View Full Version : Cost Efficiency (sort of)

21-Mar-2008, 19:09
So I got my 8x10 Tachihara in the mail on Tuesday, only to realize that it didn't come with a lensboard. I was going to order some from MPEX (where I got the camera) but then I thought, "Wait...$90 for a master board, and then another $45 or so for Technica boards, and I will still need to get one custom bored for the Petzval lens I got off Jim, which is really the lens I wanna use first."

I tallied it up; I was looking at at least $240, just in lensboards. I figured I could make some for a helluva lot less than that. Let's see, what do I need?

$99 for a cheap drill press from Home Depot
$15 for some 1/4" x 6" x 2' poplar boards from Home Depot
$69 for a cheap scroll saw from Harbor Freight
$20 for a cheap router from Harbor Freight
$45 for some router bits and some various sized hole-saw blades for the drill press
$30 for some small clamps
$20 for some more small clamps
$ 5 for some wood glue
$10 for some sandpaper
$ 8 for some black spraypaint
$ 4 for some brass screws
$10 for a cheap micrometer (I know, a ruler works too, but it was on sale!)
$35 for a jigsaw, because I bought it before I got the scroll saw.

There's more, I'm sure, but I finished my first home-made lensboard, and the paint is drying on it now, while 3 more blanks have their glue drying, in preparation for a hole being drilled.

So, Total spent over 3 days to make a lensboard: $370

But now I can make some for the D2 8x10 too! :)

I think the best part was talking on the cell phone to a friend of mine who is a hardcore digital fiend while I was walking through Home Depot. He asked me what I was doing, and I said "shopping for some camera supplies." He asked me where I was and I told him. :D There was silence on the line.

21-Mar-2008, 19:12
On a second point, how can I get the proper sized hole saw blades for various Copal shutter sizes? Don't tell me I need to buy a lathe and make my own blades, too!

Alan Davenport
21-Mar-2008, 19:15
It's not fair to include the cost of a the tools unless you only use 'em once for this project and toss 'em aside. Heck, you're practically set to build another camera now!

Jan Pedersen
21-Mar-2008, 19:47
Yeah, don't count the cost of tools. Tools are with you for a liftime if you take good care of them.
The propper tool for a Copal 0, 1 and 3 is called a Dremmel. It will by the way also make the right size whole for a Compur, Ilex, Compund and Alphax when you get to that so, get one.

21-Mar-2008, 20:07
Hole saw for a copal #3, router for the recessed portion.
Forster bits or and adjustable drill bit for copal 0 and 1

Jon Shiu
21-Mar-2008, 20:13
Hi, sounds like fun. Remember to make a counterbore on the back of the board to make it the right thickness to mount your shutters.


21-Mar-2008, 20:16
There are people on the auction site and some who frequent the boards who custom make boards for people and some even drill holes to order.

If you really want to go wild, buy better brand name tools, get a power planer, router table and use solid hardwoods.

Wayne R. Scott
21-Mar-2008, 20:29
This is what I use to cut holes in lens boards. It should be used in a drill press:


It costs about $15 at home improvement stores.


21-Mar-2008, 21:44
Thanks for the suggestions all. Wayne, that looks like a pretty cool tool, especially if the distance is adjustable. What's that called, anyway?

I did actually buy a router and table, along with a dremmel, so it looks like I got all the right tools. It really was very simple to do the first one, but this one was for an old B&L magic lantern lens that just got screwed to the front of the board. I have yet to make a board with a recess for a retaining ring. Still, that's why I got the router, right? :)

Oh, and I had a blast doing it, too. I figured this was a great opportunity to use the money for something that would last; the whole give a man a fish, teach a man to fish... thing.

Hmm, just had an idea how to make the recess on the backside pefectly round. Use a smaller hole saw and drill down, but not through the entire board, with the drill press. Then I can router out what's left inside the circle, without going outside the lines, so to speak.

Incidentally, Jim, if you're reading this, I'm going out tomorrow with that 15" B&L to make some magic! Can't wait!

Turner Reich
21-Mar-2008, 22:08
Keep the fingers from the fly cutter, use a hole saw and a drill press mounted sander to accurately size it. They take little disks and are easy and safe to use. If you get a small drill press then go slow with the cutting or it will stop in it's tracks.

21-Mar-2008, 23:49
Used Linhof boards are fairly cheap. They are also fairly commmon unless you need a wierd size or some times a #3 is hard to find.

OTOH I've made lots of boards for more older cameras but metal Linhof are just too easy to order. I bet you could have gotten three user grade boards for less then $50 with the right size holes etc.

Gene McCluney
22-Mar-2008, 02:58
This is what I use to cut holes in lens boards. It should be used in a drill press:


It costs about $15 at home improvement stores.


These work great in a table-top drill press. Always put a waste piece of wood under the piece of wood you are cutting the hole in, and clamp the pair of boards down to the drill press with some clamps. Take it slow and back off from time to time if the drilling appears to bog down. Run your drill press on the slowest speed available. Too fast and the cutter will burn up and become dull. By putting a waste piece of wood under the lensboard blank, you can get a clean cut all the way through, and you don't risk getting the cutter ruined by it coming into contact with the drill press metal table.