C67 enlarger alignment
Does anyone have experience doing it?
I messed around with it a bit last night and ended up removing parts by accident and spending the rest of the night putting it all back together!
Then I found one adjustment point but it affects the negative stage only; not the lens stage. The lens stage is still off, front to back, by about a mm or 2mm.
Also, anyone have a lead on a reasonably priced laser alignment tool?
Any suggestions are appreciated. I've almost only ever enlarged to moderate sizes (11x14) using Leitz 35mm (V35 and Valoy II) enlargers that don't require alignment, so this is all new to me.
Google searches didn't turn up much in the way of guidance for this particular enlarger. Omega C67.
Sometimes an enlarger baseboard becomes warped over time, tilting the column in relation to the baseboard. I've had to shim the foot of columns to restore alignment. A laser alignment tool is one of many methods of checking alignment. I prefer to use a clear negative, abraded with coarse and fine sandpaper, as an alignment target. It is cheap and convenient, and works very well in condenser enlargers.
Thanks very much, Jim. I was just using a carpenter's level and then looking thorugh the focuser at each corner. I hadn't heard of the scratched negative method. That's a great idea.
Originally Posted by Jim Jones
What kind of enlarger do you use and about how often do you have to align it?
I did adjust the column a tad bit as well...no shims, just alternative tensions between the front and back (sort of like one would do with a bicycle seat to adjust the tilt, if that makes sense)
I use an ancient deJur 4x5 enlarger that has also been adapted negatives down to 35mm. It has a wide range of adjustments. This permits distortion control, but unfortunately can also get out of adjustment. I occasionally use an Omega C700 which lacks adjustments, but has never needed adjustment. On it or other other enlargers the negative holders could be slightly adjusted by shimming them with duct tape.
There are two phillips screws (see photo) on either side of the column. These are screwed into short "channels" inside which the loosened screws can move to adjust.
The lever that raises and lowers the negative stage covers one of the screws on one side.
Maybe this (admittedly crude) diagram will help someone in the future.
Some more info for future searchers of the APUG knowledge base. I've gleaned a considerable amount from it so now am trying to give back!
I found a way to align this enlarger that is fairly simple and quick. I don't have a laser alignment tool so I can't say that it's exactly aligned but I spent some time shimming the baseboard and using a level to ensure that the easel is perfectly, well, level.
then I took an overexposed negative and a brand-new razor. I etched X's in different places around the negative, starting with the center then the corners and edges. I have a Bestwell magnasight that works very well at allowing you to see the grain come into focus but it doesn't quite allow you to view from the corners. With the negative loaded and the enlarger head raised up almost to the top of the column, I placed the grain focuser on the edges and as far out toward each corner as I could and still see the grain.
I lowered the enlarger head and laid my level long-ways across the easel, ensureing that it was perfectly level. It stands about two inches off the easel. I loosened the four adjustment screws I mentioned in my last post and lowered the enlarger head until the lens stage just came in contact with the level. Then I lowered it just a hair more. This had the effect of slightly moving the four adjustment screws in unison. Then I tightened each of the four screws and double checked to make sure that the level and lens stage were still parallel. They were.
I raised the enlarger with my test negative still in it and the grain was sharp on all edges and in the center. Hopefully I will have a chance to give it the real test, making prints, tonight.
The lens stage and negative stage have to be parallel. Baseboard alignment to the other two is not so critical.