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Leitz Focomat Ic restauration project / several questions

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Hello there,

 

I am currently restoring some old Focomat Ic enlargers (and I mean taking them apart entirely, CLA them, restore woodwork, etc.). The current one I am working on is one with the tall column and big multiplex 3-layer baseboard. Unfortunately the clamping lever is missing. Those levers for the big baseboard are longer (and probably stronger) than the standard ones.

 

I'd like to go to a metal shop and have one custom made. I could extrapolate the dimensions from the bottom of the baseboard, but would prefer to minimise the guessing work. Hence my question: Does anyone here have such a lever and could be so kind and measure the dimensions for me? 

 

Bellows

Another problem, at least with the early version, is that the bellows are usually dissolving. I've asked for quotes from two custom bellows shops, but what they ask for one bellow I could buy several enlargers. I don't have experience with bellows building but before I have one custom made, would like to give it a shot myself. As the size and application differs from the usual view camera bellows, I did not find any information for what materials are best. The original ones seem to be thin leather outside and some oily paper inside, and kraft paper for the rib-support. I am contemplating to experiment with thick black coated paper for the inside, and blackout material for the outside.

 

My question: Did someone already build bellows for the Focomat Ic and could give me a starting point as to which materials work best? 

 

Lubing

I've had very good success using helical grease for lubing the helicoid. However I am not sure what to use for the condenser lifting assembly. This assembly consists of an outer metal tube and an inner tube (both brass I think) which is slightly smaller and rotates inside the outer tube (and operated by a lever that looks like a musical note). The problem here is, that I can't remove the inner tube, it is fixed in place with a tiny special rivet and removing that would mean destruction of the part. The inner tube is slightly smaller though and there is a tiny gap around it. So far I used this lubricant: http://www.micro-tools.de/en/Greases-Oils/Lubricant-Moly-Lube-Dry.html since I can get the powder into the gap much better than any gel. I am not sure this is a good choice though since It does not give a butter-smooth soft action like with the helicoid (though I don't know how the action originally was intended to be). Any hints welcome.

 

Service Manual / Exploded View Drawing

I've asked Leica for those to no avail. If anyone has them available, I would greatly appreciate a copy.

 

 

Thanks a lot!

 

Andi

Edited by Guest

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Hello Andi,

 

I restored an early version of the focomat a few years ago, so I know what you are going through.  I ended up buying three off of the auction site to make a single enlarger.  My biggest problem was finding a condenser that was not scratched!  Anyway, I have some extra parts, including a clamping lever that should fit your baseboard.  I will take a picture of it and send you the measurements when I get back to darkroom.

 

Take care.

 

Rex.

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Hey Rex,

 

oh yes, a scratch free condenser is hard to find indeed. Took me several buys to find a good one too. I'm looking forward to the measurements of the lever. Thanks a lot.

 

As for the bellows, I ended up ordering custom made ones. I could bring the cost down a bit by ordering 4 pieces. I'll only be needing two, so if you (or someone else here) needs one, let me know.

 

Cheerio,

Andi

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I would never, ever use a powdered lubricant in an enlarger or any part of photographic equipment. The stuff migrates everywhere and is very difficult to remove. In your case, if you cannot disassemble the part, then you can't clean it, either.

 

Have you removed the lift-lever?

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Hi Pico,

 

I removed the lever. I've actually removed the whole part from the body (it's easy with the right kind of spanner wrench). There's a ~0.5mm gap between the two tubes, so cleaning is a bit hairy but possible. First I washed it in white spirits and then I did put it into an an ultrasonic cleaner with a special cleaning solution. The powder is a mess, yes. Eventually I used the non-powder variant of the grease - still it's not easy to get it in there through the tiny gap.

 

Best,

Andi

Edited by Guest

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Hello there,

I am currently restoring some old Focomat Ic enlargers (and I mean taking them apart entirely, CLA them, restore woodwork, etc.). The current one I am working on is one with the tall column and big multiplex 3-layer baseboard. Unfortunately the clamping lever is missing. Those levers for the big baseboard are longer (and probably stronger) than the standard ones.

 

Please look at these two pictures. I do not know what it is, but it was near a Focomat IIa.

 

http://www.digoliardi.net/focomat/lever1.jpg

http://www.digoliardi.net/focomat/lever2.jpg

 

14" long (35.56cm)

1" wide (2.54cm)

 

The hole in the end is 10mm diameter

The slot is ~8mm wide

Edited by pico

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Hi Pico,

 

thanks for the pictures and measurements. That's the clamping mechanism installed on the bottom side of the Ic baseboard. The lever I am looking for goes through the slot and is installed perpendicular to it. It looks like this:

 

http://glennview.com/jpgs/leitz/easel/lockinglever/big_1.jpg

 

I am looking for the large version though, suitable for the large Ic baseboard (it's bigger and longer than the standard one).

 

Cheers,

Andi

Edited by Guest

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When I get to the storage area I will look for that part. I probably have it.

Since it came from a IIa, it might be a long one. Can you tell me the

dimensions of the one you need?

 

I also have a rather unique Valoy which should trade some parts with

a Focomat Ic. This model has the extra large baseboard, the longer

column, and an extra space/ventilation cooling bonnet that let me

use 250W bulbs for big enlargements. I will check it out tomorrow.

 

I must run now. I'm off to pay my auto taxes.

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Hello Andi - The bar should fit the larger baseboard, I have the smaller one and it is too long for it.  It measures 45mm (about 17.5") and is about 4mm thick.  

 

I hope this helps.

 

Hello Pico - the bar you are showing is the clamping mechanism that the other bar fits into; my bar that extends from underneath the base board that pulls down the clamping mechanism.

 

Rex.

Edited by RexS

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Hi Rex,

 

thank you very much for the measurements and info and pics. This is exactly the part I was looking for

))

If you should decide to let it go within the next month or so, let me know. Otherwise I'll have a metal

shop build a replica.

 

Thanks again.

 

Best,

Andi

Edited by Guest

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Hello Andi,

 

I am glad you found the information helpful.  I don't have a use for the lever, so...

 

I will be gone for the next few days, and we can work something out after I get back.

 

Rex.

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Hi All,

 

just positing an update here. I've since serviced/restored about six or seven Ics since my last post and I am pretty comfortable in doing so. Just wanted to follow up and answer my own questions form the initial post:

 

Bellows: I've had some custom made by a small custom LF-Camera manufacturer. Works very well. They're made of a fabric on the inside and some sort of leather on the outside (the original Leitz bellows seem to be coated cardboard). Kienzle in Germany offers Ic replacements bellows at a reasonable price, too (no experience with those though). Replacing bellows on a Ic is entirely doable, but no fun at all. You need a lot of patience. So, if it is at all possible to fix the bellows, I'd prefer repair in lieu of replacement.

 

Lubricants: I found all I need at the Microtools shop mentioned in my original post (not associated with 'em, just found the stuff useful). I only use the gel greases (stay away from the powder stuff), vaseline and sewing machine oil. Essentially you only need the helical grease and the somewhat stiffer stuff for the rest (forgot the exact number). Stay away from bike/silicone grease recommended on some web sites. Just use the photo-gear/lens greases.

 

 

Other takeaways:

- An ultrasonic cleaning unit (like those used for cleaning googles) does magic

- don't use vinegar for a prolonged time to clean coated metal parts

- Invest in high quality silicon wiring (e.g. "Ölflex Heat" is a brand here in europe which is good)

- almost any metal replacement part you can get vie Kienzle in Germany. It's expensive, and a drag to deal with them (not very service oriented or communicative people, but it's worth it, the quality is right)

- for woodwork go to a master carpenter, it's unbelievable what they can do with a baseboard that looks like it's good for the trash

- sometimes, for the absolute perfect alignment, shimming the pole might be necessary (the neg-to-lens stage is perfect by design, however head-to-baseboard might be off a little). You can buy expensive steel shims which work fine, but I found cutting a coke can does the job just as well.

- the threads on the screws seem to be non-standard, given today's standards (especially those used for the column and the film holder pieces, it's best to have some spares at hand)

- I much prefer the the earlier Ic models (without the white handle and black oval Leitz logo instead of the red dot). They seem to be more solid and more precisely made than the latter ones (though this is probably a subjective feel)

- i've really come to appreciate the engineering and design of the Ic/IIc enlargers - there's nothing superfluous on those things and they're very well thought out, maintainable, etc. 

 

 

Still on the look for the long clamping lever and an exploded view drawing of the Ic (even though I basically have this in my head now).

 

Andi

Edited by Guest

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i've really come to appreciate the engineering and design of the Ic/IIc enlargers

 

Gee, does anyone use the IIa besides me?

..

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Pico, to set your mind at ease: I have a friend who swears by the IIa. He can't help but repeat that the negative holder is larger than the one of the IIc . . . And he prefers the early version with just one lens !

 

Andi, I have sent you a private message re the 1c projects . . .

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To further amend this thread. M.Hilo and I designed a unter-the-lens filter holder for the Ic and the Valoy II. We're currently making and testing prototypes. Someone with access to a plasma cutter and/or handy with working on aluminum should easily be able to manufacture one for their own use. Find the CAD drawings and specs here (the info is still a bit jumbled, we're working on it):

 

https://github.com/aha/filterholder

 

 

Cheers,

Andi

Edited by Guest

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Since I just have the grease tubes out, here's what I've been using for the Ic:

 

Helical focusing ring:

- Nye Nyogel 744

 

Screws:

- Nye Nyogel 767A if you want the screws to go damped/heavy/smooth (my preference)

- Nye Nyogel 795A if you want the screws to go very very loose/easy

 

Andi

Edited by Guest

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Update on the filter holder project... Prototypes are ready.

 

 

Left Focomat Ic, right Valoy 2 (might work with Focomat 2c as well, however I found the Kienzle made swing-holder for the 2c fantastic so I dropped the 2c design).

Edited by Guest

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More high-res pictures here: https://github.com/aha/filterholder/tree/master/prototypes

 

Those are plastic 3D printed prototypes of course. Validating the designs in real use now, then off to the metal shop to make heavy duty ones.

Edited by Guest

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