Nevermind the cold – I got out in the garage this morning and completed the base plate!
This all started out with a dimensioned 1/2″ thick piece of mahogany. I held it centered to the underside of the camera’s bed and traced the openings for the original tripod legs. I marked off diagonals to find the center, and measured from the tracings to the center to make sure everything was properly aligned. It was.
The other time I made such a base plate for a camera, the clearance under the rails was enough that I could use a large machine bolt cut to length, and the head of the bolt fit into the tripod sockets. Not so with this camera – there’s less than 1/32″ of space between the rails and the bed itself. So, I used a design borrowed from Rafael Garcia – some 8-32 all-thread, 8-32 T-nuts to fit the sockets, and some 8-32 brass knurled knobs. I drilled a hole in the center of the traced openings allowing the all-thread to clear, screwed on a T-nut, and measured the necessary length on the all-thread:
The all-thread was easily cut using a Dremel and cut-off wheel. This method of cutting doesn’t foul the threads; pressure-applying cutters, such as bolt cutters or tin snips, do foul the threads.
The T-nuts as supplied are a little too thick to allow the rail to move over the bed. As they’re aluminum, they’re easily filled to an appropriate thickness:
A few minutes later, I was able to check the fit:
The tripod mount is a 1/2″ long threaded insert that requires a 5/16″ pilot hole. Since the layout is marked on the reverse of the plate, I drill a small pilot through the center:
Then drill from the front surface with the 5/16″ bit:
I used a 1/4″ roundover bit in the router to ease the edge and did some finish sanding:
Then I sprayed about six coats of gloss lacquer:
After the lacquer dried, I installed the tripod bushing:
And installed the base plate on the camera:
The finished plate:
It works exactly as intended, but leaves me a little disappointed; even with the relatively thin mahogany, the whole piece adds significantly to the weight of the camera. Oh, well – couldn’t be avoided with this method. Ultimately, after a good suggestion from Robert B, I may end up doing a faceplate turning on the lathe to make an appropriate roundel to fill in the hole in the bottom of the camera, which would be significantly lighter. But that’s a long-term goal.
Next, I’ll mill some lensboards, then wait anxiously for the bellows to arrive from Wales.