alignment on Beseler MCRX : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I am going to buy Beseler MCRX this weekend. How can I check the alignment in the seller's garage? Thank you

-- michael franc (, March 25, 2002


This may help.

I'm assuming (bad word, I know) that the alignment is similar to a 23C or a 45MXT. To check alignment you'll need a small (12-15") level (plastic is ok). 1. Place enlarger base on a level surface. Must be LEVEL. See #2. 2. Place level on base board. Check from to back and L to R. Shim to correct as necessary. You must start from as level a position as poddible. 3. Place level inside neg stage. Read level L to R and front to back Leveling screws will swing the entire head foward and tilt the head L/R. After that is level go to #4. 4. Place level on the face of the lens. There should be some adjustment to level the lens in the mount. Or adjust the bottom of the lensboard mount. Good hunting,-Steve This is NOT the most accurate method, but it will get you into the ballpark for gross checking of a unit you may be considering. It's all in the adjusting screws.

-- Steve Feldman (, March 25, 2002.

Not Poddible . . . possible. Darn!

-- Steve Feldman (, March 25, 2002.

My suggestions will be more readable when I learn how to type. SORRY.

-- Steve Feldman (, March 25, 2002.

The quickie way would be to do as above, only the MX series enlargers don't align completely like a 23C...the struts in the back, and the carriage--the motorized assembly that raises & lowers the lamphouse/neg & lens stage--both play a part as well as the controls for aligning the lamphouse etc. On an older MX--pre MXT--basically anything with a tapered lower bellows; on one of these, there's a small screw type adjustment just behind the the rail that the lens stage rides up & down on to should be able to adjust the alignment of the whole unit here, both L-R with the swing adjustment and front to back, with the tiny screw that's set off the lower carriage....

What I would do would be to take a torpedo level, and a sheet of glass (like you'd use to make a contact) with you.

First, get the baseboard level in both directions...get it on a level surface or shim it up....

Put the glass in the neg carrier spot, just like you were inserting a carrier...put the level on this to check the alignment in both directions. If it's off here, you can make the adjustments I described above to get close, if not darn close....

Now, put a lens in the lens stage, and place the level firm against it (hold it up underneath)....NOW, this is where the problems may arise with an older MX...there is no provision on these to precisely align the lens stage...if for some reason, it's out of alignment here (may not be)'s going to be tough to ever get it completely aligned. We had this problem on our MXII, and wound up replacing the whole lower bellows assembly to make it like the MXT more or less. You can also get some aftermarket lens boards, that will let you align in both directions as well....but basically, the only alignment option for the lens stage on a pre-MXT enlarger, is from L-R, if you need front to back, you will have to shim some things around to get it....or it may mean there are other problems....

Lastly, the carraige can jump a tooth or two on one of the sides & get's possible to run it all the way down, and reset it and get that aligned as'd use a level, and a carpenters square for this usually....if the enlarger has been moved alot, or picked up by that part, it's not uncommon to find this out of place....if the struts in the back have been adjusted right, there should be no problems....if not, then there's a chance the chasis could be warped....

But, if you can get it roughly aligned, then chances are it's okay....what I would do is to check it out, or have the seller do it for you & show you...if they can't show you that it's aligned, or do it for you...then it might not ever have been....chances are you'll redo it when you set it up in it's new home anyways....other things to check are the motor--sometimes they can leak oil--check out the teeth on the rail that you focus with...if the knobs have been overtightened, while focusing? They can chew up this rail, and miss teeth at certain settings....or get wobbly too...

I think that's about it, I know this is a rambling answer & probably confusing as hell...but just look at it closely, and try to make sure the frame isn't bent or twisted/warped...I've seen some old beaters that have been this way, that were almost impossible to use....good luck. (p.s. we have 3 of these in our lab, real workhorse enlargers) MY opinions as always.

-- dk thompson (, March 25, 2002.

Looks like Mr./Ms. Thompson above has the more exacting ticket to check out and align you're buy. I stand (sit) corrected and educated. Thanks.


-- Steve Feldman (, March 25, 2002.

Thank you for the great advice. I know what to look for now. I am sure future readers in the same predicament will find this post very usefull as well. Thank You.

-- michael franc (, March 26, 2002.

I wouldn't worry about it too much, but if you buy it, get a copy of the manual from Beseler because you'll probably have to align it when you get it all set up again. The struts in the back? Really you shouldn't have to mess with these...the only reason would be if they weren't set up right to begin with, or the thing was horribly out of alignment...what I would look for, besides overall wear & tear--would be to see if the thing _can_ be aligned easily right there....if it looks like it can't, that may be a warning sign....the parts we had to replace on our older MXII cost about $400 to upgrade it to be able to fine tune the alignment of the lens stage...we only did it because we got tired of having to shim things, if I had to take my pick of a used MX series, I'd go with the MXTs. But there's no reason why an older one won't be just fine for you...that MXII has been in our lab forever and old-age and high mileage finally did it in...MY opinions as always.

-- dk thompson (, March 26, 2002.


DK Thomspon is right on all counts. I just went though the alignment procedure with my 45MCRX which I have owned since 1973. I moved her more times than I care to admit. After taking her out of the moth balls, I had to perform a major CLA and happy to report she's as good as new. Beseler helped me a lot on the alignment procedures. Call Steve McFadden at 1-800-BESELER, ext. 262. Beseler does have a manual for alignment procedures on this enlarger. The biggest alignment problem with this model is the lens stage. If the swing feature for perspective control was used a lot, the ball bearing may have a lot of wear. This will cause the lens stage to drop forward, thus throwing it out of alignment. The ball bearing is no longer available. I would question the seller on use of this feature. A lot of owners may have never used it much. In my case, I didn't. When I wanted perspective control, I always grabbed the 4 X 5 and didn't worry about it otherwise (not that I shouldn't have!). Like DK Thompson said, there are limited adjustments. You may have to resort to shims. While I think it is important to determine whether the enlarger is capable of being aligned before purchasing it, I would wait and do all the fine tuning once you place it in the new location. Beseler claims that most alignment requirements are the result of physically moving the beast.

Best regards,

J. P. Mose

-- J. P. Mose (, March 26, 2002.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ