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XL Hybrid Ultra Wide 6x9
Wanta Horseman ultra wide? Can you control the urge buy several of the nice 6 exposure, 6x12 roll film holders at about $850.00 each? Would you be more interested in the wonderful Paq Pro system utilizing your old XL body and your existing 6x7 or 6x9 roll film holders?
Well, the Paq Pro system will use an old XL for the back end and new, modern multicoated wide angle lenses, in helical focusing mount for the front end. Available Paq Pro lenses are:
If you have an XL in ANY condition, you can convert it to the thin body ready for the Paq Pro lens system.
Yep. You'll need a screwdriver or two, a file, 200 grit sand paper, flat black paint, and a hacksaw or Dremel tool. There is just a tiny bit of whacking, nothing major. You don't have to tap any holes. If you start from the XL Hybrid kit you will cut off two little studs, file slightly, dress or finish the parts and install. Hardware included. You won't need flash brackets. You will need to mount whatever your finder solution may be. See below.
Build The Hybrid XL
Remove the Graflok back adapter and put it aside. On the bottom, remove the four screws and remove the tripod plate. Remove the four back frame screws and the back frame. The camera will fall apart and the entire front plate and focusing mount mount can be removed. This leaves the body square frame with mechanicals, rangefinder intact, if you started with the XLRF.
Remove the single screw holding the lens mount indexing assembly to the front plate and baggy the parts including the two pins. Remove the six focusing mount screws, dark shield, and pull the focusing mount from the front plate. A little tap may be needed from the inside. Focusing mount parts can be sold across ebay. Sell the complete mount, stating whether the cone, the bearing or both are serviceable. So, now you have the simple parts of an XLSW body. Put them together and you have a body ready for an ultra wide angle adapter and lens/mount.
On the back of the front plate, adjacent to the lens release button there may be, depending on body type, a bent threaded stud and a pin sticking out, both of which need to be whack off. Nope, I don't have a clue as to why the threaded stud is bent. Ya-know you could use the Christmas present Dremel tool with abrasive cut off blade here, with the safety glasses on face, not shelf. Lens release button is left as is. It will be locked by the back frame but make sure it does not interfere. Touch-up with flat black.
Alternatively, With the nice rubber jaws in your vice, grip the front plate. Apply masking tape to the area around the stud and pin and carefully saw close to the plate with a good, (why not put in a new one) 24 T. or finer blade without scratching anything. The tape helps, leave it on. You can now file the remains down smooth with the flat surface. "Don't nick the edge as it is a light seal area.
Yes, the object is to mate the front plate and back frame for a light tight seal and use the shorter screws to assemble, BUT - -
Reorient Front Plate
A bigcamera.com browser asked me how I keep from breaking the little taps when using limited equipment. Well I haven't always NOT broken the little taps. Here's how: Have a vice with soft jaws or other method of holding the part or work piece so the hole is horizontal, with opening to you, parallel to the table and perpendicular to the wall behind the table. It's all about perspective, just like in the great pictures you're going to make with this camera. Get into a comfortable, steady and repeatable stance, grip drill with handle parallel to the floor and sticking out to the right. Help support the drill with the left hand in a manner that allows you to easily reverse the drill motor WITHOUT changing the parallel and perpendicular alignment AT ALL. Then learn to change the torque on the clutch WITHOUT changing the parallel and perpendicular alignment AT ALL.
Then practice tapping scrap holes. Look at the work, table, tap, vice and wall. Move your head to a different position and observe perspective and alignment of the chuck, tap, etc. Feel and see the tap properly aligned. Screw a screw into a practice hole to see if you tapped the hole perpendicular to the work. Proper tapping under these conditions is a learned skill like "Tap and Ballet".
When using plug or bottom style taps in blind holes you must lubricate the tap and clear chips several times, removing chips from tap also. Don't rush, reverse and clear. Don't increase torque unless reversing and clearing doesn't allow you to continue tapping. These common straight fluted taps are not designed to dispose of removed metal like a spiral fluted tap or drill bit does by spiraling metal up the spiral flutes. They just cut metal into chips and depend on you to clear chips. Breaking a little tap off in an important hole may ruin your day, so go back, read this section again, practice on scrap before you use your new skill.
If you drill and tap this extra set of accessory holes in the beginning you do not need to reorient the front plate as you will have accessory threads on all four sides of the front plate. You can have a handle and a grip if you wish (see pictures.).
OK, Bring Out The Flash
Strip the flash bracket to the basic part as in the picture. If the tubes are loose in the plate do this: Get out your big center punch. One that will not enter the tube where it is expanded at the plate. Stand bracket up on hard flat surface and attempt to make the center punch, or similar tool, enter the tube, (Yes, you can use a hammer.) expanding the tube to the plate. Use just enough force to eliminate the looseness.
Whack & Dress Tubes.
If you plan to use a flash bracket for the bottom or tripod arrangement, whack the second bracket with 1/4 inch of tube projecting, 3/8 inch over all outside measurement. These tubes need to be dressed square. I use a 1 1/2" x 2" x 6" aluminum block on the little table of my $99 Home Depot, 6"/4" disc/belt sander. Washers will be used to space the plate properly.
Snug the screws and attach the Graflok back. Make sure the Graflok back adapter does not touch the back frame screw heads. Check it is right side up, see the words "Lock". Tighten the Graflok back to the back frame with the sliding locks. You can now custom fit the top and bottom plates for tripod and finder arrangements. For the top plate the objective is to get the plate squarely oriented perpendicular to the film plane or body back and parallel with the top of the body. This is most important for top plate, finder and level mounting.
Spacers, Top Plate
For the Voigtlander 15mm finder a good spacer height is 3/18 inch to 7/16 inch. The finder will "see" the camera top plate and the top of the lens, so you may want to arrange for it to be a little higher. If you use the flash bracket for your top plate get the 3/16 inch compression nuts from the plumbing department at the hardware store. See below for more about spacers.
These standoffs or spacers are hard to find. Where to find them: Home Depot or Lowe's hardware section or well stocked neighborhood hardware store. Probably available in Nylon. A suitable 7/16 inch spacer can be found at Home Depot, Lowe's or most hardware stores in the plumbing section: brass compression nuts for 3/16" copper tubing, usually about $.75 cents each. Bevel or clear the bottom back edge of the spacer to eliminate conflict with back frame that would keep the spacer from seating properly flat on the front plate edge. At final assembly you may want to paint the spacers with flat black.
You can countersink the top plate holes if you wish and use flat head machine screws. However, countersunk holes leave little room or margin for error or adjustment concerning the finder. Same for mounting the accessory shoe. If you can't facilitate accurate drilling and tapping to mount the finder arrangement use pan or round head screws for all top plate parts and glue the accessory shoe. (Kit includes pan head and round head machine screws.)
You can cut the top plate to an over all length of 3 inches, or enough to do away with the small threaded holes and file and sand the edges similar to the pictures. This leaves the top and bottom black and edges bright.
Tripod Arrangements Kit includes bottom plate made from 1/4" x 1" x 3' 6061-T6 aluminum alloy, which is tough enough to handle the roughest 1/4"-20 tripod thread duties. Alternatively, a 1/4-20 threaded hole in a fitted flash bracket plate will work but 1/8 inch thread engagement for a tripod screw is a weak point. You can attach a Bogen tripod adapter in situations like this by replacing the Bogen screw with a longer 1/4-20 bolt and put a nut on the back side. Sometimes I drill and tap for three or four #6-32 screws. Whichever tripod method you use, adjust the spacers so the plate will just press or touch the Graflok adapter for additional support. This pressure on the Graflok adapter establishes a sequence for assembly and disassembly. The two bottom plate screws are tightened last during assembly and loosened first during subsequent disassembly.
For 1/4 inch bottom plate from the kit: Use the aluminum spacers, .265" length and 5/16" I.D. Push screw through the tripod plate and add a #6 flat washer, the spacer and a .010 split shim. You may want to countersink the holes and use flat head machine screws. (Kit has both.) The shim will actually slip inside the spacer and centralize it during assembly. Do a try assembly. This stack should allow the plate to just press or touch the Graflok adapter for added support. The tripod plate does not need to be perpendicular to the film plane. In some cases you may need to add a shim between the flat washer and the plate. You may need to put a bevel on the spacer if it contacts or interferes with the back frame when seating.
This tripod arrangement works especially well for Bogen quick release tripod heads. After you get the tripod plate fitted, loosen or remove it as it is tightened last in final assembly.
The nice little Voigtlander finder needs to be mounted a little further back than larger finders for longer lenses like the 65mm. Otherwise eye access is restricted with a roll film holder on the camera. At the same time we want to eliminate as much camera hardware from the view as possible. Compromise is required. The 1/8 inch x 3/4 inch aluminum bar is 1 3/4 inch long and mounted on spacers if it needs to be higher. Attaching with adhesive requires innovation; perhaps plastic or hardwood. If you drill and tap use pan head screws and a slightly larger clearance hole so you can adjust the mounting azimuth of the finder.
Mounting a finder using mechanical means such as tiny screws, using tiny drills and taps is not easy under any circumstances. I have reproduced information from the Stubby article for those ready to tackle the job. I have performed serious modifications to a few HeathKit SB-220 Ham Radio amplifiers, attaching metal components, transformers, relays, etc. to the under side of the aluminum chassis with Marine GOOP from Home Depot. Several years later - not a single failure. Epoxy, the miracle stuff for years, is not obsolete but it cures too hard. Goop is a much better adhesive as it does not get hard and brittle. For those not ready for drilling and tapping, I suggest mounting an aluminum plate per the specs below and, after that is cured, mounting the shoe to the plate.
Preparation is everything. Rough the surfaces and clean with a vapor degreaser, lacquer thinner, acetone, etc. Use the Real Square techniques detailed below. Prepare your levels first as they can be used for proper alignment and squaring when Gooping the aluminum shoe plate to the top plate. Use the same technique for Gooping the shoe to the aluminum plate. Use acetone or similar on a cues tip for cleaning away excess glue while monitoring that squareness and levelness (real words?) are maintained during the first 15 minutes of Goop setting. This Goop sets by evaporation. It is not like epoxy, it never gets brittle.
Finder 35mm equivalents: (24mm x 36mm = 6x9 ratio) This information is about Voightlander finders. High quality, small and light but big, bright images with great bright frames. The 28mm is the only really good replacement I have found for he 65mm Mamiya Press finder. The 50mm Voightlander is wonderful for the 120mm f5.6 Schneider APO Symmar. Great stuff.
From the Stubby article
See this one too. Graflex XL Mods.
Then I focus on positioning the mounting plate accurately and accurately marking just one hole to be drilled and tapped in the camera body. I use a little el cheapo $89.00 10 inch table mounted drill press for most drilling. With the hand drill and the clearance drill bit I just barely dimple the body for the first hole to be drilled. Then I remove the plate, center punch if necessary for accurate drill start, hold or fixture body in drill press vice and drill the tap hole for #4-40 flat head machine screw.
I use a drill/screw gun to tap at lightest torque setting to tap the hole. Oh Yea! I've broken these little bitch taps. Secret is to lube tap with light oil, clean and clear chips and tap with at least one withdrawal and keep the tap and drill absolutely perpendicular to the surface.
Attaching the plate with the screw is a BIG help in holding the plate while I use the little precision square to align the plate for the all important second light dimple made with the clearance drill. About here it is nice to have several light, fast handling keyless, cordless variable-speed drills. I drill, tap and remount the plate with two screws and mark the remaining hole(s) and duplicate the dimpling, drilling, mounting and screwing. If all turns our well I counter sink the holes for the flat head machine screws.
All this for the mounting plate. Now for the shoe. The technique is the same. The best shoe I have ever found is the shoe found on Mamiya press cameras, Super 23, Universal, and the grips for same. They fit the variety of finders better than any shoe I have found. Of the three mounting screws from the shoe only the important front screw with the cylindrical head that also serves as a stop will be used. In the other two screw holes use #2-56 x 3/16" flat head Phillips head machine screws. The shoe will be further countersunk to accommodate the somewhat larger screws.
One tool I cherish is a 3/16 inch countersink for these little screws. Position the shoe, mark for one hole and duplicate the technique for the two rear holes. With shoe mounted, carefully mark the front hole. Get our your 1/8" pin vise. What? No 1/8" pin vice? Oh well, you can get one at you know where or your friendly hardware store. You can probably get by without it. Carefully measure the thread diameter of the little stop screw and select a #drill .008" to .010" smaller in diameter than the threads. The object here is to drill the hole exactly the right size so that the screw will actually ROLL it's own threads in the hole.
Ha! you say? It's easy with a pin viseF to hold the cylindrical screw head straight and perpendicular to the hole. An electric drill chuck to hold the cylindrical screw head is OK but don't run the drill, turn it with your fingers. The trick is: the right diameter hole and holding the screw perpendicular to the shoe and hole. As soon as you have got the little bitch started and have rolled a couple of threads, carefully remove the pin vise or chuck from the screw and use a proper screwdriver to run the screw just to bottom. If you can't start it, drill the hole out to the very next # size larger and try again. This is doable with small screws in aluminum.
Check that the shoe is square with the body. If all is OK and you are ready for assembly, remove the front screw, put a small drop of super glue on the little bitch screw threads and mount the shoe. Watch carefully for bottom, don't strip the thread after you roll it.
Cut a 3 inch length and mark for two #6 clearance holes 5/32 inch from the edge, 2 1/2 inches apart. Drill these and try for fitting to the front plate. File or dress the edge if necessary to get a close fit to the Graflok adapter. Once the fit is good, mark, tap drill and tap two #6-32 holes 3/4 inch from the edge holes. If you wish to relieve the bracket as in the picture, drill two radius holes to facilitate starting the saber or scroll saw. Dress and finish to suit.
Dressing parts: I dress the edges of these aluminum parts on my Home Depot Delta 6 inch/4 inch disc/belt sander. The flats I finish with a vibrator sander by griping on the edges, leaving a little above the aluminum vise jaws and finish with 100 grit paper.
Dress and finish the grip adapter plate. Mount the steel grip shaft and grip the shaft in the soft jaws, tighten with big screwdriver. Mount adapter to the Hybrid with provided screws.
Optional wrist angle set: Grip the adapter in the soft jaws with tab up, shaft pointing to you (for a left hand grip solution) and 1/2 inch of the adapter plate in the jaws with bottom edge parallel to the jaws. Slip a piece of aluminum pipe or PVC pipe or similar over the shaft and bend up to desired wrist right angle. (Don't try to adjust this angle with grip mounted on the camera.) For a right side mounted grip thing are bent 180 degrees different. Everybody that tries this really loves the resulting comfort from a natural grip angle.
If you're this far into a custom camera you probably have a lens lock ring wrench. If not order one right now from S.K. Grimes. You may want it to orient the Rodenstock lens to suit your taste or needs. >>
The lens normally will have the cable release socket on the right, vertically oriented. Just about any combination of lens mount orientation will have the cable release visible in the finder. I use my Hybrid with the socket on top pointing to the left, which gets most of the cable release out of the way.
With the XL
system, leaks are rare. If leaks are found, disassemble and look closer for
mismatch, nicks, ill-fitting, etc. Always apply fresh paint for
XL Hybrid Hardware Kit $75.00. Order Paq no. 202 at Paq.net order form.
Voigtlander finders for 6x9 format are $179.00 ea.
Call me for more information about focusing mount availability. Bob Hutchinson, 713 467-6602.
202 Thin body hardware kit includes: (Order Paq no. 202)