Anyone use a Film drying Cabinet?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by dwdmguy, Apr 14, 2009.

  1. dwdmguy

    dwdmguy Member

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    I'm about to purchase one at a price of $165 for a 6' tall filtered cabinet.

    Does this make a huge difference when drying as far as keeping down the dust etc?

    Thank you for any responses.
    T
     
  2. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi tom

    i use a plastic closet with doors
    made by rigid ( home depot ) ...
    i didn't install all the shelves, drilled holes in the
    sides and strung framers wire ( braided wire ) and
    string across with clothes pins.
    it costs a ton less than a filtered cabinet, keeps dust down,
    and is very easy to transport ( flat box )
    and make ... ( i think it snaps together ).

    have fun!

    john
     
  3. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    I live in a reasonably moist place, even so in summer we can sometimes get down to 2% or so humidity.

    If you can engineer a humid area, think bathroom with a hot spray of water just before you hang the film up, you should have virtually dust free negatives.

    I have used quite a few film dryers, even built one using plywood, silastic to seal the joints, a modified coat hanger for the hanging bit, velcroed clear plastic sheet for the door and an old German Braun hair dryer for the heat. Set the dryer onto the low heat and fan speed settings and in fifteen minutes dry film with a slight curl. I used a very small mouth/nose paper filter for filtering the air blast from the dryer.

    The home built dryer worked very well, but I now rarely develop more than 8 rolls or sheets in a session, so I don't need one and didn't build it into my current darkroom, which is 22 or so years old.

    I hang my own film straight in the darkroom, it is touch dry after about 30 minutes, but really dry after about 45-50 minutes at 20ºC.

    I don't think a film dryer is that great an idea for most people, however if you are running through copious amounts of film, maybe.

    In the commercial dip and dunk lab I worked in film dryers are a fact of life, however the air was filtered quite vigorously through an interesting 5 stage filter.

    Mick.
     
  4. nsurit

    nsurit Subscriber

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    The main reason I see for using a drying cabinet is to help keep your film from getting junk on it while drying. That reason is good enough for me to have one. Bill Barber
     
  5. dwdmguy

    dwdmguy Member

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    All good points thus far, thank you.
    Presently I've been using my bathroom after running the shower's hot water and I still get junk on it. It's my biggest "bummer" since coming back to film some months ago and it really takes the fun out of it. But I love film and will do most anything to improve it. I'm using a Epson V500 scanner now which I'm not happy about either because of the curl in the neg. I may get the glass add on from betterscanning.com to help with that.

    That reminds me. Where would I find ANR glass if I wanted to explore doing this myself.
    Thanks tons.
    Tom
     
  6. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    I used one at a local community college and works good.

    Jeff
     
  7. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    Tom,

    Four years ago I bought a standing canvas covered closet on casters from Bed Bath & Beyond at a local store. They no longer offer that exact version. The first one listed here seems to be similar. Give the cedar pieces to you wife for her closet and make points for the next time you buy a lens. The advantage of canvas over plastic is that the moisture can evaporate out but the dust can’t go in. Since the canvas is a little hard to take apart I cover the whole thing with an old sheet and wash that quarterly just to keep dust out of the canvas weave. Following are some variations that can be ordered on line.

    I just hung two freshly developed 7x17 inch film sheets in it a minute ago. Dry time depends on the humidly near it. I usually wait over night. Ruining a large negative after going through all the previous steps to create it is also a bummer. If the negative is clean going in and fully rinsed, it is clean and dust free coming out. I use the closet for the range I shoot: 6x7cm, 4x5, 8x10 and 7x17. The advantage of having on casters is that I can load it in the darkroom when I finish developing then push the closet out into the basement near the furnace to dry leaving that space clear in the darkroom for other work.

    Enjoy,

    John Powers


    Canvas Storage Wardrobe With Cedar Panels

    Need an extra closet? Get organized with this canvas wardrobe. It features cedar panels to protect and freshen whatever you store. (Cedar side panels are removable.) Rugged cotton canvas shell has easy access zippers. Rolling casters make it easy to move. Measures 30" W x 20" D x 66" H.
    http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/product.asp?order_num=-1&SKU=13378240&RN=303

    36" Clear Storage Closet

    Keep out of season clothes dust-free and organized in this clear closet. The super transparent vinyl allows you to see what's inside without having to open it. The horseshoe zipper opening offers easy access while the breathable lower panel allows for air circulation. Features easy rolling casters for mobility. Slight assembly required. 36" W x 63" H x 20" D. 2-year limited warranty.
    http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/product.asp?order_num=-1&SKU=11192114&RN=303

    Canvas 14" W x 42" L Suit/Coat Storage Bag

    Store your favorite suits and coats in this heavy-weight, breathable canvas storage bag that keeps your clothes fresh, clean, and easily accessible. Features a self correcting nylon zipper and EZ view clear vinyl panels. Storage bag measures 14" W x 42" L and holds one suit or coat. Two-year limited warranty.
    http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/product.asp?order_num=-1&SKU=13184453&RN=303
     
  8. Robert Brummitt

    Robert Brummitt Member

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    I made mine from a towel closet and two hair dryers. Works real nice!
     
  9. Dave Swinnard

    Dave Swinnard Subscriber

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    In the early '80s I bought a film drying cabinet, metal, tall enough for 20 exposure (35mm) rolls (so it fit on the counter top) with a timer, two heat settings, air only and a filter. I've used it ever since. I was working in a commercial environment so the dryer was required for minimizing turn-around times. I'm no longer working commercially but I'm still glad the investment was made. Two years ago I obtained the taller version (36 exp. hang vertically) of the same dryer, for free, from a hospital photo dept. going digital. It now resides in the darkroom at a local school and is used daily by a number of folks. (all of whom are happy to have it...)

    It was a lot of money ($800), but it's amortizing well (28 yrs and counting...)

    The trick is to keep it clean inside and to swap the filter periodically (available at the HD and other home-centres as the cut-it-to-size, high efficiency, hot-air register filter material)

    Dave
     
  10. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

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    http://www.fpointinc.com/glass.htm
     
  11. MikeSeb

    MikeSeb Member

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    I took an approach similar to that of @John Powers; I took the operating fan/heater head unit from an old Prinz film dryer and cleaned it up. I got this on eBay, cheap. I replaced its filthy filter with furnace-filter material from Lowe's---thin sheet kind, also cheap.

    I took a piece of Closet Maid shelving material and cut it into a square the same size as the square cross section of one of those plastic clothing hanging bags you can get at Target or elsewhere. The shelving acts as a frame; the clothing bag replaces the Prinz unit's ripped, brittle, yellow original drying "sleeve." The shelving square goes into the bag against the square end, into which I've cut flaps to form a hole the size of the Prinz head. So the head sits atop the bag and blows warmed filtered air into the bag. I've cut a drip/air exit hole in the bottom of the bag. The whole thing is thus a positive-pressure bag to keep dust to a minimum while the film dries more quickly than drip-dry alone.
     

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  12. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    A place to try film is very important in keeping dust off. In my experience, dust that settles on the wet emulsion is very difficult , sometimes impossible, to remove.

    My current darkroom did not start functioning until I built the drying cabinet. I have seen the mobile one John mentions is nice. I use a 'built in' unit, but it is basically a wardrobe cabinet from Home Depot. I also prefer to not have any heat or air blowing in the cabinet.
     
  13. Jeff Bannow

    Jeff Bannow Member

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    I also use a film drying cabinet. When turned on, it sounds like a jet engine trying to take off, and the fan inside would probably make a stump grinder, so I just use it as is and let them dry overnight.

    I love it and wouldn't go back to drying in my bathroom again.
     
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  15. Reinhold

    Reinhold Subscriber

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    For $165 you can make a very nice film drying cabinet to suit your own area, even a portable one if you like...

    The suggestion to use clothes storage enclosures goes back a long way, and they work. If you plan on making a permanent darkroom, look into making a cabinet out of the glossy coated Masonite sold for use in bathroom environments. It has a hard, smooth surface doesn't accumulate dust, and is easy to fabricate. Here's an example...

    It's 18x20x76" high, has 2 sheets of 3/6" plexiglass doors, and a series of 3/16" brazing rods projecting from the back wall for hanging film. I just finished developing 30 rolls of 220 film (they're cut in half and sleeved), and a couple of 8x20 negatives. The brazing rods are arranged so I can hang a lot of 4x5, 5x7, and 8x20 films without them dripping on each other.

    I have a simple heating pad on the floor to bring up the temperature on humid days. No fan... I don't want any air movement inside that chamber.
    When I have a lot of film in the cabinet, drying takes longer and the film doesn't curl as much.

    That cabinet has a downside... I tend to use it as a temporary storage closet untill I can get around to cataloging my films... it kind of happens when you develope tons of film and not enough time in the day...

    Reinhold

    More darkroom photo's at: www.classicBWphoto.com
     

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  16. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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  17. Wolfeye

    Wolfeye Subscriber

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    I built my own for hanging two rolls of 36exp 35mm out of wood. It has no dryer and the door doesn't even seal tightly, but it makes a world of difference. I let the film dry at least 4 hours in our 70 degree F. house.
     
  18. Reinhold

    Reinhold Subscriber

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    Mike...

    What's the file size for your thumbnail attachments?
    If I try to attach a wallpaper size photo, (like yours), I get a gag order...

    My 4x6" files are about 150mb at 72dpi.

    Muchas grasias.

    Reinhold
     
  19. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

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    Does a Film Drying Cabinet help reduce dust - YES - a huge difference.

    Can you make one for less than $165 – again yes

    The real question is – for only $165 can you be bothered?

    Only you know the answer to that one :smile:

    Martin
     
  20. vdonovan

    vdonovan Subscriber

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    I've started using a filtered cabinet and would never go back. My negs are MUCH cleaner than without.
     
  21. Michael Kadillak

    Michael Kadillak Member

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    That is what I do as well.

    Yes you could probably make one for yourself but for $165 you have one that is designed for the task and the job is done. You have better things to do with your time - like photograph.

    I rarely use the fan but like the fact that it is there if I need it. I can hang 35mm all the way through and including 12x20 sheet film.

    I acquired a pin registration punch and punch holes on the edge of the film and trimmed paper clips to give me a nice hanger and use two to hang the sheet film in the cabinet. I just let them air dry and never have a problem with dust.
     
  22. GM Bennett

    GM Bennett Member

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    Hi, Tom -

    I picked up a very nice 120V drying cabinet for $100 some years ago from the same guy who sold me his 7' stainess steel sink (for similar $; what a bargoon, even if my SUV did look funny driving down our 401 highway with the sink lashed to my roof-rack). I've since seen a number of similar cabinets for sale for similar $$, certainly cheaper than the hassle and expense of building one's own. All of the cabinets I've seen have air filters, which mean you get a nice dust-free drying environment. I'm sure you could find one cheap, if you don't mind driving a bit to collect it.

    Re the ANR glass, the betterscanning.com guy sells them for about $30, I think with a discount if you buy the adjustable neg holder. Probably not worth the hassle of having your own glass cut, and the variable height adjustment will let you tweak for your scanner. I have one for my Epson V700 and it works great. Any more discussion will probably get this punted over to the hybridphoto site!

    Good luck, Graham
     
  23. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    I have a DIY drying cabinet. Made from MDF, it has a plexiglass insert in the door so that I can see what it happening to the film. It is equipped with a fan to circulate filtered air through the cabinet, and there is a provision to heat the air, but I rarely use the forced air or heating feature. Instead, I just hang the film and let it dry. The fact that it takes overnight and not just an hour or less doesn't matter - I generally not in that much of a rush. The main function is to provide a protected environment where dust and insects can get to the fill while it is drying.
     
  24. John W

    John W Member

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    I picked up a used film dryer with a vinyl curtain similar to some pictured in this thread, and it's been great. The intake is filtered and it has four settings: fan only and three heat levels. I only ever use off, fan, and heat #1. The dryer came with weights as well. I do notice a slight width-wise curl on some films, but that relaxes quickly and is essentially unnoticeable after the film's been sleeved for a bit.

    The bottom of the film curtain has a plastic grid for support... and which works great for quick-drying Unicolor/Beseler print drums using low heat. That's been quite nice for times I have more 4x5 to process than I have drums.
     
  25. David William White

    David William White Member

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    I've got a plastic garment bag from Ikea. It's 15 inches wide and deep, and almost 5 feet high (long enough for rolls of 36). Zipper in the front. Cost me $9.00. Not the fastest dryer, but keeps them clean.
     
  26. gerryyaum

    gerryyaum Subscriber

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    bought a really nice/large metal one recently cheap when the local school went digi..(love that part of digi photography, analog stuff goes cheaper)...mine works great and it does keep down the dust thou I still get some.