I just built my first one and didn't consider it to be a PITA. It did take some forethought and a lot of horizontal space, but it went okay. The bellows I constructed was a square design, extends to 30" and collapses to 2" and has an inner opening of 9.5" square with an 11.5" square exterior. URLs for a couple pics of the completed bellows:

completed bellows with form and Canon F1 for scale

first bellows

Here are my directions for the square bellows I built:


Please note the above links to a draft webpage that needs some corrections to the figures as well as needing the inclusion of several additional figures to go along with the text. In its current state it does however have some hopefully useful links, lists of materials, design considerations, etc. I plan to revise it and post it in a few weeks once I can get access to my imaging computer back at work.