Plan for an enlarger bench

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by bluedog, Aug 12, 2011.

  1. bluedog

    bluedog Member

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    I am looking to build a purpose built bench for my 4 x5 enlarger. Are there any plans out there to assist me with ideas?
    Thanks
    Greg
     
  2. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi greg

    do you plan to have a super stable immovable bench ?

    what i did was get 4x4x8's and cut them into 3.5' lengths ( standard table top height ) and i used
    2 / leg ( double legged the table )
    then i took 2x4s and bolted 2 boards across ( straps ) from 4x4 to 4x4 the size of table i wanted.
    i made sure to have to top 2x4 at the top of each 4x4 ...
    i stood the legs up ..
    then i took 1/2 inch plywood cut to the right size and attached the tabletop.
    you can lay countertop ontop of that if you want ...
    it will hold a lot of weight ... and it won't move
     
  3. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    John,

    Can you take a picture of that and post? I'm thinking of doing something similar. Visual would help me.
     
  4. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    I have also been thinking about building a bench/trolley for my enlarger. My biggest challenge is it will need to be easily moveable, must be able to drop down to get the column through the door and then lifted up to a nice working height (I would prefer it to be relatively high, to save my back). It probably needs to be lifted around 150mm

    I have been thinking of buying a second hand sewing machine cabinet and salvaging the lifting unit out of it.

    If this is the kind of thing you are after, I could get my ideas down on paper and work from there?
     
  5. Ian C

    Ian C Member

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  6. Ian C

    Ian C Member

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    A useful design consideration is the maximum negative-to-print distance available.

    Knowing that and the formats and focal lengths of the lenses you plan on using determines the maximum projection size possible.

    You can use that as a guide as you design your enlarging table for the greatest versatility in making prints as large as the projection distance allows.

    Maximum projection size can be calculated as a function of negative-to-print distance and focal length. See this thread for details:

    http://www.apug.org/forums/forum41/94772-how-determine-max-enlarging-size-my-setup-2.html
     
  7. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    Lately I have been building some things with the 'gridbeam' system, nominal 2x2 inch stock with holes drilled through at intervals equal to 1/2 the actual material thickness (3/4" for nominal 2x2" stock). You can use metric simply by getting square stock and then spacing holes at half the stock thickness. Gridbeam 'sticks' are then connected through the holes with 'joint connector bolts', and wherever three sticks in x, y, z planes join together, the connections become self-squaring and rigid. You can also put casters in the holes, put a skin of thin ply or angled pieces to make it even more rigid, or do a lot of other tricks. The real advantage of this system is that it's like an adult Erector or Meccano set that can be easily taken apart and adjusted or rebuilt into a different configuration as your needs change.

    Google 'gridbeam'. There's a book out that's pretty good for ideas.

    A drill press is helpful when making the gridbeams, but a hand drill and patience will suffice. Sometimes I only drill the holes necessary for a given plan, and drill other holes at the proper spacing as needed. I'll attach a photo of some darkroom drawers I built with only the necessary holes drilled. You could do something similar and use the drawer supports as shelf supports, with the enlarger attached to an appropriate board at the top, giving you the adjustable drop table shown in some of the other plans linked to in other posts. It would also give you storage space below the enlarger.

    Lee
     

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  8. Grainy

    Grainy Member

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    This is my DIY trolly for my Durst Laborator 1200. Works great.
    [​IMG]

    I'm planning to modify it and build a height adjustable baseboard so I can stand when making prints, now I'm sitting on a chair. I built the trolly with maximum height and width so I could get the trolly through the doors.
     
  9. daleeman

    daleeman Subscriber

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    Nice job Lee, looks like this would be a great way to build a quick print dryer too.
     
  10. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    I built my enlarger stand at 31" high, so it would be easier to reach the focus knob on my Omega D-5 Pro Lab at full height. I used 2x2 legs and 1/2" plywood for the base and two thicknesses of 3/4" ply for the top. I made the top the same dimension as the enlarger base. I still have the option of adding casters to allow it to roll if I choose, and it will still fit through the doorway.
     
  11. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    http://jason.philbrook.us/gallery3/var/albums/2009year/album151/DSC4780.jpg

    I made mine out of 2x4's and plywood. Each side is a rectangle-A shape. A rectangle of 2x4's support the plywood top, which received several coats of poly. A piece of plywood about 8" high was added to the back for side-side stability. It's not attached to the wall to reduce vibration. The blower goes on the wall shelf rather than the table to isolate vibration as well. I'm not a carpenter, but I've taken a couple shop classes so I can pretend to be one. It's very sturdy, but not pretty.

    I built it small enough to fit through the doorway. I also installed an eyehook in the ceiling, which I used to raise the enlarger to swap the table under it with this one. Now the hook has a rope that suspends the air hose coming out of the enlarger head.

    I'm thinking of adding drawers below at some point or getting a rolling tool cabinet to put underneath.
     
  12. yeknom02

    yeknom02 Member

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    Wait, can you actually take an enlarger off its baseboard and bolt it to something else? Wouldn't that make the alignment all screwy?

    You guys are making me think about making a little rolly-cart myself - it would make hauling the enlarger into the bathroom a real breeze.
     
  13. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    Yeah, you can.... but you better make sure it's sturdy. Yes, it does screw up alignment a bit so you'll have to realign.

    I replaced my baseboard from stock Omega D-2 to double 3/4" plywood. It's a lot more sturdy but that caused front and back alignment to go off by a bit by sagging a bit less. It's not hard to do with proper tool but without it, forget it. I ended up borrowing one to do mine.
     
  14. yeknom02

    yeknom02 Member

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    Someone once told me that a Beseler 23C (my enlarger) is virtually impossible to re-align. Maybe I'll just put it on top of a roll-cart, then.
     
  15. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I don't know about Beseler, but trying to align Omega D2 was like trying drink a hot coffee while balancing on a beach ball....
     
  16. Ronald Moravec

    Ronald Moravec Member

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    Make sure to accommodate enlarger height. To get a decent stand up working table height plus a 4x5 enlarger you need a tall ceiling. To me, there is nothing worse than working on a bench too short. I ended up with a 24" table and a chair.

    Make the bench legs from 2x4`s first by making an H, then a cross piece across the top. Duplicate for the other side.

    Now join the two sets of H`s with 2x4`s across the top and you have a table without a top. However the table will parallelogram so you need to add diagonal bracing on three sides.

    Use decking screws, no nails ever.

    Because the enlarger is heavy, I put 2x4 planks over the whole top, but 4 would do. Cover with 3/4 plywood. Trim off the open edges of the plywood is a nice touch.

    Follow this and two men and a boy will be able to stand on it.

    All this too much?, buy two saw horses and make a nice ladder type top 2x4 frame and plywood top. Make it wide enough for paper safe, timers, grain magnifier etc. 3/4 feet about right.

    http://www.amazon.com/Stanley-60582-Folding-Sawhorse-Twin-Pack/dp/B000MJ180K

    The frame is important so you do not sag. Use 2x4 vertically as there is more support.

    A nice touch is two level top and cut a recess in the top for the baseboard. That way you get a nice smooth table top. Make the baseboard 1/16" proud to the top.

    Good luck
     
  17. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    here are some off the cuff photos of the bench i made

    it is pretty sturdy -
    i have 2 omega enlargers and a durst on there, and sometimes i have to stand on it too ...
    one of the views shows a drying rack i made
    really easy ... just plywood i have for 3 sides ... and
    cheap lathe wood used both for the rests for the screens
    AND what the screens are stapled on ..
    a staplegun works wonders sometimes ...
    john
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 12, 2011
  18. bluedog

    bluedog Member

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    Thanks guys, that has given me a good start.
    Greg
     
  19. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    What material is that baseboard/counter top? I am looking to source something similar for my LPL 670xl thats missing a baseboard.
     
  20. Smudger

    Smudger Member

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    Lordy ,this thread reminds me of Pop.Mechanics magazines in the 60's : all sorts of neat stuff.
    You certainly can remove a 23C from the baseboard, but an better method is to cut the baseboard off , a decent distance forward of the chassis feet. This gives a useful mounting foot so that you can bolt the big fellow onto your chosen bench ,using washers under the bolts you get from hardware stores,so the whole beast is "bubble level" . If you use firm,but compressible washers : adjustable alignment.
    Consider mounting near the edge of your bench -the cut off baseboard can be used ,if removable allowing for floor projection.
     
  21. Leigh B

    Leigh B Member

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    How about a non-table? Mount the enlarger to the wall and build a drop-table below it, like this:

    [​IMG]

    I can remove the table completely and put the easel on the floor for max prints.

    The table has three suspension points (rather than four) and adjustments to set it level.

    - Leigh
     
  22. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    This is what I did for years. I mounted two enlargers side by side on a fixed narrow platform by the wall then had a wider bench (otherwise similar to Leigh & others and the magazine article) which fitted flush with the work bench, or could be fited in two other position to allow greater enlargements.

    Ian
     
  23. Chris Douglas

    Chris Douglas Member

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    Bluedog,
    Thanks for starting this thread as I am interested in building a table too.

    Ian,
    The first example you show is almost exactly what I had in mind. My darkroom has a rather low ceiling so I have the Beseler 23 on a low table. After a session my back is killing me. The example table will allow me to raise up the enlarger where its more comfortable for the usuall 8X10 work, but still make big blowups by dropping the easel. Thanks for the posting.
    Best regards,
    Chris