Building my own slot processor - am I mad?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by thoop, Jan 4, 2008.

  1. thoop

    thoop Member

    Messages:
    6
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2008
    Location:
    London, UK
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Hello all,

    I'm new to the APUG but have been shooting/developing/printing B&W for a few years now.

    In my previous darkroom I used trays too process my prints but now I've moved house and building my new darkroom (in the loft) I was interested in finding out more about vertical slot processors.

    Trouble is they are so expensive. I have to admit that I've not searched for secondhand items yet but I have started to think about how hard it would be to make my own slot processor for basic B&W printing?

    As the title says, am I mad to be thinking this or has anyone else managed it and to what degree of success?

    Thanks for any opinions,
    Anthony
     
  2. matti

    matti Member

    Messages:
    652
    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2005
    Location:
    Stockholm, S
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Polycarbonate sheets can be bought from the places that sells window glass, screwed together with a sealant in between. Maybe a siphon to empty it. Just ideas.
    /matti
     
  3. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    7,076
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2005
    Location:
    Basin and Range Province
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    "Building my own slot processor - am I mad? "

    Yes.

    Welcome to the asylum.
     
  4. thoop

    thoop Member

    Messages:
    6
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2008
    Location:
    London, UK
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I was originally thinking of using glass but poly sheets are a much better idea, thanks.
     
  5. thoop

    thoop Member

    Messages:
    6
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2008
    Location:
    London, UK
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Hmmm... I thought as much :wink:
     
  6. Uhner

    Uhner Member

    Messages:
    1,101
    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2006
    Location:
    Oslo, Norway
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Yes, depending on definition you might be mad… But, well, in that case so am I. If your initial impression is “how hard can it be?” - I definitely think that you should try to build your own vertical slot print processor.

    Welcome to APUG

    Claes
     
  7. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,231
    Joined:
    May 9, 2005
    Location:
    Daventry, No
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Anthony In recent weeks a 4 slot Nova with thermostatic control went for just over £50 on e-bay and it looked OK from the picture. OK most will go for more and certainly Nova itself or Secondhand Darkroom Supplies will charge more as is to be expected. Given the difficulties of producing one yourself, especially a heated version and the longevity of the professional models, I know which I'd opt for - even if it meant persisting with trays while I saved the money needed for purchase.

    pentaxuser
     
  8. Peter De Smidt

    Peter De Smidt Member

    Messages:
    1,064
    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2004
    Location:
    Fond du Lac,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I'm using 1/4" thick black ABS. It'll be capable of 20x24" prints. The sheets are ripped. When it get's a little warmer, I'll crosscut them and glue them up.
     
  9. imazursky

    imazursky Member

    Messages:
    108
    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    New Rochelle
    Shooter:
    ULarge Format
    I built one out of 1/4" acrylic bonded with an acrylic solvent and reinforced with epoxy.
    Before i put the sides together, i used my table saw to cut half the 1/4" width into the side.
    I think its called a daito or a rabid....I have to brush up on my This Old House for the correct terminology.

    Anyway, the processor worked great until i loaned it to a friend and never saw it again.
    I purchased a 4x8' sheet of acrylic online, it was about $100. IIRC, I was able to get 3 11x14 slots out of it with plenty left over.
    Its a fun project to take on. My only recommendation is a very sharp table saw blade. If its not, you will chip the acrylic.
     
  10. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

    Messages:
    2,386
    Joined:
    May 10, 2006
    Location:
    Aurora, IL
    Shooter:
    35mm
    No! If you build any processor, the slot processor is probably easiest to build and judging by the price of these things it does make sense.
     
  11. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,604
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2004
    Location:
    DFW, Texas
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    dado and rabbet

    Good advice for any material. :smile:
     
  12. mrtoml

    mrtoml Member

    Messages:
    548
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2005
    Location:
    Sheffield, U
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I am also about to do this.

    One thing I have found is that it is a lot cheaper to buy acrylic clip frames than it is to have the acrylic sheets cut to size. If you can find clip frames of the right size for you that is.
     
  13. imazursky

    imazursky Member

    Messages:
    108
    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    New Rochelle
    Shooter:
    ULarge Format
    Thanks David for the correct spelling.
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. Rolleiflexible

    Rolleiflexible Member

    Messages:
    1,274
    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2005
    Location:
    New York Cit
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The homemade unit will give you grief in use because the surfaces
    are smooth and the paper will want to stick to it when immersed in
    the developer and fixer. The big advantage of the Nova is its use
    of textured walls to prevent this from happening. By all means give
    it a try if you have the time and skills and inclination, but you may
    find that a homemade unit with smooth walls causes you enough
    trouble to drive you back to trays, or to Nova.

    RFXB
     
  16. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

    Messages:
    2,725
    Joined:
    May 18, 2005
    Location:
    Woonsocket,
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I was contemplating that myself. (I have no experience with either a "real" Nova slot processor or a home-made equivalent.) Perhaps adding some small ridges or bumps to the dividing walls would help minimize these problems. You'd need to use some sort of glue that'd stay put in photo processing liquids. I'm sure a browse through a hardware store would turn up something that'd be suitable for this purpose.
     
  17. Peter Black

    Peter Black Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,001
    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2005
    Location:
    Scotland, UK
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    There is a similar problem with the Paterson Orbital in that you have to "roughen" the surface by use of a Dremel (or similar tool) or some have used spots of glue. I'd advise searching APUG for "Orbital" to get the best info.
     
  18. Peter De Smidt

    Peter De Smidt Member

    Messages:
    1,064
    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2004
    Location:
    Fond du Lac,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    That's simply false. My "homemade" ABS unit has wall that are textured on the inside and smooth on the outside. Furthermore, with FB I plan on using a holding sheet, ala the Nova FB processor.
     
  19. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

    Messages:
    3,879
    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2004
    Location:
    Southern Cal
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    It may be possible to cut a dado or a rabbet with your DAITO??
     
  20. matti

    matti Member

    Messages:
    652
    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2005
    Location:
    Stockholm, S
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If you use silicone like that for aquariums for gluing, maybe just adding strings of that to the inside will be the simplest way to make the ridges.
    /matti
     
  21. nyx

    nyx Member

    Messages:
    54
    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2005
    Location:
    Prague, Czec
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
  22. mrtoml

    mrtoml Member

    Messages:
    548
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2005
    Location:
    Sheffield, U
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    That's an interesting point I hadn't thought of. You can buy frosted acrylic sheets so maybe this is the way to go... But then the cost of building the thing approaches the price of a used unit.:surprised:
     
  23. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

    Messages:
    18,093
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Location:
    West Midland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    About 20 years ago I looked into building my own slot processor, at the time I was manufacturing machines for precious metal recovery so had all the relevant equipment & skills. However the time to design and then build a one off was disproportionally high.

    When I decided to start colour printing again about 8 years ago the market was flooded with second-hand Nova processors, so I bought a 12"x16" for about $100/£50. It would be hard to build anything similar with such good temperature control for the prices they are selling for now.

    Ian
     
  24. thoop

    thoop Member

    Messages:
    6
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2008
    Location:
    London, UK
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Interesting idea, maybe I'll have a go at building a smaller one first before trying to take on 20x16 monster project. :smile:

    I should be able to find smaller frames more easily.
     
  25. thoop

    thoop Member

    Messages:
    6
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2008
    Location:
    London, UK
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Interesting point, I'd not thought of that; thanks for the tip.
    It may well be the time restriction which prevents me from building one, but I'm yet to make a decision either way...

    Maybe I'll have a look on ebay first :smile:
     
  26. mrtoml

    mrtoml Member

    Messages:
    548
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2005
    Location:
    Sheffield, U
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    On ebay you can get quite big frames. I recently saw 5 12x16s for £15 including postage. The same supplier had bigger sizes, but this was the size I was going for.