2009: The Year of the Darkroom

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Stephanie Brim, Jan 3, 2009.

  1. Stephanie Brim

    Stephanie Brim Member

    Messages:
    1,607
    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2005
    Location:
    Iowa
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    My new year's resolution prompted me to finally lay out plans for my big darkroom. You know, the one that will take 2 years at best, and 10 years at worst?

    http://thirtyfivemillimeter.org/blogimages/darkroom.jpg

    With notes. It's also to scale, but it's harder to know that without the scale.

    I'm not exactly sure on ventilation yet. All I know is that I plan to put at least two outtakes and two intakes. The room, total, will be just over 10' square and I want to make sure I have enough ventilation. The other thing is that there are two windows: one above the enlarger and the other above the shelving on the left wall. I figure that both will be covered by red gels which will be covered with blackout material (removable) for when I'm wanting to load or develop film. I think that one of the outtake fans could possibly end up to the outside of the house if I take out one of the windows. Is that suggested? I plan to have another outtake over the sink, slightly lower than the one that would be in the window. The intakes would be low on the wall with the door.

    If there are any suggestions, I'd love to hear them.
     
  2. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

    Messages:
    7,725
    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    Beaverton, OR
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Go go girl!
     
  3. Stephanie Brim

    Stephanie Brim Member

    Messages:
    1,607
    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2005
    Location:
    Iowa
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Oh, I'm excited. I bet these plans will change at least once or twice before I get the final layout planned, but it'll be worth it. Especially in light of the working conditions I'll be imposing on myself until it's done: the 3x4' space under the stairs. :D
     
  4. Davesw

    Davesw Member

    Messages:
    70
    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2007
    Location:
    Aptos Califo
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    You go is right !
    Planign is alwas good but my advice is get a good basic plan under way and then just start! if you need to you can change the plan as you go along. I used a big kitchen ventalator to pull fumes off the wet side and use a filter to keep the fresh air as dust free as possable .
    good luck, have fun.
     
  5. fschifano

    fschifano Member

    Messages:
    3,216
    Joined:
    May 12, 2003
    Location:
    Valley Strea
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    About lighting. First, I would not trust the red gels to be safe. Sunlight coming into a window is powerful stuff. Even if the red gels pass only the safe frequencies, it might be too much for paper. Test something like that before you open, and possibly ruin, a whole package of paper under those conditions. Second, flourescent lights. A big no no in the darkroom. You might want to rethink this. I tried to use a compact flourescent lamp as the main white light in the darkroom, and it glowed for a good while after it was turned off. You may think that you won't be using the white light all that much, but trust me, you will. Stick with incandescent lamps here. I fashioned a cover that flips down over the top of my flourescent lit light box for the same reason. That flourescent afterglow doesn't look like much to the human eye because it is mainly short wave blue light with some UV thrown in for good measure. Unfortunately, films and papers can and do see blue and UV quite well.
     
  6. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,678
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2003
    Location:
    Chicago
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    You might consider moving the film dryer to the other end of the sink. That will make the developer end right next to you when you are seated at the enlarger (get a stool). I think it will be awkward the way it is shown. Other than that, the layout seems good.

    Here are a few other thoughts:
    You might want to cut out a full size pattern and lay it in the space and play act how you are going to use it.
    If you are anticipating a dry mount press, make sure you add a dedicated circuit for that.
    Make sure you can turn on the lights from the where you are standing at the fixing bath.
    Consider using LED bulbs rather than traditional safelights. Red LED bulbs make it difficult to fog paper (unless it is out when you turn the overhead lights on....like I do!).
    Make sure you have room for a decent stereo.
    Music and radio are key to the darkroom experience :smile:
    Consider where the garbage can will go.

    All I can think of for now. Good luck.
     
  7. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

    Messages:
    1,888
    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Location:
    Blue Ridge,
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Make sure to install ground fault interrupter circuits on all outlets within 6' of your sink, to protect you from the risk of electric shock.
     
  8. willem

    willem Member

    Messages:
    69
    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Location:
    hoofddorp
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Hi Stephanie,

    About the ventilation: I have built my own darkroom last year and spent some time in setting up the ventilation.

    -be sure there is enough ventilation capacity to refresh the air in the room at least 7 times per hour. For example: i use a 500m3 (centrifugal) fan for a room that is 26m 3. So a lot of capacity, but you always have some losses in capacity because of bends in the pipes for example. Also I use color chemicals, which are worse than B/W, in my opinion.
    -The inlet(s) should have a large enough diameter to let enough fresh air in. I use about 2.5 times the size of the outlet. The inlet did not have to be connected to a separate fan.
    -I have two local exhaust points, that ventilate close to the source: one above my sink, the other one above the paper processor.
    -When you make an exhaust don't allow the air to flow past your face, so no exhaust in the ceiling. For example, the exhaust at my sink is drawing the air from the sink away from me to the back of the sink (at 1.20 meter hight). The best thing you can use is a so called slot hood (see pic). They can be bought but also homemade.
    -the exhaust for a paper-processor or dishes should be close to the source (30cm) also. (see picture2)


    A lot can be told about darkroom ventilation. Please don't hesitate to ask. When it should not work, its very difficult or too late to change.

    Good luck,

    Jan-Willem
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 4, 2009
  9. CBG

    CBG Member

    Messages:
    894
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I'm impressed with your go go attitude!

    If my memory serves me well, you can use a GFI upstream, to protect all the outlets in your darkroom. Check with an electrician to be sure.

    Maybe multiple layers of filter gels over windows could improve protection from strong light. Something you'd just have to test.

    Best,

    C
     
  10. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

    Messages:
    1,888
    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Location:
    Blue Ridge,
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    You can use a single GFI to protect downstream receptacles, or even install a GFI breaker at the panel to protect the entire circuit. But an old electrician told me once that installing GFI receptacles at each outlet location was safer than using one to provide downstream protection. I don't know if he was right, but as I said, he was an OLD electrician, so it made sense to follow his advice!
     
  11. cdholden

    cdholden Member

    Messages:
    751
    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2005
    Location:
    Nashville, TN, USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Go, go, gadget darkroom!