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Thread: Custom Camera Machining/Fabrication other than SK Grimes?

  1. #1

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    Custom Camera Machining/Fabrication other than SK Grimes?

    I am in the USA (Denver, CO area).

    I have Schneider 120mm and 150mm lenses in shutters (including several variants of 150mm lens), along with the associated Schneider helical focusing mounts (for the 120mm and at least one of the 150mm variants).

    I am interested in having one lens of each focal-length "mounted" for use on a Horseman 617 camera.

    Can anyone recommend a "machinist" who would be able to measure/design/fabricate/finish the necessary components (anodized/powder-coated lens cones, for the Horseman 617, dimensioned to focus accurately at infinity; possibly a custom helical focusing mount for a 150mm in #1 shutter, with DOF scale; etc)? I can supply the lenses, helical mounts, and sample Horseman 617 equipment.

    Historically, I have always gone to SKGrimes, for pretty much anything/everything (they have a couple of jobs for me in progress currently), but it looks like SKGrimes is under a lot of pressure at the moment, lead times for even simple things are on the magnitude of several months and they currently aren't responding to my attempts to communicate (in short, they seem to be REALLY busy).

    I am interested in reliable/capable alternatives who are still actively in business... if any.

    Thanks in advance for any help.

  2. #2
    Bipin's Avatar
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    Re: Custom Camera Machining/Fabrication?

    In my experience, I've had luck with machinists who do work for very niche/seasonal customers. For example, if it's something I can't do in my own shop, I'll consult a local guy who works (almost) exclusively on drag racing motorcycles. Since he's not a generalist, he's often a lot less busy, and at the end of the day, dimensions are just dimensions... regardless of what you're using the component for.
    Find my work here, find me here.

    Technika III, Technika 70, Rolleiflex 3.5

  3. #3

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    Re: Custom Camera Machining/Fabrication other than SK Grimes?

    Your biggest problem isn't in the machining/finishing, like Bipin says, you can always find someone able and willing to use machines to make you something. The problem lies in the designing of the parts. You need someone able to take your parts and design a fitting mount/helical etc. Do you even know the flange-focal distance of the lenses involved?
    Expert in non-working solutions.

  4. #4

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    Re: Custom Camera Machining/Fabrication other than SK Grimes?

    Why?

    It would be a lot easier to sell the Fuji and get a Technorama 617S lll that already uses Schneider lenses! And do your lenses cover 617? And what 150 do you have in a 1 shutter? Most helicals are for 0 shutters and most 150 lenses are in 0 shutters.

  5. #5

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    Re: Custom Camera Machining/Fabrication other than SK Grimes?

    In our towns Historical Museum is a Model Railroad Society that has a huge HO scale model railroad layout. Most of the members are retired professionals and serious RR hobbyists. Some are also retired machinists. Got to be friends with them and eventually bartered my photo work for some custom metal fabrications. I paid for the "metal" used and the machining time was bartered for my photographic services... we both made out just great! Fabrication of my eclectic projects was totally on par with SK Grimes who I have used many times in the past with 110% satisfaction.

  6. #6

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    Re: Custom Camera Machining/Fabrication other than SK Grimes?

    Hmm, a couple of responses, which unfortunately do nothing to address my inquiry. I will answer the questions asked, though I confess I am not certain how it could facilitate providing the information I am seeking.

    Quote Originally Posted by Havoc View Post
    Your biggest problem isn't in the machining/finishing, like Bipin says, you can always find someone able and willing to use machines to make you something. The problem lies in the designing of the parts. You need someone able to take your parts and design a fitting mount/helical etc. Do you even know the flange-focal distance of the lenses involved?
    Uh, yes... I did request suggestions for a service provider who could "measure/design/fabricate/finish", so I think your concern ("design") was addressed in my original post. And I have flange focal distances both in terms of what Schneider documents, and what I have measured empirically on my view camera (the values differ slightly).

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Salomon View Post
    Why?

    It would be a lot easier to sell the Fuji and get a Technorama 617S lll that already uses Schneider lenses! And do your lenses cover 617? And what 150 do you have in a 1 shutter? Most helicals are for 0 shutters and most 150 lenses are in 0 shutters.
    1) Horseman, not Fuji. Please refer to my original post. FYI, all of the Horseman lens units in my possession, with the exception of the 400/8 telephoto (which does use a Fuji lens), use the same Schneider glass that Linhof does.

    2) I looked at sourcing used Linhof 617S3 equipment, back in 2017 when I was in the market. At that time, and to this day, new Linhof equipment is very hard to find, used Linhof equipment is very hard to find... at least for me, since I live outside all the major North American photo markets and must rely on eBay (and I didn't want to spend 10 years looking for equipment). For that matter, Horseman 617 equipment is also hard to find, but I was fortunate in starting my search at the same time a variety of Horseman options were available on eBay, and was able to gather in everything I wanted (and more) more-or-less immediately. If I had been as fortunate in finding a comparable selection of Linhof equipment, I could easily have opted for that, but I have yet to see any such selection available. And in fact, if I had to source the same selection of Horseman stuff now, I would be almost completely out of luck. Carpe Diem.

    3) Schneider 150/5.6 Super Symmar HM, Copal #1; Schneider documents coverage at 220mm @f/5.6 / 256mm @f/22, feasible for 617 w/movements. I have used the Super Symmar HM series for 20+ years with my view camera equipment, was always very happy with them, and additional "mint" specimens are readily available used.

    4) For this project, I have the 150/5.6 Apo-Symmar with stock Schneider helical mount (#0, 174mm @f/5.6, which is slightly too small for 617, and 210mm @f/22, which is feasible with limited movements), the 150/5.6 Apo-Symmar "L" (#0, 182mm @ f/5.6, covers w/o movements, and 233mm @ f/22, feasible for 617), the 150/5.6 Super Symmar HM (#1, see above), and the 120/5.6 Super Symmar HM with stock Schneider helical mount (#0, which offers more coverage than the 150/5.6 Apo-Symmar... enough @f/5.6 w/o movements, and enough @f/22 with limited movements... though the mount was probably made for the 120/5.6 Apo-Symmar). I could also probably use the 110/5.6 Super Symmar XL, covers @f/5.6 w/o movements and plenty of coverage @f/22, though again that would probably require a custom helical mount (at least if I wanted a relevant DOF scale).

    5) Yes, the stock Schneider 150mm helical mounts in my possession are for a #0 shutter (I believe they were made specifically for the 150/5.6 Apo-Symmar); the Apo-Symmar "L" uses a #0 shutter but has a larger rear group that won't fit the stock helical mount (and beyond that appears to be too large to make modifying the helical mount feasible); the Super Symmar HM has a differently shaped rear group that WOULD fit the stock helical mount, if not for the #1 shutter (though again, a #1 is too large to make modifying the helical mount feasible); hence my interest, stated in my original post, in investigating the feasibility of custom fabrication of a helical focusing mount. Fotoman made suitable helical mounts (which will accept a #1 shutter) before they terminated operations, it may still be possible to source those. Gaoersi makes some that may also work. But then again, maybe not. As well, at one point some years ago, Seitz also offered a 150/5.6 Super Symmar HM for their 617 digital scanning solution, so I suppose I should also try contacting them for an after-market helical mount. If all else fails, the 150/5.6 Apo-Symmar and the stock Schneider helical mount at least constitute "a bird in the hand". If it proves feasible, by whatever means, it would be my preference to use the 150/5.6 Super Symmar HM.

    6) As far as I know, while the Linhof 617S3 system offers a 110mm focal length, which would be acceptable (assuming I could find a specimen... I have never seen one on eBay or anywhere else), the system does not offer a 150mm focal length. I am interested specifically in the "intermediate" focal lengths I stated in my original post, ~120mm to ~150mm.

    So, to reiterate, if anyone knows of a "machinist" who can help solve this problem, please let me know.

    Thanks in advance.

    P.S. SKGrimes finally responded. They are interested in the project. When the things they are working on for me at the moment are complete, we will spend more time discussing. In the meantime, I am still interested in alternatives.

  7. #7
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    Re: Custom Camera Machining/Fabrication other than SK Grimes?

    Quote Originally Posted by acapela View Post
    Fotoman made suitable helical mounts (which will accept a #1 shutter) before they terminated operations, it may still be possible to source those.
    Paul Droluk has of course long since terminated operations, but there's still a Chinese "Fotoman Professional" website up, and there's an eBay seller "fotoman-camera" that currently has both short- and long-throw helicals posted for sale.

    Here is another outfit that claims to do custom machining for photography, with the caveat that I've not done business with them:

    http://www.stevenstreespades.com/Ste...phySystems.htm

  8. #8

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    Re: Custom Camera Machining/Fabrication other than SK Grimes?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oren Grad View Post
    Paul Droluk has of course long since terminated operations, but there's still a Chinese "Fotoman Professional" website up, and there's an eBay seller "fotoman-camera" that currently has both short- and long-throw helicals posted for sale.

    Here is another outfit that claims to do custom machining for photography, with the caveat that I've not done business with them:

    http://www.stevenstreespades.com/Ste...phySystems.htm
    Yes!

    Found the "fotoman-camera" storefront on eBay, contacted them, and placed relevant Fotoman helical mounts (120mm Copal #0 short (8mm) throw and 150mm Copal #1 short (8mm) and long (18mm) throw) and viewfinders (617, 120mm and 150mm) on order. They were in stock on everything.

    I was ready to do without viewfinders, so this is a real bonus, and if these helical mounts work for the project, they should save significant complexity/expense. (At the very least, assuming the viewfinders cannot be adapted to mount on a Horseman 617, I can just hand-hold them like "director's viewfinders".)

    When I am ready to kick this off, I will contact Stephens Photography Systems for feasibility/estimates. I think the website turned up in a web search, but I went past it for some reason.

    Thank you very much!

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