DIY Stainless Steel Rods -advice?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by jordanstarr, Jan 23, 2012.

  1. jordanstarr

    jordanstarr Member

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    I've been to numerous hardware stores in Ontario and have yet to find a good source for what I'm looking for. I need to make 3-4 stainless steel reels to hold and develop 5 rolls in a dip n' dunk tank for film developing. I've bought ceiling wire, stainless steel wire, etc. all a thick enough gage to bend, but strong enough to hold 5 reels. Coat hangers don't work - I need something a little thicker. My problem is that after cleaning the metal of any oil, etc. it rusts the next day. If I don't clean it off, it leaves stuff on my film (I ran a test roll for the hell of it). I have one rod that is perfect and it came with some darkroom gear, but I can't seem to find the same stuff. It seems like a very easy task and I've worked at hardware stores for years, but I can't find anything as good as the original and designated stainless steel rods. Any advice out there? Anyone have extras that I could buy?
     
  2. bsdunek

    bsdunek Subscriber

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    Try a welding supply. My Wife uses stainless steel rods in 1/16 in. to 1/4 in. for lampworking, They are available art glass suppliers or welding suppliers.
     
  3. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    Heavy copper wire might also work.
     
  4. morel

    morel Member

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    I may be wrong about this, but I think that copper may interfere with the chemistry.
     
  5. mdarnton

    mdarnton Member

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    You're talking about a dip rod, right? The second sentence sounds like you're going to make some reels! It sounds like you're buying plain steel--you absolutely need to get stainless steel for this job.

    I just made a rod for my 2-reel tank yesterday. Stainless steel bicycle spoke: $1.08. I don't know if it would be long enough for 5 reels, though. Before I thought of that, I was going to sacrifice a SS barbecue skewer.If you go that way, make sure it's not just plain steel that's chrome coated.
     
  6. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    You might also try an auto parts store, hobby type shop or hardware store for stainless steel tubing. I know I've seen brass tubing at hardware stores here (not sure if brass will work). I've seen stainless steel at hobby shop.

    I was planning to make a dip rod for my Wat-air washer. I think I'll try the bicycle spoke idea.

    Even when buying stainless steel, the magnet test is useful. Low quality stainless steel will still stick to a magnet (higher quality ss won't).
     
  7. fotch

    fotch Member

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  8. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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  9. Marc B.

    Marc B. Member

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  10. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    I've bought from these folks; http://www.onlinemetals.com/ though, nothing for my darkroom so far.

    Also, all stainless is not the same, I have a stainless funnel that I got from a kitchen store, and it has a chronic rust spot after after a little DR use.
    The stainless drain assembly I had rusted hopelessly in about 1 year of DR use though the stainless sink has been fine. I replaced the drain with a plastic one from the big box home center.
     
  11. johnielvis

    johnielvis Member

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    why does it have to be rigid....just a long plastic ziptie???? something like that?...or you can get plastic rods I"m thinking.....pvc pipe!!!???
     
  12. George Collier

    George Collier Member

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    You can also use plastic (like pvc, or something similar) rods, available from plumbing or plastic suppliers. The rods are used for welding plastic pipe, etc when they don't want to, or can't glue. I made a dip rod with some gray plastic rod about 4mm - 5mm in diameter, for my 4 reel Kinderman tank, after the disk on the end of the one supplied broke off. I just used a heat gun to soften the rod, bending a 90 degree angle, then doubled it back. Has worked like a charm for 20 some years.
     
  13. ttok

    ttok Member

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    If you use stainless steel, you need the chemically resistant variety. This would be type 316, and NOT type 417 which rusts. Type 417 is what is used by sink manufacturers (other than Leedal and maybe others that make stuff that is resistant to darkroom chemicals.)

    A.T.
     
  14. Leigh B

    Leigh B Member

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    Stainless steel needs to be passivated to resist corrosion.

    - Leigh
     
  15. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    If you need a specific kind of material and size (and it sounds like you do) McMaster-Carr or Small Parts will usually have what you need. It will surely be more expensive than if you can find repurpose some household material, but they are a good sites to bookmark.
     
  16. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    Look for 304 over 316 if you can find it. I would consider calling a few Metal Supermarkets (that is indeed what they are called). Small quanity metal sales around the GTA.

    After that, consider sweet talking the local scrap yard, if you can (I used to, but that was some 30 years ago, and my dad sold and bought all sorts of scrap iron from a foundry he managed with them).
     
  17. jordanstarr

    jordanstarr Member

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    ....Lots of awesome info here...thanks guys. Looks like I have some phone calls and emails to make.
     
  18. jordanstarr

    jordanstarr Member

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    My technique requires it to be rigid with little bending. I raise up the rod with the reels at a 90 degree angle out of the tank and back in after draining. My method of agitation requires it.
     
  19. jordanstarr

    jordanstarr Member

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    Looked into it Mike....I think I found what I'm looking for (304 Stainless steel, .125 inch round?). But for 4 14inch pieces it was $16 (not bad), then $40 shipping (very bad), but I'll look into it locally as I just remembered there's metalworks just down the road from me. Do you know what the thickness would be for rods to hold 5 reels, but still be able to bend for an end piece and handle? I guessed at .114 (2.9mm) because it's a little thicker than a coat hanger (0.081 - 2mm), but .125 was the smallest I could order from www.metalsupermarkets.com in the GTA.
     
  20. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    Try McMaster. Or Amazon (they own Small Parts). They both have .125" 304 in 60-72" lengths for less than $8. Shipping shouldn't be too bad either. They also have 316 if you want that. And other size.
     
  21. jordanstarr

    jordanstarr Member

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    Amazon won't ship it and McMaster is requiring a credit card number before they even quote my shipping, which I don't agree with. But I appreciate the advice.
     
  22. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    Oh ok. I'm surprised Amazon won't ship...
     
  23. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Jordan is in Canada - some things they will ship here, while others ....
     
  24. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    Yeah, but I figured Amazon would ship. Guess I was wrong :smile:
     
  25. michaelbsc

    michaelbsc Member

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    I have dealt with McMaster quite a bit commercially. Personally I wouldn't worry about them requiring the account setup on the front end, but it isn't an international shipping issue for me, so that puts things in a very different perspective. You have to make your judgements based on your circumstances.

    MB