Dust in the darkroom!

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by darinwc, Mar 18, 2009.

  1. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    I keep my enlargers covered in plastic so they wont collect dust.. but then when I remove the plastic the dust goes everywhere!
    Any advice?
     
  2. John Bragg

    John Bragg Member

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    I cover mine with a large black dustbin sack. When it gets dusty I replace it with a new one and use the old one as a dustbin sack....... Recycle !!!!!!!
     
  3. Slixtiesix

    Slixtiesix Subscriber

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    Yes, dust is a real plague in the darkroom. The only method to get rid of it is to clean all the tables, boards, the floor and the enlarger with a damp cloth every time one uses the darkroom. uh! But after this the joy for darkroom work almost is gone....so I don´t do this myself ;-)
    Maybe you could wet the table around the enlarger before removing the plastic, then the dust will stick to the surface of the table and can easily be removed.
    I always do this before spooling film in the tanks to avoid dust on the negatives and it works fine.
    Then clean the enlarger with a damp cloth. This should solve the problem.
    Greetz, Benjamin
     
  4. Marco B

    Marco B Member

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    Vacuum cleaner...

    And the most important attribute of all: a Kenair Air Duster canister, since I started using these to clean up my negatives and holders just before printing, I can print at least 80-90% of my prints dust free. The valve / ventilation system of these canisters is excellent. Many other types don't give a strong air flow when the canister is halve empty, not so with these, you can use the canister right up to the point where it's almost empty.

    Of course, if you have the money and space for a compressed air system, that is even better...
     
  5. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Subscriber

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    Wirelessly posted (BlackBerry9000/4.6.0.167 Profile/MIDP-2.0 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/102 UP.Link/6.3.0.0.0)

    90 % of hosuehold dust is form us. Dry skin. Perhaps moisturize exposed skin and a cap of some sort before starting. And don't forget to scrub those hands.
     
  6. Michael Wilder

    Michael Wilder Member

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    Suggestion: Get a HEPA room filter (Honeywell or Kenmore - I have both) and leave it running in the darkroom on low 24/7 - it works.
     
  7. Peter Markowski

    Peter Markowski Member

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    In addition to vacuuming I have mounted a small dust collection unit by the enlarger. The unit has a high and low setting which I have it running the night before I get into the darkroom. It picks up some small particles very well and what it misses at least it give the air flow away from the enlarger and neg carrier slot. This is as quoted from the manufacture "The two-stage filter (one foam pre-filter, one electrostatic unwoven polypropylene) removes 93% of dust particles as small as 5 microns, and 84% at 1 micron". Portable Dust Filter System Model #AB260 Retailed through Lee Valley.. It seems to have helped me in our very dry winter months.


    P1020312.jpg

    Peter
     
  8. bsdunek

    bsdunek Subscriber

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    A darkroom needs to be sealed up with filtered air flow. I have a warm air vent with an extra filter in it which is the only air inlet to the room. Before printing I wipe down all surfaces with a damp cloth. I also have a dedicated little vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter to use before printing.
    It's amazing how much dirt and dust get in there even with the door closed.
    Also - NO PETS in the darkroom is the rule. I love my Reilly but he's not allowed in the darkroom.
    Finally, I use a anti-static cloth on each negative just before placing in the enlarger. That said, I still have trouble in the winter when the air is dry. I would think Sacramento would have less on that account. Good luck and keep your spotting dyes at hand.
     
  9. waileong

    waileong Member

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    Certain types of negative material tends to attract more dust. Tmax 100 for example, whereas FP4+/HP5+ does not. Why is that?

    My problem is not dust but spots on the negative. Why do these things always happen on the most important parts of the neg?
     
  10. Konical

    Konical Subscriber

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    Good Morning,

    In general, I think that the environment plays a bigger part than the type of film. I can't comment on FP4+/FP5+ since I don't use them, but the film I use the most, T-Max 100, has never caused me the slightest problem with dust.

    Konical
     
  11. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    Thank you I think I have some ideas.

    I am going to look for a room filter/air cleaning system. I wont leave it on 24/7 but I can uncover the equipment and let it run the day before I print. I can replace the bags I use to cover everything.
     
  12. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    This is what I have, but I run it on a plug in timer, and it runs at night. Works well.
     
  13. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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  15. Ronald Moravec

    Ronald Moravec Member

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    Plastic will work, but a laundry bag is better. A bag is about the easiest sewing project there is. Seal with a spring clothes pin

    A sealed clean darkroom with water and air filters and glass storage bottles will go 99% of the way to not having to spot prints. Never reuse film chemicals.
     
  16. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    "A sealed clean darkroom..."

    Unfortunately my darkroom is my garage and it shares all the other junk.
     
  17. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    My take: as long as the negative and paper when ready to print
    are clean I'm OK. I do a general clean up perhaps at 3 or 4 month
    intervals along with some little disturbing of the dust in between
    letting it settle other than on work surfaces.

    I keep a bath towel over the enlarger. The towel is gently
    lifted off when ready to work. The fabric will hold the
    dust better than plastic. Dan
     
  18. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

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    I damp/wet dust my darkroom at least an hour before I start printing

    Make sure the cloth or paper towl you are using is really damp - that way the dust sticks to the duster and is not launched into the air

    Of course its not 100% effective but it is pretty good.

    Martin
     
  19. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    Well I finally made it into the darkroom last night. I uncovered everything and wiped down all surfaces with a towel.
    i dont have an air filter yet, but i gave the room a few hours to settle.

    I also have some sort of industrial ionizing fan.. not sure how well it works but it doesnt hurt.

    I printed some 4x5's and I didnt seem to have any problems with dust.
     
  20. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

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    Other thoughts:

    • Humidity helps. Fill up your print washer, open trays, etc.
    • If you use a wall mounted vacuum, vent the unit outside the house, or at least into an adjacent room so that any dust not trapped by the filters is removed from the area.
    • Used compressed air to blow dust out of the enlarger bellows.
    • Don't have any carpet or rugs in the darkroom.
    • Be careful about your towels which are really big wads of aggregated dust. I prefer flour sack towels.
    • Be careful about your clothes. Some can generate static and attract dust. Don't wear a terry cloth leisure suit.
    • Exposed wood beams on the ceiling can be a problem. Seal up the ceiling if necessary.
    • Don't use kleenex, paper towels, toilet paper, or any other similar product in the darkroom.
     
  21. Kilgallb

    Kilgallb Subscriber

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    I solved a lot of issues by:

    Don't put the garbage can inside the darkroom. Store refuse in a temporary pail as you work and dispose of immediately after you finish the printing session.

    When loading film, use an antistatic mat like used in electronics labs. Take a drink of water before you open the film box. Wear a hair net.
     
  22. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

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    Jerold, you have found problems with paper towls giving you dust?

    Martin
     
  23. domaz

    domaz Member

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    Paper towels shed a dust like mad when you rub them on anything. The cheaper the paper towels the worse they are. Kleenexes are even worse as they seem to have a linty surface.
     
  24. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

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    Just hold some paper towels up to sunlight or a lamp and pull two sheets apart. I have allergies so I pay attention to these things. But for allergies I will just sneeze. For darkroom work the results are worse. As noted, Kleenex is even worse. Blow your nose on a sunny day and you will see the dust bomb. The flour sack towels I mentioned are much better, cheap, and re-usable.
     
  25. PhilipRingler

    PhilipRingler Member

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    best way to tame the dust in a darkroom is to mop the floor. The moisture helps limit the amount of dry dust that collects as well as the static electricity.
     
  26. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

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    Thanks Jerold :smile:

    I'll change away from paper towels straight away

    Martin