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Darkshop Posts

“Shop” “upgrade”

I finally got a mini metal lathe, as well as a new mill. I really wanted a used 10x toolroom lathe, and searched on and off for one for about 4 years now. But after getting realistic about the expense of shipping an industrial lathe from somewhere in the Rust Belt, how worn-out a reasonably priced machine in this class would probably be, rewiring my shop to use a 3 phase machine, and insulating and heating the shop to protect such an investment,  I finally just bought some new import machines that will run on my shop’s 120v/20A circuits. Continue » “Shop” “upgrade”

Compendium shade

Since these shades are available second-hand pretty cheap, this is a silly thing to make unless you have an oddball front standard. I’d made one years ago for my old 5×7, but it was a little bulky to use for my new camera. After spending the morning trying in vain to find the outside dimensions of the Toyo-View compendium hood I just made one out of materials I had on hand.  Why do retailers list the size of the bloody box it comes in, and not the sizeof the unit itself? I went through the same thing trying to find a low profile cold shoe. Continue » Compendium shade

5×7 Part 4, erratum

Camera turned out well, but though I would compile a list of the things I wish I could do over- and probably will have to do over at some point. Will update the list as new ones are discovered.

Shafts

I cut the shaft flush with the bed, and tapped and Locktite’d 6-32 studs into each end for the focus and lock knobs. Would have been better to leave the shafts long on the focus side and pin the knobs to the shaft, as done with the gears themselves. The studs are fine for locking knobs, but probably too weak to handle the torque from the focusing knobs over time.

Continue » 5×7 Part 4, erratum

Improved 5×7, now with real five and seven

I was so appalled by the state of my shop at the end of the last project that I decided to clean it up and repair a lot of the worn out tables, jigs, and machinery so it would be all ready to go whenever I’m ready for a new project. I dissembled and adjusted the mill, organized the bits and end mills and router bits, tuned up the drill press and made a decent table for it, rebuilt my table saw/router table outfeed table, trued up all the fences and fixtures, replaced the workbench top, and generally organized and cleaned throughout. The shop still isn’t fit for visitors or even a heavily cropped jpeg tour, but it will be much less annoying to spend time in it now.  Continue » Improved 5×7, now with real five and seven

5×7 bail back

Ever since getting the Arca Swiss last winter I’ve wanted to make a bail back for my shop built 5×7. Unfortunately the design of that camera back doesn’t lend itself very well to adding a bail. The torsion spring housing is on the tall side, so the pivot for the bail would need to be pretty high to bridge that and would increase the depth of the camera more than I’d like. Also I think a leaf spring arrangement would work much better for a bail, which is what the Arca and most other cameras use. Rather that modify the original back and risk screwing everything up, I should probably make a new back. This camera is starting to feel like the ship of Theseus. Continue » 5×7 bail back

Car cabinet

I have a Honda Element, which is a pretty good ride for camera trips. I’ve always wanted to build a cabinet in the cargo area to hold gear. What motivated me to do something about it though was the thought of making an extension platform that will allow for taking quick photos right from the tail gate, without a lot of setup/breakdown. Continue » Car cabinet

5×7 diary, part 3

After almost 4 years of use, I thought I would make a few improvements to my shopmade 5×7 camera.  One thing that always bothered me is the front standard. The gimbal swing is great, and the movements work well, but the rise and fall stanchions are a little anemic, should have used 3/16″ stock instead of the 1/8″, and should have made the anti-torsion bar that joins the stanchions at the bottom a little more burly as well.  There’s too much flex in the standard.  Also, the front shift platform is awkward. I stupidly economized on aluminum plate stock, getting only a 12″ piece of 1/4  bar stock for both the front and back shift platforms, and by the time I was done with the back the piece I had left over was about 1/2″ too short for the front. So instead of just ordering another $5 worth of material from McMaster-Carr I went ahead and used the short piece. Usually I’m not this cheap- maybe I’d already milled the dovetail slot before I realized it was too short. Regardless, the front standard pivot brackets overhang the platform, which not only looks goofy, but there’s also nothing to indicate a neutral position by feel, you have to eyeball the dovetails being flush with the platform. I thought about installing a detent, but due to the location of the dovetail slide and shift slot there’s no good place to install one. The furnace is on the fritz in the house, so as long as I’m cold I might as well spend some time in the shop. Continue » 5×7 diary, part 3