Drums for 4x6 feet photopaper development?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by lhaumann, Sep 24, 2012.

  1. lhaumann

    lhaumann Member

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    Good day to you,

    Does any of you develop darkroom (silver) photos size 4 or 5 feet by 6 or 7 feet??
    If so, I would be happy to know, in which containers you do development, stopbath and fixing?

    I have bought a couple of rolls of paper (one Ilford 300 Art, looking especially forward to that), and have the idea to find suitable PVC- or other tubes, diameter one to two feet and length 7 feet or so, and make bottom and lid. Like an overgrown Jobo tube that you roll on the flor while you whistle a little tune.

    I would prefer to keep the smell inside a container rather than using the roling forth and back method in open halftube.

    I guess handling this large surface is not practical when it has become soaked, so it will have to stay sticked to the tubes inner surface while changing to stopbath and fixer and first wash. Could this be a problem? Seemes to go well in Jobo drums for smaller formats. If I find nice and not too heavy tubes, I have the idea of an additional thin flexible but still stiff sheet the size of the photopaper, "glue" (with water) paper to sheet and then move it between three tubes, each still with only a few liters of liquid.

    --- Or do you simply have the space for large brickbuild or whatever tanks? --- or maybe enormous flat sinks with covering lids??

    Looking forward to learn of your experiences - regards from danish analog fan, hmm new user name maybe, Danealog
     
  2. BMbikerider

    BMbikerider Member

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    I have heard that extra large sheets such as you are suggesting were developed by using a paint roller dipped in the developer and the developer allowed to work until there was no more activity. The same was then done with stop bath and the fixer. Needless to say this required a large room with a stone floor and facilities to hose the print down afterwards. It seems a monumental task and not one I would care to undertake.

    Alternatively, you could make large shallow dishes out of thin plywood (you would not need to be a qualified carpenter) and line it with sheets of polythene (waterproof tape any seems). That would not be too expensive and eminently more practical than the roller method.
     
  3. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    B&W chems don't smell too awfully bad, actually some have almost or no smell at all. I have done a couple of large prints in a home made trough. I used plastic sheeting for a liner and a removable dam at one end to drain chems. I haven't tried the paint roller trick, but that sounds interresting. Either method, you'll find yourself busier than a one armed paper hanger.
     
  4. wildbill

    wildbill Member

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  5. AndreasT

    AndreasT Member

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    You mean 4x5 feet, that would be about 120x150cm right. Metric system over here.
    I problem with making a drum and put the paper inside is that when the paper gets wet and soaks up liquid it gets heavy and collapses into iself.
    Besides the drums would be gigantic and you would need to build a new house for them.
    I have made numerous prints ranging up to the size of about 140x280cm, being about 4,7x9 feet.
    I developed them in long drays about 150x50x20cm large and rolled the print. There is also a rolling device made by Deville to develope such large pictures.
     
  6. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    I pretty much agree with this, I would be worried that the print would collapse upon itself.


    I use very large trays specially built for my darkroom to make big prints.
    You also can make large holding tanks 55 inches x 2ft x 1ft depth and scroll your prints by hand, you need to leave a border for handling , but we do this all the time with
    fibre paper.. In our case 30 inch x 12ft pieces of paper with no issues , but I see no issue with 50 inch x 12 ft prints.

    We do this for ganged up images that are printed on our lambda , then in a monster tray we cut down the individual images for post treatment.
    There are other labs that use a roller transport for this purpose, but we prefer the hand prints.. We have been doing this since 2002,
    I learned to scroll prints back in the 80's . Made some murals on the weekend on the new Art 300 paper and for sure this paper would collapse in a tube.



     
  7. frotog

    frotog Member

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    Mural-making technique has been thoroughly discussed on this forum. Search under "mural" or "large print" and you'll find a bunch of info. To summarize, there are a number of different techniques ranging from sponging chemistry across the sheet of paper to attempting development in tubes a la Jobo, as you've suggested. I've made over a thousand b/w fiber murals in the past twenty-five years and my preferred technique is very similar to Bob's except with some minor differences (e.g. I use just two trays and much less chem. per bath than Bob). The salient point is this - scrolling is essential to repeatable, exhibition quality results. Trays should be at least four inches deep x 12 inches wide. Beveled sides will make scrolling easier. Less chemistry (mine is only an inch deep) means less drag, faster scrolls, and less liquid weight in the ctr. of the scroll to cause crimping when removing from the bath. The cylinder of the scroll is what gives the sheet of paper structural integrity and thus provides a method to make a crimp-free, evenly developed print.
     
  8. Jeff Searust

    Jeff Searust Member

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    Going to pass on a secret I learned a few years back about doing large paper...

    1---light does not go around corners.
    2---night-time is dark

    I was able to do some larger stuff in the backyard by rigging up clotheslines that I hung blankets on-- the top of my developing space was bare sky. On a moonless clear night I was able to develop paper just fine outside. While mine were more poster sized, I had built a "tray" on the ground with 2x4s and covered with plastic. I used paint brushes to slosh developer on the paper and then just hosed it down to stop. Fix was about the same as developer with maybe a 6 quarts of fix used in total and then just washed off with the hose. Most of the chemistry was collected at the end of each process with sponges.
     
  9. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Makes sense to me , unique way of getting around a somewhat expensive process.

    QUOTE=Jeff Searust;1398346]Going to pass on a secret I learned a few years back about doing large paper...

    1---light does not go around corners.
    2---night-time is dark

    I was able to do some larger stuff in the backyard by rigging up clotheslines that I hung blankets on-- the top of my developing space was bare sky. On a moonless clear night I was able to develop paper just fine outside. While mine were more poster sized, I had built a "tray" on the ground with 2x4s and covered with plastic. I used paint brushes to slosh developer on the paper and then just hosed it down to stop. Fix was about the same as developer with maybe a 6 quarts of fix used in total and then just washed off with the hose. Most of the chemistry was collected at the end of each process with sponges.[/QUOTE]
     
  10. lhaumann

    lhaumann Member

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    Thank you

    Thank you all for comments and advices,
    and not the least, warnings on the behavior of wet FB paper in large sizes. Saved me from hospitals closed area following struggles with sqaremeters of wet paper entangling me like a Python.
    I appreciate your infomation on your experiences with different methods of rolling, scrolling, swamping and others methods of development and practical advices on the building of devices. And your references, hereamong to a 100 years old instruction, fascinating thought.
    So, to play it save for a beginning, I may start with scrolling in halftube trenches. Also, to take a beginners route, begin with smaller sizes to get the feeling of it, as well as learn of differences, if any, in shadow and highlight behavior between submerges tray development and more or less airexposed development. And then go on with the scale up.
    I look very much forward to this proces, and I have certainly written your advices and recommendations behind my ear, once again thank you very much.
     
  11. Ian C

    Ian C Member

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    The following is from The Basic Darkroom Book, Tom Grimm, 1978, Plume Books, New American Library, New York, London and Scarborough, Ontario (Canada)

    Pages 266-268, Making Photo Murals

    Here is the relevant passage on page 267:

    “You can buy processing tanks designed especially for large prints. One such product is the Maxwell Photo-Mural Tank, for processing prints up to 30 x 40 inches. These are available through camera stores, or you can write directly to,

    Maxwell Photo-Mural Tanks
    999 East Valley Blvd.
    Alhambra, California 91901


    Tanks like the Maxwell type are light-tight tubes with an apron. The photo paper is rolled up in the apron, which keeps the paper from sticking to itself and allows chemicals to cover its emulsion.”

    This company and its products no longer exist and I have never seen any such used tubes for sale. I have seen other even larger tubes for processing mural papers in darkroom books of the same era, usually the early to late 1970s.

    The Maxwell Photo-Mural Tubes are illustrated on page 99 of the November 1976 issue of Popular Mechanics in the article, “You Can Make Giant Prints at Home.” There is also a photo and general description of an automated CPI Deville mural processor. Additionally, there is a print-transport device called “The Big Dipper” and a simpler version called “The Little Dipper” for handling mural prints while processing.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=ou...AEwCA#v=onepage&q=maxwell photo-mural&f=false
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2012
  12. Greg Davis

    Greg Davis Member

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  13. lhaumann

    lhaumann Member

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    Closed grillstile for large prints?

    Thank you also Ian and Greg - inspirational and some topics to look for!

    I am wondering, if anybody has worked along the following lines:

    1. You secure each end of the FB paper between two thin rails of metal, PVS or something.

    2. Paper is laid around the OUTside of a cylinder/drum/tube of appropriate diameter, one to two feet according to paper format, so the rails allmost reach each other. These are then connected with rubber bands so the paper is only gently stretched. Of course, emulsion side outwards.

    3. The cylinder has a central axis and is now placed in a slightly larger halftube, with or without the other half as lid, the axis resting in slits in the end plates of the outer halftube. Developer poured in, and the paper now rotated like a chicken/pig/ox in a grill. Weight of inner drum addjusted to keep it down in the developer even when this is pressed up between paper and outer tube.

    4. Additionally, axis at each end can be liftet to get the paper out of developer. And while still slowly rotating, helper or motor, (so developer will not accumulate downwards along the same line across the paper) you can add slight modification to the proces with a cold or warm sponge with water or concentrated developer.

    5. Same outfit with appropriate modification for stop, fix, and wash.

    Sure will demand some floorspace, with that provided however, would seem to give good control of the proces.

    Could, with modifications, be scaled down as well, if someone likes closed tanks.

    So, as mrs. Wilberforce says to Alec Guiness in "The Ladykillers": 'That is such a nice thought, I wish someone has expressed it.' Meaning here, this has proberbly been done, have you heard of pro's and con's??
     
  14. frotog

    frotog Member

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    Perhaps you're over-thinking this? Other than being unmanageable and expensive, the contraption that you've suggested will undoubtedly crimp the print. Do yourself a favor and scroll - you don't even need to mail order a pool toy! If you already have the material, why not cut an 11" x 40" strip of the width of your roll, set up 11x14 inch trays and give it go with a test strip? You'll get the hang of it in five minutes after which these strange contraptions and extraneous bits of useless hardware will lose their magic bullet aura and suddenly appear as they really are - strange contraptions and extraneous bits of useless hardware.
     
  15. AndreasT

    AndreasT Member

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    You can basically develope large prints in small trays/troughs if you presoak the print in water which insures a more even developement.
    It is important to insure quick and even wetting of the print in the beginning otherwise you will get stripes. The problem with fastening paper onto something is that it will expand when soaking up water. about 3-4% in one direction. This will cause creasing on the paper if fastened too tightly on something when it is dry.
     
  16. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    You are basically describing , a Kodak K16 processor which we used in 1973 for processing colour prints.

    K16 - was a smooth smooth drum, it had a tray in front of the drum at waist height, which accepted the chemicals and when you lifted the chems fell
    into the wash out tray.
    Beside the drum system was a large tray with a large mesh and two metal snaps that would hold onto the drum system.
    by presoaking the exposed paper, and preheating all the chemicals all you did was turn on the timer and the drum rotation.
    lift up the hangers and mesh and put the print face down on the drum.. Yes face down.. pour in chem and time.. dump and pour in second chem and so on.

    Worked fantastic.

    Calumet basket system- I used this as well

    Calumet nitrogen basket system was a large mesh paper holder that had nitrogen burst on bottom( it had slots to put more than one print in at a time).. the tank holding the paper holder would have five ports where you insert the traveling paper holder into preheated chemical and water baths. the nitrogen burst would supply the agitation and you would move from tank to tank till you are finished.
    With two or more paper holders you would be able to do continuous runs. Finish one run , take out prints to dryer, dry basket , load new basket - process.

    These two systems were in my darkrooms at school and I used them for three years with wonderful results... the first hope RA4 roller transport
    processor was installed the year after I left, I never felt I was cheated by using the K 16 and Calumet methods.


    I liked using both methods, if I was setting up at home to do colour RA4 small I would use the K-16 method for sure , very compact and consistent.
    up to 16 x20 print size.
    For larger prints or more volumne I would use the Calumet Basket system.


    But for large murals you are suggesting I would make my life easy and use some of the methods described above.


     
  17. lhaumann

    lhaumann Member

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    How I did it.

    Thank you again for suggestions and comments - how time keeps comming - thought I would follow up in this old thread with my solution so far:

    Got cylindrical tanks/drums, 40 inches high, some 16" diameter for developer and fixer and some 20" diameter for rinse etc..

    Filled up 120l of developer (a mixed Soup of leftovers and new of many kinds) to a strenght of very approximately half recommended concentration, same with fixer. Stopbath 200l of water. Rinse 200l, hypo 120l and selenium toner 1:40 in 200l with a cylinder in center of tank.

    Cut Ilford Multigrade Warmtone FB 36"x56", enlarged 6x9cm negatives 16-18 times. Exposure was trial and error of the day.

    Rolled the paper gently up, sank it into dev. cylinder, stood with two long sticks and slowly carefully kept the paper in slow motion curling slowly around and it kept upright (36") all the time, 6-8 minutes. Less motion in further tanks.

    Made three pictures in a triptycon in a couple of copies - will try and find out how to add photos in a post, I have also one of me in the darkroom handling a print. Felt like one of the witches at Shakespeare.

    This was last autoom - kept dev. and fixer i the tanks with tight lids - dev. weaker but still active -removed some interesting fungi?? (black and white curly growth on fixer). This April I am going to partly renew dev. and fix and make some 34"x48" enlargement on Ilford Art300.

    So this is happy time of a retired/pensionist, greetings from Lars
     
  18. lhaumann

    lhaumann Member

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    Trying upload in connection with post above:

    Moerkekammer01.jpg P1040660.JPG

    Lars
     
  19. resummerfield

    resummerfield Subscriber

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    Thanks for the update!
     
  20. pbromaghin

    pbromaghin Subscriber

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    You're my new hero!
     
  21. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    A number of people have rigged up simple huge drums for developing color paper, and simply rolled them back and forth on a smooth surface, even a sidewalk. Even automated rotation devices for big drums would not be too difficult to build. The preferable material would be large diameter black irrigation pipe, not concrete fill tubes. Finding a true irrigation supplier where you live might be difficult. I don't know. True industrial pipe suppliers also carry these kinds of things or can get them. But the bigger problem will be trying to keep fiber-based paper
    from collapsing inside the tube once it gets wet. It's not like RC color or black and white papers in this respect.
     
  22. MartinP

    MartinP Member

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    Wonderful results! When you are re-using the chemistry it will be easy to see if the developer gives you the contrast you saw before, but be very careful of the fixer as the chemical activity is much harder to check and it would be a great pity if your prints went yellow or purple in five years because of not-so-fresh fixer.
     
  23. frotog

    frotog Member

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    31 gallons of developer!!!??? That's pretty impressive use of chemistry, albeit completely unnecessary.

    With a three inch deep trough using the scrolling technique I use 1 gallon per print. And since it's a one shot, results are repeatable - a crucial criterium for any printing process if you plan to do it well.

    What do you plan to do with all the leftover chem?
     
  24. lhaumann

    lhaumann Member

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    How to get on

    Thank you for shoulder clap and comments.
    Many questions and ideas arise, when you experiment in new ways (new for me at least):

    The dev. and fix have by now lived 3/4 of a year in their tanks - I intend to keep them for months to come as "base" solutions , for me actually the developer is turning into old wine (though not for intake). Before putting in the Art300 I intend to add about a gallon of concentrated dev. and fix each.
    When (if) they go out, it will be, like 31 (27?) portions of one gallon, to our official "Environmental Chemical"'s destruction.

    I do this, as 1) I'm a curious and experimental person, 2) People entering my wet darkroom claim they can smell no chemicals, and with a "the-ventilation-thing-above-a-stove" I hardly smell a thing neither during the proces, 3) I like the feeling of following the development - for this I try to find some thin flexibel but hard sheets, same size as the prints, to go behind the prints into the solutions. Thus I can skip the two long sticks, AND center the smaller cylinder filled with water, into the larger ones, reducing the dev. and fix to 16 gallons each.

    As a more planned and exact line of work I am now trying to take up Zone System for the negatives - this is connected to the moving up from 120 rollfilm to 8"x10" - this is another forum though, as is my several questions on chemistry.

    Now that spring is just around the corner, I wish you a happy new year, Lars.