View Full Version : DIY 8x10 enlarger

John Jarosz
10-Apr-2016, 19:21
I've started this thread because I received some questions in the "Love to see your 8x10 Enlargers darkroom" thread in the Darkroom section. I did not want to hijack the thread with this DIY stuff.

I received the 16x20 Argyle process camera as part of a 'clean out' from another photographer. He was planning to convert the camera to an enlarger but 'never got around to it'. He did do one good thing: He bought the Rack & Pinion gears from McMaster Carr. I looked them up and they're pretty pricey.

I'm using an old process lens for enlarging. Since I use it occasionally on my Kodak 2D's I made the enlarger to accept the 6x6 2D lensboards.

The vacuum easel is from the Argyle camera with one change. I replaced the perforated plastic film surface with a steel one. It necessitated drilling a zillion .062 diameter holes in the steel sheet but this allows me to close off some of the unused holes to get a better vacuum by using more of the flexible magnet sheets (They won't fall off when the vacuum is turned off). Sometimes I need to use the flexible magnet material to flatten out some recalcitrant double weight fiber base paper too.

The bellows was found on ebay

John Jarosz
10-Apr-2016, 19:23
The lightsource is built the same way I built my contact printing lightsource for 8x20 documented in this thread.
I originally built this using an old Aristo Cold Light head. The LED head is new, made after I made the contact printing head in the thread above.

Being able to vary contrast by using/blending the Blue/green LED's works very well. Only difference is there has to be a diffuser. I was surprised how much attenuation the diffuser causes. So it's important to put as many LED's into the lightsource as possible. I've also found that have an extra row of LED's outside of the dimensions of the neg carrier results in a much more uniform source right out to the edges. I did not connect the red LED's. So the lightsource is Blue/Green only. The LED controller lets me vary to ratio of blue to green light. I can have all green, all blue, or six steps of mix between them. The matrix of LED's measures 9.75" x 11.75"

The negative carrier is a zinc plated steel sheet (12"x12") cut out in the center and then really deburred. This takes some doing and some patience. The negative clamping sheet is flexible magnet material. The negative is held firmly, very little sag. When it's in the enlarger there's no sag, which I guess is the big advantage to horizontal enlargers. The neg carrier is held in the wooden stage by 3 small disc magnets (the steel sheet portion of the carrier is facing the lens). It's much easier to get the 3 magnets (a plane) parallel to the lens stage and the easel rather than trying to make a flat wooden negative stage. I use 2 plastic wedges and a small 'F' clamp to hold the lightsource against the neg carrier. The steel & magnet material came from McMaster Carr.

Randy Moe
10-Apr-2016, 19:49
Looks good to me.

Thanks for your answer.

Jeff T
10-Apr-2016, 21:28
Thanks for sharing your DIY enlarger project. I like your idea of using flexible magnets to hold the paper flat to the vertical easel.

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