DIY print washer

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Gary Holliday, May 10, 2008.

  1. Gary Holliday

    Gary Holliday Member

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    I saw a post on the darkroom portrait thread page 60 describing a home made print washer and though I might try something similar.

    I don't want anything too complicated or expensive so was going to start with a deep plastic storage tub and a hose from a garden centre etc. My main question is how do you stop the tub from leaking when you drill a hole on the side for the pipe?
     
  2. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    Silicon adhesive available at an aquarium supply?
     
  3. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    I used a large plastic bussing tray - the kind of bin that is used to schlep used crockery back to the kitchen in a restaurant for washing. I bought it at a restaurant supply house - it was a lot less expensive than a similarly-sized plastic bin from an ordinary department store.

    I made the inlet using CPVC plastic water pipe - the rigid plastic material that is certified for supply-side use in some jurisdictions in the US. I had some pipe left over from a bathroom construction project, and simply bought some fittings (and ''glue' used to solvent-weld the material. I constructed a pipe rectangle that fit against the wall of the plastic bin with an inlet fitting at the top. Drilled small holes in the pipe at intervals along the rectangle at irregular angles so that the water flow would be more random.

    The inlet array was attached to the side of the bin using pipe clamps attached with self-tapping screws. As noted below, I planned to use my washer in a sink, so I wasn't concerned about incidental spillage.

    The other issue is how the water exits the washer. The key point there is how it will be used - I had the advantage of a large, deep laundry sink outside the darkroom so all I had to do was drill an array of holes in the side of the bin opposite to the side where I attached my rectangular inlet array. Of course, if you plan to use the washer on a counter top, you need to provide some kind of siphon arrangement rather than just spill greywater over the side.
     
  4. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    You may be able to find some kind of bulkhead fitting used by plumbers to connect to cisterns/water tanks in a local DIY store.

    Bob.
     
  5. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    Exactly, except you don't need to get the expensive aquarium supply stuff. The bathroom silicone caulk available at the hardware store is as good and half the price. The silicone sold in aquarium stores is minus an additive that retards the growth of mildew because it can harm fish and plants. That's not an issue here, and as long as you don't eat the stuff...
     
  6. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    They are called tank connectors. Available to fit 15mm and 22mm copper pipe for water supply and for 3/4" plastic overflow pipe.

    They shouldn't need any supplementary sealing (silicon) as they are not working at full mains water pressure.

    Steve.
     
  7. Gary Holliday

    Gary Holliday Member

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    OK thanks for the help so far, I've got the plumbing worked out. I even considered a garden hose sprinkler system at the bottom to help with water distribution.

    Now I need to get the rack sorted for the prints.

    I can purchase some Perspex/ Acrylic A3 sheets, now I've got to think of a way to make a rack and attach the sheets to the tank. The easy option is dropping in a Paterson drying rack but I want something a bit better than that.
     
  8. r-brian

    r-brian Member

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    Another source for fittings is a marine supply store. They make all kinds of thru-hull fittings for boats. That way you you can have a permanent fitting thru the tank instead of a hose glued into a hole.
     
  9. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

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  10. bsdunek

    bsdunek Subscriber

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    It should be noted that the water needs to exit from the bottom of the tank, as hypo laiden water is heavier. Otherwise the hypo will stay on the bottom. This means a fitting at the bottom of a side, with a pipe/hose coming up to where you want the water level to be.
    Just my .02 worth.
     
  11. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    Theoretically yes. In practice, with water moving all over the place mixing things up, it's just sales hype.
     
  12. Gary Holliday

    Gary Holliday Member

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    Well these folk were kind enough to post detailed assembly instructions so I've been trying to source all the spare parts. I'm thinking that styrene separators are going to be too flimsy so will probably go with A3 sheets of acrylic or a similar plastic.

    The WaterSaver washer mentioned above looks very simple with just a plastic pipe sawed to allow the separators to slot in.

    I'm probably wasting my time with all this, so far I've got a deep DIY storage tub for £6, a Paterson rubber tap hose stolen from a print washer with a Paterson drying rack sitting on the bottom of the tub! Could it be any more complicated?!! :smile:

    If you would like me to sell you a version, please send £400 and I'll spin some marketing crap with proven science in a pdf :smile:



    http://www.versalab.com/server/photo/common/files/1620 instruct. drawings.pdf

    http://www.versalab.com/server/photo/products/washbig2.htm

    http://www.versalab.com/server/photo/products/basket assembly.html

    http://www.versalab.com/server/photo/products/washbig1.htm

    http://www.versalab.com/server/photo/common/files/1620 PW instruct rev7.pdf
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 15, 2008
  13. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    Hmmmm. I spot another project for the CNC router I have at work!


    Steve.
     
  14. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    Good pointer. Presents the flip side of using lots of water.
    I concur entirely with the Fred Picker quote: " No Running
    Water, No Agitation! Archival Washing Requires Time, Clean
    Water, and Print Separation.

    My adaptation is the alternate two tray wash using separators.
    Some thing of a horizontal slot washer. Hold and soak tray
    included, throughout the last over night wash the prints
    are held separate using non-woven polyester sheets.

    Three changes of water will do if a post fix routine
    of rinse, hypo clear, rinse, hold is followed. Very
    little water and no plumbing needed. Dan