LPL 4500 Alignment Woes

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by sepiareverb, Oct 12, 2010.

  1. sepiareverb

    sepiareverb Subscriber

    Messages:
    680
    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2007
    Location:
    St Johnsbbury Vermont
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    So my trusty LPL 4500 enlarger has started going out of alignment a lot. I'll resize something and side to side alignment is toast.

    I've discovered the means of aligning the lens stage, but I'm wondering what long-lasting fix there might be. I got and used this enlarger for years because of their reputation for being "permanently" aligned and was not disappointed for years, but now this is just as bad as my Beseler was. I've tightened my column to baseboard screws and the problem has not gone away.

    I'm using this for 35mm and 120 negs only these days, and when I even go from making contact sheets with 60cm of height to making 8x10" prints with 36cm of height with the same lens the enlarger will be off slightly. Every time I move to making 16x20" prints I have a machine way out of alignment, whether I change the lens or not.
     
  2. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

    Messages:
    7,512
    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2007
    Location:
    Midwest USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Unless the baseboard and column are way off, alignment of negative stage and lens stage should be sufficient. The higher the magnification, the more precise the lens and negative have to be aligned and the more leeway there is in the baseboard alignment.
     
  3. GeorgesGiralt

    GeorgesGiralt Member

    Messages:
    527
    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2004
    Location:
    Toulouse, Fr
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Hello !
    You told us that this enlarger has been used for many years.
    Have you considered the fact that the head guidance system on the column could have suffered and, giving more play than planned, allow the head to bend towards you, thus destroying alignment. Also, the negative carrier path may be worn and also be "less square" than it should.
    I do not know the construction of the LPL, but as LPL is a reputable make of high quality enlargers, you should be able to correct the play and/or replace the worn guidance pads to restore a proper operation...
    This is, of course, only a theory, as I do not know your enlarger but IMHO is worth a check.
    You've a fine piece of gear so worth a refurbishing !
     
  4. sepiareverb

    sepiareverb Subscriber

    Messages:
    680
    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2007
    Location:
    St Johnsbbury Vermont
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The wheels for head to column guidance do seem like a possible cause. Thanks. I'll see what I can find for parts.

    I don't mind having to align an enlarger every now and again, but every time I change the size is a bit much.
     
  5. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,459
    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2005
    Location:
    North East U.S.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    KHB Photografix in Canada stocks parts, as do Omega-Satter (as you might expect). Both were very responsive when I did email queries about getting my power supply repaired a while back.
    I've seen references in here about KHB doing alignment servicing.
     
  6. sepiareverb

    sepiareverb Subscriber

    Messages:
    680
    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2007
    Location:
    St Johnsbbury Vermont
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Yes KHB will get my first email. I've found Omega less than helpful in the past.
     
  7. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,494
    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2004
    Location:
    Bath, OH 442
    Shooter:
    ULarge Format
    Do you have the top of the column bolted to the wall? There is an optional assembly that allows this. I have not used my 4550 (taller column) in a couple of years, having gone to larger formats, but that would be a route I would consider. My floor mounted Durst 138S converted to 8x10 negatives was bolted to the concrete block wall and then aligned. It does not wander.

    John Powers
     
  8. eclarke

    eclarke Member

    Messages:
    1,972
    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2004
    Location:
    New Berlin,
    Shooter:
    ULarge Format
    Have you checked your easel?..EC
     
  9. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,494
    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2004
    Location:
    Bath, OH 442
    Shooter:
    ULarge Format
    Good point Evan. I have an old Saunders 24x24 easel that had bowed in the center. Before we could get alignment we had to shim it up with cork strips glued to the bottom.

    John
     
  10. sepiareverb

    sepiareverb Subscriber

    Messages:
    680
    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2007
    Location:
    St Johnsbbury Vermont
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Well spoke with Kevin at KHB today, and once again found them to be one of the most helpful outfits there is. He took his time and walked me through the process of adjusting the side to side alignment after making sure that really was what was wrong. Makes me glad I get anything for my enlarger from them.

    There are two screws on the left side of the carriage which can loosen over time. Simply tightening them will bring everything back to square by eliminating the play in the carriage to column connection. Aaaah.

    Thanks to all for replies. My easel was the first thing I changed in hopes of alignment- great minds think alike. I'm looking into the wall mount too, but I'm not sure it will work in my space.
     
  11. GeorgesGiralt

    GeorgesGiralt Member

    Messages:
    527
    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2004
    Location:
    Toulouse, Fr
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Glad to see you got this fine piece of kit running fine again !
    And glad to see that one can get tremendous support from some people still !
    Now, go back in the darkroom to print ;-)
     
  12. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,494
    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2004
    Location:
    Bath, OH 442
    Shooter:
    ULarge Format
    Thanks for sharing the answer.

    John
     
  13. Jon Shiu

    Jon Shiu Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,821
    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2003
    Location:
    Elk, Califor
    Shooter:
    Plastic Cameras
    I think the plate for the top of the column has a hole shaped like a wrench to tighten the nut on the side.

    Jon