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Thread: Enlarger alignment tools

  1. #1
    Jim Graves Jim Graves's Avatar
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    Enlarger alignment tools

    I'm about to set up a Durst 1200 and have been reviewing past posts for alignment information. I've found information on the Beseler Alignment Tool, the Versalab Laser System, and even one reference to the "Bill Peters Laser Alignment Tool."

    Anyone have any experience with these tools and/or specific recommendations on aligning the Durst 1200?

  2. #2

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    Re: Enlarger alignment tools

    I've used the Zig align and the Versalab - the Versalab has to be the best of these things - so simple and easy to use - you know when you have a perfect result.

  3. #3

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    Re: Enlarger alignment tools

    I have the Versalab Parallel and find it pretty simple to use and very accurate. I tried some other (more manual) methods before getting the Parallel and they were all more complicated and less accurate.

  4. #4

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    Re: Enlarger alignment tools

    The Versalab is a marvelous device. It can measure to much tighter tolerances than the designers of my ancient Omega ever dreamed of.
    It would be a great thing if one was available to the community as some kind of shared resource;it's an expensive device to buy, and then use maybe once a year.
    If I owned one myself I'd consider loaning it to other darkroom workers...

  5. #5
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Re: Enlarger alignment tools

    I use the Versalab laser also. It works great, I would replace it if anything happened to it. Just as important as the laser tool (or what ever device you choose) would be the grain focuser that lets you see the edges. Sharp at the edges and center is the bottom line, so having both devices lets you double check things.

    For example, I have at least one enlarging lens where the aperture ring forms the front lip of the lens. When you put the reflecting glass on the front of this lens (to reflect the laser beam) the results are kind of all over the place. Having the grain focuser for the edges of the frame lets me double check to see that I got the alignment right.

  6. #6
    Mark
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    Re: Enlarger alignment tools

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sampson View Post
    It would be a great thing if one was available to the community as some kind of shared resource;it's an expensive device to buy, and then use maybe once a year.
    I would be interested in purchasing a share in a Versalab Parallel - and other takers?

  7. #7
    おせわに なります! Andrew O'Neill's Avatar
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    Re: Enlarger alignment tools

    You could always make one. Two mirrors, one with a small sight hole drilled in it. I made one with a couple of mirrors from the loonie store (not glass) and drilled a small hole in one of them. The one with the hole goes in place of the negative carrier, mirror facing down, the other on the baseboard, facing up. You look down through the hole and if you see more than one spot of light on the bottom mirror, your enlarger is not properly aligned.
    I'm sure if you google search the topic you will find lots of info
    I do own the zig align system but pain in the butt to use. The mirrors are quick and easy.

  8. #8

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    Re: Enlarger alignment tools

    I have never used one of these tools and can't discuss them. I use a cheaper method: take a negative, using a pin scratch a big circle and then an X from corner to corner of the negative, place the negative in the holder, and then make the necessary adjustments.

  9. #9

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    Re: Enlarger alignment tools

    Quote Originally Posted by cyrus View Post
    I have never used one of these tools and can't discuss them. I use a cheaper method: take a negative, using a pin scratch a big circle and then an X from corner to corner of the negative, place the negative in the holder, and then make the necessary adjustments.
    Cyrus

    The issue with this method is that you don't know what to adjust and when - could be the negative stage, could be the baseboard, could be the lens stage... Where do you start?

    A tool like the Versalab lets you isolate and sort each stage out, one at a time, and you end up with the whole thing in perfect alignment...

  10. #10

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    Re: Enlarger alignment tools

    I also use the versalab. One thing I discovered was that easels are not flat. I aligned the enlarger and then the lens stage to the baseboard. I then put an easel on the baseboard and checked it. It was out of alignment! In fact the three easels I had, all different sizes, where out of alignment in each its own way. So I purchased a 16/20 adjustable blade easel, aligned it and have been perfectly aligned ever since.

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