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Tool Dilemna

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Hambone, Oct 3, 2005.

  1. I'm sitting here in the middle of an inlay project without a really suitable base for my various moto-tools - all small stuff that I use pretty regularly for all kinds of chores. I've built a couple that worked but they didn't give me the degree of quality that I wanted and the storebought versions were just a case of the same. So I'm wandering around the shop trying to put tab A in slot B and come up with another Rube Goldberg whizbang affair when I remembered a gem from my past...a nearly unused macro auto bellows for the old 35mm Pentax K mount. I've had it for going on 20+ years now, since my Art Institute days and I haven't use it since. These things are as hard to come by as snakes on the moon but talk about some serious stability and precision - it's got 2 pinion carriages on one side of the rack and the mount is on a third on the other side and it weighs about about a pound. So the dilemna is whether to sacrifice a perfectly servicable, rare and collectable piece of vintage camera equipment or trash it for the coolest router base ever built - the envy of all of my bass building friends! :D :bag:
  2. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    Is there another piece of equipment that will do the same thing with the same amount of *expected* success? Would it cost more/less or the same as the piece of gear you currently are thinking of modifying?

    If I could find something that would do what you need with confidence, I'd consider selling the camera gear and take the proceeds to buy the router base that you seem to need. Then you get your desired result without trashing out something that would give a photographer a certain level of joy and use.
  3. Oh, I've been through that circle before. The trouble is that the only commercially available router bases are crap. I've seen some incredible ones made by machinists and the like and that's what the mechanism of this gives me the leg up on. This piece might bring all of $100 maybe in the used vintage market because the K mounts weren't high enough quality for true pro use and that isn't enough for even a good mid size router. This would have been serious hobbyists piece but with the way the Japanese were building at the time, the quality is way ahead of anything I could purchase now for either use.
  4. Well Hambone you know the answer, which is, what is more important to you, stupid ancient camera technology, or the ability to fabricate a new an exciting bass building tool? Duh! LOL
    Your self made sander is still stuck in my head, just do it man!
  5. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY

    In that case I'd say your decision is made for you.

    Go for it.
  6. Why's it stuck in your head and not stuck in your shop? :D

    Yeah, I'm looking at the bellows now and it's got real potential. I'll probably just set it aside and look for a couple of pieces to accompany it and then put it all together.
  7. I just ordered one of Stewart Macdonalds dremel router bases. Hopefully it'll do the trick. I've got some inlaying to do as well.
  8. Hey Hambone,
    It's not in my shop cause I'm not a metal guy, or as handy as you. ;) If I could do it in wood I'd be fine. LOL
  9. Dirk, I've seen lots of cool designs built with nothing more than layers of 3/4" MDF and a set of pillowblock bearings. I've even seen one that was adapted to fit across a lathe bed and use a turned wood piece as the drum - very inventive! It can be done with wood and wood products. I just used what I had available.

    Like tonight, I spent a few hours in the shop and came up with this for the base. I've got to do a clamp for the back to hold the post in and a plate to mount the tool to the carriage with but the hard part's done. It's a little crude because I'm using wood tools and not CNC or plastic tools but it'll do. I've got 2 more carriages that I can adapt to this post or I can make different bases for this post to do different things. I've got a lot of this 1" and 3/4" clear acrylic. I might be onto something here.

  10. BSR6P-Bob


    Apr 5, 2005
    Go for it bro'. It's not really that rare and not really very collectable. Unless you see yourself doing any greater than 1:1 macro work in the forseeable future you're better off giving it a purpose. :hyper:

    I was in the photographic camera collectable/darkroom gear bizz for many years (in fact my first job was with one of the pioneers of camera collecting) and can speak with some conviction.
  11. As you can see, I was one step ahead of you but you've put my mind at ease. It doesn't mean anything but this was a screw mount rather than a K mount - even less desirable I suppose.
  12. Hambone I'm not trying to blow smoke up your butt, but that came out quite nice man! ;)
    Perhaps a wooden drum sander would work. Haha
  13. Thanx DD -

    I'm serious about the possibility. If you want to trade idea's and get something on paper, email me and we'll work something out that you can put together for next to nothing for your situation. There's a gazillion ways of doing it.
  14. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    How did you polish that acrylic? also, how did you cut it so nice?
  15. I made the round recesses with forstner bits and cut the outer shape on the band saw. A little file work, a little sanding, and then a little polishing compound got it to this stage.
  16. BSR6P-Bob


    Apr 5, 2005

    Yeah, really nice job there and a good choice.

    Bellows units in general (even old Leitz, Alpa and Novoflex) don't generate much interest to collectors and you usually find piles of then at the trade shows. The later Nikon and Leica units will retain some value to the few interested users out there but largely they all sit in photographers closets, unused and ignored.
    The screw mount is indeed very common as well so 3 cheers on a job well done and putting that thing to some good use.
  17. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    Not to steal your thread, but Hambone (and anyone else who knows)...

    I need to buy/make a jig for my drill press so I can have a straight edge that rack unit front panels rest against, so I can just slide the panel side to side and stay aligned (looking at the work area, the panel can move side to side but not away from me or towards me). Then I need to be able to move the straight edge backwards and forwards, always keeping the lines parallel.

    Is there something already available that works well or do you know of something I can build? Thanks.
  18. I take it that you want to drill a series of rack mount holes in a row down the rail and then move it a small amount to drill another row parallel to it?

    That's easy

    Take a straight piece of wood or other stiff material, longer than your drill press table as a fence and clamp it in place with it positioned so that the bit is striking your rack rail in line with the column you want to make. If you want to make evenly spaced holes, just tape a ruler, yardstick, or tape measure to the top of your fence and just shift the rail sideways for each hole by whatever space you want between each hole. To space the rail for the second row of holes, just use another piece of wood that's exactly the same size as the space between the columns and put it against the rail with double sided tape and use that as your fence face. The extra width makes the perfect spacing for your second set of holes.
  19. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    No, not drilling rack mounting holes, drilling control holes on faceplates.

    I want to have a sliding fence so I can move the drill line but always keep it parallel.

    I saw a few commercially available drill press fences, but I don't know which are good, which to avoid, etc.
  20. Well, my suggestion stands - it really doesn't know what you are drilling! ;)

    This is one of the most common drilling tasks - called "step and repeat"