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Thread: Work in progress: Ultralight 4X5 build, with Carbon Fiber + 3D printed plastic

  1. #1

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    Work in progress: Ultralight 4X5 build, with Carbon Fiber + 3D printed plastic

    Working on the design off and on for the past couple years, and been building for the past few weeks. Ultralight 4X5 monorail camera for backpacking, made mostly from milled carbon fiber and 3D printed plastic parts. Projected weight: about 1000 grams.

    Most of the parts are finished, with just front and rear frames left to print. Pics below show assembly of standards, standards mounted to CF square tube monorail, and springback with ground glass.

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  2. #2
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: Work in progress: Ultralight 4X5 build, with Carbon Fiber + 3D printed plastic

    Looking good! Great job on the back.
    “You often feel tired, not because you've done too much, but because you've done too little of what sparks a light in you.”
    ― Alexander Den Heijer, Nothing you don't already know

  3. #3

    Re: Work in progress: Ultralight 4X5 build, with Carbon Fiber + 3D printed plastic

    A carbon fibre case would be good to protect the camera in your backpack. Great work, when hiking every gram saved is much treasured especially when you are on the edge of exhaustion.

  4. #4
    Small town, South Carolina, US
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    Re: Work in progress: Ultralight 4X5 build, with Carbon Fiber + 3D printed plastic

    Looking good!

  5. #5
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Work in progress: Ultralight 4X5 build, with Carbon Fiber + 3D printed plastic

    Yes, keep up the good work!

    Then show us please.

    Perhaps 2 places, of course right here in your thread, but also consider the show off thread, "Show off your Large Format camera!" which is now 74 pages long.
    sin eater

  6. #6

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    Re: Work in progress: Ultralight 4X5 build, with Carbon Fiber + 3D printed plastic

    It appears you've done some very nice work thus far ... keep it up!

  7. #7

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    Re: Work in progress: Ultralight 4X5 build, with Carbon Fiber + 3D printed plastic

    Thanks everyone for the comments so far. Here's what the completed camera will look like (more or less):
    Click image for larger version. 

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  8. #8

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    Re: Work in progress: Ultralight 4X5 build, with Carbon Fiber + 3D printed plastic

    Quote Originally Posted by DDrake View Post
    Thanks everyone for the comments so far. Here's what the completed camera will look like (more or less):
    Click image for larger version. 

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    I have a couple of questions about your design, if you don't mind:

    1) What is the purpose of the offset you've incorporated into the rear standard? I get why you did this on the front standard (i.e., to separate the tilt and rise/fall adjustments), but the only reason I can come up with for doing it on the rear standard is to slightly increase the amount of extension without requiring a longer rail and/or make it easier to load the film holders when rear tilt is being used.

    2) Speaking of the rail, why did you choose a square one over a circular one? With a circular rail, you can level the camera side-to-side without needing a tripod head (always a plus when hiking or when carrying less weight is a priority) or adjusting the tripod legs, but with a square rail, those are your only options.

    3) If saving weight is a primary goal, why did you reject using a tapered bellows and/or a smaller front standard / lens board? I doubt you'll be using any lenses mounted in a Copal 3 shutter with this camera ... lol.

    So you know, it's not my intention to criticize your design or second-guess your design priorities / objectives.

    I also tinker with cameras and am just curious as to your thinking regarding these aspects of your design since the benefit(s) of the decisions you have made aren't immediately obvious to me.

    Thanks!

  9. #9

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    Re: Work in progress: Ultralight 4X5 build, with Carbon Fiber + 3D printed plastic

    Audii-Dudii,

    Wow--thanks for the detailed comments and questions. I've included a few more images showing details of the parts completed so far.

    As I mentioned on another thread, I've never used a view camera before--part of my motivation for building one was to learn how to use it. So no doubt I've made errors in design that I wouldn't have with more experience.

    I used Jon Grepstad's book as a starting point, as well as looking at images online of a bunch of different view cameras. I also borrowed a friend's medium format Horseman camera (with limited movements), bought a Fujinon 135mm f 5.6, some 4x5 film holders, and a Cambo bellows which turned out to have pin holes.

    The rear standard offset: Grepstad's design included a notch on the rear standard to allow clearance for the film holder with rear tilt. I was also following the specs for a Calumet CC-440 (no other reason than that's what I found) which call for 30* +/- rear tilt. The offset standard allows clearance for the film holder at full tilt. Of course, now that I look at it, the penalty is longer minimum bellows extension, restricting use of shorter focal length lenses. I think I can just get away with 90mm before needing a recessed lens board.

    The rail: Excellent point regarding the circular rail, and there's a lot more choice in round CF tubes than square. I suppose the biggest advantage to a square rail is less reliance on clamping pressure to keep frames from slipping side to side. And the frames are self-aligning in one plane (to an extent). Also, provides more surface area for the friction-drive focus I'm using (see below).

    Straight bellows, larger than necessary front standard and lens board: Excellent point. I guess my imagination was limited by the initial sources I looked at for the design. This camera is close enough to being done (only front frame left to be printed) that I think I need to complete it as designed, but a tapered bellows and smaller front standard is an easy fix for the Mk II. Might be able to drop a 100 grams or so...

    Thanks again for such a solid and well-reasoned critique.
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  10. #10
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: Work in progress: Ultralight 4X5 build, with Carbon Fiber + 3D printed plastic

    It really looks well done, especially for a first attempt! Kudos!
    “You often feel tired, not because you've done too much, but because you've done too little of what sparks a light in you.”
    ― Alexander Den Heijer, Nothing you don't already know

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