utility cart, and the overall height would probably be too high for most doorways.

    I would put it on a furniture moving platform, the kind that is basically a sheet of thick plywood with 4 sturdy wheels mounted and 10 or 20 cm high, then use your Ikea cart or something similar over (probably something lower) it to hold the easel. To make very large prints just put the easel on the base board and work from the floor. (sometimes we must suffer for our art :smile:)
     
  15. Cybertrash

    Cybertrash Member

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    I've looked at the specs of the LPL enlarger, and it seems very nice, and ideal for my situation. they even sell a new one (LPL 7452L) with a larger baseboard, but it was horrifyingly expensive (roughly $5250). Any idea, of where I might find a second-hand one, as you said, eBay didn't turn up anything, should I subscribe and put in an ad in the classifieds section here at APUG maybe?

    It might also be worth knowing what I ought to expect to pay for one.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 15, 2013
  16. Jon Shiu

    Jon Shiu Subscriber

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    The older LPL 7450 enlarger is even smaller and lighter. I believe it uses the smaller column size and smaller baseboard of the medium format sized enlarger. I haven't seen many for sale in the US, and would expect to pay $200-400 for it. Not sure what the availability and prices are in Europe.

    Jon
     
  17. Cybertrash

    Cybertrash Member

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    According to this site the 7450 and the 7451 has the same baseplate and weigh the same (there were however other transformator options for the 7450).
     
  18. Jon Shiu

    Jon Shiu Subscriber

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    Yes, baseboard is the same. Weight difference would depend on the transformer used. 7450 with lighter transformer 20kg vs 7451 weight of 26kg.

    Jon
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 15, 2013
  19. paul_c5x4

    paul_c5x4 Subscriber

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    There is a 7451 on ebay.co.uk at the moment - Downside it is collect only from Northampton, England :sad:
     
  20. Cybertrash

    Cybertrash Member

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    That's a bit too far away from Stockholm I'm afraid :sad:
     
  21. NormanV

    NormanV Member

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    I'll second Dave Allen suggestion of the Lines and Jones enlarger, they are definitely compact and cold cathode light source gives great tones in a print. The only problem I see is finding one, they rarely come up on Ebay.
     
  22. Cybertrash

    Cybertrash Member

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    I've come across someone selling a Lisegang Rajah enlarger for large format, but I cannot find any information about the model on the net, is there anyone here who is familiar with it?
     
  23. MattKing

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    You should probably start a separate thread with the name of the enlarger in the title.
     
  24. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    Using the cart you have, an additional layer of plywood or two for strength. I don't trust MDF. Store all of the heavy supplies & equipment you have at the bottom.
    And then.........make a simple set of outriggers that fit under the cart. I'd think of 2X4 or 4X4" X 3X the width of the cart. Cut the material so there's a center and two ends. The center goes completely under the cart and the outriggers swing out.
    For the front, use one piece installed parallel to the front. This one just goes under the front edge of the cart and merely keeps it from tipping forward. Put hinges at the cut ends and swing them out when it's in use.

    In the end, you're going to have one unit at the front and back with three legs for stability.

    If you need more area for a table, a pair of hinges and locking brace are used, one for each edge you want to extend. I'd think around 200mm each side.

    I can send a pic of the locking brace. I believe I got it at one of the big box stores. That would be Menards, Lowes or Home Depot.
    I'm assuming there's something available. in Sweden or online.
     
  25. Ronald Moravec

    Ronald Moravec Member

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    Do not make a new baseboard. These are braced so as not to warp.

    You can make a small table and bolt the head to it. The table will need to be 2x4 legs, 2x4 top solid with smooth material like 3/8 plywood over the solid 2x4 so you can move the easel around/. This can not be any kind of flimsy construction with nails and unbraced legs.