Wet Plate Back for 4x5 Chamonix

Discussion in 'Camera Building, Repairs & Modification' started by Andrew Moxom, Feb 15, 2010.

  1. Andrew Moxom

    Andrew Moxom Member

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    Over the last few weeks, I have been busy fabricating a wet plate plate holder for my Chamonix. It's a work in progress, but I am over 2/3 rds of the way into it. The most difficult aspect was recreating a film back that fit the rear standard of the Chamonix, and more importantly, takes the brunt of the chemical stains!! That piece is done and the attached picture shows the new back, and the new ground glass frame. As I did not want to convert a 4x5 film holder for quarter plate, I made it 4 1/2" square. It maximizes lens coverage (approx 7" Darlot) and easily fits inside the square dimensions of the Chamonix rear standard and inside measurements of the bellows.

    The photo shows the final trim piece on top and I plan on making one for the top and left hand side so they are flush on all 3 sides. Brass hinges on the left vertical side will finish that piece off and allow me to swing the GG out of the way. Then I will make a replica of the GG frame (which will be the plate holder) only a little fatter on the back side so I have room for a black phenolic resin rear door. I have some Garolite black phenolic ordered for that. The plate holder will fit inside the space the GG occupies when hinged open and have brass tabs locking it down.

    I should have it completed this week and will post more pictures then.

    A.
     

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  2. Colin Corneau

    Colin Corneau Subscriber

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    Geez, and all I've done is hope and wish. Quite the handyman! Looking forward to seeing your images, Andrew.
     
  3. Andrew Moxom

    Andrew Moxom Member

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    Colin, well the Black Garolite sheets showed up from McMaster-Carr today so I now have darkslide material AND material for the rear plate door! I have no excuses to not get this thing completed during the remainder of the week, then I'll focus my time on a portable darkbox... :smile:
     
  4. bill schwab

    bill schwab Advertiser Advertiser

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    Nice going Andy!
     
  5. Colin Graham

    Colin Graham Member

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    Looks like it grew there! Nice job.
     
  6. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    Looks like some nice design and workmanship, I'll follow the work as you post it.

    Curt
     
  7. Andrew Moxom

    Andrew Moxom Member

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    New updated photos of Chamonix wet plate construction

    Okay, I made significant progress this week with the plate holder itself, including the light trap....

    For the light trap, I used 1/8" stainless steel tubing and routed out a channel in the thicker side of the plate holder with a 1/8" inch bit. Then I routed out a small U channel on the underside of the trap cover with a small coving bit and glued in some black suede. The two springs at each end were thin piano wire bent sharply so that 1 1/2" goes into the tube and the little legs stick down. Now comes the fiddly bit of holding it all down while the cover is screwed on. The good thing about having screws on this side is to allow for service and cleaning of any gunk that is likely to get in there. Next will be making locking tabs to secure the platholder into the rear camera frame, and rear door and locking tabs for that aswell. Then everything inside will get a seal coat of matt poly, and then painted flat black. The outside will get a poly finish.

    The darkslide is 1/32" XX Garolite phenolic from McMaster-Carr. Looks like regular darkslide material. Now I've got to cut the slide down and add a handle... Easy peasey lemon squeezy.... as they say.

    Next I have to build up the back of the plate holder with a door that secures that plate from the back. It's all down hill from here!!
     

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    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 17, 2010
  8. bill schwab

    bill schwab Advertiser Advertiser

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    Looking very well done, Andrew! You should be proud. I bet it will work like a champ. Is this a 4x5 camera? Either that or your fingers have gotten huge! :smile:
     
  9. Andrew Moxom

    Andrew Moxom Member

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    Yeah, Bill, I grew a bit since I saw you :smile:... It is a 4x5 Chamonix camera that this back is being made for.... 4 1/2" square plates make use of the internal dimensions of the rear standard. I could have gone a tinny bit larger, but the frame for the GG and the plate holder would be a LOT harder to make and be strong so this is it for now. Once I get the guts of the light trap varnished and painted, I"ll paint the inside of the darkslide track as well. Then after making the rear door, I will test how light tight this thing is with printing paper cut to size by leaving it in bright light for a while. Should be a good test. Fingers crossed it needs no further tweaking!

    A.
     
  10. Andrew Moxom

    Andrew Moxom Member

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    Okay, this sucker is ready to start making plates!!! I finished it up over the weekend. Now for a darkbox.
     

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  11. deisenlord

    deisenlord Member

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    Wow, just cool as hell Andy, well done!
     
  12. dlin

    dlin Member

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    Sweet! You are one handy dude. Looks great.
     
  13. Andrew Moxom

    Andrew Moxom Member

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    Thanks guys. I cannot wait to test drive this rig soon. I plan on ordering the wet plate kit from B&S sometime in the next few weeks and will build a darkbox ready for when that arrives. It's still a little cold here for starting this, but you know me, I am too impatient!!

    A.
     
  14. Marek Warunkiewicz

    Marek Warunkiewicz Member

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    Really interested in your darkbox ideas.
     
  15. Mike1234

    Mike1234 Inactive

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    I'll bet you could sell a few of these if you could make them affordable enough. No, I don't do wet plate. :smile:
     
  16. Jeff Bannow

    Jeff Bannow Member

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    I know I'd buy one!
     
  17. deltafour

    deltafour Member

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    Great job! I'm still trying to figure out how you made the channel to hold the glass plate in and the slide?

    Delta
     
  18. Toffle

    Toffle Member

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    Great work, Andy! Of course that means your Chamonix is going to end up smelling/looking like... like... the inside of Bill's trailer, but good one. :smile:
     
  19. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    wow ..
    that is really nice andy !
    after having seen that pinhole you fabricated
    i knew that if you ever made one of these backs it
    was going to look really nice ...

    looking forward to the plates !
    john