I've adapted plate holders for film with simple black paper sleeves. This isn't as precise as finding the exact thickness of plates and making a high quality insert, but it's a good way to get shooting quickly.
Here, DannL gives a good description:
Note this is for a slightly different style of plate holder from a falling plate camera (they don't need darkslides or anything because they're all kept inside the camera body). I realize this link might be somewhat confusing for you, because if your plate holders have the film inserts I was talking about they'll probably look somewhat like the metal plate holders in those instructions, in which case this won't be necessary. In any case this should give you an idea of what you might be able to do with these holders.
Now if you open your plate holders and they have removable metal inserts in them, those inserts are in all likelihood film adapters, and you don't have to worry about it. In any event the flaps around the edges should give you a clue; if the space is narrow (film thickness) it's for film. If so thick that the film flops around, well, its for a glass plate.
Last edited by walter23; 02-13-2009 at 05:17 AM. Click to view previous post history.
The universe is a haunted house. -Coil
jordanstar: Thanks for the help. I think for now, I want to disassemble as little as possible. I guess I have two issues for now. First, I'd like to get the airpiston shutter mechanism working. Last night I was able to move the piston a bit with just blowing hard into the tube with my mouth. But I don't think it's moving as far as it should be moving, so I'll continue to look into this. And the second thing is I'd like to get the different shutter speeds operational, if possible. Do you know what actually happens mechanically that changes the speed? I'm referring to when I trip the shutter with the lever and not the air piston.
walter: thank you for the warning to NOT lubricate the air piston. I was able to get it moved a bit last night with just blowing hard on the tube, so maybe there's still hope to get this part working again. I understand how this can cause a problem else where if the lube migrates into other areas. I have a Russian LTM (Leitz copy) lens that someone lubed up at some point, and you can smell the oil as soon as you open up the bakelite canister!
Interesting. So if I understand correctly, the left piston should rise higher when at 1 sec exposure than at 1/100? I'd like to disassemble this mechanism to clean out the piston, but I don't know where to start. What about the right piston - does it play any role in this operation? It doesn't seem to move at all.
Originally Posted by PHOTOTONE
Thank you for the idea! My wife just called a friend who works in a hospital who said he should be able to help me with that.
Another source for bulbs would be the bulb used on a blood-pressure tester. If you have any surgical supply stores in your town, you should be able to get a bulb, and surgical tubing.
I'm not so sure these are for glass plates, since the side grooves appear way too shallow for any glass to slide through there. Where as a piece of photo paper seems to fit perfectly. I can honestly say that I've never actually seen a glass film plate, but I can't see anything this thin being made out of glass and not break even with the most careful handling.
The film-holders you have are for glass plates. Sometimes you can find them with film inserts. These film inserts fit where the glass plates would fit, and hold sheet film like a normal sheet film holder does. Many glass plate holders and glass plate cameras are not standard size for holders as used today, and your camera may, or may not accept modern film holders.
Okay, I took the left piston assembly apart and cleaned everything out. Then I hooked up the bulb of a Giottos Rocket blower to the other end of the shutter hose and it actually worked! The piston now goes up and down freely with the air pressure, and trips the shutter.
Now I'm wondering about taking the shutter apart itself. I don't see any noticable difference between 1/2 second and 1/100 second and I'm wondering if there is something I can do to change this. Does anyone know if I might possibly screw the whole thing up by releasing some kind of spring or part that I'll never be able to get back together again? How ARE the shutter speeds on these things adjusted anyway? I don't expect to be able to make any kind of accurate adjustment myself, but I thought if I could get some kind of variation between shutter speeds, then at least I have more to work with when I try to make some pictures.
I also saw some small light leaks on the folds of the bellows. Does anyone have a suggestion as to how I might be able to patch these up? I know that pinholes on the cloth shutter curtains of Leicas can be patched up with liquid rubber painted over the leak. Would this work in this case also?
I still haven't seen a purpose for the right piston on the shutter.
Thanks to everyone who has been so kind and patient with this LF rookie.
the holders you have are indeed dry-plate holders. You will probably have a hard time finding metal film adapter sheaths to fit them, as these things were not standardized. What you CAN do, although it is a little bulky, is to get some glass sheets cut to the size of your holders, then put your film on top of them. Put a dab of some viscous fluid like Caro syrup or blueberry jelly on the glass plate to hold the film in place (when you process, the jam/syrup will come off in the pre-wet and not affect the film).
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ok- you have film sheaths already installed. So you're good to go.
Whew! Thank you for confirming that.
Originally Posted by TheFlyingCamera
Facing the front of the camera, the piston on the left side of the shutter is for tripping the shutter from a hose and bulb "cable" release and that is its sole purpose. The piston on the right side of the shutter regulates the shutter speeds. They both need to be able to rise and fall with no friction or sticking. The shutter works under an internal spring that is tensioned when you cock the shutter, depending on what shutter speed you have set, a cam raises the RIGHT piston to a greater or lesser extent. It will raise the piston higher for a slower shutter speed. When you trip the shutter the spring pressure will open the shutter blades and apply pressure to the RIGHT piston, which has a controlled air hole in the bottom. The air restriction allows the piston to descend at a predetermined rate (if clean) and the piston descending into its cylinder "retards" the closing of the shutter to give you the shutter speed you have selected.
Bellows pin-holes: Some people use a plastic dipping compound that can be found in hardware stores for putting a coating on pliers and other tool handles. It is available in black, and is a thick syrupy liquid that dries to a flexible rubber like substance. Apply sparingly with something like a toothpick to the pinholes, let dry and you should be OK. You would normally find this in the paint department of a hardware store. However you are only prolonging the inevitable. The bellows is near 100 years old and will need to be replaced, as the original rubber inside is drying out and cracking and will continue to get new pinholes.
Last edited by PHOTOTONE; 02-14-2009 at 09:45 PM. Click to view previous post history.