View Full Version : Improving the functionality of the Green Monster

29-Oct-2014, 23:41
... Or Black Beast...or commonly known as the Calumet C1 8x10. Despite its weight, this camera is a joy to use. It's design is simple but very effective and once used to its setup and controls can be every bit as precise as cameras 4-5 times its price.
The one downfall outside of weight is the use of shorter lenses. The extension rail, while great for using a 19" Red Dot Artar is terrible when using a Fuji 250 or 6-1/4" Wollensak. You can have a longer loupe, you can set the camera up lower to lean over the rail, but it's proven to be distracting when trying to work with any efficiency. I'm determined to find a solution!
One of the reason that I love large format is the DIY and ability to tinker with camera and gear for personalization and function. I started looking at the rear bed/rail and relised that the design was quite simple. What I want to construct is a new bed and short rails that will handle short lenses but with the ability to use a 300mm a little closer than infinity.
For the bed: I'm thinking maple for strength the same thickness as the original cast rail bed. My camera didn't come with the small sheetmetal "retainers" that are supposed to hold the rail in its folded position. Thusly if I replace the two scews that physically hold the extension to the main camera body with thumb screws I can switch between long and short beds. A couple threaded inserts in the maple and we're in business. Once those screws are in place I need to source the right size captive bolt that will secure the short bed in it's usable position. I've found some of these online with knurled or rosette knobs. That part is straight forward. The rails present a bit more of a challenge.
When surveying the rails initially they seemed to be composed of 2 basic grooves on sides perpendicular from each other. But upon closer inspection, and what makes the focus nice and smooth on this camera, the wheels and grooves are cut on a taper. The wheels don't bottom out in the groove, but ride on the sides. The taper is 3/32" at the top and 1/16" at the bottom. I'm consulting a machinist to see what the cost to produce a length of rail to the exact dimensions and size of the existing rail.
If the rails are economically feasible then they will ride in a small rabbit at the outside edge of the maple bed captured by a pc of aluminum (or stainless ?) much like the original. A simple lock for the rails can be configured and some marks to delineate the the rails position relative to the bed should be fairly straight forward to incorporate.
What do you guys think? It's seems a simple (enough) solution to one of the big niggles with this camera. Will post some drawings soon. Feedback encouraged!

30-Oct-2014, 14:33
Or get a donor camera and just cut off the back of the focus rail; making it a wide angle camera. You could even put a bag bellows on it.

30-Oct-2014, 17:35
Or get a donor camera and just cut off the back of the focus rail; making it a wide angle camera. You could even put a bag bellows on it.

:) Could it be any simpler? A less than perfect C1 goes for very little, almost nothing with bad bellows-- Hack it with a bag bellows and you've got a nice WA set-up it seems to me. If you ever tire of it sell it on the 'bay as a custom C1 WA camera!

30-Oct-2014, 19:24
You guys are probably right about hacking the rail off a donor and being done with it. But unless the camera is completely trashed, I just can't bring myself to cannibalize one. And a whole separate WA camera; forget about it! I won't be dragging two of these boat anchors around! One is MORE than enough. Now, if i could juts bring the auxiliary rail, thats a different story.
I've yet to hear from the machinist, who could totally crush this dream in a matter of seconds, but it has had me thinking about and researching home milling machines :)