Focus Motor and controller for Durst 138S?

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by jbarber, Sep 7, 2012.

  1. jbarber

    jbarber Member

    Messages:
    4
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2012
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Hello---I may be able to obtain a Durst 138S for making large prints in our college darkroom, from 35mm to 4X5 negs, up to 30 X 40 inches. In our set-up, it would be simplest and adequate to use the enlarger vertically....except for the focussing problem. I understand that a motor drive (FOMOT 138) and controller were once available for this enlarger. I've only found one reference by a user who had trouble controlling his, and no trace anywhere of one to buy. Can anyone provide info on this unit? It would be great to hear from anyone who has actually used one!
     
  2. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

    Messages:
    7,514
    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2007
    Location:
    Midwest USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    A big advantage of the 138s is that it is all mechanical. The motor controller will be hard to find and could be difficult to keep running in the future depending on how much electronic and mechanical skill you have.

    Our local 138 expert uses a cord wrapped around the knob to focus, so the motor is not really needed. He may chime in here.
     
  3. jbarber

    jbarber Member

    Messages:
    4
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2012
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Sure, if the cord trick really works, then it would be far preferable to a finicky motor and controller. I'll revisit our potential 138 and see how easily the focus shaft moves. The unit seems basically good, but lubes, etc. may be dry. Thank you, and anyone else who knows about these things, for responding so quickly.
     
  4. frotog

    frotog Member

    Messages:
    748
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2007
    Location:
    third stone
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    I have the Fomot moving a cls1000 head up and down a 138 chassis. Like most things Durst, it is an well-engineered, overbuilt beast. I initially had issues with the controller - turned out to be a short in the harness of the cable - but ever since I got that sorted out it's worked like a charm. It definitely makes life easier for those of us who like to print large.

    Prior to this set-up I modified the focus wheel on the 138 to accept a three foot long lever which allowed for focusing when the baseboard was close to the floor. If you have access to a machine shop, this would be a far simpler solution than turning up a Fomot.

    If the school is willing to shell out some serious cash for this project you could always contact Jensen at Durst Pro USA.
     
  5. jbarber

    jbarber Member

    Messages:
    4
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2012
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Very interesting! Is there a photo of the lever set-up that you could share? I'm not visualizing how you would get it to hold focus. I have used a custom extended flexible shaft with a Beseler 45MCRX, but it did not work well at all, perhaps because the Beseler focus knob and rack are so coarse to begin with. Besides the rope trick, I can imagine removing the stock knob and fitting a chain sprocket of some sort, then hanging a loop of chain down to where a user could reach it.

    I continue to appreciate the thoughtful and helpful replies!
     
  6. roos

    roos Member

    Messages:
    7
    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2013
    Location:
    Stockholm
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    We have a motor for one of our 138s. Im not sure it is original. But it is both very handy as one can control it while checking the focus and more exact then doing it by hand. If you find one, get it!
     
  7. jbarber

    jbarber Member

    Messages:
    4
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2012
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    This is a very useful tip. If it's not hard to do, a smart-phone photo of the device would be so helpful. Is there any identifying information on it?

    Thank you VERY much!