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Thread: Alignment Beseler 45V-XL

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Feb 2001
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    Blue Jay, CA
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    Alignment Beseler 45V-XL

    I recently moved the darkroom and am having trouble aligning mine. I still have my owner's manual, which really doesn't cover this, though there is apparently something written out there that is much more detailed. I found a couple pages of that on another forum. My manual came with mine in about 1991. I have ordered a reprint of the more involved manual, and I have emailed Beseler and am waiting to hear back.

    We didn't drop it or anything in the move, but what is now "off" is the chassis itself relative to the column. The big flat side plates that go front to back on both sides and hold the smaller negative carrier stage, are tweaked or canted relative to the vertical column. The plates aren't bent, but the entire moving chassis is a rotated a little counter-clockwise. If you measure up from the baseboard with a T Square, to the base of the side plates, they are about 2 mm off and you can visually compare the side plate spacing to the column top and bottom and see that it is off. What this means is that at the start of alignment with a Versaligne device, the glass reflection from the bottom of the universal negative carrier up top is way off to the side. And there is no way that I can see to bring it close to alignment unless I start putting shims under the large square casting, which shouldn't be necessary. The negative holder (lower) stage can be aligned, as can the lens stage. Of course if I fix this issue with the chassis those two will have to be redone.

    I think the laser aligner probably gives us a degree of "perfection" which is probably not of practical benefit if the enlarging lens is stopped down 2 or 3 stops, but I'd like to get it closer than I seem to be able to. The answer is NOT to adjust the plastic thumb screws, 2 on each side. Those are to keep it from moving left and right as it goes up and down and they are designed to NOT touch the column when properly adjusted. So they shouldn't be a solution to this alignment issue.

    Thanks for any help.

  2. #2

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    Feb 2001
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    Re: Alignment Beseler 45V-XL

    Finally heard back from Beseler, kind of what I was expecting:

    The Charles Beseler Company is currently closed due to the unfortunate COVID-19 pandemic. This was difficult news for all of us, but based upon the implementation of Pennsylvania state laws, we are adhering to the shut down policy. This shut down period is indefinite and very scary for most of us. We will definitely miss your patronage during this time and hope to be back very soon. Please stay safe & well. We will get through this together.


    Regards,
    The Charles Beseler Company.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    May 2015
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    Re: Alignment Beseler 45V-XL

    Beselers don't have much alignment adjustment at all (as they were "factory aligned" by all parts fitting well enough), so if there is an issue, something got knocked around during your move...

    For side to side problems, the two main culprits would be on the geared shaft on the column (that drives the head from the motor) has jumped a gear tooth on one of the risers (but the head and motor will usually start to really strain moving if this happens)... The other thing that can happen is the focusing rail is screwed down to the head mount, but can be knocked out of plumb if loose... Take your square and put on baseboard, and with the vertical, check if has gone out of alignment there... Loosen screws and tighten when aligned...

    Those are the main problems to look for, but don't mess with the column adjustment on the back, or you will be sorry!!!

    This all assumes that both the neg stage and lens stage are equally out of alignment, but if each are different, that's usually from wear on the delrin blocks that are between the standards and rail... But first things first, check the more likely things listed above first...

    BTW, these can be hot rod'ed to super alignment where the prints will have a better corner to corner focus, more even illumination, and even a slightly snappier print when it's stars are all aligned... Different directions, different time... ;-)

    Steve K

  4. #4

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    Re: Alignment Beseler 45V-XL

    Thanks. Mine is a manual elevation model, but I hadn't thought of the possibility that I was off one tooth on one side of the two tracks. I'll count teeth. It didn't take any hard hits during the move.

  5. #5

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    Re: Alignment Beseler 45V-XL

    It's not necessarily a hit, but sometimes good 'ole gravity... When upright, some parts/some enlargers depend on some gravity to keep column guides in their tracks etc, but by laying them on their backs, transporting, jostling them around etc can reset these into other orientations, so they need to be checked/reset if even moved across a room...

    Something probably jumped track or moved...

    Report back what you find...

    Good luck!!!

    Steve K

  6. #6

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    Re: Alignment Beseler 45V-XL

    I thought I'd follow up on my solution. I had some email exchanges with Beseler, delayed by their Covid furlough. They suggested that I might be a tooth off on the track on one side. I didn't think this could be it since the side tilt wasn't that much. Otherwise, they said they'd want to look at it. Yeah, right. I think to some extent I had to recognize that a laser alignment tool can bring a degree of precision to this process that strays over the line of what you are going to see in the print. But my issue was enough to see in the print.

    Anyway, the folks at Beseler sent me a new little plastic thumb screw with locking nut. No charge. This part (there are 4 of them) is supposed to adjust the side to side play (aka lateral alignment) of the carriage on the column, and this is covered in the manual. In my case, when I ordered this beast long ago from B&H, the plastic knob had broken off in transit and could not be adjusted from the factory setting. But it was OK -- until my recent move. Getting the broken one off took a little time, and I put the new one in. The thumbscrew with nut backed off is supposed to be tightened until contact with the column, then backed off a little so they don't drag on the column. Starting from scratch with the new part and the three original undamaged ones backed off, and checking with the Versaline, I could see that even with light contact, these do affect the tilt of the carriage a bit and I could find an adjustment that straighten it out without much drag on the center column.

    Eyeballing the space between the top and bottom of the side plates of the carriage and the column, it still looks a little canted to one side, but as far as the negative stage for 5X7 and 8X10 being aligned laterally with the baseboard, it was OK. Aligning the rest of it is a piece of cake so now I'm OK. If I am using a lens and negative size that requires raising the 8X10 light source on the upper bellows (so that it is no longer resting on the aligned lower portion where you'd put a smaller negative carrier) it does tend to droop a little bit because it is just so heavy. I have found that a small brace (I use a wooden block) this can be used to shim it up, and the light source lowered a bit onto that block, which brings everything into alignment, as can be clearly seen with the laser. It has always required this adjustment.

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