Faster setup ideas?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Markok765, Nov 22, 2007.

  1. Markok765

    Markok765 Member

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    I was looking for some suggestions from you guys on how to do a faster darkroom setup. I have to share the laundry room for my darkroom, so speed helps.
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Here's one I recently discovered: Set up a film tank line in a plastic storage bin. I've got one with three 5x7" tanks--Acufine/water rinse/TF-4--so at least when I want to process film in Acufine, I just pull it out of the closet, fill up the rinse tank and a separate wash tank, and I'm ready to go. I can put the lid of the bin on the sink and use it as a surface for film loading.
     
  3. Markok765

    Markok765 Member

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    Thanks David, but I'm looking for more of ideas for print making. I have all my film developing stuff [reels,tank, chemicals, beakers] on a shelf for film.
     
  4. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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    Hi Markok765,

    The biggest setup time improvement came when I was able to keep my enlarger "ready to go". I was fortunate to have a corner where it could live on it's own cabinet (a drawer unit purchased from the damaged goods section at the local home center). Even if you have to put rollers on the bottom of a cabinet and the push it into place the time (and effort) savings compared with digging the enlarger out of a closet will be huge. It only takes a few minutes to lay out trays and pour the chemicals.

    Good luck,

    Neal Wydra
     
  5. Markok765

    Markok765 Member

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    I takes me 2/ hour to take out enlarger, paper, paper cutter, lay down wooden board and put my trays on, mix chems, set up safelights, and generally get ready to print.
     
  6. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Looks like this is a thread that would be a good candidate for the darkroom construction forum.

    Steve
     
  7. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    My idea is not cheap but is ideal for a shared room. Try and get a Nova slot processor. It can sit in the laundry room, taking up very little space and is already filled with chems and if it is a thremostatically controlled one is constantly at the right temp. However if it's an indoor laundry room then the temp for B&W printing is probably about right. Check it with a thermometer and if it's about 20 degrees C or can be quickly brought up to that by a portable heater then the unheated Nova tanks are appreciably cheaper.

    pentaxuser
     
  8. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    I used to keep my enlarger on a rolling cart, and my chemicals and other gear on the lower shelves of the cart. That made it easy to roll it in and out of my bathroom. originally, I did everything on a rack I made to fit in the tub, but I got tired of that and splurged on a Nova slot processor, like Pentaxuser is talking about. That sat on the bottom shelf of my enlarger cart, and let me print up to 16x20" in a very small space. The Nova processor is quite expensive, and probably out of your budget range, Marko, but they do make smaller ones (you might be able to wheedle one out of your folks for Christmas, if you haven't already asked them for other big-ticket items). The best option for speeding up setup though is having your enlarger on a stand that can be wheeled in and out of the laundry room, and where it can live while in use. Also, if you streamline your setup procedure (have the trays grouped together, the chemical mixing graduates together, chemicals together, and everything clearly labeled) that will also help a lot. When you can get the setup process standardized so it becomes a reflex, you'll set up and break down much faster. It just takes a bit of discipline.
     
  9. Paul Green

    Paul Green Member

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    I agree with the idea of a Nova processor, I managed to find one on the second hand market(UK) pretty cheaply, add chemicals and your away.
     
  10. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Practice will help you find ways of making your situation more efficient.

    In my last space, I kept the enlarger on a typewriter table and rolled it over the commode.

    Fixer I always had mixed in advance, so I only had to mix developer for printing. I use a plain water rinse, rather than a stop.

    I mounted my timer and safelights in the bathroom, so they were ready to go, and I just had to plug in the enlarger.
     
  11. pschauss

    pschauss Member

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    As an alternative to the Nova processor you might consider a print drum and a roller drive. Such a setup takes up considerably less real estate than trays. I picked up a used 11x14 drum and drive recently on the classified section of one of the photo forums for $30 including shipping. The only downside is that you cannot see what your print looks like until it is completely processed.
     
  12. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I've looked into the Nova processors, and they make sense if you use replenishable chemistry. I usually develop in amidol, so I would have to do something like develop in a tray, and have another tray for water bath, then the Nova. I could see doing it if I had the space set up the right way.
     
  13. Markok765

    Markok765 Member

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    My setup is like your David, I just have to lift my enlarger onto the dryer. It still takes a while though.
     
  14. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

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    Some ideas:

    • You might get a stackable washer and dryer to free up some space for an enlarger table.
    • Keep the Nova and a print washer on a mobile cart.
    • Install retractable clotheslines for drying prints.
    • Install hinged, drop down shelves on the walls that can be lowered when needed.
    • Use one-shot chemistry, all liquids to minimize storage and speed up preparation.
    • Laundry rooms are dusty. I would paint with semigloss paint that can be wiped down and get rid of any carpet.
    • Install a solid core, steel exterior door which has a good light tight seal or use a black plastic curtain to seal out light.
    • Upgrade the lighting if needed so that you have appropriate task lighting.
    • A grease board (dry erase board) on the wall can be helpful for working notes
    • If you don't use a Nova, use single tray processing for prints.
     
  15. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    When I looked into the Nova, setting it up on a movable cart and using one-shot or one-session chemistry did not seem like good ideas. They don't recommend moving it, because it isn't built to withstand that kind of motion with all that liquid in there. Users I had asked reported that the valves are kind of slow and emptying it is something of a process, so it is meant to be used with replenishable chemistry. Part of the idea of the vertical processor is that you have less surface area exposed to the air to reduce oxidation. One of the attractions of the Nova, if it works for you, is that you can leave it there, and if you have a half hour to print, you can do something productive in that time without a lot of setup.
     
  16. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

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    I agree. I meant for negative processing. However, if you have the Nova on a solid cart with good caster, you can slowly move it while loaded (even with a loaded print washer side-by-side). To a degree, I think that is safer than lifting it manually and moving it around.