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  1. #1

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    Laser Plumb Bob and mirror as DIY Versalab Parallel?

    My Omega D2 is wall mounted and I would love to purchase a Versalab Parallel in order to align it. I've tried bubble levels, film etching, zip-a-tone and window screen. Unfortunately, I do not have the $150 to $190 for one..

    Has anyone tried using one of those laser plumb bobs and a mirror (possibly a front surface mirror) as a cheaper replacement? I just won the bid on one that looks amazingly similar to a Versalab Parallel for $13 shipped.

    Either way i'll let y'all know how it works out.

  2. #2
    KenM's Avatar
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    I initially used two mirrors, one with a hole scratched in the mirror coating. That worked pretty good, but it was awkward to use - when trying to check the alignment of the film stage, the mirror was too far away to be able to see the reflection of the other mirror through the hole. I ended up purchasing something similar to a Versalab alignment tool, which makes aligning the enlarger dead easy, and takes very little time, especially considering that my enlarger is wall mounted.

    Are you planning on mounting the laser plumb bob to the enlarger? If not (ie: you're going to hang it) you'll have to wait until it stops moving before making any evaluation about alignment. Either way, it should work.

    Good luck!
    Cheers!

    -klm.

  3. #3

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    I'm going to place the laser plumb bob on the baseboard/easel with the mirror placed on top of the negative carrier.

    This is the one I purchased, still waiting for it to be shipped;

    http://stores.yahoo.com/webtronics/lazlasplumbo.html

    It looks to function the same as the versalab parallel, aside from the liquid bubble level and 'adjustment knob' for the bubble level.

    For $13, if this does the trick I will be REAL happy! I know that you get what you pay for, and the Versalab Parallel is accurate to within .0006" or something
    but photography-anything is expensive compared to generic items that perform a similar function. OTOH, if I had the money i'd own a Versalab washer and parallel.

    I remember reading of another method quite similar to the hole in a mirror trick.
    It uses 4 LED's mounted on a mirror with a hole in the middle, of which a prism from an slr was placed on top. A plain mirror is placed on the baseboard and the prism on top allows you to see the 4 LED's and their reflection/drift from a more comfortable angle.

  4. #4

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    I had an old Besler baseboard that I took off a 4x5 enlarger. It was screwed at the corners to the frame. I bought some threaded screw inserts, pounded them in and got 4 thumb screws that were long enough to level the baseboard in any direction that I wanted. It might work for you.

  5. #5

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    I made my own for my D2V. Took a laser pointer, mounted it to three angle brackets with hose clamps and three adjustable acrews. This tripod is easy to level with the screws. simply spin it on a flat surface until the circles on the ceiling become a dot. Level baseboard. Next, put laser unit on the baseboard and put a mirror in the lens. Adjust until the laser reflects directly back into the laser. Do same with negative holder.

    All in line. I replaced my glassless with a glass carrier and immediately saw an improvement in sharpness with my D2V.

    Both ideas (laser level and glass carrier) came from text "Way beyond Monochrome".

    Success and time well spent. And very cheap.
    Success comes in cans.............. Failure comes in cant's

  6. #6

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    Wayne and Sinarfar, thank you!! I've yet to read "Way Beyond Monochrome" but am glad that i'm not the first to think of this. I like cheap!

    I've a glassless carrier for my Omega D2 as well. It's shaped like the 'speed carrier', ie. a hinged paddle with glass in it. Unfortunately, both glasses are scratched and the non-beveled glass is cracked in the corner.. A 4x5" replacement piece (beveled, orig. NIB Omega) sold for $36, not including s&h on ebay. That's nuts! And I don't believe it's anti-newtonian either!

  7. #7

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    I was amazed how my 4x5 negs waved all over the place in a perfect D2 glassless carrier. Easy to see while looking at reflections of straight edges. Glass easily fixed this. My new glass carrier, brand new, perfect glass was $35 on Epay. Not a bad deal, I thought.
    Success comes in cans.............. Failure comes in cant's

  8. #8
    Will S's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sinarfar
    I made my own for my D2V. Took a laser pointer, mounted it to three angle brackets with hose clamps and three adjustable acrews. This tripod is easy to level with the screws. simply spin it on a flat surface until the circles on the ceiling become a dot. Level baseboard. Next, put laser unit on the baseboard and put a mirror in the lens. Adjust until the laser reflects directly back into the laser. Do same with negative holder.
    Could you post a pic of this? I'm not getting it from the description.

    I have a D2V and a glass carrier too, but it isn't wall mounted.

    Also, what are the adjustments to actually level the thing? Are there screws on the column somewhere? I must confess I've never looked closely at it, as I have never seen any focus problems. But, I do possess a laser pointer - a gift from my mother-in-law to our cats that can display a little mouse as well as a point of light. Needless to say, the cats could care less for it. It might come in useful after all.

    Thanks,

    Will
    "I am an anarchist." - HCB
    "I wanna be anarchist." - JR

  9. #9

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    A little late but you got it, I have a Versalab and all you need is the mirrors, the gizmo you bought will do the rest......good for you..

  10. #10

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    Will, it might be like this.. Smart idea, I didn't think of that.
    I apologize for the art, it was quick!

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