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Thread: How difficult is it to drill holes in a Carbon Fiber lens board?

  1. #1

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    How difficult is it to drill holes in a Carbon Fiber lens board?

    Most of my lenses are on Crown Graphic lens boards. That way they can work on either my 4x5" Crown Graphic camera or on my Cambo when a Cambo lens board that has a Crown Graphic adapter is in place. Also, a 4x4 inch Crown lens board takes considerably less space to pack than a 6x6" Cambo board.

    I just received my Chamonix 4x5" camera so what I would like to do is make my own Crown adapter for it by drilling four holes in my Chamonix carbon fiber / Copal #3 lens board. Then I can bolt into place a Crown Graphic lens board adapter. Since the Chamonix folks use a Linhof-style lens board, there is barely enough room to do this, but I think I can make it happen because the Crown adapter is a bit smaller.

    I did a Google search on the subject and from what I see, drilling the holes is not that difficult. The best way is to start off with a new sharp drill bit.

    The alternative would be for me to send the Crown adapter to Hugo or the Chamonix factory. But, most likely that would take far too long and I would like to start putting my new camera to use.

    I don't want to take this on if it is unrealistic. Also, I don't want to mess up my new $75 Copal #3 Chamonix lens board if CF is difficult to work with.

    Since I've never worked with carbon fiber lens boards, I have a question: Is carbon fiber brittle?
    I ask because the last thing I want to do is weaken the lens board by drilling the four holes then have it later break which would put a lens mounted onto it in danger.

    In case you have not seen a Crown Graphic lens board adapter, here is one attached to a Speed Graphic lens board:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by AtlantaTerry; 10-Jun-2016 at 03:37. Reason: editing what I wrote

  2. #2

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    Re: How difficult is it to drill holes in a Carbon Fiber lens board?

    Drilling it is not good for your health. The fine dust causes havoc in lungs. Special precautions should be taken.

  3. #3

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    Re: How difficult is it to drill holes in a Carbon Fiber lens board?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pfsor View Post
    Drilling it is not good for your health. The fine dust causes havoc in lungs. Special precautions should be taken.
    Oh really? Thank you. That is good to know.

    Would a standard woodworking dust mask be adequate? I also have some surgical masks, too.

    Knowing now what you are saying, if I did the drilling myself, I would do it outdoors on a windy day.

    Some results of my Google search:

    http://madmodder.net/index.php?topic=3526.0

    http://rc.runryder.com/helicopter/t628526p1/
    Last edited by AtlantaTerry; 10-Jun-2016 at 03:52. Reason: editing what I wrote

  4. #4

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    Re: How difficult is it to drill holes in a Carbon Fiber lens board?

    How about just attaching your adapter to any old cheap second-hand (or Chinese eBay) metal Linhof-type board? Easy to drill, easy to find, and not expensive if you cock it up.

  5. #5

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    Re: How difficult is it to drill holes in a Carbon Fiber lens board?

    Think of it like fiberglass... Can shred/splinter a little while drilling, but some superglue can cap & seal it... Dustmask should be fine, and maybe a little fan to blow the dust away from you while drilling... (For a very small project...)

    The biggest problem is this material dulls cutting tools quickly, but for a one-off project, shouldn't be an issue...

    Good luck!!!

    Steve K

  6. #6
    Christopher Barrett's Avatar
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    Re: How difficult is it to drill holes in a Carbon Fiber lens board?

    I really prefer the small Arca boards to the Linhof. Being just a little larger, they allow me to orient the lens in any rotation... I like the cable release dropping straight down. Plus all my other cameras are Arcas, so I emailed Hugo and they are building me a new front standard for the 4x10 to take Arca boards. I just sent them the measurements of an Arca board. At $300, I thought it was a good deal. So, if you're not into the Linhof style board, Chamonix may be able to fix you up. Hugo did quote me a 3 month lead time, so for now I'm still using Linhof boards.

    Cheers,
    CB

  7. #7

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    Re: How difficult is it to drill holes in a Carbon Fiber lens board?

    Quote Originally Posted by AtlantaTerry View Post
    Oh really? Thank you. That is good to know.

    Would a standard woodworking dust mask be adequate? I also have some surgical masks, too.

    Knowing now what you are saying, if I did the drilling myself, I would do it outdoors on a windy day.
    It all depends on how much you're wiling to take a risk. The dust is very light and hovers in the air easily. Personally I would go for a different solution but it's just me.
    You can google a lot of warning with "CF dust".
    Cheers.

  8. #8

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    Re: How difficult is it to drill holes in a Carbon Fiber lens board?

    Properly you do not drill lens boards, the holes should be milled to avoid stressing the board and possibly compromising the flatness of the board. Do it right and your question becomes moot.

  9. #9

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    Re: How difficult is it to drill holes in a Carbon Fiber lens board?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pfsor View Post
    It all depends on how much you're wiling to take a risk. The dust is very light and hovers in the air easily. Personally I would go for a different solution but it's just me.
    You can google a lot of warning with "CF dust".
    Cheers.
    You can also use a shop vac (with dry wall dust filter) near your drilling area to capture the dust...

    Drilling a few holes shouldn't be a issue if precautions are followed... (Now, having a lot of holes, or a production line!?!!! I'm still not sure if it's OK to buy a CF product, considering what some poor soul somewhere might be exposed to...)

    Steve K

  10. #10

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    Re: How difficult is it to drill holes in a Carbon Fiber lens board?

    Quote Originally Posted by LabRat View Post
    (Now, having a lot of holes, or a production line!?!!! I'm still not sure if it's OK to buy a CF product, considering what some poor soul somewhere might be exposed to...)

    Steve K
    Speaking about a Chinese product I fully understand your worries. You could be truly horrified to see what these poor souls are exposed to even before they finally get to the manufacturing hall...

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