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Month: January 2017

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

Ground glass / focusing screen

A ground glass focusing screen is something I usually rush through because when it’s time to make one  I’m usually at the end of a tedious camera build and want to hurry up and use the thing already. But I wanted to take some time and make a decent one- after all this is the one thing I spend the most time looking at on a camera. Usually I don’t bother to seam the edges so the little chips along the cuts refract light into the image area and generally looks pretty crappy, so I spent the time to carefully cut the screen, smooth out the all the edges, and bevel them before getting on with grinding the surface. I did this for a recent Arca Swiss CLA, and it turned out well so made another one for my shop made camera.

grit Continue » Ground glass / focusing screen