I'm looking for ideas:
Last year I built a Bender 4x5 and loved the building process and the huge negatives and chromes (coming from 135). The light weight is a plus but the camera seems to take forever to set up in the field. I got frustrated and ended up trying TLRs (love 'em) but really want a 4x5 so I got a Crown Graphic. The Crown is practically a point and shoot compared to the Bender but the Crown weighs a ton and has next to no movements. I could get a Tachihara or Shen Hao but I know a machinist with a metal milling machine who is willing to help me out with a new rail.
Here is my simple rail design made from aluminum: 1/4" thick, 12" long and 1 or 1 1/2" wide. A hole tapped in the middle so I can attach a quick release plate. Two closed channels running lengthwise milled in the middle, widthwise, just for and aft of the quick release plate, so I can run a bolt through the standard holder, through the channel and into a tightening knob ( it will look more like an elongated 8 than an elongated H when viewed form top or bottom). That way I can slide my standard holders to focus. I would have to have a jig made to keep the standard holders square to the rail while I focus. My other idea is a single channel for focusing and instead of the second channel I could have holes tapped every inch or so that would accept the bolt to hold down the rear standard if I want to focus with the front standard (or hold down the front standard if I want to slide the rear standard to focus).
When I hike with the Bender I take the camera off the rail riders and it takes me a while to get the camera back on the rail riders when I want to set up a shot. Even though I don't have a lot of play with the rail riders and the friction focus works I think there must be a better way.
Any thoughts or ideas?