PDA

View Full Version : How difficult is it to drill holes in a Carbon Fiber lens board?



AtlantaTerry
10-Jun-2016, 02:55
Most of my lenses are on Crown Graphic lens boards. That way they can work on either my 4x5" Crown Graphic camera or on my Cambo when a Cambo lens board that has a Crown Graphic adapter is in place. Also, a 4x4 inch Crown lens board takes considerably less space to pack than a 6x6" Cambo board.

I just received my Chamonix 4x5" camera so what I would like to do is make my own Crown adapter for it by drilling four holes in my Chamonix carbon fiber / Copal #3 lens board. Then I can bolt into place a Crown Graphic lens board adapter. Since the Chamonix folks use a Linhof-style lens board, there is barely enough room to do this, but I think I can make it happen because the Crown adapter is a bit smaller.

I did a Google search on the subject and from what I see, drilling the holes is not that difficult. The best way is to start off with a new sharp drill bit.

The alternative would be for me to send the Crown adapter to Hugo or the Chamonix factory. But, most likely that would take far too long and I would like to start putting my new camera to use.

I don't want to take this on if it is unrealistic. Also, I don't want to mess up my new $75 Copal #3 Chamonix lens board if CF is difficult to work with.

Since I've never worked with carbon fiber lens boards, I have a question: Is carbon fiber brittle?
I ask because the last thing I want to do is weaken the lens board by drilling the four holes then have it later break which would put a lens mounted onto it in danger.

In case you have not seen a Crown Graphic lens board adapter, here is one attached to a Speed Graphic lens board:
151637 151638

Pfsor
10-Jun-2016, 03:07
Drilling it is not good for your health. The fine dust causes havoc in lungs. Special precautions should be taken.

AtlantaTerry
10-Jun-2016, 03:32
Drilling it is not good for your health. The fine dust causes havoc in lungs. Special precautions should be taken.

Oh really? Thank you. That is good to know.

Would a standard woodworking dust mask be adequate? I also have some surgical masks, too.

Knowing now what you are saying, if I did the drilling myself, I would do it outdoors on a windy day.

Some results of my Google search:

http://madmodder.net/index.php?topic=3526.0

http://rc.runryder.com/helicopter/t628526p1/

dave_whatever
10-Jun-2016, 04:44
How about just attaching your adapter to any old cheap second-hand (or Chinese eBay) metal Linhof-type board? Easy to drill, easy to find, and not expensive if you cock it up.

LabRat
10-Jun-2016, 05:11
Think of it like fiberglass... Can shred/splinter a little while drilling, but some superglue can cap & seal it... Dustmask should be fine, and maybe a little fan to blow the dust away from you while drilling... (For a very small project...)

The biggest problem is this material dulls cutting tools quickly, but for a one-off project, shouldn't be an issue...

Good luck!!!

Steve K

Christopher Barrett
10-Jun-2016, 05:24
I really prefer the small Arca boards to the Linhof. Being just a little larger, they allow me to orient the lens in any rotation... I like the cable release dropping straight down. Plus all my other cameras are Arcas, so I emailed Hugo and they are building me a new front standard for the 4x10 to take Arca boards. I just sent them the measurements of an Arca board. At $300, I thought it was a good deal. So, if you're not into the Linhof style board, Chamonix may be able to fix you up. Hugo did quote me a 3 month lead time, so for now I'm still using Linhof boards.

Cheers,
CB

Pfsor
10-Jun-2016, 05:38
Oh really? Thank you. That is good to know.

Would a standard woodworking dust mask be adequate? I also have some surgical masks, too.

Knowing now what you are saying, if I did the drilling myself, I would do it outdoors on a windy day.



It all depends on how much you're wiling to take a risk. The dust is very light and hovers in the air easily. Personally I would go for a different solution but it's just me.
You can google a lot of warning with "CF dust".
Cheers.

Bob Salomon
10-Jun-2016, 05:50
Properly you do not drill lens boards, the holes should be milled to avoid stressing the board and possibly compromising the flatness of the board. Do it right and your question becomes moot.

LabRat
10-Jun-2016, 06:25
It all depends on how much you're wiling to take a risk. The dust is very light and hovers in the air easily. Personally I would go for a different solution but it's just me.
You can google a lot of warning with "CF dust".
Cheers.

You can also use a shop vac (with dry wall dust filter) near your drilling area to capture the dust...

Drilling a few holes shouldn't be a issue if precautions are followed... (Now, having a lot of holes, or a production line!?!!! I'm still not sure if it's OK to buy a CF product, considering what some poor soul somewhere might be exposed to...)

Steve K

Pfsor
10-Jun-2016, 06:49
(Now, having a lot of holes, or a production line!?!!! I'm still not sure if it's OK to buy a CF product, considering what some poor soul somewhere might be exposed to...)

Steve K

Speaking about a Chinese product I fully understand your worries. You could be truly horrified to see what these poor souls are exposed to even before they finally get to the manufacturing hall...

Jim C.
10-Jun-2016, 09:07
Carbon fiber can be brittle depending on how thin the adapter is and what other fibers are laminated in
together with the carbon fiber.
If you're just drilling holes for screws then a sharp drill in a drill press will do fine, make sure the adapter
is well supported underneath to lessen tear out, set up a vacuum to suck away the dust
and make sure that the exhaust of your vac is directed outside unless your vac is HEPA rated.

Adding to what Labrat mentions in using super glues to seal off any tear out, after the super glue
cures wet sand the area. If you don't you'll be dealing with very fine needles of CF.

The bright side of the CF splinters is that they're black, unlike fiberglass.
You can see them to pull them out.:p

Drew Wiley
10-Jun-2016, 10:04
There are different kinds of carbon fiber sheeting. I assume the type you are using is fiberglass reinforced. Small hole can be done with ordinary cobalt drill bits,
though special diamond bits are made for carbon fiber and will cut cleaner holes. If you're worried about dust, wear a reasonable dust mask and sponge up any
dust afterwards. My shop if fully HEPA, so I never think about this. But I have personal cost advantages due to selling that kind of gear. In other word, I'm factory incentified to understand this kind of thing. But I strongly recommend small HEPA vacs for not only shop use, but darkroom and lab applications too. You can get one for around $500 up - and no, a HEPA label on a basic Shop Vac or household vac ad does not consitute a HEPA vac, but merely misleading marketing BS. A faux HEPA filter in an ordinary vac might be cleaner than a regular filter, but doesn't do a damn thing for dust getting past unequal seals, much less to protect the motor itself from dust infiltration and potential burn out with the inevitable reduced air flow. True HEPA vacs are two-stage, with the motor completely isolated from dust, along with special prefiltration systems to protect the life of the expensive main filter itself. You can sometimes even use them as ambient air cleaners in a lab.

williaty
10-Jun-2016, 23:34
The easy solution to the dust in this situation, since you're only drilling 4 holes, is just to do it all with the entire work area sopping wet. You can almost certainly just bead up some water over the area you're going to drill through but if you want the belt and suspenders approach, you can make a little dam around the drill site using multiple layers of tape, putty, even dough and fill the little pond you just formed with water. So long as the cutting edges are submerged, the dust stays contained in the water.

Lachlan 717
11-Jun-2016, 04:36
Just spray the area with WD-40. This will keep the dust at bay ANd help to save the drill bit.

williaty
11-Jun-2016, 08:29
Just spray the area with WD-40. This will keep the dust at bay ANd help to save the drill bit.

There's no guarantee an oil-based product won't wick into the ends of the fibers and stay there, nor that it won't cause delamination. My preference for this would be an oil as well (I usually use synthetic ATF) but with composites you really have to play it safe with what you expose them to unless you know for 100% certain what was used to make them and what the chemical compatibility is. Using water instead of an oil just keeps you out of trouble when you're dealing with an unidentified composite.

Kirk Gittings
11-Jun-2016, 09:35
I really prefer the small Arca boards to the Linhof. Being just a little larger, they allow me to orient the lens in any rotation... I like the cable release dropping straight down. Plus all my other cameras are Arcas, so I emailed Hugo and they are building me a new front standard for the 4x10 to take Arca boards. I just sent them the measurements of an Arca board. At $300, I thought it was a good deal. So, if you're not into the Linhof style board, Chamonix may be able to fix you up. Hugo did quote me a 3 month lead time, so for now I'm still using Linhof boards.

Cheers,
CB

sweet

Lachlan 717
11-Jun-2016, 14:00
There's no guarantee an oil-based product won't wick into the ends of the fibers and stay there, nor that it won't cause delamination. My preference for this would be an oil as well (I usually use synthetic ATF) but with composites you really have to play it safe with what you expose them to unless you know for 100% certain what was used to make them and what the chemical compatibility is. Using water instead of an oil just keeps you out of trouble when you're dealing with an unidentified composite.

Main ingredient is fish oil...

williaty
11-Jun-2016, 15:20
Main ingredient is fish oil...
Yep, that's the easy part. However, can you determine exactly which brand of CF plate he has? Once you know who made it, can you determine exactly which carbon product from their model line it is? Once you determine the exact brand and model of CF sheet, can you get an engineer to commit to a statement on the compatibility of the product with "fish oil"?

The problem isn't knowing what cutting lubricant you're going to use; the problem is knowing with enough specificity exactly what fiber and resin are involved in the composite to confirm that the composite is compatible with your cutting lubricant.

Greg
11-Jun-2016, 16:45
I drill my Chamonix carbon fiber boards outside on a windy day. Circular hole saw mounted on an inexpensive Harbor Freight drill press. Drill press wouldn't last but a few days in a production line, but for all I use it, will never wear it out. If the hole is slightly too small, mount the board in a vise and hand file it with a circular hand file, again outside on a windy day. Chamonix boards are on the expensive side but (usually) a fraction the cost of the lenses you mount in them. Used Chamonix boards are finally actually appearing on the used and in the online auction circuit market.