Can anyone recommend a leak-proof table top developing tank?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by JDP, Mar 16, 2009.

  1. JDP

    JDP Member

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    Hello there,
    Firstly I am new to Apug, so hello all.

    I would be grateful for any suggestions for a table-top developing tank which can be inverted without leaking. I have been using two paterson type 4 tanks for a long while (25yrs plus) and they are now leaking badly when inverted (they never were completely leak-proof). I have recently tried the rotation method of inversion again but this has resulted in uneven development (more development closer to the edge of the film). Not sure why (developer, perhaps?), it never used to happen.

    So I think it is time to get some new tanks. Any suggetions would be gratefully recieved.
     
  2. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    My understanding is that 100% leak-proof tanks are about as common as unicorns. That said, stainless steel tanks are reputed to be a bit more resistant to leaks than plastic tanks, on average. My own SS tanks are less leaky than my plastic tanks.

    The rotational method of agitation can work reliably, but some people find it tricky. You could try shooting a few test rolls and vary your rotation style (speed, intervals, etc.) to resolve this problem. FWIW, I've got an odd Russian tank that develops one roll of 120 film in 260ml of solution, but only supports rotational agitation. After a first abysmal result, I started using very vigorous and quick back-and-forth motion (perhaps 8-10 twists of about 90 degrees and then back again in 5 seconds) for my agitation cycle, and this works pretty well. After that first bad result, I posted here asking for advice, but I can't seem to find the thread. Some people got surprisingly emotional on the issue of agitation method.
     
  3. Pinholemaster

    Pinholemaster Member

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    Leak-proof?

    Buy a new tank if yours are that old.

    Good luck.
     
  4. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    I think I have seen more unicorns than leak-proof tanks.

    Jobo tanks are probably the most leak-resistant.

    A well fitting stainless tank is next: The real Nikor/USA tanks are reasonably good; The older Kinderman tanks with the stainless can and plastic top were OK, but I have a new one that leaks like a seive; the Japanese tanks with misc. brands - Omega, Nikor/Japan, Kalt ... - are a bit of a crapshoot, some have lids that fit well, some don't.

    I haven't had good luck with the plastic AP tanks.

    Tanks leak much more in the fix, where gas is generated, than in the developer where gas is absorbed.

    I put the tank in a plastic food bag for processing so the tank leaks into the inside of the bag and my hand stays dry.
     
  5. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

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    JDP,

    I always thought the Paterson gasket material a bit hard for its purpose and can cause some weeping. I found that when applying the soft white cap, depress the center and when sealed, creates a slight vacuum and stops the weeping.
     
  6. DannL

    DannL Member

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    I've tried the Yankee tanks, SS tanks, generic tanks and JOBO. All my tanks which tend to be older, leak to some degree. I troubleshot to the point of discovering my leaks were mainly a result of "fixer outgassing". During the developer cycle a vacuum was created in the tank, not a problem. But during the fixer cycle a pressure built up inside the tank. When I inverted the tank the pressure was enough to force the small amounts of fixer through the weaker seals. By the end of the fixer cycle my hands were covered in fixer. I finally settled on just using the JOBO tanks for their simplicity. To minimize the pressure build-up, I drilled a tiny hole (ie; .5 - 1mm) in the center of the rubber lid. This allows the pressure to be released during the fixer cycle. When I invert the tank during development, washing, and fixing, I cover the hole with one finger. When the tank is uprighted I uncover this hole. Though this doesn't fix a truely bad seal, it did relieve the frustation by about 80%.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 16, 2009
  7. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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  8. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

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    Great little idea. I will have to try this.
     
  9. zenrhino

    zenrhino Member

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    I've had fantastic luck with the stainless tanks with the plastic (PVC) lids. You have to replace the lids every so often because they get a concentric crack in them, but the tank itself will last forever. I've gone completely away from plastic tanks and reels to SS because of the leak resistance of this setup.
     
  10. Andrew Moxom

    Andrew Moxom Member

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    Paterson tanks lids are great if you 'burp' them (technical term)... ie lift up one edge while depressing the center of the plastic lid, once the middle is depressed, push the edge you lifted up back down. It will now be pretty leak proof! I do this with a System 5 tank with 3 rolls of 120 in it. Seems to work well after being 'burped'
     
  11. George Collier

    George Collier Member

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    Both of my Kinderman tanks (ss tank, rubber lids) are pretty tight. I have an older one, from the 60's, and my new (well, new for me) one from the 80's. They both hold really well. As suggested above, I depress the center of the lid slightly as I put on the smaller cap after filling, to create a slight "vacuum".
     
  12. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    No matter what you do, if the tank is inverted it will leak. Them's the breaks. With plastic tanks, I don't invert at all. The agitation stick (twirling rod, whatever you want to call it) works just fine for me. I've never had a problem with uneven development. Can't say the same thing when I tried inversion agitation with plastic tanks. The trick is to be vigorous about it. You can't do this wimpy back and forth thing and expect it to work. Nine or ten back and forth motions in 5 seconds it the way to go. It looks like a top loading washing machine in there, and that's the idea.
     
  13. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

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    I second the motion that Jobo tanks are less leaky than Paterson Tanks - but they all weap a bit.

    Burping any tank helps.

    I stand my tanks in a 20x24 inch tray to catch most of the drips and wear a pair of domestic rubber gloves (Marigolds) to keep the dev off my skin (otherwide I smell dev on my skin for days afterwards)

    New tanks and reels are not expensive and your old ones have done good service - retire them with dignity

    Martin
     
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  15. Ian David

    Ian David Subscriber

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    I use SS tanks (Konica) with rubber lid, which sometimes leak a little. But I would rather have a bit of leakage than risk uneven development. I have a small pile of old tea towels (dish towels for you Americans) which live in the darkroom. I always use one of these when doing my agitation. By the end of a session it is a bit damp. Once I have accumulated a few dirty tea towels, I throw them in the wash. I also generally wear a pair of latex gloves when processing films.
     
  16. glaiben

    glaiben Member

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    I like the Jobo tanks for hand inversion for film - if I treat the red rubber membrane caps well, they stay dry. If I manhandle them on or off, I gouge an edge and they're likely to start leaking. My secret to longevity is to depress the center in order to fit the cap, rather than trying to seal an edge first. Would love to hear from others as to their successful remedies.
     
  17. Kevin Caulfield

    Kevin Caulfield Subscriber

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    I second the burping suggestions for the Patersons. That method has served me well for years.
     
  18. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

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    My new steel tanks have very minimal leaking. The lids fit snugly and the caps snap on tightly. I have used some old ones and I can't say the same for those. AFAIK, all plastic ones leak, at least the ones I've used.
     
  19. JDP

    JDP Member

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    Many thanks for everyones replies on this. It looks like Jobo or SS tanks are going to suit best.

    Thanks also for the 'burping' suggestion. I tried something simlar, by loosening the screw lid, pushing the cap on, then tightening the lid before inversion. No good! Also all fluids leak out - not just the fixer.

    Stainless steel, Hmm, nice and shiny........
     
  20. pschauss

    pschauss Member

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    I have had good luck with a 40 year old Kinderman plastic tank as well as with two generic stainless/pastic lid tanks from Adorama. Two of the three used Nikor USA tanks that I have are also reasonably leak proof. I use a print drum to do the agitation with the fixer which, of course, requires that the tank be placed on its side. For my two functioning Nikor tanks leakage is minimal as long a the lid is seated well enough that it stays on.
     
  21. Fred Aspen

    Fred Aspen Member

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    JDP, Freestyle sells replacement kits for leaky system 4 tanks. I think you get a new lid and funnel for just a few $$$. The problem occurs when the Paterson tanks are stored with the lids in place, they tend to stretch and subsequently leak. I recently retrofitted all my tanks. No leaks.

    -F.
     
  22. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    Lets face it. You are GOING to have some amount of leaks or splashes or escape of fluids of some sort when you process film in tanks. Why not just set your tank in the sink, where any surplus fluid is easy to deal with.
     
  23. BobNewYork

    BobNewYork Member

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    Never had a real problem with Patersons. Although one the bottom snapped off - my fault, I was making really sure there were no air bubbles!. another one leaked because the body was cracked - my fault again, same thing. That one, however, I taped hard with electrical tape and used it for years. Andrew Moxon is right - they need to be "burped".

    Bob H
     
  24. JDP

    JDP Member

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    One of my system 4 tanks cracked. I fixed it with polystyrene cement. Seems to be ok now.

    I tried sourcing a new stainless steel tank here in the UK. It is an unfortunate sign of the times that I can't find one..... Importing from the USA would cost me around UKP85 for a tank and 2 reels (from B&H), compared to about UKP20 for a paterson tank! The only new tanks I can find in the UK are the JOBO (~UKP30), the Paterson super 4, and a plastic Kinderman (~UKP15).

    Thanks again for the comments...
     
  25. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Did you try Calumet? They seem to have tanks on their UK website, although I only see 35mm reels.

    Matt
     
  26. JDP

    JDP Member

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    Yes, I did try them. Many places are still listing them on their web sites, but on enquiring it turns out they have been discontinued: due to the increase in you-know-what....
    Cheers.