I have one step left in order to get my darkroom up and running. I am told that I need to make sure the head is level. I do not have the money to go out and buy an expensive device that I have heard mentioned. Anyone got a method that 1) doesn't cost a fortune in equipment to accomplish, and 2)doesn't require and engineering degree to understand?
When all else fails, you could do it by eye. As long as the projected image is in focus, corner to corner, you're good. Can't get cheaper, or simpler.
That is called grain. It is supposed to be there.
Seems to me you could just measure the edge distances of the projected image? Top and bottom should be equal, as should the sides.
If I had been present at the creation, I would have given some useful hints for the better arrangement of the Universe.
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cheapest way to level the thing Shelly is to buy mike some good english ale, and have him do it for you. Don't know if he has left for India yet, but he will be soon.
I use a machinist's level to do the base board first, make sure it is as perfect as you can make it. Any level will work (a small yard sale "torpedo level" is very good), just make sure you use the same edge facing up each time. Shims can be paper strips, tape, plywood or (worst case scenario) bricks. Once this is done, the negative stage is what needs to be perfect also. This is sometimes a bit more difficult. Use adjustments carefully and again, keep the same side of the level up like you did the first time. I've seen people use a cigarette, ball bearing or cup of water to do the test for flat and level. Remember, you just want the base board parallel to the negative.
First, make a print to see if one edge or side is out of focus. If it works well, leave it alone! Don't start adjusting anything until you know there is a problem. You may find that there is no reason to adjust it.
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Excellent information and procedure. I would add that the lens stage needs to be checked as well on some enlargers. I had an old D2 at one time that had the flange of the lens cone bent. It affected the alignment.
Originally Posted by noseoil
once again, thanks to all of you for your feedback. Sometimes I feel as though I am in a bubble here with this project, but thanks to all of you I get excellent suggestions and am able to move forward.
I really did not understand this question.
The enlarger base DOES NOT needs to be level. It maybe slanted to whatever direction you prefer. horizontal, however, is more common.
What you have to do is to align the HEAD so it's parallel to the BASE.
Transcribing from another site:
"Get 2 pieces of mirror, each about 4 by 8 inches. Leave one alone. On the other, take a razor & carefully scrape a small circle, about the diameter of a pencil, down to bare glass at one end of the mirror, about 2 inches in on the narrow end.
When scraped & cleaned, take this mirror and insert it into the negative stage of the enarger, with the mirror surface facing down, and with the clear glass "hole" end protruding from one side or the other. Place the other mirror, facing up, on the enarger base.
Now take your eye and peering through the small hole, orient the bottom mirror till you can clearly see the small scraped hole reflected back at you off of the mirror lying on the negative stage.
ANY misalignment will show up as a long trail of reflected "holes" going off into infinity. This rig is way more accurate than any level & easier to use.
For the lens stage, simply push the upper mirror up against the lens (it will not touch the glass) & repeat the experiment."
hmmm the mirror method sounds interesting. First time I've heard of it.
Here is one I've read about but haven't done yet (even though my enlarger is slightly out of alignment)
1) expose a negative on a blank wall, grey card, what ever. and process it
2) scratch a small "x" in each corner of the negative
3) put it in the appropriate negative carrier and in the enlarger (duh)
4) Check focus in each corner and adjust until all are equally in focus.
I don't recall what the aperture recomendations were in the book/article but it seems to be you would want to use as wide an aperture as possible.
That's interesting, also.
I don't know which is better.
And I'm too lazy to try the two in sequence...