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View Full Version : Can you make yourself a 11x14 view camera bellow?



diversey
8-Jul-2016, 10:54
I am currently restoring a 11x14 Improved Seneca view camera and need a new bellow. I found this video on YOUTUBE. Is it feasible to make youself a 11x14 bellow? Please share your bellow making experience. Thanks!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6Pmxu4PMio

Dan Dozer
8-Jul-2016, 16:43
It's not that hard, but it does take a fair amount of time. I made one from scratch (similar to the video) for my 8 x 20 camera. One thing you might want to consider is that if the old bellows has at least one side that is still in decent shape, you might be able to salvage it and only replace the fabric on one side (I've did that on my 8 x 10). That saves a huge amount of time.

Drew Bedo
11-Jul-2016, 05:33
Check the new thread on this forum on restoring a Makina bellows.

diversey
11-Jul-2016, 07:58
The old bellow was not usable anymore. A new bellow is definitely needed. What fabric did you use for your 8x20 camera bellow, blackout curtains? Thanks!


It's not that hard, but it does take a fair amount of time. I made one from scratch (similar to the video) for my 8 x 20 camera. One thing you might want to consider is that if the old bellows has at least one side that is still in decent shape, you might be able to salvage it and only replace the fabric on one side (I've did that on my 8 x 10). That saves a huge amount of time.

diversey
11-Jul-2016, 07:59
Okay, thanks!

Check the new thread on this forum on restoring a Makina bellows.

Henry Suryo
11-Jul-2016, 13:10
I wrote a parametric unfolding program that generates a lasercut template for chamfered bellows. The input parameters are front and back X and Y dimensions, maximum extension, corner chamfer dimension, number of pleats (important for the minimum thickness based on the material used). The blue lines are score lines if you don't leave a gap for the fold, but it's better to leave a gap for the thickness of material (red offset cut lines). I have access to a large format lasercut machine at work so this saved a LOT of time. My first bellows didn't turn out too successful though, the card stock and bellows material were to thick to fold and didn't quite fit into the space of the folded camera.:(. I can help you with the 1:1 PDF template file which you can print on a big plotter or in pieces, the making part is a little tedious and for 11x14 size you will need a fairly large working area.

diversey
11-Jul-2016, 13:44
I think this is my need at the first step. I thought I could not do it without computer-assistant drawing. Will do a careful measurement tonight and send you a PM with dimensions. Where can I print it?


I wrote a parametric unfolding program that generates a lasercut template for chamfered bellows. The input parameters are front and back X and Y dimensions, maximum extension, corner chamfer dimension, number of pleats (important for the minimum thickness based on the material used). The blue lines are score lines if you don't leave a gap for the fold, but it's better to leave a gap for the thickness of material (red offset cut lines). I have access to a large format lasercut machine at work so this saved a LOT of time. My first bellows didn't turn out too successful though, the card stock and bellows material were to thick to fold and didn't quite fit into the space of the folded camera.:(. I can help you with the 1:1 PDF template file which you can print on a big plotter or in pieces, the making part is a little tedious and for 11x14 size you will need a fairly large working area.

Henry Suryo
11-Jul-2016, 13:57
Any graphics/print shop with a large format plotter could do it. A large flatbed printer that can print directly on the card stock will be even better. I can't tell what the overall print size will be until I input the parameters and you can print it in multiple pieces. The program unfolds the four sides automatically but I have to manually copy the first side again because you need some overlapping to glue the ends together.

Dan Dozer
17-Jul-2016, 12:09
The old bellow was not usable anymore. A new bellow is definitely needed. What fabric did you use for your 8x20 camera bellow, blackout curtains? Thanks!

Inside of the bellows was drapery liner material. I couldn't find the black color so used white and just painted it flat black. Outside was very thin black egyptian cotton material I found at Joann's Fabrics - pretty inexpensive and worked very well.

diversey
17-Jul-2016, 19:57
Thanks for your update. I found nylon fabric (black 2 layer GORE TEX nylon) from auction site and got a sample. Flash light test in darkroom showed one layer did not pass the test, two layers seemed okay.


Inside of the bellows was drapery liner material. I couldn't find the black color so used white and just painted it flat black. Outside was very thin black egyptian cotton material I found at Joann's Fabrics - pretty inexpensive and worked very well.

diversey
18-Aug-2016, 08:01
Below is a 11x14 bellow I made yesterday:).

153983153984

Henry Suryo
18-Aug-2016, 10:45
That looks good from here, David. Does it fold and fit ok? What thickness card and material did you use?

diversey
18-Aug-2016, 11:44
Hi, Henry: I used regular poster from Walmart and cut them following your drawing (thanks again!). Actually the bellows folds very well, better than I thought. I will try to put the bellows on my 11x14 camera this weekend. David

Poster cardboard and craft bond glue
153988

Pleat layout
153989

Henry Suryo
18-Aug-2016, 13:34
Yeah, after pressed for some time, the bellows will take its shape. But I think the corner folding in the algorithm could be improved. I'll have to revisit this some time. Hope your camera will be usable again, but I suspect you'd prefer to take the V11 instead. Enjoy!.

Lee Hamiel
18-Aug-2016, 13:48
I wrote a parametric unfolding program that generates a lasercut template for chamfered bellows. The input parameters are front and back X and Y dimensions, maximum extension, corner chamfer dimension, number of pleats (important for the minimum thickness based on the material used). The blue lines are score lines if you don't leave a gap for the fold, but it's better to leave a gap for the thickness of material (red offset cut lines). I have access to a large format lasercut machine at work so this saved a LOT of time. My first bellows didn't turn out too successful though, the card stock and bellows material were to thick to fold and didn't quite fit into the space of the folded camera.:(. I can help you with the 1:1 PDF template file which you can print on a big plotter or in pieces, the making part is a little tedious and for 11x14 size you will need a fairly large working area.

At a glance it appears that your seam-line is longitudinally disposed from front to back down the center axis - many larger bellow's seams have a diagonal bias along the bottom in order to allow for better compression in a closed state - think stacks of paperwork all stapled at the top left resulting in a huge disparity of thickness (at the top left)

Other aspects for all to consider is to always keep the old bellows for reference if available and size the pleats accordingly & do a "test strip" of materials combined (inner layer/stiffener/outer layer along with adhesives) for a sampling of 2 or 3 pleats - measure folded/closed with a micrometer & do the math & see if you are over the threshold of your collapsed camera's state

I will post a new thread soon regarding other old school methods for bellows making along with pics of a set of bellows I made for a Szabad 9x12/4x5 with information I received from the maker's son

Any bellows that work are great so long as they keep the light out & allow for easy movements

Regards

Henry Suryo
18-Aug-2016, 14:24
I think I know what you're saying. The corner triangular bits are skewed, the diagonals (hypotenuse) should be equal in length which make the unfolded pleats different depths. This was workable on my first bellows because it has similar front and back frame dimensions, but for something like the banquet formats the triangles become too distorted and probably won't fold well. I've seen templates where these triangular bits are omitted, but they help to give rigidity to the corners. Anyway need to fix this.

diversey
19-Aug-2016, 09:46
The bellow is not perfect, but it is workable:).


Yeah, after pressed for some time, the bellows will take its shape. But I think the corner folding in the algorithm could be improved. I'll have to revisit this some time. Hope your camera will be usable again, but I suspect you'd prefer to take the V11 instead. Enjoy!.

diversey
1-Sep-2016, 08:09
The DIY bellows is installed on 11x14 Improved Seneca View Camera.
https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-n_eyUctYg8M/V8hCDHHDnqI/AAAAAAAACZQ/Fdli-HwIGcAfpojTfT_PD85Rk9ZepStGgCLcB/s1600/image1-4.JPG

Randy Moe
1-Sep-2016, 08:43
Very well done David!

diversey
1-Sep-2016, 08:47
Randy, thanks!


Very well done David!

Henry Suryo
1-Sep-2016, 13:24
That looks great, nice job David!

Stephen Thomason
1-Sep-2016, 13:43
WOW! Looks beautiful!

diversey
1-Sep-2016, 17:11
Henry and Stephen: thanks! It works well. David