Cameras

Two 12×12′ We Plate cameras built, one of them for sale

Hi, We haven’t posted pictures of new cameras for a while. So now here they are two at once. First was build for Alessandro Damino in Holland. Second, identical construction, but different look was build without special order and now she is waiting for her new best friend. They have been build of cherry, with geared focusing of both standards,  with rise and fall in front and swing and tilt in back, they both have about 950mm of bellows draw and they both are light enough to be handled by single, although robust, tripod.

First the Alessandro’s camera, finished in almost natural cherry colour with dark brown bellows.

And second, the camera for sale, finished in Ebony, with Gold-ish bellows.

the price is 3k€ and includes a personalised or non personalised nameplate.  As always, two lens-boards and a plate holder capable to accept a square plate of 305/305 mm. are included too.

Standard
Cameras

The elusive tapered bellows with square corners

Hi, After long and unproductive search of information for geometrical way of constructing a tapered bellows with square corners we decided that we’ll try to make it according to the information in the Deardorff pdf files, which we’ve found on the site of the master Kurt Mottweiler. Although much more challenging and time consuming and after a long period of efforts in understanding the method, our work was crowned with success and here it is the result:

Our next two cameras will be with this type of bellows and we’ll be able to show them to our audience very soon.

Standard
Cameras

The result

Haven’t been able to post in a long time mostly because of the shear difficulty of  this project. The camera, together with its stand and a silver nitrate tank in a box are now finished and a build of a new 12×12″ camera have been started. We have learned a lot from it especially how hard is to build such a large equipment with the means which we have in possession. I sincerely hope that the new owner will like it and use it an we wish him many beautiful images.

The camera shoots maximum plates of 610×610 mm  and have bellows draw of 2m with two auxiliary standards, one ow witch is removable together with one part of the bellows. The lens board is 250mm square and the front standard is strong enough to support a lens of more then 10kg. The stand is heavy and permits to position the from 1m up to 2,2m above the ground. Its platform tilts backwards aprox. 45 deg. and forwards 90 deg. so the camera could be put vertically pointing down. It is also fold-able for transportation.

Standard
Cameras

Some follows up from yesterday

Yesterday, was not very exciting day in the workshop. Glued some more frames, nothing interesting to show there and while watching the glue drying, finished the new glueing jig and added some new futures to the existing one. At first, two picture from the hinge bending device and the hinges for the holder door and next the finishing of the glueing jig. As you can see we drilled two holes in every corner. One threaded and one plain. The white pads are made of soft plastic and attached to the corners with double sided sticky tape. This device is a bit hard to work with, but I love it because it very rarely gives a displacement in the diagonals of the frame which is essential!

Standard
Cameras

First metal parts ready, some frames cut assembled and glued and more

I’m a week late in my writings compared to what I actually do in the workshop right now, so please excuse me if I’m a bit pushy. I’ll write less this time and will include more photos in attempt to catch up.

First  I’d like to show you some of the first metal parts ready or at least prepared. First of all the large 100 mm(4 in.) focussing wheels. One for each standard. It doesn’t look so, but when they will be ready they will have a crank handle. 2 m. of extension are a long way if you have to extend the camera without it.They are too large for our lathe’s dividing head so my father had to cut and grind the holes between the spokes by hand.

Some more  pictures. The rest of the wheels this time made of brass. Two for locking the focusing shafts, two for the rear standard  swing, two smaller for the rear standard tilt and two for locking the rise/fall in front. Next, a picture of the gear stock, cut for us by another company. The locking nuts for the rails in the beginning and in almost ready condition together with the gears cut from the gear stock.

I’ll try tomorrow to upload a short movie showing how we cut the joints of the frames, but for now some pictures of all the frames cut and assembled. You can see the bed rail frames and the front standard frame which top piece will be cut & removed when everything else is done and the frame is glued together. Also the fingers and the resulting joint.

In the next images I’d like to show you my frame glueing process. First the frame is put in a jig(I’ll show you the jig itself in a separate thread), and its diagonals are measured. If we want it square, its diagonals have to be exactly the same. Then it is disassembled, the joints are checked for easy fitting and a glue is applied. Then, of course, as fast as you can, in the jig again, comparing and adjusting the diagonals to the measurement we took before, pressing down the corners and in the end loosening the jig to achieve uniform pressure of all the corners.  It stays there for twelve hours and then I’m transferring it to another flat surface for another twelve hours. It needs to be perfectly flat! On the last two picture I have tried to show the diagonals, after it was taken out of the jig. If something is wrong on this stage, it can not be fixed already.

Some other stuff from yesterday. An 8/10 holder frame in its initial state. I plan, when finished this holder to be easily usable with a normal 8/10 film camera. I’m making it as a prototype and if it will come out nice, I’ll start making them in small batches and will try to have them always on stock.

Last, I started to make a second glueing jig and will try to show you all the steps. You need a steel L profile with equal shoulders. You need twelve identical pieces of it and you need to weld them together like it is show on the picture. Stright and flat! When I’ll do the rest will proceed with the thread.

Definitely last two pictures from yesterday. Two pictures from our hinges bending jig (I’ll show you the result in the next post), And my faithful apprentice working in a rainy day! You’ve been spotted! Buy!

Standard
Cameras

Building 610/610 mm Wet Plate camera

Part II – selecting and cutting the wood

The most important and crucial step in building something from lumber, in my opinion, is selecting the material very carefully. From this step is determined will the camera survive the years to come in good shape or not. The lumber is alive and virtually eternal! It is the most precious and sophisticated material which the nature gave to us and if we try to live by the nature rules, it is the only one we needs.  It breaths, it expands and contracts, constantly, influenced by the humidity and the temperature of the surrounding environment. It reacts, vigorously, on direct sunlight or some other kind of non uniformly applied heat. It lives even after we build a camera, or table, or bed, or house and it needs a constant care if we want it to perform like it is expected to. If we don’t understand or underestimate that it will bend, twist, or rot and eventually it will become useless and will die. In other hand, if we care to know its nature and needs and we invest some efforts  it can be virtually eternal. But all this will become true if and only when, the people in my position, will chose the appropriate pieces of lumber wisely and responsibly. This means there would be a lot of lumber which will not be an actual camera part and you may think it will be waisted. No! We use much more then you can anticipate. Actually only 4 to 6% of the lumber planks which we cut, to build a camera end in the stove and in fact nothing leaves the workshop. We build very large, like in the case, and sometimes very small, cameras. All the pieces which, because one fault or another, have been rejected from the current project will be left aside and will find its use in the next camera or in the one after it and so on. Those which most definitely can not be used in a build, for example, because of knots or very twisted fibres will be used too. There is a constant need for different pieces of wood in the everyday workshop work, to fine tune a cut on the router, to build an instrument or contraption which will save you hassle and so on. For the means of responsible use it is very important to have a species of choice and to stick with it. We honour its actual separation from the roots, by utilizing it entirely and in manner which will help it stay. I find the work with wood to be quite a spiritual experience. You don’t use it! You work together with it!  With all that said, have you ever wander how much of lumber is needed to build a camera. Please take into consideration the size of the future camera. It is, by standards of a camera builder, enormous in any way!

The view of some of the lumber planks
And the most of the wood needed for the camera, cut roughly in size set aside to rest for sometime.
Standard
Cameras

So . . . How do they do it?

The drawings

24-24-CameraFirst things, first and when it comes to building anything, in the beginning, always, should be the drawings.  Every feature of the camera, every nut and every bolt is modelled in Solid Works and an assembly is built and very carefully studied in order to ensure that all the dimension are accurate to  the tenth of a millimetre. So 24/24 in. camera with 2 m. of bellows draw. Not an easy thing to do, but if you’re scared from the bears, don’t walk into the woods, right . Most of the frames of which everything is constructed will be quite large. The pieces of wood from which they are made, have to be without any defects if we want them to stay as straight as in the day we have put them together. And because we are talking about the real world and the real life, this is not easy task at all. 24-24-Camera-frontThe cherry lumber which we use and which I can find locally is rarely of superior quality. Those cherries have not been cultivated for its lumber24-24-Camera-side. They was the ones that  our great-grandfathers have planted and carried for in their land and now, when the Earth is shrinking, we have cut them to clear the land for our cars and our villas. They are not necessarily, very large nor very straight, they have knots and sometimes, due to bad storage during the seasoning process, they have worms. From them we have to choose only the best pieces if we don’t want our cameras to start leaking light in a year or two.24-24-Camera-back Buy a better lumber, I hear you saying. I suppose we could, but, first, it will have price three to four times higher than we pay, second, it won’t be local. It would be from a distant place, brought to us with large carbon footprint, and third, it would have been treated with chemicals, widely used in commercial lumber production like arsenic and quite poisonous fungicides. Having in mind the way we work, I don’t want those things in the air we’re breading! Thanks! We will continue to use only materials found locally! The next great challenge comes when you start the design. How strong is strong. All the parts have to be capable to perform their function, but the camera have to stay as light ass possible, yes? I have to find the right balance between strong and heavy and here it is my confession!  I have to master this yet.

24-24-Camera-iso

This will be all for now, but I’ll comeback to you tomorrow with the next set of pictures and some of  the thoughts crossing my mind during the dance with blades in the workshop.

Standard