Baby and the bathwater. (Emptying trays)

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by anikin, Feb 7, 2011.

  1. anikin

    anikin Subscriber

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    All right. Never mind the baby, but the bathwater is what I'm concerned about. Yesterday, I decided to do some prints in the new to me 16x20 trays. Everything went well for a while until I decided to call it quits for the night. That's when all hell broke loose. I wanted to pour the solutions back into the containers. Well, balancing the huge tray with a gallon of developer in it while trying to pour it out into the funnel which sits on top of an empty gallon jug is an exercise of frustration to put it mildly. In the end I ended up with more than a half of a gallon of Anso 130 spilling onto the floor and splattering on everything that was standing around me, me swearing at the top of my lungs and my family thinking that the world war III has started. :sad:
    For the second tray, I used the "hose over the edge and suction to start the flow" trick to drain my fixer, which went comparatively well, but I'm not sure I would want to repeat it with the selenium toner - somehow sucking poison via hose does not sound too enticing to me.
    Anyway, what do you guys and gals use to empty these monster trays? Please share your tips and tricks.
     
  2. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    Hmmm -- you might consider an intermediate step using a pitcher or bucket with a molded pour spout to dump the tray into. I find even at a much smaller scale, a funnel on top of an empty bottle is totally unreliable, unless you have just the right bottle (maybe heavy glass, which has its own hazards) and just the right funnel. Or maybe you could glue up some PVC pipe to form a support rack for a bottle and funnel.

    You can also start a siphon by laying the whole hose, or most of it, in the tray to fill it then putting a finger (maybe in a rubber/vinyl/nitrile glove) and stopping the end while you lift it over to the destination. I wouldn't advise mouth suction -- ever!
     
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  3. Jesper

    Jesper Subscriber

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    I use 5L of liquid in 16x20" trays and some training did the trick for me.
    One hand on each side of the tray, pouring from one corner and using the right elbow to support the opposite corner. Most important is to avoid sudden movements as not to create waves.
     
  4. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    If you put a hose in the liquid and fill it, then cap the end of it while getting it inplace to siphon, you won't have to put it in your mouth. You'll get better with practice. Did you get Paterson trays?
     
  5. cowanw

    cowanw Member

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  6. Reinhold

    Reinhold Subscriber

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    A bit of latex tubing, a length of 1/4 inch I.D. tubing, and you can siphon off every drop without spilling a drop.

    No need to suck the tube completely full.
    Just draw enough liquid to fill the loop hanging over the counter lip.

    This is a very easy-to-clean set-up, no valves, bulbs, or other gimmicks. The latex tubing won't fight you like the vinyl stuff. It lays nice and quiet wherever you put it...

    Here's how...

    Reinhold

    www.classicBWphoto.com
     

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  7. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

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    Or this.. squeezing the bulb starts the syphoning. Once the hose is full, it runs as an ordinary syphon would.

    [​IMG]
     
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  8. PVia

    PVia Member

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    With single tray processing you can put the tray on a wide pedestal slightly smaller than the tray (say, one of those melamine cubes from the hardware store, as long as it's stable), then use a wide mouth container shorter than your pedestal, and just tip the spout end of the tray to flow into the container. Hope I'm 'splaining it well enough...
     
  9. Moopheus

    Moopheus Subscriber

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    Do you run water through it between trays to prevent cross-contamination?
     
  10. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

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    I decant large trays into a wide mouth jug - which is quite manageable

    Big trays particularly when full get a wave action that seems almost impossible to control

    I have tried siphons but not found them durable or particularly fast

    Martin
     
  11. Maris

    Maris Member

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    A big tray full of liquid picked up by diagonally opposite corners can crack and actually break. This I have done with an original Paterson 16x20 when they moulded them out of beautiful but rather brittle styrene. Now I pick up full trays by the middle of the long sides, move slowly, and aim for a big wide-mouth jug. Fortunately I have a nice darkroom sink under the maneuvre to catch misses and mistakes.
     
  12. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    I have always used only 2 liters in a 16x20 tray.
     
  13. anikin

    anikin Subscriber

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    Thanks guys. These are great suggestions!

    The trays I got are Vivitar. They appear pretty well made. They even have small notches on the bottom in one of the corners for tongs, so they would not slide into the solution. I only got two trays, so I switched to processing without stop: developer-wash-TF-4 process. Seems to work well so far.

    bobwysisyg, I think I have something like that in one of my tool boxes. I just was not sure that I could clean it well enough between chemicals.

    cowanw, the super siphon looks fantastic! Amazon has several similar ones listed. They are cheap enough to get one for each chemical. I think that's what I'm going to go with. Does it work well in shallow water? Even with gallon of solution, I have less than half of an inch jiggling space.

    Once again, thanks for the suggestions!
     
  14. bblhed

    bblhed Member

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    Why not just drill a hole in the tray and install a drain with a valve? Then you can hook a tube to it and drain the tray into a bottle without moving the tray until there is a manageable amount of liquid in the tray.
     
  15. anikin

    anikin Subscriber

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    bblhed, I thought about that, but the problem is that the solution level is usually rather low in the tray. The valve would have to be very close to the bottom to be effective and that is rather difficult to do... Have you done something like that? Can show pictures?
     
  16. cowanw

    cowanw Member

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    If you dont have room for jiggling, hold the hose up and fill it with a beaker of your solution, then plug the hole with your finger and drop it below the dish ; finger off and you are good to go. I use it to empty the tray my film washer sits in and it gets it down to 1/8 inch, which will be easy for you to pour or waste if there is to much particulate crap in it.
     
  17. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    This makes it difficult to stack trays - a real concern for those of us with temporary darkrooms.
     
  18. pschauss

    pschauss Member

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  19. bblhed

    bblhed Member

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    Drill a hole in the bottom and plug it with a rubber bung, you will have to hang the tray over the edge of your bench while you have solution in it so you don't knock the bung out, but that solves the clearance, stacking and draining problems all at once. As an added bonus you don't have to worry about a valve wearing out or sticking because if a bung wears out you can easily install a new one. Wine comes with rubber corks in it these days, just saying.
     
  20. phaedrus

    phaedrus Member

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    Put your lower arms along the longer side of the tray and stabilize it's floppyness this way. Move slowly so that you don't start waves in the tray. Put the container in a sink, a funnel in it's mouth that has ridges on the outside so that air can escape. And have a trusting (!) second person hold the container for the first part of the gushing ...
     
  21. SteveR

    SteveR Member

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    I use a little less liquid (usually 3L) but otherwise, my method is pretty much the same, slow and steady. ...it's my giant, DEEP washing tray that can get messy emptying :laugh:
     
  22. Cookie.

    Cookie. Member

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    i just use lids for my stop n fix n only use 1L at a time in my dev as i rarely do more then 10 prints at a time and if i do i can just dispose of it with a bit of stopbath neutralizing any negative effects itll have further down the line
     
  23. Huub

    Huub Member

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    I use a 10 L bucket as an intermediate step, the same bucket i use for mixing filmdeveloper. I set the bucket on a lower stool and then empty the large tray in the bucket. From the bucket it goes into the containers, using a large funnel.