What to use for plexiglass viewing screen ?

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by smieglitz, Jul 20, 2006.

  1. smieglitz

    smieglitz Subscriber

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    Does anyone have experience making a plexiglass viewing screen to replace a regular ground glass ? What materials (sandpaper grit, grinding compound, etc.,) should be used?

    I just returned from the field with an 8x10 broken ground glass and would like to try something a bit more hardy. I'll be using an f/4 lens so I think brightness will be OK if I make it a fine enough texture. Erno?

    Joe
     
  2. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    If you can find a screen printing company near to you who print labels and nameplates, you can probably convince them to give you an offcut of fine textured polyester or polycarbonate sheet.
    This has a gloss finish on one side and a matt texture on the other.



    Steve.
     
  3. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    One idea that came up a few months ago, was to use brake cleaning fluid on the plexi then wash it right off, I have been told this will frost the plexi, one of the previous memebers here was telling us about that way of making a screen out of plexi, just make sure you use a thick enough piece of plexi or you will get flex in the screen which could create focus problems.

    Dave
     
  4. matt miller

    matt miller Subscriber

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    Bruce Wehman provides a plexiglass GG with his cameras. You might contact him and ask him how he does it or if he'd sell one to you. I use it on my Wehman with a 210 6.8 Angulon and it seems bright enough to me. It is much better than the glass version that he also provides.
     
  5. User Removed

    User Removed Guest

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    In what ways is it better?
     
  6. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    I have done some experiments with plexi and have not been able to produce a better screen on plexi, than I can with the glass we use, but have been able to make screens out of plexi...not something I would sell, but usuable in a pinch.

    Dave
     
  7. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    In a presentation on field techniques (and what to do in case of a disaster) at the 2005 Large Format Conference, Richard Ritter suggested that if you break your ground glass and need an emergency replacement, purchase a cheap picture frame at Walmart (they're everywhere), remove the plastic "glazing", and scratch it using either an emery board or sandpaper.
     
  8. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    One thing I have also used, I carry a roll of scotch tape the kind that looks frosted, and have coated clear glass with it to make a quick emergancy glass if needed, basically anything you can find to break the gloss on glass or plexi will make a screen that can be used, but it will be very coarse and pretty dim, but will be ususable in an emergancy.

    Dave
     
  9. matt miller

    matt miller Subscriber

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    The glass screen that came with my Wehman is pretty grainy and uneven when compared to the plexiglass. The plexi is smoother, brighter, more even, and lighter than the glass that came with the Wehman. I need to order a Satin Snow to replace the glass version that came with the camera, I just haven't done that yet.
     
  10. Amund

    Amund Member

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    The glass GG that comes with the camera is just a regular run-of-the-mill GG, the Satinsnow GG I put in is much better. I usually have the plexi GG with me as a backup.
     
  11. wfwhitaker

    wfwhitaker Member

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    P95 from Tap Plastics is matte finish on one side and is available as thin as 1/8". It makes a respectable ground glass which can be used as a back-up.
     
  12. Donsta

    Donsta Member

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    Bruce uses a "stick on" film to make the plexi GGs. I have one on my 11x14 - it takes a pound off it and works just fine.
     
  13. papagene

    papagene Membership Council Council

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    For the price of what Dave charges for his SatinSnow gg why go through all the bother of making your own... unless it is for an emegency use.
    Dave produces a very fine product.

    gene
     
  14. danschmidt

    danschmidt Member

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    I don't think anyone has mentioned that the plexi won't break. That is why i keep it on my Wehman.
     
  15. Ray Heath

    Ray Heath Member

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    just go to your local variety store (Woolworths, Kmart, etc), check out the stationery section for A4 plastic storage boxes, some are thick clear plastic frosted on one side
     
  16. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Actually Plexi will break, we were able to break it with pretty easy stress in testing we did on it, and also found that it will flex in various conditions of heat and cold, in the temps we get here in Montana during the winter, it can become quite brittle..

    Dave
     
  17. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    I agree, Amund. I immediately installed a Satin Snow GG on my Wehman - the Satin Snow GG is much superior to both the Plexi and the Wehman GG. I normally don't even carry the Plexi GG in the Kelty backpack that I use as a camera case.

    I also have Satin Snow GGs on my 5x7 Deardorff, my 4x5 Shen Hao and my 2.25 X 3.25 Crown Graphic.
     
  18. BBarlow690

    BBarlow690 Member

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    Richard Ritter loves Satinsnow glass, and is using it on his new ULF cameras, including some 16x20 backs he's been making.

    He uses a piece of plexiglas as a GG protector on the camera, held in place with Velcro dots - removable easily and less likely lost than the clamshell protectors. That piece, oversize, serves as an emergency GG when scuffed with the 400 grit sandpaper he carries in his tool kit. Yup, an inexpensive picture frame from Wally World works, too, in a pinch

    Bruce Barlow
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 10, 2006