Bellows building in easy way

This post will include some other linked documents, for I found out that if all the contents line up in one post, it will be too long to read and easily lost the focus.So I re-arrange the layout and wish this could bring you a more convenient reading experience.

Before We Begin

This is not my normal way of building camera bellows, what I need during building procedure including some computer graphic skills, plotting/cutting machine, special coating material, and some tools custom made by myself.


That is because I made lots of bellows, and sometimes in batch. many friends visit this post for just ONE bellows for his camera, not everyone has time and energy studying CG program just because of a bellows, no mention of those software, cutter machine, or never-heard-of materials and tools.

So as promised before, in this post I would like to show you how to build your own bellows, with tools easily found, and no special skills needed, and almost fool-proof.

Types Of Bellows

This post covers 2 types of bellows commonly seen, rectangular bellows and symmetrical taper bellows. Here we won't touch asymmetrical taper bellows (like the ones on Linhof Technika III/IV/V) . And I don't have experience on bag bellows, so I will leave it blank here. 

What you see here is a bellows with ribs in two widths, ribs that near front opening have narrower ribs, and then back folds have wider ribs. We won't discuss this kind of bellows in this post. 





Rectangular Bellows

Rectangular bellows has rectangular shapes on four sides, some has four sides in same dimensions bringing out a square shape. Camera with rotating back has square bellows, for the long side could be on vertical or horizontal framing.

Symmetrical Taper Bellows

It could be on large format camera as well as smaller formats, for taper bellows has better performance on space squeezing when fold, this is crucial for compact camera fits for travel, and field.
The difference between symmetrical and asymmetrical bellows, is whether the center points of both openings on center line or not. Most bellows made in symmetrical style, unless due to avoid interception with mechanism of rail bed, like Technika did, they raise center point of front opening to 20mm.
symmetrical vs. asymmetrical bellows

And from now on we will get you step by step on building your own bellows.

1 Basic Bellows Practice~ A WarmUp 

In this practice you will learn how to build a simple bellows with only an A4 paper and double sided tape, with this you know basic structure of bellows.



2 Some Bellows BasicConcepts You Should Know

Here are some interesting basic knowledge you should be aware of before planning your own bellows. have a look.



3 Bellows Templates Drawing

Bellows templates will save you times and a lot of tedious job, and it is easy to build.


4 Layout the Templates 

Templates help bellows layout, it is easy!





5 Rib Cuts

Rib cutting takes time, and material selected for ribs also be mentioned here.



6 Ribs on Inner Layer (A)

6 Ribs on Inner Layer (B)

6 Ribs on Inner Layer (C)

preparing rib pair stripes for 4 side of bellows, and paste them onto the inner layer.





9. Fold bellows in Shape





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