Lensboard drilling in NYC?

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Does anyone know of a good (read: cheap) place to get a lensboard drilled in New York City? My search only yielded one place that would do it, and they wanted $50 for the privilege (Professsional Camera Repair, 47th St.).

Anyone know of a place that specializes in LF and might do it for less?



-- Josh Wand (josh@joshwand.com), December 06, 2000


I'm admittedly new to LF (building a Bender - not yet finished), but for my lensboard I . . . drilled a hole. Am I missing something? The lens fits fine, is perfectly centered. Why would anyone pay $50 or even $10 for that?

-- Tom Raymondson (rayson@pacific.net), December 06, 2000.

Well, it's because:

-- Josh Wand (josh@joshwand.com), December 06, 2000.

Look in the yellow pages under machine shops and call a few and see what they charge....I'm sure it would be under $50.00.

-- Don Sparks (Harleyman7@aol.com), December 06, 2000.

Don has the answer. A hole is a hole, whether it is in a lensboard or a piece of tin. Any machine shop can drill any size hole perfectly centered. Despite what some self-appointed gurus try to tell you, a hole in a lensboard isn't rocket science. I would try and find a small neighborhood shop where you can talk to the folks doing the work. The whole job shouldn't take more than a few minutes. Take the shutter along for precise measurements. Most machine shops can make any part you need and simple things like a hole in a lensboard is common bread and butter work. Also, many larger auto parts shops have machine shops if there isn't a full fledged shop near you.


-- Doug Paramore (dougmary@alaweb.com), December 06, 2000.

Steve Grimes (www.skgrimes.com) charged me about $15 for lensboard drilling last I sent one to him, and does a very neat job and has all the appropriate screws for every kind of flange on hand and knows the hole size without having to think about it. Professional Camera is good for certain kinds of things (I take my Canon stuff there), but unless you need a hole drilled right away, I'd send it off.

If you want to stay in the city, you might also try Lens and Repro. I've never asked, but they handle a lot of LF and might be able to drill a lensboard for you.

-- David Goldfarb (dgoldfarb@barnard.edu), December 06, 2000.

Admittedly I had purchased two used boards from them, but B+H kindly drilled the one blank board for free -- I can't believe they would charge much even if you didn't buy the board from them. Heck, they even painted both the proper B&J grey for me. Lens and Repro was another good suggestion.

-- Donald Brewster (dpbrewster@prodigy.net), December 06, 2000.

Hmmm.. that's very interesting. The B&H reps I've talked to tell me B&H won't/can't do it. The used department did it for you?

-- Josh Wand (josh@joshwand.com), December 06, 2000.

Betax # 2 is very large? Waid'll you see the Ilex # 5.

-- Sean yates (yatescats@yahoo.com), December 07, 2000.

I drilled a Calumet lensboard for an Ilex #5 a couple of weeks ago. I centered the retaining ring, measuring with a ruler all around, and drew around with a pencil. I sawed around with a coping saw, and filed to finish. It took a little over an hour. The Ilex also needed 4 screws, spacers, and light sealing, but most lenses only need the hole.

-- James Galvin (jegalvin@lbl.gov), December 07, 2000.

Sean-- I mistyped. It's a Betax #5. (Gundlach 300/4.5)

James-- was it a metal one? This thing feels like cast iron! It's also completely blank, the Betax requires 4 screws as well as the hole, and I have no drill or coping saw-- I'm just an undergraduate, I don't exactly have a machine shop in my dorm room. :)

For the archives, Lens & Repro said they only offer mounting services for lenses bought from them.

-- Josh Wand (josh@joshwand.com), December 07, 2000.

It was cast aluminum. If you have no tools, it is a problem. I drilled a hole first with a drill, large enough for the coping saw blade. I got the coping saw for $1.98 in the bargain barrel at my corner grocery store. You can buy single drill bits for a dollar or so, and turn them with pliers. It will take a while, but you can do this sort of thing with very little, if you have the patience. Of course a machine shop changes it from an evening project to a few minutes.

-- James Galvin (jegalvin@lbl.gov), December 07, 2000.

Bring a 12 pack into most any machine shop and trade them the pack for a hole . ps: have them drill before finishing all 12........

-- miles feigenbaum (mfa1@ix.netcom.com), December 07, 2000.

for the record: SK Grimes, $15 plus return shipping.

I *did* make trips to a few machine shops here at Columbia (I almost forgot we had a mechanical engineering department) but I had a hell of time finding a machinist to actually DO it for me. They were rather rude, actually, so I gave up and sent it to a pro.

-- Josh Wand (josh@joshwand.com), December 15, 2000.

Josh, I'm on the faculty (Slavic Department), and if it's any consolation, I doubt I'd get much better attention over in the Engineering School. Grimes is a good choice.

-- David Goldfarb (dgoldfarb@barnard.edu), December 15, 2000.

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