The Camera Wheel

One day away back in January 2024, ESME received and inquiry via the website from Andy Coulson and he wondered if we could possibly help by making a new brass control knob to replace one that was missing from his classic plate camera.

The plate camera

Dimensions were taken

An impromptu presentation from Andy to the fascinated Thursday crew

CAD Drawings were produced by Ian








The camera was still fully operational except for the missing brass wheel. Luckily the camera was originally fitted with two wheels so it would be possible to make another using the remaining one as a template.

Ian Reading who was busy fitting out the new small engineering workshop, offered to take on the challenge to produce an exact copy. This would be one of the first projects in Almondell’s new model engineering workshop.

However the workshop was not quite ready but this allowed time for Andy to visit Almondell to discuss what was required and also for Ian to check dimensions, prepare suitable lathe and knurling tools for the job.

Once the workshop was completed Ian, using a suitable piece of brass round bar, proceeded to the lathe to start the process of producing the copy.

Knurling complete followed by profiling

Shaping the main body of the wheel

Many thanks to Norman Clasper for sharing his knurling tools.  Knurling the brass, tested the capabilities of the workshop’s Super 7 lathe. Also several lathe tools were ground to form the control knob’s radiused profile.




After steady and accurate progress the job was completed with great success and credit to Ian’s engineering and lathe skills.

A matching pair complete

Fitted to Andy’s camera







Andy was so pleased with the result and we were also delighted to welcome Andy as a new member to the society.






Andy also sent a few black and white photos which he had taken at a recent public open day.  I thought we would share them here. Quite atmospheric and gives an image of going back in time with the photos taken on a 1959 camera.