One way to attach the mirror to the rim of the enlarging lens:
why not low tech?
how about take a fogged film leader, and put in the neg holder. Scratch around the outside with a pin. Then outside of the holder, scratch the pin across the diagonals. Then project it and look at the image on the baseboard. If it is not sharp when the lens is stopped down a bit, why worry. If not opposite sides measure the same too.
If you find a problem, then start getting the level out, mirror etc.
you can build your own laser alignment tool very very cheaply.
You just take one of those £1.50 key ring laser pointers and drill a hole in a block of wood or aluminium which is just deep enough so that the top of the pointer is not sticking out. Then you put some blutac around the top of it so that you can alter its angle. Now the obvious bit (once you know how) is to align it so its perpendicular to the base of your block of wood. You put it on rotating base such as a record turntable and turn the base and watch the track of the pointer on the ceiling. Move the block until the circle it gives on the ceiling is as small as possible and then when you can't get it any smaller, you adjust the position of the pointer in its hole until the point on the ceiling stays stationary when you rotate it on its base. Its now 100% perpendicular to its base. You can place a piece of paper with a hole in it over the top as your reflection target.
Use mirrors or glass as described in the verslab web site to align enlarger. Thats less than $5 and not $200 and it will be just as accurate. Only thing is that you will need to check perpendicular alignment of pointer each time you want to use it. You need to switch it on and off.
My alternate method:
Tape threads across the negative carrier, vertically, horizontally and diagonally (to make an eight-pointed star pattern). Make sure they are tight and lie in as close to the same plane as possible. (A test-pattern negative of assured sharpness would be great too, but this is easy and available...)
Rack the enlarger up to the greatest height you can while still keeping the edges of the negative carrier on the baseboard.
Focus the center with your expensive grain magnifier. Use your largest aperture (or the one you normally focus with). Now check the sides and corners. If they are not sharp, adjust whatever is needed till everything is in focus together. Voilà, your enlarger is aligned.
No smoke no mirrors :-)
Excellent contributions, guys! Always helpful to know how the other guy gets the job done!
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I've aligned my enlarger by merely observing the
Originally Posted by Mike Wilde
projected image of the negative carrier. If the image
corners are square and each are sharp the enlarger
is aligned. If not, out with screw drivers and pliers.
A square and those tools are all that are needed.
Alignment by that method is more exact. Assurance
extends to the very maximum of coverage. Dan
Fred Picker discussed an enlarger alignment method in his newsletters. He used a piece of glass from a medicine cabinet and 2 unused #2 pencils. Can't get much cheaper than that.
Why don't you share that with us?
I'll see if I can find it. The newsletters are in my office, and I won't be back in my office until next Wednesday.
Last edited by jgjbowen; 05-03-2008 at 08:29 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Thanks! I have the book but don't have a single newsletter. Looking forward to Fred's solution.