Making an 8x10 enlarger?

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Robert, Jan 6, 2003.

  1. Robert

    Robert Member

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    It would seem an 8x10 box enlarger projecting on the wall wouldn't be too hard. Anybody done this? A real 8x10 enlarger is out of reach for all the reasons [space,money etc] I only want something that could do 2X.

    I'll be sticking mostly to contact prints when I get the box camera finished but I'd like the choice of bigger.
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Does your camera have a removable back? It wouldn't be too hard to make an enlarger back with a cold light head, like the Graflarger made for the Graflok back. You can find Aristo 1212 heads for a few hundred dollars used. If your camera doesn't have a removable back, you could find one of the less expensive older wooden portrait cameras without many movements to adapt as an enlarger.

    If you look at Ansel Adams' _The Print_ you can see the horizontal enlarger he made out of an old process camera. The first back used an array of incandescent bulbs that could be controlled like an old contact printer and required some serious ventilation and cooling fans. Later he made a cold-light back for it.
     
  3. Robert

    Robert Member

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    I finally got a lens with enough coverage for 8x10 late last month. I was hoping for something with bigger coverage but you take whats given. The plan is to build a box camera around the lens. I'll have enough plywood left over from building the camera to build a second box for the enlarger. The camera I'm building will be 10x10 at least the enlarger could be just 8x10. It would seem just putting a light source in the back would work but I know things tend to turn out harder then they look-)
     
  4. SteveGangi

    SteveGangi Member

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    For months I've been thinking of doing a similar "adaptation" with my cameras, but one thing is stopping me (besides laziness), and that is I am not sure how to rig up the negative carrier. Would a store-bought one need to be hacksawed down? Would 2 pieces of glass and tape on one edge work as a carrier, or would I be in Newton ring hell? How about a modified picture frame? I thought about sacrificing a film holder but the resulting rough edges would be a disaster in the making.
     
  5. Robert

    Robert Member

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    I was just thinking of taking a film holder apart. I'm afraid to ask how much a store bought 8x10 negative holder is. Isn't anti-newton glass available? Making a negative holder doesn't seem like rocket science.
     
  6. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    You can use two sheets of glass--anti-newton glass on top and plain glass on the bottom. You can order anti-newton glass from this site:

    http://www.stephenshuart.com/
     
  7. Robert

    Robert Member

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    Thats a better price then the place I found-)
     
  8. frank

    frank Subscriber

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    I have thought of something like this for a few years but haven't acted unpon it yet. I can think of 2 different approaches. First, I could use a very old and solid medium format enlarger I bought at a garage sale for $12 and use the base and columb. I'd remove the medium format light source, condensers, negative stage and lens stage, and mount an old Burke and James view camera in their place, and build a light source box to illuminate the negative held by a modified sheet film holder. This would yield a traditional styled enlarger.

    The other way at this problem is a horizontal arrangement of the lightsource box/view camera with no baseboard or columb, and to simply line this up with a vertically held piece of photographic paper. The enlargement is contolled by simply moving the 2 units closer or farthur apart. Obviously there would be some alignment concerns that would have to be addressed, perhaps with a track that one or the other unit could follow.

    I prefer this second approach for its simplicity and flexibility and for the fact that the negative would be held by the film carrier up on edge so no sagging is induced by the position of the negative. A drawback would be the large footprint of this contraption, but it need not be a permanent installation, rather, a collection of units to be assembled as the need arises.

    Because I'm poor and cheap, I would look for an adaptation for the light source as well. Sure a cold light head would do the trick, but so would a commercially available large format enlarger! Heat would be a problem with incandescent lights. Has anyone ever tried flourescent tubes? A sheet of milk plexiglass could farther difuse the light source and prevent hotspots.

    What do you think? Just contact print, right?
     
  9. Robert

    Robert Member

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    My plan is to use the utility table that I have. It's basically a 5' long metal table with a wooden top on it. The baseboard will be clamped to the end of the table. Need to make sure it's solid but worse case I could rig something to keep it from flexing. For aligning the actual enlarger all I'm planning on is two pieces of wood the right size clamped to the table. The box of the enlarger will sit between those. Between the tabletop and the two side peices the only place the box could go is up and I'm counting on gravity to deal with that-)

    I'm wondering if the image will hit the table. Actually thinking about it I sure it will. I guess just stacking something under the box would deal with that. Or building in some legs on the box to keep it up. The simple thing would be to have the camera on the edge of the table and to project against the wall.

    When not in use everything would unclamp and get stored easily enough. Just a bit of setup and cleanup time.
     
  10. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    If at all interested, I encountered this site some time ago. This may be of help to those who are inclined to manufacture their own enlarger.

    http://www.cyberbeach.net/~dbardell/

    I see that this fellow sells plans for the enlarger as well as a variety of other photo equipment. Good luck.

    Regards,
    Donald Miller
     
  11. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    If you happen to luck on to an old graphic arts copy camera, either horizontal or vertical, these can be adapted for enlarging. I'm thinking the smaller vertical type would be easier to handle, having a smaller footprint. Often the copyboard would have a transparency unit under the copy mat, uncovered you could make a print on fast paper with no modifications to the camera, simply place the negative-which could be up to 16x20 size- onto the copy board and put the print paper on the vacuum back inside the camera and expose it. I used to use these for a living so I can attest to the ease of use. Many of these were autofocus design and most have a ground glass you can drop into the place of the vacuum board for critical focussing.
     
  12. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    Wow check out the link provided above. The cameras this guy has made up in the bush land of Ontario is amazing! While not the easiest to use I'm sure, it goes to show what a true craftsman can do, both mechanically and photographically.