Development of 4x5 in a Unicolor drum

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by RobR, Jul 3, 2003.

  1. RobR

    RobR Member

    Mar 24, 2003
    Cleveland, O

    I've taken to developing 4x5 film in a Unicolor drum. I don't have a roller base. Instead, I took four furniture wheels and a piece of wood. I drilled four holes in the wood and put the rods from the wheels (which would normally go into the legs of the chair) into them. I put the drum on the wheels and rotate it with my finger on side of the flat protrusion from the rim.

    I found that I was scratching my negatives as I slide them in. To avoid that, I bend the negatives in the opposite direction from the wall of the drum, move them into place, and then push on the middle of the negative. They snap into position.

    I am careful not to tip the drum onto its side once the negatives are loaded, but I have to tip it to dump out the developer. Since I don't have separators, there is some danger of them moving and overlapping each other, keeping the fixer from working. But once the developer is out, I figure I can open the drum and reposition the negatives, especially if I do it under my darkroom's safelight. Is that reasonable?

    Any other thoughts?


  2. bmac

    bmac Member

    Sep 30, 2002
    San Jose, CA
    Hi Rob, there are a few threads about this in the APUG archives. I haven't experienced scratching of the negs while loading them into my tanks. There is a great article on using unicolor drums with 4x5 film over at You can use small cloths pins to seperate your negs. I wouldn't open the tank under safelight until I had at least some fixer in the tank.

    Also, you might want to check out ebay for a uniroller. It will help with keeping your negs consistent.