Diffusing the light

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by manfromh, Sep 26, 2008.

  1. manfromh

    manfromh Member

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    I have been making prints since spring and dust is my eternal enemy. I dont think I have even one print which doesnt have any dust on it.

    Im using a Russian made UPA-602 enlarger, which is a condenser enlarger. When I got it, I also got a piece of non-transparent glass. Im guessing (hoping) that this glass can be used to convert the enlarger into a diffuser enlarger. I had no idea where to put it, so I put it into the filter drawer. It had no effect.
    Earlier today, as I was packing up, I noticed that i can also put this glass into the negative holder. In this case, it would be right on top of the negative. Now, would this diffuse the light enough, so every tiniest dust spec would not show up on the print?

    I dont know when I will be printing again, but I would like to get this sorted before I do.


    Matis
     
  2. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Yes, I have a very old Gnome enlarger with a similar piece of ground glass. It must be kept a distance above the negative to get best diffusion and prevent the grain of the grinding from coming into focus. Mine went above the condenser.

    Ian
     
  3. bowzart

    bowzart Member

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    If you are having dust issues, it may be more productive to go after the dust first rather than trying to fix it by modifying the enlarger.

    If you remove all the open liquids (putting them in bottles) and dry everything, chances are that your humidity may be very low. We had a situation in a school darkroom where the instructor did that. She had her assistants scrub and scrub, made them dry the sink, emptied the wash tank and scrubbed it out, dried everything... The more they cleaned, the worse the dust got. I suspect that the scrubbing produced static charges. Drove her out of her mind. She made them scrub more, in a kind of cleaning frenzy. It got worse and worse. When I came, she complained that I wasn't adequately cleaning the darkroom. I just lidded the trays and always left a wash tray open full of water. The dust issues immediately became negligible, and all the enlargers are of the condenser type.

    If you wanted MORE dust it would work great to drop the humidity and rub your negatives on the darkroom cat.
     
  4. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

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    Totally unscientific test procedure - but I think I have fewer dust issues when I use a De-Ioniser in the darkroom

    I find some days dust is worse than others and one the persistently dusty days is when I use the de-ioniser - which seems to improve matters

    I also agree with Bowzart that increased humidity reduces dust by reducing levels of static electricity.

    I occasionally need to clean all the inside surfaces of my condenser enlarger with a good quality natural (camel or sable or something) artists brush and a clean, much washed, damp linen tea towel – but I always do this at least 12hrs before printing through it.

    I find aerosol cans of “dust-off” to be useless – it simply redistributes the dust to new and hard to reach place

    Good luck

    Martin
     
  5. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I don't obsessively clean my darkroom, :tongue: and I just give each neg a wipe down with one of those orange anti-static cloths before putting it into the neg carrier and into the enlarger before printing. Those little orange cloths can go a long way to removing dust from a neg.
     
  6. manfromh

    manfromh Member

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    Thanks for the replies everyone!
    My darkroom is my bathroom, so getting it moister will not be a problem.
    I will also do some tests with that piece of glass.

    Matis
     
  7. jmal

    jmal Member

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    Sounds like you need to clean your negatives and take care in the future to dry them in a place that is as free of dust as possible.
     
  8. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    What are these cloths? Do they work better than my radioactive brush?
     
  9. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    Aw gee. My anti-static cloth is blue. Now I have to get an orange one to be complete.

    Seriously though. Poor dust contol is your enemy more than the enlarger. Humidity goes a long way in helping to contol the problem, but you do need a fairly clean environment in which to dry your negatives. Do you have a cat? Litter pan? Do you hang your negs to dry anywhere near where you do laundry?
     
  10. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    I neither. As long as the negative and paper are entirely
    clean and the lens reasonabley, I feel safe. Canned air is
    a big help. I've set my glass carrier aside in favor of an
    open type. The glass of a Omega B8 carrier is very
    nearly impossible to clean. Dan
     
  11. manfromh

    manfromh Member

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    I could say yes to all of those, though im not sure what a litter pan is.
    My negatives hang above the bath-tub. Laundry dries at the same place.
     
  12. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    Litter pan is where the cat does its business. The litter is usually some sort of clay and is very dusty. Laundry sheds a lot of lint, especially if you use a clothes dryer. I'm not surprised you have a dust problem.
     
  13. Kevin Caulfield

    Kevin Caulfield Subscriber

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    There is an Ilford orange cloth, which I think they call the Antistaticum.