Tell the truth. Is making a bellows a PIA

Discussion in 'Camera Building, Repairs & Modification' started by mark, Jun 29, 2005.

  1. mark

    mark Member

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    SO I got a bur up my nose and a beater 8x10 from jim to rebuild. The bellows is light tight but UUUUUUGGGGGGLLLLLLYYYYYY. SO I was thinking that a bellows for an 8x10 would be a chunk of money and then I thought about building one. I have been looking at sites and it seems rather straight forward but as I have learned in the past. Looks can be mighty deceiving.
     
  2. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Yup, they are a PIA, but when your done, you feel very satisfied..

    Have fun..

    Dave
     
  3. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Member

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  4. BradS

    BradS Member

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    PITA but worth it and if the end result isn't satisfying, your second one will be better.
     
  5. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    Well I am glad the burr is up your nose and not another nether part.... :smile:

    Hey, you gotta remember, the process does matter! Although I gotta say, it seems like a PITA and I am guessing by the time you learned how to do it well, you probably would have spent more than if you got it from camera bellows... :tongue:
     
  6. smieglitz

    smieglitz Member

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    I just built my first one and didn't consider it to be a PITA. It did take some forethought and a lot of horizontal space, but it went okay. The bellows I constructed was a square design, extends to 30" and collapses to 2" and has an inner opening of 9.5" square with an 11.5" square exterior. URLs for a couple pics of the completed bellows:

    completed bellows with form and Canon F1 for scale

    first bellows


    Here are my directions for the square bellows I built:

    http://my.net-link.net/BA/D5/jsmigiel/bellows.html

    Please note the above links to a draft webpage that needs some corrections to the figures as well as needing the inclusion of several additional figures to go along with the text. In its current state it does however have some hopefully useful links, lists of materials, design considerations, etc. I plan to revise it and post it in a few weeks once I can get access to my imaging computer back at work.

    Joe
     
  7. mark

    mark Member

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    I save the nether regions for burs of a more professional nature. My co-workers know when I got one, and they scatter

    Ahhh...But is it a process I wish to undertake? There is no way I could spend as much as Camera Bellows would charge. It is a toss up between making it and going with western bellows. They do great work-Used them to replace the bellows on my Galvin.

    It is clear that practice with paper is in order to save money on items.
     
  8. phfitz

    phfitz Member

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    Hi there,

    Mark,

    If you have a bellows it might be easier just to recover it, just carefully remove the outer cover and replace it. You could set up a plank like an ironing board and cut some foamcore to fit inside to hold it stretched out and glue down one side at a time. Some people have posted about 'Porter's Camera' darkroom cloth as being very usable.

    Just a thought.
     
  9. mark

    mark Member

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    Phfitz

    That is a heck of an idea. Can you explain more please. How do I seperate the two parts.
     
  10. phfitz

    phfitz Member

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    Hi Mark,

    Sorry for the late reply. Seperating the outer cover is fairly easy. Stretch out the bellows to it's full length and leave it stretched overnight. Dampen the outer skin with a water wet cloth, don't soak it. Start on the bottom side with the seam. Just take your time and work it off with a putty knife to lift it off the ribs. With the cover off you can replace any ribs that need it with poster board and a light coating of white glue on the new rib, don't want it to soak thru the inner lining. When you replace the outer skin, start at the top panel, then the two side panel, the bottom seamed panel is last. If you make the seam run almost diagonal across the bottom it won't pile-up when folded. Spray-on adhesive works well for the outer skin. Leave excess at the ends and trim after gluing.

    Take your time and good luck with it. No matter what, it WILL look better than duct tape;-)
     
  11. mark

    mark Member

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    Thanks Phfitz. That sounds like a great place to start. If I have other questions I will be sure to ask.
     
  12. nick mulder

    nick mulder Subscriber

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    just finished my first bellows - yep, its a chore indeed - especially a pyramid style (non-square) type - if your doin it mathematically there is only one other duplicate of each strip - takes aaaages to cut them all - the forming of the 'connection' in the bellows was the real PITA for me...

    take your time, and think about eveything thrice, especially before you cut anything...

    my second will be much better as I now know some tricks ...

    you've prob made yours by now ? anyway its good info for others (;

    good luck !
     
  13. phfitz

    phfitz Member

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    Hi there,

    nick mulder:
    "just finished my first bellows - yep, its a chore indeed - especially a pyramid style (non-square) type - if your doin it mathematically there is only one other duplicate of each strip - takes aaaages to cut them all -"

    Wait until you make a odd-size bellows (4x10 ; 8x20);-)). It's much easier just to draw it out full size and use standard size pleats (2 ribs=1 pleat) that way the corners match up. Just remember the growth rate from front to back X1/2 per panel AND the growth rate per pleat X1/2 per rib.

    Now to throw the monkey-wrench into it: if you use the same size pleats the full length it may bind on the frame with front tilt (Korona; Agfa/Ansco; converted Kodak 2D) and it will vignette in the rear SO you have to allow for an inside taper by changing the size of the pleats. Now you get to work with 3 tapers, inside and outside, front and back; AND how they fold-up. The math goes out the window at this point and you need to draw it out with a compass and fine graph paper.

    Yes, making a bellows is a major PITA but once the design is done, you can make 1,000 of them.
     
  14. nick mulder

    nick mulder Subscriber

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    there is a good load of math if you really want to think about it huh - I ended up with an ODE at one stage and good ol' root2 then decided ah crap just draw it out because my knife isn’t going to be cutting to that level of detail, and how exactly do you cut some thing to the length of a irrational number ?

    if you were mass producing them it would be a good idea... you could make a calc program in your PC to tell you the measurements for any front and rear size and start (or end) rib width- even go so far as to plot them out on a sheet for you with optimum use of cuts space on the sheet ...

    however - I haven’t seen reference to it but I used a little trick which although didn’t use the card efficiently it made placing them a breeze (resource = money, but so does time!) :

    I first made a quick 3 sides only bellows out of paper to make sure I got my measurements correct (turned out that bellows get larger when folded by ~one rib width) - one I had that I spray glued one of the sections directly onto the card, and then placed another piece of card under that and cut the slightly offset ribs deeply through it all,

    but heres the trick: I left them all in place and ran a long piece of electrical tape down the centre of them - once that was stuck on each (i.e. one piece on both) I cut off the outer bit much like the leftover bit around a sticker so I was left with the ribs only hanging off the tape... it looks like one of those wind chime things that spin around in the wind if you give it a small twist .. the reason i did this was so that I could simply lay this out on the material and no more placement would be necessary, it was in place already (;

    one issue tho: don’t stretch the tape as you apply it, or the ribs will all contract once they are free of the rest of the cardboard and your bellows will be smaller *^%%$ you say (yes this happened to me) - you could use a non-stretch tape, I just found electrical tape had the best tack (not too sticky)

    you now have the top and bottom (or left and right) done - you could glue another set on with a left over template from your earlier paper prototype but I simply offset the original one by one large rib and poked through the paper at the corner points to another two sheets of card below (making them 1mm longer to account for the offset and fudging the one missing rib) - I did all this before the tape thing btw...

    I hope this makes sense and it helps some people, if it doesn’t make sense now it prob will when you are making one, sorry I didn’t have a digital cam on hand when I was doin it -

    in any case, there are many ways to skin a cat and all the time I spent thinking about the best/fastest way to do it accounted about for the time spent saved in doing that way so I can up even! thinking probably with a superior product than if I hadn't tho... pix in the tech gallery soon
     
  15. Kevin Roach

    Kevin Roach Member

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    bellows material

    I rebuilt a couple bellows for a crown graphic. I tried to use that Porter's dark cloth but had a very difficult time with it. any glue I tried to use didn't stick well. maybe a good rubbing with alcohol will make it stickier but as it comes nothing stuck to it.

    The second bellows used cloth from an old changing bag. That worked much better. It's also thinner so is easier to fold.

    Also, most designs show individual pieces of cardstock for the supports. I cut the supports in four long pieces with just a narrow strip holding the individual parts together. It still folded properly but was much easier to handle.