Contact printing in your bathroom; feasibility?

Discussion in 'Contact Printing' started by puketronic, May 17, 2012.

  1. puketronic

    puketronic Member

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    I'm wanting to do some very basic contact printing in my bathroom..for proofs, only.

    My question: What is the simplest and most feasible way of doing so? Currently, I scan my negatives in lieu of this but I prefer physical/tangible things.
     
  2. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    Developing chemistry & trays, contact frame (or a flat board and piece of glass), a bare lightbulb and a timer.
     
  3. rjbuzzclick

    rjbuzzclick Member

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    Ditto. You can even get away without the timer with a dim enough bulb. My first setup used a 7w nightlight bulb held as high as I could reach with the negative and paper between two glass panes laying on the floor. Exposure times were in the :20-:40 range which were easy for me to reliably just count off in my head. Being a few seconds off doesn't matter as much on a :30 exposure than it would on a :05-:10 exposure.
     
  4. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Having just done an Ambrotype workshop, easy, cheap and not too difficult :D

    Ian
     
  5. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    That was my first experience in darkroom work, the family bathroom with a red filtered flashlight. Used Velox and verichrome pan negs and a little Tri Chem pack from the local camera store. A scrap of glass on a board held the neg in place and I flicked the overhead light on briefly to expose the print. That was some real fun.
     
  6. mcgrattan

    mcgrattan Member

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    I print in our bathroom with a little suitcase enlarger on the floor [which I also use for contact printing], and trays in the bath. It's not perfect as everything is at an inconvenient height -- so I only wet print three or four times a year -- but it's do-able. Contact printing would be even easier.
     
  7. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    I cannot think of a reason why not. Do it!
     
  8. rince

    rince Member

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    I started doing contact prints at home with a contact frame and exposing the prints with the overhead lights. Soon enough I wanted more and so I got myself a little Durst enlarger, which now sits on top of the washing machine in my bathroom. I am printing up to 8x10 in my bathroom and it works fairly well, besides the lack of space. If you have a tub, place a wooden board on it and place your trays on top of it. Get a 10$ savelight off of ebay and there you go. I still go and rent time in a comunity darkroom for bigger rints, but most of the time I just print in my bathroom. It is convenient and I can do it whenever I feel like it and time allows and don't have to go anywhere. So I guess my point is, yes, it is feasible and you might even get bitten by the bug and want to do more once you see how easy it can be done at home ...
     
  9. jernejk

    jernejk Member

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  10. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    You don't mention the size of your negs, but if 35mm it is worth using a paterson contact printing frame, where the edges (out of frame) overlap slightly. In that way you can print 36 exposures on one sheet of 10" X 8".
     
  11. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    I found that the overhead light was too bright for reasonable control with enlarging paper, and marginal even with the Fomalux contact-speed paper, so I ended up bodging together a lightbox using a clamp lamp and a cardboard box, with a couple of strips of cardstock so that I can mount a filter over the "aperture" (a rough-cut hole a couple of inches across in one side of the box). That got me to where typical exposures for a reasonably-exposed negative are in the 20-30 second range on enlarging paper---enough time for a little bit of dodging, but if I wanted to do something elaborate I'd need a lower-wattage bulb or a ND filter.

    -NT
     
  12. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    I made this gadget to make duplicate dental x-rays about 40 years ago and it still works fine. It could be used for contact printing as well. All you need are a couple of items from a hardware store and Radio Shack plus a piece of plywood. The timer could be optional. The whole thing should cost very little and is easy to store.

    contact printer.jpg

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
     
  13. jibanes

    jibanes Member

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    I do it in my laundry room, on the floor, sitting on a rug with trays around me (not even using a table). As a light source, I have a 15W bulb I picked up at the hardware store; trays are cat litter boxes ("almost" new). The bulb hangs from the ceiling, I use the kitchen timer, never check the temperature (my basement is always more or less at the same temperature). I have some cardboard on the windows which I duct taped a long time ago.

    I lay the paper and negative (in printfile sheets) on the floor, put a piece of glass on top, turn the light on for 3 seconds, and that's about it, develop for 1 minute, stop for 10 sec, fix for 30 sec, then wash under the running water for not so long.

    Works great, no enlarger, good results, very quick setup, cheap and great.

    I don't use formalux or stuff like that, just ilford multigrade RC, much easier to find and cheap. Eco-pro as a developer (1+9) and prepare 500ml of soup or so.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 3, 2013
  14. baachitraka

    baachitraka Member

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    May I ask, is there contact print frame available for 6x9 to print on 10x15cm? I am thinking to pick up Agfa Record soon....

    I can print using thick boro-silicate glass, but a frame will be very hand.
     
  15. GKC

    GKC Member

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    IMHO A Printfile proofer and a used small format enlarger off Craig's are worth the investment. I used to just use a heavy piece of glass and bare light bulb " Weston Style" but didn't enjoy it as much. A string of red led Christmas lights suffices for a safelight these days (GE Guide lamps ---plug in nite lights--2 on a card for less than a buck) served me well for decades.) A old Kodak exposure guide will save time but you can use a piece of paper like they taught you in High School. I think Delta makes a Kodak type exposure guide these days. If you don't have timer I've been told you can get pretty good using a metronome, or metronome app.