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Making the Bellows (2)

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Bellows folded around on itself

This is the bellows material folded around on itself and glued. It should fold naturally into a rectangular section tube as the cloth is more flexible between the columns of stiffening ribs. I waited overnight for the glue to dry - weighting it down to keep the seam flat.

Once in a tube - the bellows can now have it pleats folded in it. This is a bit fiddly to get going - but once started is easy.

Putting the pleats in the bellows

Its easier if the bellows is placed up on its end. Then carefully pressing down with both hands try and encourage the material to fold like in the picture. The stiffening ribs help as the material gives between them. The 45 degree rib ends on the top and bottom sides also help to make the corners fold properly.

Finished bellows - before adding end mounts

Here is the bellows fully folded. I sandwiched the bellows - folded up between books on a bookcase so that it would get properly creased. I only intended it to stay there a few days - but it ended up being several weeks. This probably was good for it. After that - I attached the bellows end mounts using a small paper stapler and more of the PVA glue before weighting it down again. This was quite successful - though when I tested the bellows I found some light leaked in the seam between the end mounts and the bellows itself.

In general the bellows have been a success. The felt/paper sandwich isn't 100% light tight. I also had a few problem with light leaking around the areas where the bellows joined the end mounts and the end mounts were attached to the standards. However these were relatively easily patched up - and the camera seems to work fine in practice.

Other than the points already noted - its worth saying a little more about the size of the bellows. I worried a lot about the width and height (and still ran into problems as the front panel locking bolts nearly got in the way). However I made the bellows length to suit the copper pipe which was (for no good reason) 12". I then found that the bellows was really too long to focus my 5" lens at infinity and too short to allow 1to1 macro work for close ups. If I was making another bellows (and I expect I will ;-) then I'd think a little more about what sort of subjects I was trying to shoot. For landscape I'll pick a slightly shorter length so that I could focus at infinity. For closeup work I'd fit a longer bellows to allow 1to1 macro work.

Another point to note on the infinity setting is that the 5" lens is quite wide angled so I found the front mount of the focus rail kept getting into the picture. Mounting the whole bellows/lens/film higher above the focus rail will probably help - though thats too much of a redesign to do with this camera.

Previous Bellows Page

Previous Bellows Page

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