Building a Darkroom

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Rlibersky, Apr 11, 2011.

  1. Rlibersky

    Rlibersky Subscriber

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    Well I'm finally to a point where I can start building my new darkroom. This will be my largest. This will be my 6th one in 20 years. I have a pretty good idea of what I'm looking to do. The biggest thing I'm doing different this time is having a main light switch on each wall. This should be interesting to hook up, haven't run 4-3way switches together before. Also having outlets located in the ceiling above the 2 enlargers. As shown in the drawing the wet and dry sides are separate with plenty of space.

    So I have a few questions. Someone in a different post mentioned using peg board for the wall covering. Although this seems like a good idea it could it create a vacuum and bring in dust when opening the door? Has anyone tried this and how did it work for you?

    Have to install a new electrical box. There is not enough open breakers in the existing one. Fortunately we replaced the electric dryer with a gas one. This opens a 30amp breaker for the new box. Will be using 2 – 15A GFI breakers for the counter, water table outlets and fan. Standard 15amp breaker for the enlargers.

    In the past have always used copper for water. Thinking of using plastic feed lines. Any suggestions or comments?

    Any other ideas or thoughts would be appreciated.

    Thanks
    Randy
     

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  2. frobozz

    frobozz Subscriber

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    You'll want to investigate 4-way switches if you need more than 2 switches to control the same light(s).

    Duncan
     
  3. Roger Thoms

    Roger Thoms Subscriber

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    Just my two cents, No I would not use pegboard and yes I would use copper with sweat fittings. Copper cause that what I know and like, kind of like film. As far as peg board, don't really like the stuff too much. Although a small panel or two located where I need to hang things on the wall would be ok. If this is your sixth darkroom I'm sure it will turn out great, hope you plan on keeping this one for a while. Lets see some picture as your project progresses.

    Roger
     
  4. Greg Davis

    Greg Davis Member

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    As far as peg board goes, I don't see any point in covering all the walls in it. Just use a small piece near the enlarger for hanging tools like dodging/burning stuff.
     
  5. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    Although not a plumber, I know that there is a (relatively) new plastic plumbing system that is replacing copper. It's probably superior in many ways and would at least be worth investigating. Wish I had a name... (edit: could be PEX)

    Then again, copper's tried & true.
     
  6. Pasto

    Pasto Member

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    Looks like you have already given a lot of thought to this, being the 6th darkroom and all. I finished my current darkroom about 2 years ago and am always impressed with how well it was designed :smile: Of course, it took me most of a year to plan it out. I went the traditional route with drywall on the walls and ceiling, and ceramic tiles on the floor. I installed a drain in the middle of the floor for those spills that occassionally happen. Regarding electricity, I have seperate 20 amp circuts for the dry and wet side, and a 15A lights circuit, all GFI protected. The panel for the darkroom is outside the room to prevent problems with humidity. What I didn't plan for in advance was the need for a 220V circuit. I installed this just a few months ago to accomodate the L184. The GFI breaker for this last circuit cost me a small fortune! Another issue was light entering the darkroom. I could not completely resolve the light leaks so I added a curtain on the inside of the darkroom that completely envelops the door, floor to ceiling (black facing the door white facing in). I use the curtain when handling film but not for paper.

    My darkroom is a little smaller than yours will be (9x10 feet) but I manage to fit a JOBO ATL2000, a 5 foot sink, a small film/paper fridge, a Durst L1200 and a Durst L184, a dry mounting press, a film drying cabinet, RC paper dryer, space for air drying prints up to 20x24, and of course enough drawer and cabinet space for all the rest. I attached some quick pics so you get a sense of the layout. Would be great if you post some pics of yours when it's all done....

    Good luck and enjoy!
     

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  7. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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  8. jerry lebens

    jerry lebens Member

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    Plastic plumbing is excellent stuff, I fitted it in my last darkroom and was so impressed that I then plumbed my whole apartment with it, including the central heating. That was eight years ago and I haven't had a problem since.
    It's quick and easy to fit, as long as you use the proper cutter and, considering the current price of copper, cheap.

    Regards
    Jerry
     
  9. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    I used "chip board" for my walls. It allows me to remove panels if I ever need to change plumbing or electrical. Suspended the ceiling so I have access there as well. I used "old work" electrical boxes so easy to reconfigure.

    Water choices are copper, pex, or cpvc. You don't see that much cpvc used here in MN, but I believe it does meet code. Pex requires an investment in a crimper (or rent one). But nice for routing through walls and changing later. For the amount of copper you need, cost should not be that great an issue.

    I have separate switches for white vs. safe light. The safe light switch is at normal height and the white light switch is 16" higher.

    How do you plan to control water temp? Do you have just the one spout for the long sink?
     
  10. ROL

    ROL Member

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  11. Luseboy

    Luseboy Member

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    I would not use peg board for the walls. Not sure what they are like now, but in my darkroom, all but one wall was just framework with insulation over it. I just nailed in a bunch of garbage bags over the framework and the plan is to put ply-wood over that. If you want to use peg board, i'd put it over plywood or sheetrock. just make sure you make a frame around the edges, using 1x1 or something, so that it can stick out from the wall a bit. Personally though, i'd rather have some nice shelves on the walls than peg board. I don't find that a lot of darkroom stuff really fits on peg board hooks real well.
    -Austin
     
  12. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    Instead of pegboard, I would use slatwall. You use it just like any other wall product, with the convenience of brackets that allow shelves and hangers anywhere.
     
  13. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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  14. Ronald Moravec

    Ronald Moravec Member

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    pegs eventually fall out of pegboard. I really hate the stuff.

    I have a lot of shelves prelaminated and put up with 90 deg brackets. There must be 30 feet or more in the original 8x12 room which is now the wet room. Enlargers moved to separate adjoining room.

    I would move the enlarger to one side and have a long table or cabinet space. A framing/print mounting space is useful.

    Cabinets are better than open dust catchers.

    I also could not change to work trays right to left. Too old to change.

    I will never have a room without water and air filters.