Thanks Jamie and Len,
Butkus if great - first place I went, but thank you for the link. People spend a lot for manuals, when a small donation will get them what they want.
Well, there is brass and then there is brass. The trick is to get the metals matched and all playing nice. I am no expert at this, but the fact that yours works fine, Jamie, is useful information. Stainless (also many types) can be a bit of a challenge to the duffer (me). I'll pm Ron and see what he thinks.
Thanks again guys.
A Cirkut camera has long been on my list of dream cameras. I love panos and I love contact prints. They were made for me!
Originally Posted by DougGrosjean
But I've wondered what you were all using for film. I know next to nothing about Cirkut film, but I wonder if it is something Simon at Ilford would consider a run of. What thickness is the base? Is there a "common" spool? Does the film have a backing paper? If so, is it like 120, over the whole roll, or like 220, just at the end(s)?
Edumicate me, please.
"I only wanted Uncle Vern standing by his new car (a Hudson) on a clear day. I got him and the car. I also got a bit of Aunt Mary's laundry, and Beau Jack, the dog, peeing on a fence, and a row of potted tuberous begonias on the porch and 78 trees and a million pebbles in the driveway and more. It's a generous medium, photography." -- Lee Friedlander
Does Arvid Olsen ever sell any of his Cirkut equipment? He buys a lot of Cirkut stuff on eBay (as arvideo). I sold him a Century No 10 years ago, and he's still active: for example. I seem to recall he recently bought a spare 6" tripod and ring gear from Australia. What does he do with all of it?
Ed - Cirkut film is like wide 220. Paper backing at both ends. As I recall, the thickness is approx. .004 inch, more or less the same as smaller roll film. Isn't sheet film about .007 in.? I love your Lee Friedlander quote. One thing with a Cirkut shot - everything and everybody in the area gets in the picture.
Charley - I've wondered myself about the eBay Cirkut buyers. I watch most all of it sell, and it seems there are a couple of the same names pretty often. Buying for resale? Compulsive hoarders? When I first looked at the link you posted, I thought Yikes, as far as the price for a basket case Attachment. But then I saw the gears included. That must have been what he was after.
Not all cirkut ring gears are steel
In fact most are made out of 1/8 inch brass and nickel plated to make the surface hard. I've only seen 1 #10 steel gear, and 2 #16 steel gears.
Brass is just fine to use and a lot easier to cut.
The big thing is to have the top face of the gear perfectly flat or the camera will wobble slightly when revolving and could cause problems. In the factory they would often add small paper shims to level the gear on the tripod head. Usually the problem is not the ring gear but the rollers having flat spots. They need to be perfect, and have a slight crown on them like an over inflated tire. When the wear down and get flat, they have to skid slightly when going around and then start wearing out even faster. Think of it like a car going in a tight circle, the outside wheels need to turn faster. If both sides of the car's wheels were fixed to the axles so they had to rotate at the same rate, one side or the other would have to skid. In a microscopic way this is what is happening to the roller on the turntable unless it is crowned.
Also, be sure to keep everything oiled, not soaking with oil as that will attract dirt, but oiled often and then wiped down. 3 in one oil is OK not anything heavier unless you are going to Death Valley in August. This applies to the gear shafts in the camera too. Use a very small brush to apply just one drop to each journal, run the camera then wipe. Do it often, but NEVER lube the gear teeth, Brass gears run dry, or you are asking for dirt to stick in the teeth and cause banding. I can go to great length to tell you how to clean up a cirkut gear train. I have a couple of good tricks to keep things clean too.
My #16 is a fan camera and I can run it without fans attached but it is noisy and not worth the risk of vibration damage. I cheated and put ball bearings in the guts. This was not for the fast speed, but to give me more power when I am using a really big fan like a ten second job or even bigger. I just make sure the wind isn't blowing or it will never run smooth. To prove the point, cup your hand around a running fan for shelter and it will noticeably speed up.
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I shot a few quick reference images and updated my web site with images of the fans and fan mechanism on my #10 camera- The link here
I have other info on some other pages as well
and images shot with the camera here
I got my #16 on ebay for an extremely reasonable price, but had to get a lense, make a big gear, get and have made small gears, fans, tripod, etc. It was a project and all worked out after about a year. I'm always amazed at what comes up on ebay though.
On aerial film, this image was shot using 5" plus x aerial stock. Probably not the best example but hey.
Ed on film: It's like 220 film- Just leader and trailer, no backing. It should be around the same thickness as 120 - this does matter!
There are probably a lot of better ways to cut gears, but this how I make mine and so far they have worked just fine for every cirkut I have ever used.
You need a metal lathe and a milling machine fitted with a dividing head and tailstock. As well you need the correct gear cutter installed on the mill and centered to the tailstock.
You will need to make a special arbor shaft that allows a rough gear blank with a ¼ reamed hole to be added. I have a 5/8 shaft turned down to ¼ inch and then threaded on the end with ¼ 28 thread. After I made it, I hardened the steel. The arbor shaft is center drilled on both ends so it can be set up with a face plate and lathe dog to turn it.
I rough cut my brass gear blank with a band saw and drill an undersized ¼ hole which I ream to exactly ¼ inch. Then the blank is put on the arbor and turned down on the lathe to the right outside diameter. Then it is moved to the dividing head on the mill and the teeth are cut. After the gear is cut and before it is removed from the arbor, it is put back in the lathe and lapped with very fine grinding compound using a spare prime number gear with a steel shaft. I simply hold the lapping gear shaft in my hands and mesh it into the fresh gear. My lathe can run in reverse so I lap in both directions. This removes edge burrs from the gear cutter and just evens thing out a bit all over. Final polish is with tripoli.
My arbor shaft allows for five blanks to be cut at once, or with smaller spacers I can cut just one gear as well.
So that covers the basics, but there is some great math needed to calculate the outside diameter of the gear blank, the depth to set the gear cutter, and which dividing plate to use for the right number of divisions. It isn’t difficult, but you have to think about it all the time. I made more than a few gears that came out goofy and had to be re-cut to make a gear with fewer teeth before I figured it out. Mostly, as with anything, it just takes patience.
If you are curious about the math, it goes something like this:
If you need a gear with a specific number of teeth say 37, add one to the number needed (this gives 38 in our example). Then divide by the pitch (cirkuts normally use 32 pitch except for #5 and #6 cameras, they use 48 pitch) That will give you the outside diameter of the gear blank. 2 divided by the pitch number gives the depth to run the cutter, but you also need to go slightly deeper for clearance. (I go 5% – 7 %, and sometimes less, this is where the practice comes in because of the range of teeth each cutter can make causes some fudging to be required) There are plenty of books telling you how to use a dividing head, I am always amazed at what plate and number of holes end up with the division you really need, it just never seems right but it works.
Hope this helps.
I knew better than to read through this post. Sheesh, this stuff is so contageous. I gotta quit my real job and just play non stop with old cameras. I bought a roll of Aerial Panatomic the other day that is fogged next to the reel on both ends. It would make gorgeous 8" film if someone trimmed 3/4" from both ends. I wonder who does that and how? My one picture I made with an 8, I trimmed down 9.5 aerial film, but it was horrible to try to work with in the dark. Hacksaw. Nightmares. The rough edges caused banding I'm pretty sure as it played out un-evenly. My approach since the film wasn't a big expense was to just load the camera in the dark and skip the paper leader and trailer.
Thank you all.
Hello Jamie, Ron and Jim,
This is all very helpful. Great photos of your #10, it explains a lot. The fan shaft has an internal thread. It appears that each fan has a machine screw with knurled head inside the barrel and is permanently attached to each fan. Are the fan blades press fitted into slots?
Ron, do you use free machining brass for your gears? Is the large ring gear cut from one piece of stock, or formed from an over-sized strip, brazed and then machined? Is the brass ring gear durable enough to use without plating, that is, do you know if anyone has got any amount of use out of an unplated one before wear becomes a problem?
Jim, this camera you sold me is getting expensive.
I bought a large sheet of 1/8 inch free machining brass years ago for my gears before brass became the price of gold. Some of the older cirkuts use gears that are made from thicker brass and I scrounged a piece of 3/16" for those. I was going to make a gear out of a fifty cent piece once just for a joke. It would probably work.
Some of the commercial places that make gears seem to make "thick" gears and they really don't mesh well with the cirkuts. They are advertised as 32 pitch, 14.5 degree pressure angle, but the fit to the original ring gear is lousy. That is why I started making my own and taking a close look at the original gears and their fit.
The ring gears are made from one piece of flat brass, not a formed strip. And yes you can use them without the plating as most of the old cameras seem to have worn plating. I've even seen deep ruts, but that cannot be good. A simple fix would be to make a thin flat ring slightly smaller than the gear teeth that fits on the top of the gear and just glue it down if nothing else. A guy could use thin stainless and it wouldn't increase the height enough that the pinion shafts would be affected.
Although I have blanks cut to make 12" ring gears, I've never made them because there has never been a demand and I have enough for my machines. Mostly the issue is my lathe cannot swing that diameter and I need to us a friend's. That makes for a lot of running around. I've always wanted to make a ring gear with an odd number of teeth to change the ratios for some of the different lenses I use. A 10 inch ring gear would be better for wide angle work and a 14 inch gear for telephoto stuff would be dandy as the pinion gears would be slightly bigger.