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Thread: DIY Bellows Idea - Feedback please

  1. #1

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    DIY Bellows Idea - Feedback please

    Is there any reason that bellows need to be folded?

    Could bellows be made by connecting the front and rear standards with rods or cables and have the bellows "draped" around them? Like a tube? Sock? Thing?

    Have you ever seen bellow that were not folded?

  2. #2

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    Re: DIY Bellows Idea - Feedback please

    Bag bellows are not folded, yet are self-supporting over their relatively short length.

    Also one can make a simple camera with two open end boxes with one sliding inside the other.

    What you are proposing could be done, the trick would be the adjustment of the supports as you change length during focusing.

  3. #3

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    Re: DIY Bellows Idea - Feedback please

    I have done it. The rods were telescopic antennas (like those used on cars). The disadvantage is that the rods add way too much of weight (in comparison to paper bellows) and the folds must be hold not to penetrate to the inside of the bellows. Can be done but normal bellows have less weight and look much much better. You will soon find that the traditional bellows is irreplaceable.

  4. #4

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    Re: DIY Bellows Idea - Feedback please

    If you wish to see a model of what might work as a concept, look at those Japanese & Chinese paper lanterns... They collapse, and also have different support forms inside... (But they often require a little twist to fully open, so that might complicate the bellows/camera design...)

    But if there is a more efficient form than traditional bellows, makers would have used them long ago, but what has stood the test of time is the styles we have seen then and now... Survival of the fittest of the (design) evolution...

    Steve K

  5. #5
    David Lobato David Lobato's Avatar
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    Re: DIY Bellows Idea - Feedback please

    I was recently thinking of an idea similar to the OP's. But then realized movements will be limited compared to a pleated bellows.

  6. #6

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    Re: DIY Bellows Idea - Feedback please

    Quote Originally Posted by basiltahan View Post
    Is there any reason that bellows need to be folded?

    Could bellows be made by connecting the front and rear standards with rods or cables and have the bellows "draped" around them? Like a tube? Sock? Thing?

    Have you ever seen bellow that were not folded?
    A Linhof bag bellows has a front and rear frame attached to the bag and a spring support in the middle of the bag to maintain shape and prevent sagging.

  7. #7

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    Re: DIY Bellows Idea - Feedback please

    Thank you to everyone who has contributed.

    I have no doubt that the folder bellow is most probably the most efficient. Through Darwinian logic, it is most likely the best solution.

    The problem with it as a DIY solution is that it is not simplistic. Possible, but the time it takes to learn and successfully make one might cost more than buying one, if the size can be found.

    A few interesting ideas from above (Thank you). Chinese lantern design. With supports along its length, it might work. The extendable antennae idea. If weight is the only drawback, then a studio setting might still be ok.

    Again, sincere thanks. I love this place!

  8. #8

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    Re: DIY Bellows Idea - Feedback please

    OP, I made a bellows that isn't pleated or folded or anything like that.

    A bag bellows, made of two 10" square sheets of 1 mm neoprene fabric as is used in making wet suits. The edges are glued and sewn. The material is dense enough but I leave the dark slide out for as little time as possible.

    Cutouts in the sheets' centers, glued to to bellows frames. I couldn't get real plastic bellows frames for my camera so sacrificed two lens boards.

    The bellows extends ~ 100 mm, which is slightly more than I need. One made of 12" squares would give a bit more extension. This almost certainly isn't what you need.

  9. #9
    jp's Avatar
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    Re: DIY Bellows Idea - Feedback please

    Also just an idea here... You could use the design of a Chinese finger trap and cover it with stretchy or slippery light tight fabric which didn't exist a hundred years ago.
    This design can compress and stretch quite a bit, particularly if it does not need finger gripping powers. I've used some "cable pulling grips" for their intended purpose which change shape very nicely to grip different cables. It could be made of composites (which can be flexible in one direction and stiff in another) or thin stiff wire and be much more sparse than the gripping designs.

    http://i0.wp.com/www.wire-mesh-grip....resdefault.jpg is one I found on google image search big enough for a camera, but probably too stiff.

  10. #10

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    Re: DIY Bellows Idea - Feedback please

    What about tying two cords near the top of the front... standard (?), and have them exit through the rear standard with a sufficient light trap. Adjust your standard, then pull the two cords tight enough to pop up the bellows cloth.

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