How to tell if your enlarger head is aligned.

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kjsphoto

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ok,

I finally made my first work print in the darkroom after about 15+ years....

yeah it was cool :smile: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I just realized I am missing seom supplies like tongs! Doh!

I am not sure the head is aligned though. How can you make sure it is all aligned. I the a 45MX chassis and the zone VI VC head.

Thanks,

Kev
 

Max Power

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Kevin,
It's probably not the 'proper' way to do it, but I just took a spirit level and made certain that my baseboard was level on the two axes. After that, I used an adjustable carpenter's square and adjusted the lens-board fore and aft with the screws that are used for this purpose.

I have a low-budget enlarger and was able to do this; I would assume that with a good one such as yours, the adjustments are probably easier.

Hope that this helps,
Kent
 
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kjsphoto

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Hello Kent,

Thanks. The only problem is that I do not have any instruction that came with it so I am a bit out of luck as to know what screw it to what. I also noticed that there is a knob missing on the nagative stage adjustment dial and the maker missing that let you know what to set the top neg stage to. I am nto surte if anythis else is missing but at leat I want to get it level.

Thanks,

Kev
 

Bob Carnie

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Hi there

Put a negative into a glass carrrier , enlarge the image to your printing size, show all the edges and numbers in the print you make.
If the four corners and sides are sharp, if the middle of the image is sharp,
Your enlarger alignment is in good shape.
you also can shoot a grey card and project that image sharp onto the size of print you want to make, make a nuetral grey image,
If the four corners and middle of the print are the same density or evenness, you know your lens lightbox ect are all working fine.
 

Robert Hall

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I have a gadget that allows one to put a front side mirror in the negative stage and shine a laser through the lens and back down to itself, which is in a cross hairs. it aligns all three stages, negative, lens, and print board.

I've used it on my Besseler 23cIII and my Zone vi 8x10 with great success.

Of course it wouldn't do much good if you had no adjustments on the enlarger.
 

Loose Gravel

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Those mirror/laser deals are the most accurate, but undoubtedly better than necessary. I take an unexposed, undeveloped piece of film and put scratches in the corners and center. This I put in the negative carrier and focus in the center. Then I check the corners. The Bes 45M is a bugger to align. Not many adjustment points. I had to add a few to really dial it in. Best of luck.
 

Bob Carnie

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Hi There

If the question is How to tell if my enlarger is aligned, make a print as posted above and observe the edges critically, you should see the grain in all four corners.
If the question is How to align the enlarger, I bought a lazer aligner years ago and Yes it is expensive, but I find it to be one of the tools most required in a darkroom that is used frequently.
Out of aligned enlargers are the single most pain in the ass part of printing.
I highly recommend this tool, look at it as an investment in your art.
 

Jon Shiu

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A quick way to tell if your negative stage is parallel to baseboard: put a sheet of glass (large enough to stick out) on the negative carrier stage (with the carrier out obviously) and check that all four corners are equal distance from the baseboard. I use a metal ruler and lower the head until it touches, then check the other corners of the glass plate. the lens can be checked similarly also by laying a ruler across it, but it is more difficult.
 

glbeas

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I have two mirrors, one with the silver removed in a spot dead center. Put the unspotted mirror on the base boar and the other with the hole face down in the neg stage. Look down through the hole. You will see the infinity box effect, if misaligned it will veer to one side or the other. Tweak till it looks square with itself and you're in business.
 

BWGirl

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kjsphoto said:
Hello Kent,

Thanks. The only problem is that I do not have any instruction that came with it so I am a bit out of luck as to know what screw it to what. I also noticed that there is a knob missing on the nagative stage adjustment dial and the maker missing that let you know what to set the top neg stage to. I am nto surte if anythis else is missing but at leat I want to get it level.

Thanks,

Kev
Hey Kevin!
I don't know if this helps, but have you checked puresilver.org for a manual? I found one there for my Beseler 23cII. I do not know if he'll have one, but it's worth a check!
 

noseoil

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Without buying any expensive equipment, you can give this a try. Use a sharp negative and enlarge to as big as you will print. Focus carefully in the center and make sure it is as sharp as possible. Make a work print with the lens -wide open- then see what you have. If all is well, the lens is of decent quality and things are working, it should be a good print out to the edges. By stopping down, you will not find out. This will give you the least depth of field and the most distortion if things are out of alignment.

I use a machinist's level (Starret) to check the base board to film plane relationship. A bit of study will show you which adjustment does what. If you aren't sure, write down any changes you make so things can be returned to "normal" if you guess wrong. tim
 
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