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View Full Version : Super Cheap, Apartment friendly 10x12 Build



blue4130
7-Jul-2016, 06:32
So I live in a small apartment in Beijing. Back in Canada, I had many tools at my disposal and if the ULF bug had bit me then, this build would have been much more elegant. (At least in my mind, that's how it goes) But apartment life reality is that I have acquired few tools but figured I'd have a go at a 10x12 tailboard camera. Luckily for me, labor is cheap in my adopted country, as are suppliers willing to toss in free cutting if you buy their material. I'll let the pictures do most of the talking...

https://c1.staticflickr.com/8/7319/28046760432_3e839b916a_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/JJoYK3)IMG_20160630_192848 (https://flic.kr/p/JJoYK3) by Vance (https://www.flickr.com/photos/vancelester/), on Flickr
The package from the supplier.

https://c3.staticflickr.com/8/7288/28116208146_81f8f85732_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/JQwV8q)IMG_20160630_193657 (https://flic.kr/p/JQwV8q) by Vance (https://www.flickr.com/photos/vancelester/), on Flickr
The rails are 30mm extruded aluminum that is used to make shelving. They have slots that allow for infinite customization and connection options.

https://c7.staticflickr.com/8/7450/28046775262_61413c3d44_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/JJp49J)IMG_20160630_203844 (https://flic.kr/p/JJp49J) by Vance (https://www.flickr.com/photos/vancelester/), on Flickr
This is the front half of the camera. I opted for 20cm for the front. Don't ask me how I came up with that number, I just took a guess. I hadn't ordered bellows yet, so was unsure how much space I would need when folded. (not that this camera will be taken out of the studio)

https://c6.staticflickr.com/8/7504/28150693325_1dc780d7ac_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/JTzEnt)IMG_20160630_203932 (https://flic.kr/p/JTzEnt) by Vance (https://www.flickr.com/photos/vancelester/), on Flickr
Here you can see the channel in the rails. This piece is what the back half of the bed slots into. It's long enough that when the back is attached, it doesn't move too much. But if I plan on leaving it set up, I can crank the set screws with an hex key and it locks down quite firmly.

blue4130
7-Jul-2016, 06:42
https://c7.staticflickr.com/8/7700/28046787142_cb33ce74fd_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/JJp7Fy)IMG_20160630_203558 (https://flic.kr/p/JJp7Fy) by Vance (https://www.flickr.com/photos/vancelester/), on Flickr
Here is the full frame of the camera. The total length is 80cm. I am hoping to be able to use a Nikkor APO 600 with it, but if that needs too much bellows for portraits, I'll have to look for an affordable 450mm.

https://c8.staticflickr.com/8/7342/27535326583_d568a9a91a_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/HXcKh4)IMG_20160706_203943 (https://flic.kr/p/HXcKh4) by Vance (https://www.flickr.com/photos/vancelester/), on Flickr
The bellows arrive. I have not attached them yet. I did put them on to see how they looked. At full extension, they are reaching their limits, but should do ok (fingers crossed)

https://c2.staticflickr.com/8/7291/28150723065_b1d8de1156_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/JTzPde)IMG_20160706_204008 (https://flic.kr/p/JTzPde) by Vance (https://www.flickr.com/photos/vancelester/), on Flickr
Lens board will go here. I plan on making a simple guillotine shutter. Since this is a studio camera, I don't need anything too exotic. A simple flat plate with a slot cut in it, gravity fed, possible a micro-switch to trigger the strobes.

https://c7.staticflickr.com/8/7328/27869308150_8d7ac36929_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/JsHumW)IMG_20160630_204504 (https://flic.kr/p/JsHumW) by Vance (https://www.flickr.com/photos/vancelester/), on Flickr
The film holder prototype. Made out of 5mm and 3mm pvc foam core. This turned out to be more flimsy than I was expecting for pvc foam core. Horizontally it is rigid, but vertically it can flex pretty good. They obviously press strands together to make the foamcore. Once the holder is in place, it should be fine, but I did sketch out the plans, so if I want to, I can have one laser cut in a couple days time out of aluminum.

The next step is to make a bellows frame and figure out how I want to attach it to the front and rear standard. I had thought about strip magnets and a steel frame, but I may end up just epoxying them to the standard.

As for focusing, right now I plan on using the push/pull method, as the rear standard moves freely enough but with enough friction to not slop about.

Jim Jones
7-Jul-2016, 06:47
This clever use of existing hardware seems much more practical than some attempts with well equipped home shops.

diversey
7-Jul-2016, 06:49
Very creative! Nice look too!

Steve Goldstein
7-Jul-2016, 08:50
I like the bottle of beer for scale.

How much does all the metal weigh? I've often thought about using similar materials (8020 is the US brand).

LarsAC
7-Jul-2016, 11:42
Cool - so you loosen the screws to focus ?

Lars

blue4130
7-Jul-2016, 14:14
I like the bottle of beer for scale.

How much does all the metal weigh? I've often thought about using similar materials (8020 is the US brand).

Haha, every great build starts with beer. As for the weight, using my crappy bathroom scale, I get about 6kg.

blue4130
7-Jul-2016, 14:19
Cool - so you loosen the screws to focus ?

Lars

Yep, pretty simple. I may add thumb screws to the one set of the bottom rear standard screws so I can loosen them easier. Right now I have left them loose, but the rear standard can tilt slightly if I am not careful. At least the ends are cut precise so I know that if everything is seated, I should be zero'd out and parallel to the lens.

Lachlan 717
7-Jul-2016, 15:56
Vance,

Where are the bellows from, please?

Randy Moe
7-Jul-2016, 15:56
Nice use of off the shelf. I am working slowly on a similar camera using the same type of extrusions, made in Ohio.

Really nice stuff.

Jim Fitzgerald
7-Jul-2016, 16:31
I've built two 14 x 17 cameras using the extruded aluminum. Yours has some nice features that I had not thought about. Congratulations on the build. I'm interested to know how the film holders work and hold up after some use.

blue4130
7-Jul-2016, 16:43
Vance,

Where are the bellows from, please?

The bellows were made locally in Beijing. I found the supplier on www.taobao.com and gave him the dimensions and request for red. Took 5 days and cost 1200 rmb. So far it is by far the most expensive part of the build. I thought about folding my own, but I know in the end, I would have bought a set after butchering mine.

Lachlan 717
7-Jul-2016, 17:10
The bellows were made locally in Beijing. I found the supplier on www.taobao.com and gave him the dimensions and request for red. Took 5 days and cost 1200 rmb. So far it is by far the most expensive part of the build. I thought about folding my own, but I know in the end, I would have bought a set after butchering mine.

Thanks, Vance.

Pity my Cantonese/Mandarin is so poor; I have no hope on taobao!

Fr. Mark
7-Jul-2016, 20:04
Impressive! Every time I think about setting up to do scanning of negatives to enlarge them the thought, why not just start with bigger ones in the first place?, comes to mind.

Leszek Vogt
7-Jul-2016, 21:38
Looks good! We can get frame of this type from McMaster-Carr here. Your bellows seem rather reasonable in comparison to what I paid (from UK). Yes, several of us are looking at your updates w/interest. Cool stuff.

Les