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Thread: 14x17 film holder build question

  1. #11
    Tim Meisburger's Avatar
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    Re: 14x17 film holder build question

    I have often thought it would be nice to make a set of knives for the profile of holder rails and stiles. That way you could just run stock of any length on a shaper for use in any size holder, and sell kits to builders. If I had an 11x14 holder, I would definitely buy some x-ray film, and make at least a sliding box camera for that.

  2. #12
    Randy Moe's Avatar
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    Re: 14x17 film holder build question

    VHB tape and stacking is easy. This was an experiment. I could do better now.

    http://www.largeformatphotography.in...ilm-holder-mod

  3. #13

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    Re: 14x17 film holder build question

    Thanks for the additional helpful comments!

    Jeff T: I'm pretty sure I've already found the right thicknesses of plywood for ANSI standards, shown in the drawing in comment #6. And I have a fair amount of experience in gluing this stuff together; lots of clamps is right!

    Tim: I like your idea, but it's way beyond my skill set, or my tool collection. It sure would make things easier, though.

    Randy: Your posts in the x-ray film threads are a big part of why I'm doing this. I had not seen that post about your experiment. I'll check into VHB tape. I also am curious about the acrylic used for ground glass. I've made a bunch of 4x5 ground glass sheets; it's dead easy. But for something this big, acrylic seems the obvious way to go. But from what I've looked at so far, there's acrylic and then there's acrylic. The stuff I've bought for some non-photo projects seems too soft and flexible for ground glass. What exactly should I look into for this?

  4. #14
    Randy Moe's Avatar
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    Re: 14x17 film holder build question

    I forget what I used, but I buy a lot of art supplies at Home Depot.

    Like you say making a glass GG is easy. I make my own so cheaply I don't worry about breakage. I also don't climb mountains.

  5. #15

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    Re: 14x17 film holder build question

    And, after more searching online, I find myself even more confused about 'acrylic' for ground glass. Lots of search results show that folks call any clear plastic 'acrylic', when they are actually discussing something different. There are numerous other chemical formations that have nothing really to do with acrylic. These might be for better for use as ground glass, or maybe not; lots of claims are made; lots of others dispute them.

    I also found a thread where someone disputes the soundness of using any plastic to replace glass for ground glass, since it does not hold its shape well enough over time/temperature/other factors, though others swear by it. Since it is used by professional camera makers, it must be acceptable, though for the narrow depth of focus of ULF, it has more of a challenge.

    But the thing about the internet (and really, everywhere) is that people will claim things to be true without actually having firsthand knowledge, so it's difficult to judge the reality. I'd be grateful for more information from people who have actually used the stuff. What exactly is the material to use, and how do you go about grinding it? (Grinding is another topic with lots of different opinions. I don't mind scratches in the final finish, as long as I can focus.)

  6. #16
    Randy Moe's Avatar
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    Re: 14x17 film holder build question

    I cannot remember what I used successfully. I know i had trouble with one 'plastic' and used a DA sander to speed things up.

    Have a new piece of this from HD in my hand. http://www.plaskolite.com/ProductLines/Optix

    You could also 'snow spray' or sandblast. Chemical etching was also used. KMV OE GG is some sort of coating.

  7. #17
    LF/ULF Carbon Printer Jim Fitzgerald's Avatar
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    Re: 14x17 film holder build question

    Paul, I applaud your efforts. Many years ago I was told on this forum that I could not build a camera if I did not have a shop full of tools. I built my first camera (8x20) with nothing but a dovetail saw, dremel, drill and a sander and it worked great. I took my time and as I recall it took 18 months. So you are on the right track. Research, read, look at examples and ask a lot of questions. I think I have a thread somewhere on here that talks about the 14x17-20x24 camera that I built.

    I used an acrylic GG for the camera, in fact for the three 14 x17 cameras that I've built. It was off the shelf stuff from Lowes. The also have this window film that is frosted to put on the acrylic to simulate a GG and it works great. It is bright and I can focus just fine. You have to buy a roll this window frost and a liquid spray to apply it but it is easy. Good luck with this project. I'll follow along. I've never built a film holder or done a bellows. I have the tools now to do both but I also have built all the cameras I need.

  8. #18

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    Re: 14x17 film holder build question

    Jim: Your posts have been another source for my confidence that I can do this. I have a workshop with some decent tools (though no dovetail saw). I'm used to doing what I can with what I have.

    Asking questions is something I'm good at! I was just talking to my sixteen-yer-old son, who is into electronics and is currently refurbishing a 1970s all-in-one stereo (turntable, cassette deck, AM/FM), just for the fun of it. We go to a surplus store when we travel to Minneapolis/St. Paul, which has parts for both of our hobbies. We agreed that one of the things that makes the store attractive is that it gives us ideas for things that we would not have thought of on our own. You cannot easily know about things you've never even heard of. This post has already given me loads of new ideas to look over. As I learn more, I'll have more questions, so I hope people will be patient with my ignorance! It will be slow-going, though.

    If my stuff sells soon on eBay, I'll be ready to order some plywood and Garolite for the holders. Then, I think the bellows will be next. Rather than making them to fit exact dimensions, I can make them first to ballpark measurements, and build the front and rear standards around what I come out with. (I have a spare front standard for a Cambo 4x5, which is quite solid, but I'm thinking it would not allow for very big lenses.) The ground glass question was pretty off-topic at this point, but is something I need to be thinking about. Much of the fun of projects like this is how flexible one not only can be, but must be.

    The one thing that I actually have in my hands is a 19-inch Apochromat Artar. I got it really dirty for $45, but it cleaned up nicely (not perfect, but perfectly usable). It's a tangible start, in the pricing range I hope to stick to!

  9. #19
    Randy Moe's Avatar
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    Re: 14x17 film holder build question

    Cambo front standard is pretty good. The lens boards are very common and big enough for many lenses.

    You will make more cameras, use what you have now. Sounds like you do that anyway.

    And look up Jim's builds as he gives plenty of good tips!

    I was born and raised Minneapolis, left in 1962. Folks from Hinckley-Sandstone.

  10. #20

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    Re: 14x17 film holder build question

    IIRC Garolite is available in brown and black. I bought some brown and beat my brains out trying to figure how to make a filmholder.
    The side frames are easy to do, but the end closure and the light trap are tougher.
    SOmebody on here gave a link to a site that offered brass comb-like thingies from the electronics sector that would work well to keep the felt tight.
    The end closure needs or could use some additional rabbets to form light seals as well
    It all seemed very hard to do in wood, so I drew up patterns for various thicknesses of aluminum to sandwich. It turned out to be a gazillion,
    i.e.; a LOT of inches of waterjet cutting, and thin sheets can be problematic, needing backup
    BUT
    If I had brains left to beat out, I would go back and try to make it a combination of airplane plywood and metals. And I spose black plastic could be knife or scissor cut
    I also thought about, and haven't pursued a non ANSI holder than would capture only one edge of a sheet [I was playing 7x17 here] and tape the opposite edge.

    None of the above is meant to discourage you
    regards
    Ed

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