Fitting an enlarger on a smaller baseboard
Greetings fellow APUGers
My current darkroom is something I've set up in my bathroom. I've got a Durst M650 (which does up to 6x6) enlarger on a rolling cart from IKEA that is roughly 54x54cm, and it has no problems acommodating my M650 as you can see here:
However, I do shoot a bit of 4x5, and for many subjects I don't think contact prints are quite satisfying, so I'm looking at getting a 4x5 enlarger. I've been in contact with a gentleman who is selling a Durst Laborator 1200 that is left after his grandfather passed away. However, his grandfather had fitted the enlarger to a custom-built table that is way too big for my purposes. So I was wondering whether or not it would be possible (or even a realistic idea) to "retrofit" the enlarger onto a baseboard that is smaller and will fit my rolling cart (in fact, I think this will be an issue for most 4x5 enlargers as the baseboards seem to be larger in general).
I should mention that I do not have a lot of woodworking skills, I might be able to get help from some relatives, but I don't think any super-advanced projects are realistic. I do however wonder if there is something special that I ought to keep in mind if I decide to go ahead with this, such as the choice of baseboard or mounting hardware.
"Art is is a picture of some dude I never met smoking under a lamppost at 6400 ISO and in BW."
The L1200 baseboard is 640mm wide and 690mm deep - Reducing the size would compromise stability. Also, if you reduced the depth, you'd often be overhanging the front edge with the easel. Weight would also be a concern. These things weigh 45Kg, more if it includes a transformer for a colour head.
Certainly grab the L1200 especially if it comes with a good set of accessories (masks & mixing boxes) - It is a solid piece of kit that will last years.
If you have set up your darkroom in the bathroom because of the availability of running water and can make the adjoining room light tight why not keep the enlarger and even the chemical trays there and just do the wash in the bathroom.
Do what you have to do, and don't listen to anybody who says it's not optimal. That's all you CAN do. Half a loaf of bread is better than going hungry. GL. You don't need woodworking skills. You don't need to be a sailor on a sailing ship to tie your shoelaces. Likewise on a baseboard.
The baseboard isn't the only, or even the most important issue - the important issue is the cart it is sitting on.
You don't want a Durst L1200 tipping over.
You do need to factor in the distance that the L1200 head sticks out from the frame it is attached to - that will determine a minimum practical side for a baseboard.
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
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I have my Omega D2 (which is a 4x5 enlarger) on a custom made baseboard. I went to a Home Depot and had them cut a 3/4 inch plywood in roughly half. I glued them together and screwed them together. The part that the post bolts on is, therefore over an inch thick.
You don't really need woodworking skills. You just need some glue and an electric screw driver.
Enlarger this/that size is heavy and it is top heavy. Just make sure your table can handle it safely. Also, being mobile setup, I'd suggest strapping it to the table, so should it tip, they'll stay together.
Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?
I don't know the design of your proposed 4x5 enlarger, but would it not be possible to mount it onto the wall and use a simpler baseboard. It would not be too difficult to get the device completely vertical and then there would be no chance of shake. Adjustment could be made with the use of shims of varying thickness to get the column right.
This is really very good advice. While at Home Depot (or somewhere like it) pick up a few bar clamps of appropriate size to hold the base to the cart. And consider using some old-fashioned 1 3/4 bolts with nuts and washers with holes drilled through the pieces of plywood. You can use a socket wrench to attach the bolts. Plenty strong.
Originally Posted by tkamiya
I'd also consider getting another cart and keep the one you pictured to handle that enlarger. Even a strong PVC restaurant service cart would work well with some very minor modifications. The wheels are generally sturdy, it's easy to modify and quite strong. You can pick them up really inexpensively from used restaurant equipment companies.
Take it light ;>)
Without guys like John Coltrane, Count Basie and Duke Ellington, life....would be meaningless.
A PVC cart will fail over time as the plastic flows; particularly if a constant load is applied. I would suggest building a heavy duty cart out of 3/4" plywood as large as your bathroom will accommodate. Mount your enlarger on the cart permanently and use a sheet of plywood as large as you need on top of it to hold your easel. Remove it when not in use.
Why are there no speaker jacks on a stereo camera?
I'm with Tom1959, do what you have to do. I used to plop an old D2 on a tv tray sit inside a shower to print. Your cart looks pretty sturdy (Much more so than a tv tray!) and if you keep the head low when transporting the odds of tipping go down. Larger wheels might be a good idea as well. Make sure you find a 135mm lens (the Nikons are usually a steal) to keep the head height as low as possible when printing.