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Thread: LED enlarger head design

  1. #1

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    LED enlarger head design

    I was on a Zoom call yesterday with some other LF photographers, including the owners of the site linked below. At the bottom of the page, you'll find a PDF of JB's 8x10 LED head design. Way out of my league, but for any with the means and skill, it may be useful.

    https://www.jbhphoto.com/articles/
    Philip U.

    Sine scientia ars nihil est. (Without science/knowledge, art is nothing.)
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/156933346@N07/

  2. #2

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    Re: LED enlarger head design

    Yeah, I did something similar about a year ago. Not just for B&W, but also for color, but then again only for up to 4x5 instead of 8x10. https://www.photrio.com/forum/thread...nd-b-w.171911/

    Currently working on a slightly improved version, but functionally more or less the same as the one I already have, as it basically just works fine.

    Compared to the JBHPhoto project a color implementation is about an order of magnitude more complex/challenging. Then again, their mechanical build is an order of magnitude more professional than my contraption

    It's a fun project, but not a turn-key solution unless someone picks up the challenge of commercializing something like this. And that's probably not going to happen given the tiny market, especially when we're talking color. For B&W, the market is there and it's served by firms like Heiland. I even have a few people I'm in touch with who forked out the cash for those, but none are printing color with it. Sadly I've never heard of, let alone actually talked to, anyone who did color printing with a Heiland unit.

  3. #3
    Jim Sidinger
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    Re: LED enlarger head design

    A couple of years ago, I built an LED head for B&W that worked for me quite well based on a design Alan Ross shared with me. It's here: https://www.largeformatphotography.i...d-for-Omega-D5

    Much simpler than the design you found but I worked with it successfully for several years.
    Best, Jim

  4. #4

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    Re: LED enlarger head design

    Thanks. I continue to hope that some enterprising individual(s) will find a way to make a reasonably-priced solid product with the best ideas from the available designs and prototypes. Of course, the economy continues to be so upside-down that physical production of this type is disproportionately expensive in general. It's good to keep the conversation alive; you never know when someone will get inspired.
    Philip U.

    Sine scientia ars nihil est. (Without science/knowledge, art is nothing.)
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/156933346@N07/

  5. #5

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    Re: LED enlarger head design

    The problem is really in the economics. If I factor in the time I spent on what is essentially R&D, the Heiland solution is actually rather cheap unless I manage to produce maybe hundreds of units per year. This is highly unlikely to match the market demand...and I'm not even talking about the adaptation that needs to be done to the hundreds of enlarger types out there.

    Inspiration isn't the problem, necessarily. The problem is really that most who think about this with any seriousness likely also have a sense of realism.

    Then again, there's always the possibility that an entrepreneurial type from, let's say, China, picks up the challenge and puts something onto the market that does maybe 75% of what the DIY solutions out there achieve, which might just match the requirements of 85% of the users!

  6. #6

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    Re: LED enlarger head design

    I took one of these Newar 480 LED lights (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1) and took the diffusion disk from an old aritso cold light and with some black electrical tape, (didn't have any Gaffers tape,) and it works great with ilford filters. There is a 1.5 second lag but in practice it doesn't make any difference in a 40 second exposure opn Ilford FB MG.

  7. #7
    Jim Sidinger
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    Re: LED enlarger head design

    As the fellow who ran Modern Enlarger Lamps (an LED head primarily for Omega enlargers) found when he had to close, it is not an easy task to design & build a quality product for a small customer base at a 'reasonable' price. I'm not saying it can't be done, I'm just agreeing with the others (above) that if it was easy & profitable, someone would probably have already done it.

  8. #8

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    Re: LED enlarger head design

    The Modern Enlarger heads looked excellent, especially the one that never saw the light, pardon the pun. JB Harlin, whose design I cited above, noted that making something like this more than a DIY project is a major undertaking, and he pointed out that insurance is extremely expensive. I think the time for this will come, as the cold light heads continue fading away, as they have been doing for years, but perhaps it really does depend on how much of a reliable market could be found. Out of my league.
    Philip U.

    Sine scientia ars nihil est. (Without science/knowledge, art is nothing.)
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/156933346@N07/

  9. #9

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    Re: LED enlarger head design

    Quote Originally Posted by Qwntm View Post
    I took one of these Newar 480 LED lights (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1) and took the diffusion disk from an old aritso cold light and with some black electrical tape, (didn't have any Gaffers tape,) and it works great with ilford filters. There is a 1.5 second lag but in practice it doesn't make any difference in a 40 second exposure opn Ilford FB MG.
    That's a pretty big light at 13+ inches square and it says -- oddly?? -- that it's 8" deep. I guess you're using it for 8x10. I have only a D2 for 4x5.
    Philip U.

    Sine scientia ars nihil est. (Without science/knowledge, art is nothing.)
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/156933346@N07/

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