Started the build of a new camera...

Discussion in 'Camera Building, Repairs & Modification' started by vickersdc, Apr 2, 2010.

  1. vickersdc

    vickersdc Member

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    Hi,

    I've started on the build of my camera - a 9x12 plate camera. I recently bought one of these off of that auction site, and it turns out the bellows were shot; not entirely surprising really.

    However, it gave me the impetus to use that camera as a template for a new one. This will allow me to use my existing 9x12 plate holders and ground glass screen.

    In the image below, I've cut out the comb joints with my bandsaw (I've since made a comb jointing jig to use with the dado cutter). The other pieces form part of the back (still need to make the rear sliders that accept the plate holders). That thick black line is the velvet light trap, sitting in a 1mm deep recess - made using the little milling machine I now have!

    Nothing is glued together here - just pushed together, or resting on each other.

    [​IMG]

    Next step is to make the lower back piece and the runners - that should complete the panels that take the holders...
     
  2. Andrew Moxom

    Andrew Moxom Member

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    cool!
     
  3. vickersdc

    vickersdc Member

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    Step #2:

    Next step on building the 9x12 camera... making the bottom of the rear standard on to which the plate holders will contact.

    As you can see, I used the little milling machine to make this part as it's reasonably 'complex' and I needed to accurately cut depths of 1mm and 1.5mm. This is the second piece that has a recess for a velvet light trap.

    [​IMG]

    The complete rear standard, with the runners for the plate holders, is currently clamped up after being glued. So the next stage, once the glue has fully hardened, will be to sand it all down and move on to the front standard.

    Cheers,
    David.
     
  4. vickersdc

    vickersdc Member

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    Next stage: gluing the rear standard

    Now that the rear standard has been glued and sanded, I've been able to take a couple of snaps of it.

    [​IMG]
    Lower rear panel (the piece shown on the mill earlier), with velvet light trap.

    [​IMG]
    Upper rear panel showing the shaped end to accept the top of the plate holder, and top velvet light trap that corresponds to the velvet fitted in the plate holder.

    [​IMG]
    Completed rear standard.

    [​IMG]
    Rear standard with plate holder fitted.

    [​IMG]
    Inside view of rear standard with plate holder fitted (darkslide removed to show exposed plate).
     
  5. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    Nice....really nice!
     
  6. largeformat pat

    largeformat pat Member

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    Will watch with interest.
    Pat
     
  7. BradS

    BradS Member

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    Very nicely done.

    Where did you get that cute little mill?
     
  8. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Subscriber

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    I'm glad I get to see some pics. Though I would have liked some pics of Fiona criticising you after painting the hallway. Guess I'll take what I can get. ;p

    Keep it coming.
     
  9. vickersdc

    vickersdc Member

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    I wanted a small mill, mainly because I just don't have either the funds or the space for a 'grown-up' one! I settled on a Proxxon MF70, searched around on the Internet and found the cheapest place was to buy via Amazon (UK).

    Funnily enough Chris, Fiona told me the other day that a small amount of the paint in the hallway had reacted with whatever was underneath, and had started to 'bubble' up... therefore "it's about time it got spruced up...".

    My heart sank.

    Cheers.
     
  10. vickersdc

    vickersdc Member

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    Well, it's been a good day for camera building today! I decided to build a sliding box camera to start with, and as I'd already built the rear standard, I needed to build the inner box to fit it to.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The inner box is all comb jointed, the next step was to glue it to the rear standard...
     
  11. vickersdc

    vickersdc Member

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    ...and so, the previously built rear standard was glued to the inner box...

    [​IMG]

    The front standard (box) was then constructed and trial fitted...

    [​IMG]

    The next step was to jury rig the lens (as I didn't get time to build the lens assembly), just to test all was well...
     
  12. vickersdc

    vickersdc Member

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    To rig the lens up, I used some mount card (white on one side, black on the other), cut a 32mm hole in it, and stuck it to the front standard. The 135mm aplanat lens was then screwed in...

    [​IMG]

    I then laid the camera on the floor, slid the ground glass into place, set the shutter to 'T' and fired it. This is what I saw...

    [​IMG]

    Still, there's a way to go yet... I need to build the lens assembly and the base-board, fit some kind of locking device to the rear standard and then I'll be just about done.

    Oh, and then I'll have take it apart, blacken the inside and varnish the outside.

    :0)
     
  13. jon.oman

    jon.oman Member

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    This is an interesting project! Since this is basically a box sliding within a box to focus the image, how do you make it light tight? Can't light get through the space between the boxes? Do you have to make some sort of baffle? If there is no baffle, won't the fit be too tight to allow the boxes to slide?

    Jon
     
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  15. vickersdc

    vickersdc Member

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    You're asking all the questions that I was wondering about! You don't need any baffles, as long as the front standard slides over the rear section; any light entering would have to turn through 180deg to reach the film holder. Even when this sort of camera was made in the 1840's & 1850's, no baffle was used.

    However, you can have a slightly sloppy fit and then use felt on the inside walls of the front standard if you want. I might even do it to this one as the boxes are currently quite a tight fit and don't slide smoothly (and the felt option might just solve that).

    These look like really simple cameras to make, but as I've found out, they're actually pretty difficult - especially with the little 3mm comb joints I used! Your measurements have to be spot on as the rear standard fits over the inner box, but the front standard must be a sliding fit.

    Anyway, it was a great way to spend the day! Now I need to get some time to complete it properly.
     
  16. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    Have a look at my panoramic camera link (below) for my cheating method.

    Actually, yours look good but I assume they were very time consuming to cut.


    Steve.
     
  17. Chazzy

    Chazzy Member

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    What happens to these sliding box cameras when it gets hot and humid and the wood swells? Is the trick to select wood which is immune from swelling?
     
  18. vickersdc

    vickersdc Member

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    Not sure - I'll let you know after it's rained and the sun comes out!
     
  19. vickersdc

    vickersdc Member

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    Whilst making some brass knobs for a contact printing frame that I'm building for someone, I thought I'd take the opportunity to make a couple of smaller locking knobs for my camera.

    I made two of these for the camera - one to lock the rise & fall movement on the lens panel assembly, and another to lock the focusing on the rear standard.

    [​IMG]
     
  20. vickersdc

    vickersdc Member

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    This prototype camera moves on apace! I've made the front sub-assembly that will allow the front lens assembly to rise and fall. That meant fitting a frame into the front of the front standard (box), inserting a locking screw and milling a square hole to accept the locking screw.

    [​IMG]
    The front view showing the frame and locking screw / knob. This will have runners down either side of it to allow the lens panel to rise/fall.

    [​IMG]
    The locking screw is a brass M4 pan-head screw, that has had the head ground to form two flat surfaces. This head will then fit into a milled recess in the back of the sub-assembly...

    [​IMG]
    ...and here you can make out the recess with the locking screw fitted.​

    I've just managed to sneak into the workshop for 15 minutes so that I could make the front runners. The front end of the camera is starting to take shape now that I have cut and installed the front runners. These will allow the lens panel to slide up and down, providing rise / fall movements.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 14, 2010
  21. jon.oman

    jon.oman Member

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    Rise and fall on the horizontal plane?

    Jon
     
  22. vickersdc

    vickersdc Member

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    For reasons best known to myself, I wanted a 'landscape' camera (as opposed to a vertical, portrait, camera). So, yep, rise and fall on the horizontal plane.
     
  23. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Subscriber

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    Coming along very well indeed, David. I had toyed with the idea of a sliding box camera before landing Erie's homemade 4x5. I might have to revisit it at some point as my brother in law works with wood when he's not tying flies. For me.
     
  24. vickersdc

    vickersdc Member

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    Hi Chris, hope all is well with you and the family.

    Yep, it's coming along, next tasks are to cut the lens panel and build the baseboard. I'm torn between cutting the hole for the Kodak 105mm lens off of the 620 folder, or hanging on and getting some old brass lens... somehow, it just doesn't look right with the Kodak on it ;0)

    And for my piece-de-resistance, I've just made a piston (toying with the idea of making a pneumatic shutter) - pictures later...

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 15, 2010
  25. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Subscriber

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    My Dad was a machinist by trade. Learned it in the Navy aboard the USS Orion (AS18). Did it for 41 years. Nice milling on that piece. I think he would have been proud. And, yes, I think an old brassy would look good on the front. No, not a 2-wood.
     
  26. jon.oman

    jon.oman Member

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    Any update on this project? I sure would like to see the completed camera!

    Jon