If you are an keen photographer, then the chances are that sooner-or-later you will want to copy artwork, old photos, small possessions such as jewellery etc.
You can do this using a tripod but it is very fiddly to set up.
To do it properly with ease you need a copy stand to keep the camera totally rigid and level.
This is my copystand adapted from an old Durst M305 enlarger.
It is solid enough to easily support a DSLR camera.
The beauty of this enlarger is that the head is easily removable and the column has a post to which you can attach the copy arm.
There are other Durst enlargers of similar design - the M605 and M805, they are both larger than the M305.
I should say that Durst did make copy arms for attaching cameras to these enlargers but they are rather hard to find.
I already had some 18mm MDF, and paint so the only other part I needed to buy was a quick release plate and clamp for attaching the camera to the arm.
The release plate and clamp was under £5.00 on Ebay.
First you need to measure the diameter of the post that the arm will have to fit on.
With the M305 enlarger that is 23mm.
I decided that 160mm was about the right length for the copy arm.
What you need to make the arm is some 18mm MDF.
From the MDF you need to make a box that will fit reasonably tightly over the post on the column.
As the post on this enlarger is 23mm diameter I cut the 18mm MDF as follows:
2 pieces 23mm x 160mm
2 pieces 59mm x 160mm
1 piece 23mm x 23mm
You then need some clamps and PVA glue.
I found it easier to glue the MDF in stages:
First glue the 23mm x 160mm pieces to the 2 pieces 59mm x 160mm pieces, clamp them until the glue has set.
Second glue and clamp the two resulting L pieces together to form a square tube.
Lastly when the glue had again dried you can glue the 23mm x 23mm piece into one end.
You now have a MDF box open at one end.
If you have done everything correctly it should fit snugly on the post on the column.
At this stage I sanded all faces of the box so that they were smooth and flat.
I also sanded all the edges so they were slightly rounded.
Next I sprayed the box with grey primer.
The edges of the MDF tend to soak up more primer than the face so I primed and sanded with fine emery paper three times to get a good finish.
At this stage you want to drill the holes for fixing both the quick release clamp to the front of the arm and the the bolt to lock the arm to the post.
Because of the design of the quick release clamp it had to be fixed slightly above the centre of the face. I used a 1/4 UNC countersunck socket headed bolt to secure the clamp in place. I drilled a hole a little narrower than the bolt and let the bolt cut its own thread into the MDF.
For clamping the arm to the post I used the fixing bolt from the enlarger head, again drilling a slightly narrower hole and letting the bolt cut its own thread.
The next thing is to take off the quick release clamp and fixing bolt and spray the arm black - I used gloss black paint from poundland.
Once the paint is dry you can put the fixing bolt back, attach the quick release clamp and fit to the enlarger column.
You can now attach the camera and your copy stand is finished.
Apart from the lights that is, but you will have to sort those out for your selves.
The principle of this design should work for any enlarger that employs this method of attaching the head.
Other makes of enlarger can also be adapted into copystands but will need a different design of arm.
The approximate costs involved in this were:
Enlarger £20 from Ebay
Quick release plate and clamp £5.00 from Ebay
Spray can of Primer and Spray can of black paint £2.00 from Poundland.
1/4 UNC countersunck socket headed bolt - already had
18mm MDF - already had
Tools used Set of wood drills.
Saw - I used a small band saw but a table saw would work as well.
Set of clamps
PVA wood glue
Total time to build once I had all parts about four hours including coffee breaks.
Actually I had a couple of enlargers so made two copystands - one I will keep the other will go on Ebay.
For the copystand I an keeping for myself I managed to get a set of Kaiser copy lights from Ebay for £25.