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Darkshop Posts

film cutting

modified Dahle paper trimmer

I used to set up a rather elaborate system of fences, squares and clamps to cut 5×12 film down from larger stock, but if this move to 4×10 is to be sustained I realized I’d need something a little easier to setup. Continue » film cutting

mini 5×12 camera, part 1

April 2008

I really need a smaller, much smaller camera. Had a piece of decent cherry in the shop, started milling. Rough, oversize. Stickered for a week. Design all week. Worked out rough idea with CAD and cardboard silhouettes. Pretty effective in finding pivot points, brace lengths and extension. Need to decide on folding or non-folding WA design. I like the utility of Ebony’s non-folding models, but would miss the base tilt on both standards. Continue » mini 5×12 camera, part 1

mini 5×12 camera, part 2

April 24

Bellows. I hate them so. I did a paper mock-up but still the pleats are folding oddly. I think the geometry of this isn’t quite right. The front standard is fairly close to the size of the back on the side, so there’s not much taper there- 7 3/4 inches to 5 1/4 . But on the tops and bottom it’s 14 3/4 to 5 1/4 . There seems to be nowhere for some of the folds to go. I think the mock-up worked because it was just kraft paper, no stiffeners. I should have just made a @!$# bag bellows- I rarely use anything longer that a 250 lens anyway. Edit- updated way to make bellows at end of page-

Continue » mini 5×12 camera, part 2

4×10 film holders

parts, 4×10 film holders

Having just finished, here’s a few fresh observations on making film holders.
Too thin is problematic- this reduces options for light baffles, makes joinery very thin, especially the darkslide baffle rail. I found some .03″ velvet (plain backed) and used up the .002″ brass shim stock left unused from my last adventure in filmholders. All said and done it worked out well, just tested one out in the sun loaded with film for a few minutes and no leaks. Wouldn’t want to make them any thinner. But the extra thinness does allow the option of  making an adapter instead of an entire new back- the shim needed to bring the film holder to same spot as the ground glass can double as the base for the adapter, which would simply slide into the  existing 5×12 back. Continue » 4×10 film holders


All the information on this site should be considered ‘as-is’. Reader beware, use at your own risk, etc. That said, none of these projects are particularly challenging- most involve very old designs and very old processes, and are achievable with very basic materials if you have the patience. While I’m happy to answer specific questions, I don’t have the time to provide drawings, measurement, step-by-step instructions, or assistance modifying the designs to suit your needs.