Caffenol-C tragedy

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by guitstik, Nov 24, 2010.

  1. guitstik

    guitstik Member

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    Ok, so I mixed up one batch of caffenol-C and it went terribly wrong from the get go. so bad that I scrapped that batch and started over before I began. I followed the instructions off of the digitatruth site and mixed it up in the kitchen sink. I tried to keep the temp at a constant 20*c for 15min and did three rinses for a stop bath and fixed with Ilford @ 1:4 for 5min. After another 5min rinse I took the film out and it was totally blank. Blank as a stare from a a cow to slaughter.

    There might possibly be faint latent images on the film but I don't think that the best FBI lab could pull anything off of it.

    The recipe that I used was:
    8oz (300cc) water
    2-1/2 tsp Arm and Hammer soda
    1 ml of Fruit-Fresh ( active ingredients: Dextrose, Ascorbic Acid, Citric Acid,
    Silicon Dioxide (anti caking), contains no sulfates). The vitamin C is
    230%
    4 tsp of "Great Value 100% Arabica Premium Instant Coffee.

    This is not a terrible loss even though I would like to have gotten some kind of positive results (pun intended). What could I have done different to come to the results that I was hoping for? I won't even bother to ask what I did wrong because there are just to many variables that I may not have listed or done or the stars were in the wrong alignment or maybe I didn't hold my tongue the correct way. I will still keep trying but I want to do it right. I probably should have used something other than the Fruit-Fresh.

    Edit: After allowing the film to dry the emulsion side is tacky to the touch and can be rubbed off. Hmmmmm.
     
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  2. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    Well, "100% Arabica" is a bad sign---the likely developing agent, caffeic acid, seems to be significantly lower in arabica coffee than in the cheaper robusta. I have no idea how much ascorbic acid is in a millilitre of "Fruit-Fresh" (230% probably refers to the US RDA, and I don't know what level that is, nor how much of the stuff is assumed to constitute a serving), so between the two you may just have had inadequate levels of developing agents.

    Folger's is widely available throughout the US and known to work. If I were you, I'd use that, and some plain old vitamin C crystals without other ingredients, to get the recipe working at least for a start.

    -NT
     
  3. guitstik

    guitstik Member

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    That is the way I am leaning. I think I was just a little to excited to try it but I guess that I need to start from scratch and use the standard items.

    I had been doing my research for about a month before I attempted this and I thought that I had it figured out but I was also realistic enough to realize that the first attempt might not work out.
     
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  4. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    The http://www.digitaltruth.com/data/caffenol.php site says:

    Water 8 oz (250 ml, ed)
    Arm & Hammer Washing (not baking, ed.) Soda 2½ tsp (level)
    Vitamin C powder ¼ tsp (1.2 ml volume) (level)
    Folger's Coffee Crystals 4 tsp (slightly rounded, NOT decaf)

    You have to use the right recipe - after you get it working then you can start to experiment. My guess is the big error was using baking soda (S. Bicarbonate) instead of washing soda (S. Carbonate). You can make the Carbonate from the Bicarb - google for instructions.

    Fruit-Fresh is used in making jams and jellies - I guess it shouldn't be surprising that it turned the film emulsion to sticky jam.
     
  5. guitstik

    guitstik Member

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    So it appears that my recipe is all screwed up. I have the wrong coffee the wrong vitamin C and the wrong soda. Back to the drawing board so to speak. I thought that I had done my homework but I was never a very good student. Live and learn good thing it was not an important roll.
     
  6. David William White

    David William White Member

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    If all else fails, Joel, a teaspoon of D-76 in there would probably do wonders... :tongue:
     
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    You have not used enough vitamin c! In that mix only a fraction of whats needed is available.

    Besides cirtic acid, now that is an interesting chemical, its called a RESTRAINER.

    I normally use KBr poatassium bromide for that, but i have used citric acid instead, both works just fine. I add 1 gram of KBr to one litre developer or 2 gram citric acid to one litre.

    In your mix ascorbic acid and citric acid is about the same amount. Citric acid facilitates that vitamin c is gobble up by the body, this is sort of medicine!

    Now such a concentration of citric acid, combined with so little vitamin c will give you exactly what you got, blank negatives.

    That combined with wrong type of coffee which also contains too little of the active ingredient, caffeic acid (its NOT caffeine, the poison we cofee-drinkers love, we're after here!) leaves you with nearly no developing agent at all.

    To get a result you should use ROBUSTA cofee, cheapes brand there is, and ascorbic acid powder, 100% pure.

    Your vitamin C would probably take close to 1000ml alone, and riun the concentrations of your brew.

    In short do you homework, pay attention to whats written and seek out reliable info, that digital thruth source is scketch at best.

    Find the caffein Group here on APUG, read everything als listen to good advice, visit the blog mentioned on the group, and listen carefully to what Reinhold has to tell you.

    I developed 4 films tonite, 1 127, 1 120 and 2 35mm, they where all OLD and long forgotten in the attic. 127 and 120 probably from long before 1984. The 127 was a kodacolor to boot. There where fog on the 120 but images, the Kodacolor seems to have diewd in storage (now drying)
    The 35mm was old Ilford FP4, probably exposed arounf 1984 (have to have a closer look at the negatives tomorrow, but the images seem good, but faint.

    3 out of 4 films all between 30 and 45 years in storage since exposure aint half bad! :tongue:
     
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    PS that number in the Fruit-Fresh : "The vitamin C is 230%" that is 230% of the human daily dose, which is next to nothing in photograpic terms.

    I tried tablets like that, and had to filter out the anti caking agents, those would have ruined the film anyways.
    But the container stated that each tabled held 200 mg that is 0.2 gram, i.e 10 tablets gives 2 grams and 16 gram per litre requires 80 tablets out of the 99 inside the box. These things gets extremely expensive compared to 100% ascorbic acid powder!

    I use the formula

    54 grams soda
    16 gram ascorbic acid
    40 grams of robusta cofee

    to 1 litre of developer, add 1 gram of KBr to combat chemical fogging.

    This is known as Caffenol CC-M and is the standard recipe.
     
  9. guitstik

    guitstik Member

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    I'm at the store now. Is the Super Washing Soda the same. I looked for the active ingredients but the only thing I can find is the sodium carbonate.
     
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    Thats the ticket!!
     
  11. guitstik

    guitstik Member

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    Ok, so now I have to find ascorbic acid and all I get are blank looks when I ask at the pharmacies. Right now I am looking in the coffee isle and getting th Folgers Classic Roast.
     
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    Over here they sell Nescafe Robusta, its not cheap.

    But over at the real-cheap-and-overstock store they sell cheap instant coffee, Its labeled office use or something similar.
    Black as death, even in the glass container. Smells like old burned shoes and tastes like burned acids.
    Thats the stuff you want!

    ep
     
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    Ascorbic acid : I found mine in a health store in Denmark.

    "Powder. marked 100% ascorbic acid"

    The lady in the healt food store here said she was no fan of ascorbic acids, apparently not good for your stomac. I sounded her about sodium ascorbate, she did not advocate that either. Well there are other stores.

    I found sodium ascorbate in a pharmacy (had to order it)

    Sodium ascorbate is the active ingredient that is the net result of the reaction between soda and ascorbic acid (the solution turns light yellow green)

    My next project is toi test out 100% pure sodium ascorbate instead of ascorbic acid, and see if theres any difference.
     
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  15. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    Sodium ascorbate should be colorless. Being a light yellow green indicates that there is something else present. At one time all I could get was ascorbic acid with rose hips. I worked well but my developer was a lovely pink color.
     
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  16. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    A very pure form of sodiun carbonate can be made from baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) which should be available in most grocery stores. In the US food grade sodium bicarbonate is marked USP which means pharmacutical grade. In the presence of heat the following reaction takes place. Do not confuse baking soda with baking powder which contains other chemicals.

    2NaHCO3 ----> Na2CO3 + H2O + CO2

    Place the sodium bicarbonate in a shallow glass or stainless pan and bake for about 1 hour in a moderate oven (in US that is 350 F). Stir the bicarbonate every 15 minutes. The crystalline bicarbonate will turn to a fluffy white powder which is anhydrous sodium carbonate. Heating longer will not hurt anything but make sure it all turns to a white powder. Allow the sodium carbonate to cool a bit before storing in a well sealed jar as it will absorb moisture and become the monohyrate. You can also do this over a burner in a pot but it tends to splatter over the stove if the layer of bicarbonate is too deep.
     
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  17. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    In my experience, most supermarkets have some vitamin C crystals (vitamin C == ascorbic acid) in amongst the bottles of vitamin tablets. It may be prudent to measure it by weight rather than volume, though, since the granularity of the crystals varies---e.g., I'm pretty sure the fine stuff that looks like coc^H^H^Hpowdered sugar is denser than the coarser stuff that looks like granulated sugar.

    -NT
     
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    Well of course there is! We're (all) using washing soda! Who said that is chemically pure?

    And the ascorbic acid is calle E300 and is sold as a food additive, who knows what is inside? BUT! the powder is at least 10 to 100 times more pure than the Vit C tablets or the stuff originall posted here....

    The yellow green is interesting: I mix this way, tonite I needed 1,5 litre for 3 tanks (0,5 litre each) I weigh out and mix 54 x 1,5 gram of soda, 16 x 1,5 gram of Vitamine C and 40 x 1,5 times coffee and dissolve each in a container of 0,5 litres of water.

    The soda takes a while to dissolve.... Vit-C and coffee is easier.

    After all is dissolved I mix the soda with Vit-C (color change) and then add coffee to get 1,5 litres.

    I never noticed any color change when I dissolved soda and then added Vit-C crystals directly in the solution (the concentration of all chemicals would of course be lower in the total amount of water).

    After I add the coffee everything is black as sin of corse! :tongue:
     
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    Nathan I have absolutely NO concept of how coc^H^H^H powder looks like! Honest!!
     
  20. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    joel

    look for either folgers or the cheapest rot gut instant coffee you can find.
    the vit C might be the hardest thing to locate. if you have a natural food store
    they will probably have it, if you have a trader joe's they have it and its dirt cheap.
    your local 24hour pharma may have it too. when i was overseas i had to buy some things
    through a pharmacy ...

    i eyeball amounts of my powders ... originally i didn't, but i haven't noticed the difference ... :outlaw:
    have fun !

    john
     
  21. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    I hope it wasn't the pharmacist giving you blank looks. That would be very scary.:blink:
     
  22. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    Very curious, I can't think of an explanation of why you see a color change in one instance and not in the other.

    I have always used Arm and Hammer brand washing soda here in the US. The form most common in ths country is the monohydrate since it is the most stable form and less bulky. I wrote off to the company and they sent me literature on its purity which is about 98%. The main impurity is sodium chloride. This is to be expected due to the method of manufacture. There is a small amount of iron present. I would assume that other brands are similar.

    I use the washing soda for print developers. But for film developer I either buy photograde sodium carbonate or make it from sodium bicarbonate. The amount of iron impurity in the washing soda makes it problematic for ascorbate developers. However, since you make up developer just before use there should be no problem.
     
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    I will try mixing Soda, adding Vit C, KBR and coffe in that order and see if I can spot any color changes.

    Iron in the soda : In what way does that affect the ascorbate? You mean its a problem for ascorbate, not for ascorbic acid?

    I also use monohydrate, called Crystal soda here locally, its used for washing all of the house before Xmas!

    I use this stuff for film only, developed two rolls of FP4 that was somehow "forgotten" after being exposed in the early 1980's yesterday - the film looks like it was brand new! Excellent negatives!

    Only problem over here is finding Vitamine C, even in the health food stores - seems there's a movement afoot in that business, about Vitamine C being "too hard for the intestines" - they even refuse to order it!
     
  24. FM2N

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  25. guitstik

    guitstik Member

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    Every time I have asked a pharmacist for ascorbic acid (vitamin C) they tell me to get the Fruit-Fresh. Apparently the amount of ascorbic acid in the FF is higher than they carry. The only other way to get a higher concentration of Vit C is to get it in an injection and that requires a prescription. You would not think that it would be that hard to get a hold of pure vit C.
     
  26. David William White

    David William White Member

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    The Photographer's Formulary has ascorbic acid for $11 for 100g. Don't know if that's out of your price range, but...