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Thread: DIY Filmholders

  1. #1

    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Wondervu, Colorado
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    DIY Filmholders

    Okay, so ULF and odd-sized film holders are expensive--even used, vintage (very used) holders. Here is an experiment to make your (i.e., my) own. The catch is, I have zero woodworking skills and very minimal equipment (a 10-inch mitre saw, an 18-inch metal ruler, a pencil, and a bottle of contact cement).....plus access to a really well-stocked hardware store that conveniently has a good supply of craft wood....

    This first attempt is for 7x11 holders:

    I start with craft wood (basswood) in three sizes:
    3/4 x 1/8 x 24"
    1/2 x 1/16 x 24
    3/4 x 1/16 x 24

    (T-dimension for 7x11 holders is .25 inch.)

    Here's the result of today's efforts:
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 2010_0404Image0005.JPG   2010_0404Image0001.JPG   2010_0404Image0002.JPG   2010_0404Image0003.JPG  
    Last edited by Michael Roberts; 25-Aug-2019 at 09:23.

  2. #2

    Join Date
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    Re: DIY Filmholders

    One more valuable piece of equipment: a heavy-duty right angle ruler to keep the corners 90 degrees....

    Material for plenum and darkslides is Garolite from McMaster-Carr 12x24 in 1/32 thickness...this can be scored with a utility knife several times, then snapped, and the edge sanded down (my honey loaned me her Dremel for sanding)....
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 2010_0404Image0010.JPG   2010_0404Image0017.JPG   2010_0404Image0012.JPG   2010_0404Image0014.JPG  
    Last edited by Michael Roberts; 25-Aug-2019 at 09:25.

  3. #3

    Join Date
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    Wondervu, Colorado
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    Re: DIY Filmholders

    I made four wooden sides first (for two DDS holders)--cut and glued the pieces together.
    Then I cut one piece of Garolite to make a plenum and two darkslides.

    Next to do:
    -glue the two sides of each holder together with the plenum in the middle.
    -fabricate the lighttraps (I bought some open-cell foam and felt fabric for this).
    -paint the wood a flat black (or, possibly stain it, I'm still waffling on this, but leaning toward black to fill in any gaps in the joints...).

    Oh, you might be wondering about the end flaps--there aren't any. I designed these holders to use the double-sided 3M tape (ATG) so I won't need film guides or a hinged end-flap....
    Last edited by Michael Roberts; 25-Aug-2019 at 09:28.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Washington
    Posts
    20

    Re: DIY Filmholders

    Great job Michael !Give it a nice coat of varnish before putting it together and you shall rule !

  5. #5

    Re: DIY Filmholders

    I'd say AMAZING! An inspiration to all of us. It's back to the early days of photography, when one had to make almost everything. Good job!

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Ashland, Ohio
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    46

    Re: DIY Filmholders

    impressive & inspiring..

  7. #7

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    Jan 2007
    Location
    Sonora, California
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    1,462

    Re: DIY Filmholders

    Yes. Amazing and inspiring. THANK YOU! for sharing these details.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Wondervu, Colorado
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    Re: DIY Filmholders

    Thanks very much for the kind words...I do hope this inspires some folks to try their hand at making holders to shoot more film--especially in odd and ULF sizes. I am figuring my cost for each 7x11 holder is no more than $20-25 in materials (versus $75-85 each for vintage holders and $250+ for new S&S holders). I'd love to have half a dozen or more holders each in 7x11 and 11x14, so, if possible, I'd rather spend the extra $$ on film.

    The savings will be even more for 11x14 holders. I will work up a prototype 11x14 in the next few weeks. I expect the cost to be around $35 for materials (already have them on hand, in fact) versus $200+ for used holders (when you can find them) and $350-400 for new holders.

    Here are a couple of more pictures...

    -I did opt for flat black for these first two holders. Film holders absolutely, positively have to be light-tight, so I decided to be extra cautious with these first two experimental holders. If I can't make holders light-tight, then this whole effort will be a write-off...no matter how pretty they might o/w look.

    -A couple of things I learned since the last post:

    -the top and bottom pieces that make up the slot for the darkslide at the end of the holder need to have the edges facing the dark slide sanded down to make it easier for the dark slide to find the gap (next time I'll do this before assembly!)

    -if you are going to paint the inside of the slot for the dark slide, do it before assembly.

    I did some experimenting with light traps...this has been my biggest concern throughout the design stage...

    -my original idea to use open-cell foam covered in black felt did not work--way too thick for the 1/16 opening

    -I found a post on the f295.org cite where RayH in Oz uses self-adhesive Velcro material--just the soft side. I got some of this, but it is too thick, also (should work well for the 11x14 holders, though; Ray uses this with 3mm MDF material)

    -I finally settled on just one layer of the black felt I had--it's 1/16 inch thick (I also tried doubling over part of it, and it was still too thick)

    -alas, final testing is going to have be done with film, in the field, I think. I hope to get to that next week.

    The good news is (a) I'm nearly done with my first two 7x11 prototypes, (b) the weight is incredibly low--only 10 oz (I'm hoping for 11x14 holders close to 20 oz!), and (c) I've learned a few things without completely buggering this up yet.

    The first pic shows the painted holder (now with both sides glued together and the Garolite plenum sandwiched in between) with felt light-trap glued in place; the second shows the cover and rib-lock added (but not yet screwed into place).
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 2010_0407Image0005.JPG   2010_0407Image0009.JPG  
    Last edited by Michael Roberts; 25-Aug-2019 at 09:29.

  9. #9
    Lascassas, TN
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Lascassas TN
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    246

    Re: DIY Filmholders

    Michael,

    Consider posting this on the LF Home Page. It would be an good addition.
    Bill Kumpf

  10. #10

    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Wondervu, Colorado
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    Re: DIY Filmholders

    Cool. Thanks Bill. I'd be happy to write up an article with better pics since I do plan to make more (and, possibly some prettier ones) IF these work. The acid test is still yet to come, though....

    I saw on the f295.org site where someone else also observed it is hard to find DIY filmholder info on the web. There's a lot more info available about camera-building, bellows construction, etc.--I guess because most camera- and bellows-builders shoot 4x5, 5x7, or 8x10 where there are holders available at reasonable prices.

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