Beseler 45 MCRX alignment findings
Well, I was getting really frustrated with my enlarger having some focusing issues on some negs. So I took the plunge and managed to find a decently priced used Versa enlarger tool (very lightly used, looks new!) and was very shocked to find my enlarger was WAAAAAAAAAY off. The film stage was outside the target circle!! The carriage that holds the film stage and lens stages looked a little crooked. To my dismay, the carriage had shifted down a cog on the left hand side. I replaced the two little screws that hold the chromed steel bracing arms with stainless hex bolts and will likely do the same for ALL remaining screws as the screws are seriously inadequate. I then rearranged the drive cogs so the whole carraige was straight. Then I disassmbeled my lens stage, cleaned it, and adjust the free play on the focusing rack top and bottom to make it move more consistently.
When I put the versa tool in, I was very happy to find the film stage was only 1/8 inch off of center. The lens stage was within 1/4" of that as well. So now I am hopefully able to do more consistent printing. I always did get some shifts in focus from top to bottom, and now I am not seeing that since the adjustments, alignment, and tightening up of all the parts.
i was just about to post something that was bugging me about my beseler 45 enlarger as well. i wasn't sure if it was my enlarger that was the issue, but my prints are just not focusing enough. they look slightly out of tune if you will.
Jordan, Are there areas in focus and and then the opposite side of the projection out of focus? Front to Back, or Left to Right? If so, then you definitely have an alignment issue. I feel that a lot of the older beselers with the rear bracing bars have a lot of potential for misalignment due to the screws being totally inadequate, and the whole thing loosens over time to a point where quality is diminished. Take a real close look at how the lightbox, and lens stage carriage/lift mechanism is aligned with the left and right columns. It's easy for a cog on one side to slip down one and it would be hard to see without checking with a square. That's what I did, and at the same time swapped out the screws to hex bolts on the rear braces.
Critical alignment on a 45M is a bugger. The baseboard can be adjusted by loosening the screws and shimming. There is a screw to move the head, tilt, away from the chassis. There is the ability to swing the lens stage independently of the neg, but the little ball bearing detent resists critical placement. The same is true with tilting the lens stage independently of the neg stage; this is only accomplished by tightening or loosening the bolt that the lens stage pivot on and placing a frame spring behind for tension.
I have added thumb screws to the lens stage swing and removed the ball so that the swing can be placed and stays perfectly. Also added a spring behind the lens stage and another screw so that the lens stage can be tilted. Finally I added a swing mechanism to the entire head assembly at the focusing rack. The focusing rack can swing if some hardware is altered at the attachment point to the chassis. Then another screw was added for critical placement of this swing. This is a pain to do, but now the enlarger can be aligned whereas before there were few control points. Adding 8x10 to the whole mess doesn't help, but this stage I shim to get it parallel with the other neg stage.
I realize there words don't describe it fully, but they should help with ideas on how to do it should you need to. The lens stage is the easiest one to correct.
I tried shimming the baseboard and it was then that I realized something must be way off to require that much shimming. That's when I noticed the whole carriage was off square. Simple fix, but easily missed.
Sponsored Ad. (Subscribers to APUG have the option to remove this ad.)
I am modifying my 45MX's next week, it would help immensely if I could see what you have done. Is there any way you could post a photo so we readers do not have to re-invent the wheel so to speak?
Thank you for your post.
Originally Posted by Loose Gravel
Young Camera Company
As a general procedure, level off the baseboard, l/r front/rear. Then get the neg stage to match.
Lastly get the lens stage to match the baseboard. This can be tricky because lenses are not always accurately mounted and some adjustment may be necessary. You might have a lens with axis slightly off center. All except my Leica lenses are all different.
The level does not need to be precise, just repeatable. Use the same end to the right & rear all the time. Try to do the neg stage with the head in place so weight does not distort later.
If you center the bubble, you will be very accurate towards parallel planes.
No fancy tools are necessary.
Check the f/r & l/r with a grain focuser. Then do the corners. If the image achieves better focus when you raise the focuser and the opposite can not go far enough down, then the lens itself is off some and you need to twist/shim the lens stage. Tape makes a good shim.
Omega and Peak grain magnifiers with the long mirror work right into the corners.
That is all I do and get perfect alignment. All except for the Leica enlargers because they are never off, I just check for heck of it. Omega & and Besslar just are not precision tools and you have to fight them all the way.
If you are the big tree, we are the small axe
Ok, I think I have the support struts in the back of my 45MX too tight, I went to do a larger print last night and the carriage will not even top out, it seizes up about 6" from the limit. Also, it goes out of alignment when higher up, the single screw behind the lens is maxed out. Any starting point at to how many turns the bottom of the struts should be, I am not sure where my manual is right now...
"I'm the freak that shoots film. God bless the freaks!" ~ Mainecoonmaniac ~