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  1. #11
    hoffy's Avatar
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    Excellent advice there Jonathan. I will possibly look into that.

    Cheers

  2. #12
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    Jonathan's advice works for me, too. One can also use a sheet of clear film with one surface lightly sanded with both coarse and fine sandpaper in the negative carrier. The coarse lines provide quick rough focusing, and the fine lines permit precision fine tuning. I'd use tape, perhaps duct tape, instead of cardstock for lensboard shims. It stays in place.

    The object of enlarger alignment is not to get film carrier, lens board, and easel parallel: it is to get the image sharp on all four corners. Perfect parallism does not insure this; for example, the lens might be poorly assembled or mounted. Jonathon's solution focuses (poor pun intended) on solving the real problem.

  3. #13

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    Does this shimming work for only one height? Or can you shim and have the focus maintain at all heights? Is that perhaps true only in principle, assuming a well aligned column/support?

    I will be tuning an old Beseler 23C II that I was given, so I'm looking for guidance. First step is I will be gluing the lens bellows to the stage since it has totally detached.

  4. #14

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    Brace that column

    Monito,

    I have a 23CII XL and had a great deal of trouble with vibration. I used a couple pieces of pipe strap screwed into the concrete wall behind the enlarger on one end and screwed into some holes on the top of the girder assembly at the other. I may have drilled the enlarger holes myself. Man, did that ever help. At the girder end I made the holes in the pipe strap "too big" and pinched it using washers. That way if my holes were off I wasn't twisting the girder assembly. Only then could I successfully align the lens/negative carrier. A big housing at the end of the girder "stick" is just begging for problems.

    HTH,

    sa

  5. #15

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    Thanks semi.

    I wish I could find a way to brace the column, but I need to be able to slide the enlarger back from its deployed position to a stowage position to allow access when the room is not used as a darkroom.

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monito View Post
    Does this shimming work for only one height? Or can you shim and have the focus maintain at all heights? Is that perhaps true only in principle, assuming a well aligned column/support?

    I will be tuning an old Beseler 23C II that I was given, so I'm looking for guidance. First step is I will be gluing the lens bellows to the stage since it has totally detached.
    The 23CII should have an adjustable lens stage, so no need for any negative stage shims. That is just for those enlargers that are not adjustable.

  7. #17

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    A cheap carpenters level is quite good enough so long as it is repeatable error. Always point the same end to the right or back depending on what you are lining up.

    I use a 10X Peak grain magnifier to check grain midway on all four sides to set the lens to negative. Raise the magnifier to see if the side you are checking is too low or too high.

    Now you will find every neg carrier is different, even supposedly flat ones like Omega D. Then you find every lens is off also. Use the same mount and you find the lens axis is never perpendicular to the mount/threads. So set it all up with most common neg size/lens. then use tape shims on the other carriers. Buy a mount for each lens and custom adjust each.

    I got mine perfect with all lenses.

    The three Leica enlargers, one V35 and two 1C are all perfect right from the box. And they stay that way. The Omegas are pathetic in comparison, but can be worked to perfection as I described.

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan R View Post
    I like simple solutions. To check alignment, I use a piece of black (developed) film with a grid of lines scratched on the emulsion side with the point of a sharp knife. At full aperture and at the enlarger height required, I slip narrow card shims under one side of the negative carrier until I have it spot on. For a 12" x 16" I need 3 thicknesses of postcard. I then expose the paper with the lens stopped down to f5.6 or f8. It is worth the effort.

    In this way I also discovered that my enlarger column (I would guess most enlarger columns) droops when the enlarger is up towards the top. My solution was to do away with the baseboard, fixing the enlarger column directly to the bench, and bracing it against the wall behind using a length of threaded bar and some nuts inside the column. These measures must also help to prevent that other source of unsharpness, vibration.
    Well, I tried that out tonight. Worked a charm!

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