Looking to lighten your design load by copying the best features of other cameras is a good idea. That lessens the R&D load considerably.
I wish you all the luck.
I would tend to agree with Barry, if you have the means, definately buy. Though appearance is pretty far down on my list of priorities when I build a camera, were I to refine the design, I'd probably spend more time on such things.
I want to build my own in order to learn more about the building process and what parts go into making a camera. I am looking at all the cameras I can, in order to get inspiration. I am fortunate enough that I have the heloo from the local techinal school where they teach design, toomaking and have all kinds of machinery like 3D printers, CNC cutters and a lot of other machinery that I dont know what is. I only have to pay for materials (at cost), all the work will be done within the teaching. Since I have no plans for going into any kind of manufacturing or mass production, I dont have to think about what other people think about my design too. I have started to blog about my projecthere: http://www.apug.org/forums/blogs/falkenberg/
I just read my answer from a few days ago. I apologize. My intention was not to sound snotty or discourage you in any way. Your project sounds like an interesting one. I meant that it is a tremendous amount of work having to make a part or assembly and then make it again and again until it functions the way that you, the designer want it to work. That is what I meant when I mentioned the looks of the camera not the cosmetics. Obviously the number one problem facing the home builder is functionality not appearance. The other angle to what I was saying was that the investment in R&D that will be required is huge for a one time construct. Please let me know if I can help you in your build.
Run what you brung, and a camera is only, in essence, a light tight box.
The OP may have more time than money, and if that is the case I totally support his endeavor. You'd really be surprised what a careful and patient man can do with fairly simple tools.
Being from other interests I can cheerfully say that I know of dedicated amateurs who grind their own lenses and mirrors for telescopes accurate to microns, for backyard astronomy, over periods of many weeks.
View cameras are comparatively simple compared to the things amateurs in other hobbies, like motorsports, electronics, sailing, etc.. regularly build and trust their lives to.
rant...rant....etc..etc..rant, rant rant...GRRR!
Thanks for the support. I am slowly working my way towards a camera design that I think will work. Read about my ULF progress in the blog section.
I read your blog entry on your camera design project and and couldn't help but note your comment about standards in ULF. I have been quite concerned about the absence of standards as they apply to ULF film holders (see my thread in FEEDBACK and DISCUSSION on film holder standards), and by extension, ULF camera backs. More and more equipment choices have become available lately, as interest in ULF grows. New companies are sprouting, and people are now making their own, as you have decided to do. I personally would like to see some standards set so that we don't have to keep reinventing the wheel, constantly spending needlessly in order to adapt. If we all had cameras that used the same sized holders in the various formats, we wouldn't have to worry about rib lock alignment, T depth, or O.D. measurements, and we wouldn't have to send our camera backs out for re-machining. The resulting interchangeability of accessories would greatly reduce the cost of ULF, which is high enough already.
Sandy King has been generous enough to share his film holder specs with us. I would really like to see the community embrace them as the definitive standard.
Do You have a link to the specs proposed by Sandy King ?