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Daniel Stone
20-Feb-2011, 22:59
Hey all,

I've decided to take on a summer project and BUILD myself some 5x8,4x10 and 8x10 holders. Possibly some 8x20 holders down the road, if I decide to go with that format.

so... After finding some information, and trying to measure the holders I already have, I'm still at somewhat of a loss.

anyone happen to have a schematic for holders?

and yes, I know that its "cheaper" to buy used ones, but I'm just getting back into woodworking thanks to a local adult-ed program(I'm 22, but its open to anyone 18 and older), and since I've decided to build an 8x10 and a 5x8/4x10(for 2 cameras total) camera this summer(topic of another thread soon), I'm wanting to start with the holders first.

any recommendations for materials, is basswood a good starting material? Or going with walnut or another "hardwood"(say, maple) a better choice?

I can't imagine its too hard to make these things, and once set up, I'll be making 20 8x10 holders, and 10 each of the 5x8 and 4x10 holders.

I'll just stick with my plastic 4x5 holders, since I still have like 30 of them :).

so, you woodworkers out there, if you could lend some help, that would be much appreciated!

thanks

-Dan

cosmicexplosion
21-Feb-2011, 04:28
i would take a wooden one apart

and practice duplicating all the separate bits, cuts joints etc on scap wood of a similar density
till you have a system perfected for each separate action the try it on your real wood.

I am in the process of making my first window, and its a bay window, and it is a very steep learning curve, even though it will be easy once i know how.

hugo from chamonix rekons the holders are harder than cameras.

good luck

Michael Kadillak
21-Feb-2011, 08:14
Aside from the obvious woodworking skills necessary to make the grooves and router openings, one needs to have intimate knowledge with wood grain structure (selecting the optimal wood) and how to offset this structure in assembly to minimize movement.

Wood is a dynamic material and unintentional lateral torque will render a sheet film holder to the kindling pile in no time. Building a camera is one thing. Holders are a horse of a different color. Based upon what those people that know what they are doing in building holders have told me about this process, I quickly determined it was a bridge to far. I own all of the tools I would need to make these products. The experiences I want to gain relate to the photographic processes.

Personally the escalating price of sheet film is the dominant criteria in the LF game. The ability to find reasonably priced already made 5x8 or 8x10 holders precludes going down this road solely on the economics. Get a spiltter back for your 8x10 camera to do 2 4x10's in an 8x10 holder for your panoramic proportions. One thing I know for sure. Molded plastic is a static material and is impervious to moisture.

Given your financial constraints I feel the cost of 8x20 film is going to kick this objective to the curb for the time being.

Colin Graham
21-Feb-2011, 09:25
I've made several sizes of holders. I never could find any plans around on the net, but did find some ANSI standards for riblock placement and T-dimension (surface of holder to film plane) floating around on the net somewhere..might need the wayback machine to find it now. But having the actual back in which the holder will be used will provide all the measurements you need.

Dismantling a holder is excellent advice, really helps to clarify how the parts work together, even the modern plastic ones.

Traditional woodworking tools might be awkward for the tiny slots and rabbets. I use a slitting saw in a mill, 1/32" for the darkslides and septums up to a point, 1/16" is better for septums on the larger holder sizes like 8x20. Garolite XX grade from McMaster Carr is an excellent material for darkslides and septums. Also velvet for baffling and brass shim stock for trap springs are available from the same source. I used Filmoplast tape from Talas Online for the hinges.

I wrote up the last batch I made as a memory aid for future reference, since I make holders so infrequently. I'm not sure if it would be make any sense to anyone else, but it's here (http://colinflanarygraham.com/darkshop/?p=79) if you're interested.

BTW, basswood is likely way too soft- I've used mahogany and cherry but cherry is probably ideal- grain is tight enough to hold detail in the tiny joints and slots.

Will Whitaker
21-Feb-2011, 09:35
Colin - Nice DLB's. You are one talented dude.

Dan - Go for it. You'll learn a lot. My only suggestion is to try ONE format first. Otherwise, too many variables, too many set-ups, too many mistakes and too much money.

Colin Graham
21-Feb-2011, 09:46
Thanks Will. Being poor can be highly motivating. :]

Jack Dahlgren
21-Feb-2011, 13:59
I'd go with softwood (spruce, fir) rather than hardwood. It is more dimensionally stable with changes in humidity etc. and can usually be found with clear straight grain.

RichardRitter
21-Feb-2011, 14:53
Have fun. You will be working with very tight tolerances that have to repeated many time over.
Do you own a wood stove? The scrapes and rejects make great kindling. I used to heat may sauna with rejected camera parts.

Michael Kadillak
21-Feb-2011, 15:00
I've made several sizes of holders. I never could find any plans around on the net, but did find some ANSI standards for riblock placement and T-dimension (surface of holder to film plane) floating around on the net somewhere..might need the wayback machine to find it now. But having the actual back in which the holder will be used will provide all the measurements you need.

Dismantling a holder is excellent advice, really helps to clarify how the parts work together, even the modern plastic ones.

Traditional woodworking tools might be awkward for the tiny slots and rabbets. I use a slitting saw in a mill, 1/32" for the darkslides and septums up to a point, 1/16" is better for septums on the larger holder sizes like 8x20. Garolite XX grade from McMaster Carr is an excellent material for darkslides and septums. Also velvet for baffling and brass shim stock for trap springs are available from the same source. I used Filmoplast tape from Talas Online for the hinges.

I wrote up the last batch I made as a memory aid for future reference, since I make holders so infrequently. I'm not sure if it would be make any sense to anyone else, but it's here (http://colinflanarygraham.com/darkshop/?p=79) if you're interested.

BTW, basswood is likely way too soft- I've used mahogany and cherry but cherry is probably ideal- grain is tight enough to hold detail in the tiny joints and slots.

Wow. Great job Colin. You have three things going for you in this regard. You have the skills and tools, the desire and the time to allocate to complete this work. Amortizing this over a number of holders allows you to recover this investment. I agree that cherry or walnut wood is what you need to do this right. Pine or other less dense woods will not work.

If I tried this I would get 30 hours into the process with materials purchased and find that I made a mistake somewhere and would have to start over.

Michael Kadillak
21-Feb-2011, 15:03
I'd go with softwood (spruce, fir) rather than hardwood. It is more dimensionally stable with changes in humidity etc. and can usually be found with clear straight grain.

I would be surprised if spruce or fir can be utilized for this application. IMHO one needs dense wood like cherry or walnut to hold the tolerances required for this application.

Daniel Stone
21-Feb-2011, 16:51
hey all,

thanks for the boosts of confidence :D!

Colin: my man, THAT is what I'm talking about! Wowee!!!
I'm going to try to stick with the ANSI standards for now, and since I'll be using 8x10 film for the majority of my work, I think I'll heed your guy's advice and stick with the 8x10 only, for now. I can always CROP, shhhhh..... :).

Cherry it will be then. I love the look of your holders Colin, I'm totally happy with the look and color of your holders, I'll go with that. I'm not totally stingy with materials, I'm happy to spend some money(what little I have ;)) on good quality wood.

Richard: no, I don't have a wood-burning stove, but my parents DO have a fireplace. So the scraps I can burn this winter. Out here in LA we don't get to use it much, but if there is some good smelling wood, I'll happily add it to the fire to keep things smelling nice!

I'll take apart one of my 8x10 wooden Kodak/Graflex holders to get dimensions and tolerances.

thanks again guys, it really means a lot to have some support from photogs AND woodworkers :).

cheers,

-Dan

Michael Kadillak
21-Feb-2011, 17:38
hey all,

thanks for the boosts of confidence :D!

Colin: my man, THAT is what I'm talking about! Wowee!!!
I'm going to try to stick with the ANSI standards for now, and since I'll be using 8x10 film for the majority of my work, I think I'll heed your guy's advice and stick with the 8x10 only, for now. I can always CROP, shhhhh..... :).

Cherry it will be then. I love the look of your holders Colin, I'm totally happy with the look and color of your holders, I'll go with that. I'm not totally stingy with materials, I'm happy to spend some money(what little I have ;)) on good quality wood.

Richard: no, I don't have a wood-burning stove, but my parents DO have a fireplace. So the scraps I can burn this winter. Out here in LA we don't get to use it much, but if there is some good smelling wood, I'll happily add it to the fire to keep things smelling nice!

I'll take apart one of my 8x10 wooden Kodak/Graflex holders to get dimensions and tolerances.

thanks again guys, it really means a lot to have some support from photogs AND woodworkers :).

cheers,

-Dan

Good luck with your project. I am sure that Colin can share some of his experience when questions come up as I suspect he enjoys a good bottle of wine that may come his way for his efforts. I call this some cheap insurance (the assistance not the wine).

Erik Larsen
21-Feb-2011, 18:17
Go for it Daniel if you enjoy woodworking, it will be a fun project. Don't do it if you think it is a way to save money though. For the cost of used 8x10 holders I doubt you will really save much money making your own. On the other hand, if you get into 8x20 or any ULF size, you can save substantially by making your own holders as ULF holders are ridiculously expensive imo. I have made a couple dozen 11x14 holders and it was a fun project, but it took a lot of time. There are many, many cuts you have to make for each holder. If you go ahead with the project, my advice would be to make at least 10 or so and do it assembly line style. Set up your tool for whatever cut you need and make all cuts needed at the same time so you don't have to re tool for each holder. This way you can interchange parts if needed pre assembly because inevitably some of the wood will have a defect after you cut it, warpage most likely. Just look at a holder and count all the cuts you will have to do, it really is a lot:) There is nothing hard about making them, but it is gonna take up a considerable amount of time, but like I said earlier if you enjoy woodworking it can be a fun project. Post your progress as I'm sure others would like to see what you have come up. Colin has a great example of what can be done and he did a great job imo.
good luck!
erik

John Bowen
21-Feb-2011, 18:22
Hey Dan,

This is taken from the AWB site:

Making these filmholders takes a considerable amount of time to produce. It requires about 150 set-ups to produce 1 filmholder. And each holder's parts are custom machined by hand. Purchasing and picking out lumber for these holders can often be tidious and frustrating. After selecting the lumber and bringing it to the shop, cutting it is another nightmare. Sometimes, just when you thought that your lumber is straight-grained when you picked it out, it bows and bends on you, and when that happens, it's of no use. A wasted piece of material and money. Each piece of wood has to be straight and straight-grained (quarter-sawn). Not always does a piece of wood straighten out when clamped in the opposite direction for correction and stay put. Weather and the amount of moisture in the wood determines what it will do after it is cut.

Were it me, I'd build a table and purchase the film holders :-)

Have Fun!

Michael Kadillak
22-Feb-2011, 16:35
Hey Dan,

This is taken from the AWB site:

Making these filmholders takes a considerable amount of time to produce. It requires about 150 set-ups to produce 1 filmholder. And each holder's parts are custom machined by hand. Purchasing and picking out lumber for these holders can often be tidious and frustrating. After selecting the lumber and bringing it to the shop, cutting it is another nightmare. Sometimes, just when you thought that your lumber is straight-grained when you picked it out, it bows and bends on you, and when that happens, it's of no use. A wasted piece of material and money. Each piece of wood has to be straight and straight-grained (quarter-sawn). Not always does a piece of wood straighten out when clamped in the opposite direction for correction and stay put. Weather and the amount of moisture in the wood determines what it will do after it is cut.

Were it me, I'd build a table and purchase the film holders :-)

Have Fun!

My sentiments completely John. At the price of hard wood these days I would think that there is a fast point of diminishing returns that would only be offset by experience in working with this material. But as they say sometimes the prospect of a romantic journey can overshadow the adverse possibilities. The older I get the more inclined I am to listen to the voice of experience. Plus the closer we get to spring the less time I want to spend in the shop or in front of a computer. The field is where photographs are made. Onward!

cosmicexplosion
23-Feb-2011, 05:26
what a great bunch of humans all getting all getting a long

good luck with the quest Dan

and be very very patient

oh and be patient some more.

i think the first one will take about a million years, but after that you will be taking orders...


very nice holders colin

i have book marked for future, and will check out your site, you sound like a leprechaun!

Nathan Smith
23-Feb-2011, 09:01
I wonder if there's some type of plastic that can be worked like wood, but would be dimensionally stable, and without any grain to deal with. Any ideas?

Michael Kadillak
23-Feb-2011, 09:24
I wonder if there's some type of plastic that can be worked like wood, but would be dimensionally stable, and without any grain to deal with. Any ideas?

I am sure that you can get colored acrylic, but working with it is a highly specialized skill that few have the tools and experience to put to use. Yes, it is dimensionally stable, waterproof, strong and durable. Injection molded dies are the choice of applying this material into a final product and the high costs of set up are only recovered with large numbers of manufacturing. Relatively speaking the current injection molded film holders in 8x10 and 4x10 are absolute bargains because they are an investment that returns dividends to a photographer for a very long time because they perform perfectly.

Daniel Stone
23-Feb-2011, 10:11
what a great bunch of humans all getting all getting a long

good luck with the quest Dan Thanks! I'm looking forward to getting started!

and be very very patient (hard for me, but something to master, maybe this is the perfect project for it ;)?!)


oh and be patient some more. (yes, patience is key, rushing makes mistakes)

i think the first one will take about a million years, but after that you will be taking orders... (now, now, lets not get ahead of ourselves here :))

doublezero
23-Feb-2011, 11:27
HELLO

SOME DATA HERE

http://canhamcameras.com/Film%20Holder%20Specs.html

GOOD LUCK

Jody_S
6-Feb-2012, 18:31
HELLO

SOME DATA HERE

http://canhamcameras.com/Film%20Holder%20Specs.html

GOOD LUCK

Thanks, exactly what I was looking for. If I succeed, I'll show my results; if not, I'll never speak of it again.

Jim Jones
6-Feb-2012, 19:22
Jody -- email sent.

Jim

normanv
7-Feb-2012, 02:10
I made a 12" x 10" holder for a camera that I built. As I was in control of both parts I did not have to make it to fit any established standard which made it more straightforward. I used strip wood from my local model shop, mostly spruce. It is made to reasonably tight tolerances so there was no problem there. I used good quality ply for the core and the slides were black Formica. It was completely successful. good luck with yours.

SMBooth
7-Feb-2012, 02:40
This link might help too
http://home.earthlink.net/~eahoo/page8/filmhold.html

Good Luck

imagedowser
7-Feb-2012, 09:20
Been a stringed instrument maker in Woodstock NY since 1977 and elsewhere for another 10 years. Everything you bring to the project is important. Tools, experience desire to be accurate... but the wood is "in charge". When wood is dried by air, slowly or by heat or dehumidification kilns quickly it builds tension inside. When you mill it to size you release this stored tension and the wood moves. Maple and mahogany are known for this.... so rough cut all parts let the pieces stablize for a month an inch of thickness, than make your finish cuts for assembly. Swiss pear ($$) is the most stable wood(used for jack slides in harpsichords) you can use... domestic pear, which can be hard to find commercially (I cut my own tree in 1983) is good walnut is also very good but has a great deal of variation in density so it is important to pick pieces of similar density. Sapele , a mahogany look alike is used in the piano industry for piano hammers because of its stability but it is HEAVY. Paduk is very stable and less heavy than sapele. Some commercial builders of film holders offer this very attractive orange wood. Be careful to use quarter sawn or flat sawn woods for stability. Age of the wood is also very important, but adds to the cost because of the cost of proper storage. My instruments are made of materials no less than 10 years old and often 3 or 4 times that. By the way, I do have extra supplies of these fine woods and would consider selling some for the "spirit" of large format. William Kramer-Harrison, Luthier.

Reinhold Schable
8-Feb-2012, 00:21
I just bumped into this post, it reminded me of my 8x20 filmholder project here:

http://www.apug.org/forums/forum44/16958-8x20-holders-just-completed-6-them.html

Making ULF holders is a bit more involved than making a doghouse...

Reinhold

www.Re-inventedPhotoEquip.com

Jody_S
8-Feb-2012, 09:25
Been a stringed instrument maker in Woodstock NY since 1977 and elsewhere for another 10 years. Everything you bring to the project is important. Tools, experience desire to be accurate... but the wood is "in charge". When wood is dried by air, slowly or by heat or dehumidification kilns quickly it builds tension inside. When you mill it to size you release this stored tension and the wood moves. Maple and mahogany are known for this.... so rough cut all parts let the pieces stablize for a month an inch of thickness, than make your finish cuts for assembly. Swiss pear ($$) is the most stable wood(used for jack slides in harpsichords) you can use... domestic pear, which can be hard to find commercially (I cut my own tree in 1983) is good walnut is also very good but has a great deal of variation in density so it is important to pick pieces of similar density. Sapele , a mahogany look alike is used in the piano industry for piano hammers because of its stability but it is HEAVY. Paduk is very stable and less heavy than sapele. Some commercial builders of film holders offer this very attractive orange wood. Be careful to use quarter sawn or flat sawn woods for stability. Age of the wood is also very important, but adds to the cost because of the cost of proper storage. My instruments are made of materials no less than 10 years old and often 3 or 4 times that. By the way, I do have extra supplies of these fine woods and would consider selling some for the "spirit" of large format. William Kramer-Harrison, Luthier.

Thanks, good advice. I'm using Paduk that has been sitting for 4 years now (well, since I've had it); I chose it because of all the woods I've had stacked in my shop over the last 25 years, this is the one that has moved the least, even when some was accidentally submerged in a flood- not to mention I have lot of it sitting around, with nothing else planned. And I'm not in any hurry to finish, I'm still restoring the camera these will eventually go on. Finished the bellows last night.

Jim Andrada
9-Feb-2012, 13:19
About the only soft wood I would consider might be sugar pine often called pattern maker's pine. It is stable and the grain is such that it can be carved pretty freely in all directions - and as the nickname would suggest it was used for foundry pattern making because it could hold detail well. From a woodworking perspective it's only real fault is that it won't sand smoothly enough to take a nice finish.

Outside of that I think Mahogany is a good choice for stability. weight. etc. Mesquite is also pretty stable and extremely strong but not the easiest wood to work and it can be quite expensive.

All things considered mahogany is hard to beat.

Ben Syverson
10-Feb-2012, 20:07
I have the ANSI standard handy, so if anyone wants some info, send me a PM. The formats listed are:
2x3
3x4
4x5
5x7
8x10
11x14
14x17

coisasdavida
11-Mar-2013, 08:03
Has anyone ever considered expanded PVC as a film holder material instead of wood?

C. D. Keth
12-Mar-2013, 15:36
Cherry would be a very good choice of wood. It's been used for measuring tools for woodworking for a very long time, has nice closed grain, and works cleanly.

Kirk Fry
13-Mar-2013, 00:05
So has any one tried to "print" a film holder in one of those new fangled 3D printers?

paulr
13-Mar-2013, 01:01
So has any one tried to "print" a film holder in one of those new fangled 3D printers?

I was going to ask the same thing. I'm curious to know more about their abilities, the range of materials (if there's any range) they work with, etc.

jodyake
13-Mar-2013, 12:14
3d printers are still very expensive to use. I use a cnc to mill wet plate holder and it works really well.

coisasdavida
13-Mar-2013, 13:27
I can't afford ulf holders, I don't have a cnc or the woodworking skills and tools some people show here. Is it cardboard then?

Steven Tribe
6-Apr-2014, 12:57
Bump!

Randy Moe
6-Apr-2014, 13:36
ANSI specs here. http://home.earthlink.net/~eahoo/page8/filmhold.html

I recently purchased Richard Ritter film holders. Excellent and no way wood (pun) I try to make them. They are wonderful and lightweight.

I have also converted 14x16 copy camera holders to 11x14 with acetate and tape that work well. http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?104102-Levy-Process-camera-11x14-DIY-film-holder-mod

Nathan Potter
6-Apr-2014, 20:46
So has any one tried to "print" a film holder in one of those new fangled 3D printers?

Lots of interest and applications for 3d printing within the past couple of years. Consumer versions are now available in the 1K to 5K $ range. Variations on the idea are now legion with almost any material being possible to be built up layer by layer. The easy additive processes of interest to consumers typically use plastic wire or beads which are melted in the heated nozzle then deposited in a computer generated X - Y pattern layer by layer. Dot size may range from 25 to 100*Ám or so diameter and produce a layer of 50 to 150 Ám thick. Common consumer materials can be, for example, ABS, polycarbonate, silicone, etc. For extra precision, finish can be done using subtractive machining. Heat annealing is common for stress relieving. Re-entrant cavities obviously present a problem but the scanner can be stopped mid job and a removable material can be inserted where the re-entrant cavity is required. That may be a material that can be dissolved using wet chemistry at the end of the fabrication.

Doing a film holder is entirely feasible as long as the X - Y travel scan is large enough and certainly 12 X 12 inches is common even with consumer machines.

For a good write up check out the Wiki 3d Printing article, especially the section on Printers and the RepRap hardware project, an approach not unlike the scanner threads posted here in concept. It produces free open source hardware (FOSH) under GNU General Public License. The scheme is intended for the hardware to be able to produce many of its own parts to create more machines. Images of some of the machines are shown.

Currently it should be possible to send a film holder to a facilitator such as Shapeway where they can generate an STL file suitable for driving a 3d printer. Then send the file to one of many 3d printer Co. to get a sample. Obviously any re-entrant structures will need some special techniques, (perhaps lamination of separate parts).

No idea about the cost for a single part but prices are falling rapidly of course depending on the complexity of the part. I'm working on a couple of non photo projects now where the final part is divided into three pieces in order to solve the re-entrant problem. The final three parts will be screwed together. Material will be polycarbonate.

Nate Potter, Austin TX.

Leigh
7-Apr-2014, 00:33
anyone happen to have a schematic for holders?
http://home.earthlink.net/~eahoo/page8/filmhold.html

- Leigh

Curt
7-Apr-2014, 03:45
My 11x14 camera is on track for a summer finish. That would make it a year which is what I planed for. Even before I started the camera build I made a prototype filmholder to see how the production would flow in my shop. I carefully documented it in a notebook with comments and instructions to myself. My advice to anyone attempting this is to give it a go. It is a disciplined, methodical process so spend the time to understand how one works. This is an early picture, the wood I will be using on the run is Mahogany.

Jim Jones
7-Apr-2014, 07:47
http://home.earthlink.net/~eahoo/page8/filmhold.html

- Leigh

It should be noted that some of the information in this often cited illustration may be questionable. The depth to film surface distance (the "T" distance) as shown in my 1951 copy of the ASA standards is to the back, not the front, of the film. The Exposure Height measurement given is apparently the ASA D2, not the appropriate D3, measurement. The Exposure Width measurement is the E1 maximum, not the appropriate E3 measurement. The Retaining Tab Location is a maximum; the minimum is .010" less. The Length dimension is a minimum: ASA specified no maximum. The Width is a maximum: the minimum is about .031" less. The Distance to Exposure Field is a maximum: the minimum is .020 less for up through 5x7 holders and .030 less for 8x10 holders. I don't have ASA information on holders larger than 8x10. Dimensions in newer versions of the ASA or ANSI standards may differ.