Have you ever had a repeated inconvenience that finally makes you say to yourself, “Okay, I’m done with this garbage”? Well, that’s the exact feeling I had with using contrast filters on my enlarger. Anytime I wanted to use a contrast filter, I needed to use tape to hold it in place while I was printing.
The design of some Omega enlargers requires a removable ‘cradle’ that holds the filters underneath the lens. After a bit of searching online, I found that B&H Photo sells a replacement filter holder for B series enlargers for the low low price of $269. Even used, these things are expensive. eBay had a few listed that were selling for about $79.
Unwilling to part with my hard-earned cash for such a frivolous purchase I was left with the only other option- to build one myself.
How to Make Your Own
There are only a few materials and tools you’ll need to make your own filter holder. A piece of sheet metal, a 2-1/8″ hole saw, a 3/16″ drill bit, and some tin snips. The only purchase I ended up needing was a piece of .22 gauge 6″x18″ aluminum I found at Home Depot for $12.
You can download my PDF template, which you are welcome to use for free.
Print it out, and use clear packing tape to affix the cut-out printed shape directly to the sheet metal as a guide.
A quick tip on how to make the bends by hand without a brake (a tool that bends metal): take the part that you want to bend and place it at the edge of a table with a straight, flat edge. Hold the part you want to bend at the edge with another hard and straight item placed on top, in line with the table edge.
While holding the metal firm to the table slowly bend the metal in the direction you want.
This method of DIY filter holder worked perfectly for my B66 and looks like it may also work for any other Omega B and D series enlargers like the B5, B6, B7, or B8 units. However, I don’t own and have not used these other enlargers, so this may or may not work for these models. Worst case scenario you may need to modify some of the dimensions.
The tray dimensions are made to it my set of Beseler 2.5″ contrast filters. If you have larger filters like the Ilford 3″ set you may need to make adjustments for that as well.
For the very few people who could find this article and template useful, I hope it works for you!
About the author: Chris Kuhn is a photographer who creates articles and videos about film cameras and analog photography. You can find more of his work and writing on his website, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. This article was also published here.