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  1. #11

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    Dear Jim,

    Why not contact Bosch and find out if it will do the job? They should be able to give you the information you need and it might work very well.

    In the name of full disclosure, I have a Versalab and wish I'd purchased it years earlier than I did.

    Neal Wydra

  2. #12
    AndreasT's Avatar
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    I have also used the Versalab laser. Came in handy making Enlargement up too 140x300cm. The grain was sharp corner to corner. The thig was though that it actually wobbled on its base. Why I do not know. Possible some let it fall down.
    Personally I think you can take nearly any laser light. Some do not have a straight flat base, but if the laser is not moved in any way after placing it under the lens it can be used.

  3. #13
    Rick A's Avatar
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    There's always cheaper non-self leveling laser levels that would do the job. I used my electronic level to align my enlarger and it worked very well.
    Rick A
    Argentum aevum

  4. #14

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    I think we need to note the difference between a tool like Versalab (laser specs aside) and just another laser level. Versalab, as I understand it, projects laser beam up and will show a reflection on its surface, away from projecting hole, indicating out of parallel planes. A laser level does not really have the "landing" area and will need to be modified so you can reliably see the off axis issues. For accuracy sake that plane needs to be perpendicular to the laser beam. Can be done, but as I noted earlier, cheaper laser levels have ugly beam characteristics and getting a good one is not going to save anyone any money, not even a used (unless it's part of a divorce settlement).

  5. #15

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    Just what I needed to know. Looks like I'll just have to bite the bullet and spring for a Vesalab.

  6. #16

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    All the above are toys. Either get ahold of a serious level or a serious laser. I am both a major Bosch
    distributor and the biggest distributor of German Stabila levels and lasers in the country, so know what
    I am talking about. I use a real machinist's level. Or, you can use a high-end carpentry level if it has
    machined edges. Expect to pay around $75 or so. It's not the kind of thing you'll find at Home Cheapo.
    As far as lasers go, I borrowed one in about the $2500 range to do alignments, but then corrected that
    factor with front-surface mirror targets, like a collimeter.

  7. #17

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    Drew, can you be more specific and suggest a "serious laser" model that would do the job and is more in the price range of a hobbyist i.e. NOT the $2500 range. If the Versalab "toy" laser does the job for $190 as various people state, then why would one spent $2500 on a "serious" laser just to align his/her enlarger? That's not realistic. But if there's an affordable alternative laser then I'm interested to read up on that.

  8. #18
    Mike Wilde's Avatar
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    Silly me. I just take a black bit of fixed fogged film leader, or sheet film piece, and insert it into the negative carrier (this presumes a glassless carrier).
    I scribe the emulsion off carefully by tracing around the neg while it is held snigly clamped in one place in the negative carrier by scratching the emusion off with with a steel pin point.

    Then with a steel rule, I scribe a pair of linee to join the opposite corners of the pin scratches.

    Put said scribed neg back into the carrier, and carrier into enlarger.

    See what turns up on the base board. Use the ruler to measure the white segments - the opposing ones should be the same length if the neg stage and base board are parallel.

    If they are not equally sharp, then the lens stage is out of alignment, and can be optically trimmed to make sure all lines up sharp.

    What is this not doing that the laser gizmoes does?
    my real name, imagine that.

  9. #19

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    Mike - that is an excellent technique which I sometimes use as a focus target. The point is to scratch it rather than drawing the line with a pen, so that the crisp edges of the scratch mark comes into acute focus. I use a machinists scribe on an evenly exposed piece of sheet film. But it needs some backup. You also need a magnifier which will focus into the corners of the field and not just near the
    center, or at least some good magnifying glasses. Then you need a true machined straightedge to make certain your baseboard isn't warped, to establish how your easel really fits. So far, quite simple.
    But for serious work, one wants all three planes aligned all at once. I won't go into detail here, but
    anyone who knows how to sight in a gun barrel, using an collimator or laser, and partial-suface mirrors,
    will get the clue. It's like extending the line over several hundred feet, bouncing back and forth on a
    semi-silvered mirror, that brings everything into alignment within a tiny fraction of a degee. At one time
    Salthill marketed a simplified version of this kind of thing for enlargers, and it worked wonderfully. That
    was pre-laser. For casual use I also employ a basic 12-inch Stabila level with a machined edge. These
    are German-made, not Chinese; and I have some Starrett machinist's levels as backup, which are too
    finicky for the uneven surfaces found in most enlargers.

  10. #20

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    Spijker - Mike's method will work way better than any cheap laser. You can never assume that those
    kinds of gadgets do what they claim, any more than you can assume that a cheap carpenter's square
    is actually square unless you have a more serious machined reference. I've not only sold many kinds of
    lasers but have conceptually involved with various manufacturers in what comes to market. And for that
    kind of money you'd be lucky if a kitchen cabinet was level. The width of the beam is contolled by OSHA so it won't be intense enough to blind you; and that equates to a fairly thick line. Enlarging is
    usually more critical. A lot of the things I say might seem like overkill, but all these little things add up.
    Yeah, One of my enlargers actually has a machined easel that is dead flat and weighs about four hundred pounds! That would be overkill for most people. But it did warrant the whole nine yards approach to leveling. I would recommed, however, that one acquires a well-made level with one machined edge, as well as a longer machined straightedge (or one device with both characteristics).
    Fifty or seventy-five bucks spent that way will be a lot more cost effective than some half-assed made
    in China laser (maybe fine for leveling a sandbox or fence line).

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