Gas / Nitrogen Burst Development?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Jeff Bannow, Aug 2, 2012.

  1. Jeff Bannow

    Jeff Bannow Member

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    I'm surprised to find not a lot of talk in the archives about this topic. I was looking at the Alistair Inglis gas burst system, which as I understand it Michael Kadillak helped to design.

    Anyone have experience with this or other gas burst systems? I'm considering such a system for 120 and 4x5, and am curious to hear people's opinions.

    Also, I understand that there's a View Camera article on the subject - any idea what issue and where I can find a copy? Also looking for "Gaseous-Burst Agitation in Processing," Kodak Pamphlet No. E-57.
     
  2. wildbill

    wildbill Member

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    I don't know much about it but I believe it requires a LOT of chemistry (think replenishment) and would be more suitable for a lab that processes large quantities of film on a daily basis. That may be why you're aren't finding search results.

    You're crazy.
     
  3. Jeff Bannow

    Jeff Bannow Member

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    I've heard that, but it looks like this system is scaled down for more reasonable amounts. Not sure though - definitely something I'll need to check into.
     
  4. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Jeff:

    I haven't dealt with him directly, but I know a few who have, and they've indicated to me that Alistair is very approachable.

    He lives and works up near my end of the world, so I've been trying to find an excuse to go visit him :smile:.
     
  5. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    Hi Jeff,

    I've toyed with this idea in the past as well.

    When I do sheet film in hangers in deep tanks I have no problem at all with streaking or non-uniform skies. But the negative edges are always compromised. There is no real way around that when using hand agitation to physically lift and lower the loaded hangers through the developer. I've always just considered the compromised edges to be a sort of de facto LF film rebate where the final image itself resides inside of those edges.

    But I have wondered if keeping the hangers stationary and using gaseous burst agitiation to move the developer instead might somewhat mitigate the effect.

    Another consideration (for me) is the probable need to leave the equipment set up full time. Don't know if that's a design requirement. But I have a small—albeit well-equipped—darkroom where every cubic centimeter is allocated. Everything has a place where it lives, and back to which it MUST be returned after use, or there will be no room to do anything else. That's also why replenishment is not feasible for me. Can't really leave the stuff set up permanently.

    Ken
     
  6. Jeff Bannow

    Jeff Bannow Member

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    Space isn't as much of a concern for me, although I would need to remove the unit out of my sink when not being used. I could keep a tank and hose mounted though.
     
  7. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Jeff

    nitrogen burst is used for larger deep tank machines like Refremas .. There is an exacting science/engineering proceedure to make sure when sheet film is clipped the development is
    even across the film . This is very , very hard to do and the best labs spend $$$$$ making this happen.
    For a smaller tank it would be adequate but not precision development.
    For small tank development which I use for my solarization work I use the Kodak method of hand agitation. Which works very well if you are patient and repeatable in your steps.

    I see no reason to use nitrogen burst for your application, when hand agitation will work very well. I think you will find uneven development issues.


    Bob
    QUOTE=Jeff Bannow;1375247]Space isn't as much of a concern for me, although I would need to remove the unit out of my sink when not being used. I could keep a tank and hose mounted though.[/QUOTE]
     
  8. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Jeff;

    Gas burst can be used with any size tank and thus it can be used with any volume of solution.

    The limiting factor is the size of the sparger that goes into your tank. It must be designed to fit the tank and to move between tanks. Or, you need multiple spargers, one for each tank.

    You need 3 things; the sparger(s), a timer with solenoid valve, and a nitrogen tank with pressure reducer and tubing.

    I have used this system extensively from small tanks to huge 16x20 tanks in our Calumet processor. They are great for uniformity and high quality. The system also pushes CO2 and O2 out of the process solutions and IMHO it thus prolongs their life.

    I love the Nitrogen burst system!! With proper design, you could even use it with reels. I have also seen dark lids for the tanks that fit over spargers so that you can work in the light to a certain extent.

    PE
     
  9. CGW

    CGW Member

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    Isn't this just a miniaturization of the big Refrema processors' burst system?
     
  10. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Don't be lazy, agitatate the film clips by hand.
     
  11. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    The Refremas are in a complete league of their own. Terry Khan spent his whole career going from lab to lab in NA and beyond adjusting the burst systems to get even flow.
    ND tests would be done on E6 film , basically neutral lit gray backgrounds and then processed on a full rack which would hold 6-10 4x5 at a time.
    Terry's drill would be to evenly match the density on four corners , middle , top and bottom.
    Colourgenics in Toronto would bring him in for tune ups on their machine and were cherished by commercial shooters who needed even and consistent development.
    The burst was adjusted top to bottom side to side to even out the agitation in the larger tank.
    Burst from the bottom in smaller tanks only will agitate the film but certainly not even as suggested by some here.


     
  12. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    Would it be reasonable to only introduce burst agitiation into the developer tank for uniformity? Then simply use regular hand agitiation techniques for the remaining solutions? If so, then there might be a simpler path open for some type of a DIY solution. This is something I've also mulled over for my 6-hanger, 1-gallon, 4-tank system.

    Ken
     
  13. CGW

    CGW Member

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    Probably should have said "attempted miniaturization." As pro labs fade, we'll probably see more of these, though with demand slipping, I'm not sensing it becoming a growth industry.
     
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  15. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Kodak released a complete nitrogen burst system in the '50s along with the new color paper processes. It was in use in-house at EK for years before that.

    So, regarding Refrema, which came first? IDK. Kodak sold several sizes.

    They also introduced the Saran basket at that time, for processing sheet film and paper.

    PE
     
  16. dlarson

    dlarson Member

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    Jeff the View Camera Magazine Article on Gas Burst Agitation was in the May/June 2007 issue. I have the Kodak E57 publication that I received from Michael Kadillak he was very helpful, let me know if you need it.

    I had three Arkay one gallon stainless tanks with floating lids that I wanted to use. I contacted Alistair Inglis about using one of his plenums in these tanks but it was the wrong size. California Stainless makes a one gallon Gas Burst System with exactly the same sized tank. I called them and although their plenums are made to be installed in their tanks they made one for me with a 90 degree elbow and hose attached. I installed the plenum at the bottom of an arkay rack that can be moved from tank to tank. Works great. You could just buy one of the Cal Stainless one gallon tanks/plenum and do the stop and fix manually. Finding the burst timer other than Inglis or Cal Stainless is becoming difficult. For the timer I found an Arkay BT210 on ebay and later found another Kodak Burst timer there.

    At first I was using Xtol replenished and this worked very well but I didn't feel that I was developing enough film through it to maintain a steady state. I now use Pyrocat HD 1:1:100 and I also do semi-stand 1:1.5:150 and Nitrogen Burst works great for all of it.

    Hope this helps

    Dave
     
  17. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    Great post, Dave!

    Lots of good information. For those interested, here's the California Stainless Manufacturing site. Lots of great darkroom equipment. And here's a page describing their gaseous burst hardware (no prices, though). Their timer is shown at the bottom of the page, along with a mention of their one-gallon plenum.

    And somewhat off-topic, but probably also worthy of mention, for everyone who thought that low pressure sodium vapor darkroom safelight illumination went extinct with the Thomas Duplex, here's their OC-1012 Sodium Vapor Safelight - a similar-design look-alike of the Duplex.

    I may look into that ready-made Arkay-compatible one-gallon gaseous burst tank you mentioned.

    Thanks, Dave.

    Ken
     
  18. eclarke

    eclarke Member

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    I have an Arkay E6 sink which has a complete nitrogen burst setup. Like Vinny said, it takes a lot of chemistry and my Jobo and stand development routines work so well that I never use the burst system..Evan
     
  19. Jeff Bannow

    Jeff Bannow Member

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    Looks like the Inglis system uses a lot less chemistry - I'm guessing around 1 liter for 6 sheets, but I emailed him to verify that.
     
  20. Greg Davis

    Greg Davis Member

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    Dave, could you scan the E-57 document and attach it here as a .pdf? That would let everyone get a copy without having to send separate emails.
     
  21. Jeff Bannow

    Jeff Bannow Member

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    Just verified - under 2 liters for 6 4x5.
     
  22. jbrianfoto

    jbrianfoto Member

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    Hi Jeff,

    I've been processing with nitrogen now for about 6 months in a 3.5 gallon tank and have had great results. There are some tweaks necessary - for one, I use a roll film rack that will hold 30 rolls, but the bottom course of film won't develop well, so I insert a course of 120 reels in the bottom to take up some space and that took care of everything.

    My Gralab is the timer which provides power to a Ted Pella gas burst interval timer. It is nice to set the total time, switch out the lights and then submerge my film (sheet or rolls) and start the timer. I just sit there in the dark and listen to the gas turn on and off.

    I process in HC-110 dil B at 75 degrees - I use a refurbished Calumet temperature regulator/recirculation unit to keep the chems spot on. I have noticed that the gas-burst makes the HC-110 foam up (like a beer), it doesn't seem to have a negative effect on the film, just something I noticed.

    My burst/interval timer has two sides, so you can switch from nitrogen to oxygen - which is useful if you want to use oxygen burst to agitate the fixer (fixer does not oxidize like developer).

    Read the Kodak pamphlet very carefully and obey all their recommendations. They specify that the gas plenum holes must point downward and that it must be ½ inch up from the bottom. When I got my Arkay tank/plenum in the mail - the plenum was installed wrong. Also, the interval they recommend is 1 second of burst every 10 seconds. I started out doing 2 seconds every 10 which used up my nitro twice as fast.

    Michael Kadillak helped me A LOT in setting set up and was very cool about answering all my questions. He hangs out around here so he should be pretty easy to find.

    Good luck and enjoy yourself !

    Jeromie

    www.BlueGrassHarvest.com
     
  23. Jeff Bannow

    Jeff Bannow Member

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    Thanks for the info! Very useful, and glad to hear it is working well for you.

    I'll be pouring over the Kodak doc, and looking for the View Camera issue as well.
     
  24. Nikonic

    Nikonic Member

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    Four year old thread, back to life.

    PE, or anyone: how does one go about properly designing a nitrogen burst system to work with reels?

    What about a system intended for developing reels needs to be different than one meant for sheet film?

    I'm particularly interested in using pyro—PMK if possible.

    Thanks-
    -N
     
  25. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Since reels are smaller than the 4x5 and 8x10 film the system was designed for, the uniformity would be suspect.

    What we used were spiral spargers with more holes and they fit the reels. That is the most I can remember and the best I can tell it.

    PE
     
  26. Nikonic

    Nikonic Member

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    Thanks PE.

    When you say "uniformity" do you mean the pattern of turbulence created by the bubbles is evenly distributed as it propagates up to the surface through the interstices between coils of film surfaces on a reel?

    If so (I couldn't find much on "spiral" spargers, let alone manufacturers), then I think that 4X circular spargers, like these, might work if the reels sat directly on top of them and their diameters were just larger than the diameter of the reel. Or, perhaps better, a plenum across the entire bottom of the tank outfitted with uniformly distributed holes more tightly packed than the 1/4" recommended by Kodak Technical, or a woven sparger mesh with a course gas distributor coil underneath, would do the trick.