Best washer for roll films

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Jeff Bannow, Feb 24, 2011.

  1. Jeff Bannow

    Jeff Bannow Member

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    So, what is the best washer for roll films on the reel? Most I would probably be doing would be 4 rolls of 120, although I could probably make do with a washer that handles only 2 rolls. My preference would be for something that uses a minimum of water.

    I'm aware of the fill and dump method, but I like something hands off that frees me to cleanup and such.
     
  2. jordanstarr

    jordanstarr Member

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    ....a minimum of water and film washer (that is "hands off") don't really go hand in hand from my knowledge considering they all basically use the fill-and-drain or overflow methods. If something does exist, I'd like to know too. I use 3 different systems right now (gravity works and a big 8x10 tank that you pull a bottom latch to drain as well as the "fill and dump" method you've mentioned).
     
  3. samcomet

    samcomet Subscriber

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    I just built one for our Aussie drought conditions......a bit of round PVC sewerage pipe 100 mm's diameter (inside) with a cap at one end - off the shelf stuff. The OD (outside diameter) of 35 mm stainless reels are 90mm. Length of pipe is 4 reels plus a bit. Inlet water thru a plumbed fitting at the bottom and overflow out the top (standing straight up in the sink). I found some $2 stainless eggcups that look like springs to put on the bottom that raise the reels enough so that the inlet water will flow thru the reels and not around them. They also look cool too. I use the Kinderman stainless rod to lower and pull out the reels at the end of wash time. There is very little excess water used as the container is almost the same size as the reels and with a low flow rate it seems to do the trick nicely. No probs so far after several hundred rolls. good luck and cheers, sam
     
  4. George Nova Scotia

    George Nova Scotia Subscriber

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    I just bought a Premier Aqua Vac washer from KHB. There are two sizes 5 or 10 35mm reels. Just do a search you should find Also find a link to Freestyle as well. It seems to work just fine so far.
     
  5. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    The old Wat-Air film washers work very well. Water inlet in the bottom along with venturi jets for air intake causes bubbling action, plus overflow at the top. This supposedly washes film more effectivly. I've found that minimum water flow without bubbles works just as good with the unit.
     
  6. hpulley

    hpulley Member

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    How long does the fill, 5 inversions, dump, fill, 10 inversions, dump, fill, 20 inversions, dump take? I find it is under 3 minutes even with a big multireel Paterson Super System 4 tank. I have 'aged' wash water ready in jugs which is faster to fill than using the tap.
     
  7. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    I know what Jeff is looking to do. There are other things happening in the DR, that hands free wash while performing other tasks makes it appealing. The Wat-Air can be set to an extremely low flow rate and not use an awful amount of water.
     
  8. Jeff Bannow

    Jeff Bannow Member

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    Yeah, the wash time is my time to prep the photo-flo, get the drying cabinet ready, clean up the chemistry, wash the tank, etc.

    Although 3 minutes isn't bad for washing.
     
  9. lns

    lns Member

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    I use the Ilford method with 5 minute soaks (just to be safe). I clean everything up during the soaks except for the tank and reels, which go last.

    -Laura
     
  10. Greg Davis

    Greg Davis Subscriber

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    I have a hose from the faucet that I use with a short piece of stainless steel tube on the end that fits down into the center of my reels so water is pushed from the bottom of the tank up. You may want to try the same for very little money.
     
  11. Greg Davis

    Greg Davis Subscriber

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    Here are a couple pictures of what I mean. There is a flow meter in the system, but that can be omitted. This is the setup I used for the film washing thread.
     

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  12. Konical

    Konical Subscriber

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    Good Morning,

    Ditto to the comment on the Wat-Air. The one I most frequently use can take two 120 reels/4 35mm reels; I also have a rarely-used larger one which has about twice that capacity. Another effective one is the Pro-Spec which uses a fill/dump siphoning action. Mine's big enough to take three 120 reels. It also works very well.

    Konical
     
  13. vedmak

    vedmak Member

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    my method is simple buy 16 oz of yogurt in a plastic jar, eat the contents, dump the lid, punch 10 holes in a jar, put your film in it and open a faucet, if you need more that that do another jar and stack it on top, cheap and effective.
     
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  15. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    Wow, that's exactly what I have... :blink:
     
  16. George Collier

    George Collier Member

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    I use the Gravity Works washer made for up to 4x5 (comes with a slotted holder that holds 10 sheets). Take the holder out and you can wash at least 4 reels. I stick in a 1000cc tank to take up space when doing 1 or 2 reels. It fills and dumps (about every minute), so a complete change. I give 8 minutes for film after TF4.
    I don't think they are made currently, but you might find one. They are great. You can still see it on the B&H site.
     
  17. graywolf

    graywolf Member

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    I am using a soak and dump method.

    Fill the tank, invert three times, let set 5 minutes, dump.

    Fill the tank, invert three times, let set 10 minutes, dump.

    Fill the tank, invert three times, let set 20 minutes, dump.

    You can do your darkroom housekeeping chores while it is setting.

    My total processing for one or two rolls (one reel) of 120 film take about a gallon of water. Unfortunately, since I have only been doing it that way for about a month, I do not have any longevity data on the method.
     
  18. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    I forget the brand of washer I have, but it's a clear plastic tube with a black plastic base. There's a water inlet hose that runs to the faucet and attaches to the base, and there are ducts allowing water to enter the tube, and outlets on the sides of the base as well. It's pretty efficient, set to just enough water flow so that the water spills over the top and very mild aeration of the water in the cylinder occurs. It will wash up to four rolls of 120 (I think - it's been a while since I used it - maybe only three).
     
  19. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    That's exactly what I do and it works a treat.You don't need anything fancy.
     
  20. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    Done tat too when I have a lot of full reels. I use larger plastic tubs though. But trust me, none of my film washer setups have ever cost me more than a couple of bucks at most.
     
  21. Jeff Bannow

    Jeff Bannow Member

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    Wow - lots of great ideas here guys. Keep 'em coming.
     
  22. Doremus Scudder

    Doremus Scudder Member

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    Jeff,

    If you haven't, see Greg's thread on film washing tests (I believe it's sticky). I would not recommend a three-minute wash time, no matter how many fill-and-dump cycles you had... And, if you don't use a hypo-clearing agent, then 20 minutes is the absolute minimum (30 is a lot better!).

    Whatever you end up with to wash the film, I would recommend taking time from your darkroom chores to dump and refill a couple of times. When I was doing roll film, I used a tall Wat-Air set to very low flow and then dumped it and let it refill a couple of times during the wash. That way, you get the best of both worlds.

    Best,

    Doremus Scudder
    www.DoremusScudder.com
     
  23. George Collier

    George Collier Member

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    Doremus - you are talking here of acid fixers, yes? The formulary folks indicated to me that with TF4 or TF5, 8 minutes was adequate for film.
     
  24. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Member

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    Your development tank and a hose stuck into it.
     
  25. Trask

    Trask Subscriber

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    I could go the hose-stuck-into-the-reels route, but am curious of anyone knows of a washer that takes 4 inch reels?
     
  26. Brian Legge

    Brian Legge Member

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    I do it by hand - least favorite part of the process.

    2 x 1 minute fill, agitate, dump
    1 x 2 minute with hypo clear, dump
    7 x 1 minute fill, agitate, dump

    So 10 total changes of water (inc hypo clear), 11 minutes total. Something which automates this would indeed be nice. :wink: