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 (;
"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.
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 isnít 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 havenít seen reference to it but I used a little trick which although didnít 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: donít 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 doesnít make sense now it prob will when you are making one, sorry I didnít 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
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.