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Thread: spring steel for camera back?

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  1. #1

    Join Date
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    spring steel for camera back?

    I'm building an 8x10, and I'm a little stuck on what thickness spring steel to use for the spring back? Is 0.025 too thin? 1/16 too thick? I've never handled an 8x10, so I don't really have a feel for how more force is required to hold do the GG frame and film holder.
    Any suggestions on where to find spring steel already cut into strips? I looked at an old hacksaw blade, but it didn't seem stiff enough for me.
    Thanks

  2. #2
    Jac@stafford.net's Avatar
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    Re: spring steel for camera back?

    I took advise for the springs from our member Rafa who cut down hacksaw blades. Think of it - they are flexible, and do not lose their temper. The idea worked just fine for him. Maybe Rafa can show us what he did.
    .

  3. #3
    Rafael Garcia's Avatar
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    Re: spring steel for camera back?

    Sorry for the long silence... have been away. All I did was file the teeth off two hacksaw blades. The build was a prototype, to solve problems, so I was not concerned too much with appearance. Here is a shot of the springs of my totally built 8x10 back.Click image for larger version. 

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  4. #4

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    Re: spring steel for camera back?

    Someone the other day (Vinny, maybe) suggested feeler gauge stock from mcmaster.com . It's 1/2" wide in any thickness you want. Someone else can measure for you, since I'm not near my camera now. If you have a belt sander, you can taper those parallel strips down in nice ways into sculpted ends while leaving the middle fat for the screws.
    Thanks, but I'd rather just watch:
    Large format: http://flickr.com/michaeldarnton
    Mostly 35mm: http://flickr.com/mdarnton
    You want digital, color, etc?: http://www.flickr.com/photos/stradofear

  5. #5

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    Re: spring steel for camera back?

    .031 stainless feeler gauges that come in 12" lengths. One spring does it. No reason to do all that work for crappy hacksaw blades which are not rustproof. Pics on my website.

  6. #6

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    Re: spring steel for camera back?

    Quote Originally Posted by vinny View Post
    .031 stainless feeler gauges that come in 12" lengths. One spring does it. No reason to do all that work for crappy hacksaw blades which are not rustproof. Pics on my website.
    All I can find on Amazon is the 0.029 - is there much difference between that and the 0.031?

  7. #7

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    Re: spring steel for camera back?

    Quote Originally Posted by Curtis Nelson View Post
    All I can find on Amazon is the 0.029 - is there much difference between that and the 0.031?
    About .002
    Mcmastercarr.com as mdarton said. 1/2" x 12.

  8. #8
    Film and Darkroom User
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    Re: spring steel for camera back?

    Sorry for reviving am old thread but I am considering using feeler gauge for my 5x12 camera back. I would like to know if you had to heat the gauge before forming?
    Quote Originally Posted by vinny View Post
    .031 stainless feeler gauges that come in 12" lengths. One spring does it. No reason to do all that work for crappy hacksaw blades which are not rustproof. Pics on my website.

  9. #9

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    Re: spring steel for camera back?

    Quote Originally Posted by Barry Wilkinson View Post
    Sorry for reviving am old thread but I am considering using feeler gauge for my 5x12 camera back. I would like to know if you had to heat the gauge before forming?
    Barry, I've used both the 0.025" and 0.031" of the 302/304 stainless steel feel gauge stock from McMaster, and both could be formed into loop ends and drilled easily without any heat treatment. I don't think this feeler gauge stock is true spring temper since it's relatively easy to work with, but the elasticity does seem to hold up fairly well. I used the 0.031" stock on a bail back which puts the springs under a lot of load.

    Last edited by Colin Graham; 11-Sep-2018 at 09:21. Reason: added photo

  10. #10

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    Re: spring steel for camera back?

    A few years ago I had to make some leaf springs for a camera back. On the old cameramakers group there was quite a bit of discussion on this topic. And there, I learned that if you hammer on brass, it changes its composition and turns it into a spring.

    I don't know why this occurs. I wonder if pounding on it heats it up just enough to change its molecular structure.

    Anyway, I got a brass kick plate at the hardware store, cut some pieces to shape (sabre saw with a hacksaw blade did the trick), filed the edges, etc. Before I started pounding I did all the drilling and looping necessary. Then I just pounded it along its length (on a small anvil I have; a big old vise would do nicely for a pounding surface).

    I was really surprised at how well it changed the brass from bendable to flexible. Works really well.

    Hope this helps.

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