Help with darkroom Minimums

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by CPorter, Jan 17, 2005.

  1. CPorter

    CPorter Member

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    Hi all,

    I am putting together plans for turning a small bedroom in our house (roughly 10ft. x 10ft.) into a quasi dedicated darkroom. By that I mean that it will be a permanent darkroom on a daily basis and have no other function, but in the event that i sell this house, it will be relatively easy for me to to convert it back to a functioning bedroom. The plans go like this: both hot and cold water lines will be installed (exposed) coming up through the floor and secured to the wall, the drain will run from the sink through the floor and tied into the drain line in the crawl space (this room is adjacent to the the bathroom). The sink that I feel will do the job is a Delta Sink&Wash Well II model ($249.00); it is of ABS Plastic construction and can be viewed at B&H, I will also be getting the stand and shelf for the sink. I like the idea of the wash well, when I get a dedicated darkroom I intend to graduate to fiber based papers since I will no longer have time restraints due to operating in the kitchen. It seems that that the whole unit can be easily removed if needed. The plumbing can be easily removed and any holes plugged. Plans are to install an exhaust fan in the ceiling with ductwork to carry the exhaust fumes through the attic and on through to a roof vent.

    Now, things I am uncertain about and require some advice; I go bonkers trying to input all the differences between the various types and models of such things:

    -what is an adequate water temperature control device that may be a minimum, but will get the job done effectively?

    -the same type of question for a filtration setup that will get the job done and not cost an arm and a leg

    -I have been reading about vacuum breakers, is this necessary and at what position in the plumbing sequence is attached? I have looked at Delta Eco vacuum breaker with fittings also on B&H ($33.00)

    The dark room will layout easily with a "wet side" and a "dry side" and I have included a rouch sketch of the floor plan. The dryside counter top will be modular to facilitate easy removal. I would appreciate any comments if you think I have forgotten something in any of the plans that I have mentioned above.

    Many thanks,
    Chuck
     

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  2. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    Darkroom

    Chuck-some of this stuff has been discussed in other threads, Regardless of what other experts say I use a dual faucet Leedal and its worked 100% for about 20 years now. It might cost alot but after 20 years you think I got my money back yet? I have never had any neccessity for an inline water valve. Let your plumber tell you. Lastly-anyone can make great sink out of marine plywood and marine paint. Caulk the sides and buy the $30/gallon stuff from interlux or one of the other top marine paint mfg'rs. Take that money and buy paper because now you'l be using alot of it. Most of all have a great time regardless how you put it together-that's what counts most!
     
  3. mikewhi

    mikewhi Member

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    I second the motion on the sink. I made one out of simple plywood as stated and I got a huge sink for relatively little money. Dirt simple to make, too. I addeed a touch where I had a large sheet of plywood ripped and I put a piano hinge on the sink backboard and this piece of wood and it served as a large lid. I could raise it to use as a sink and lower it to use the sink as a large table top for JOBO, etc.


    Also, I like to have my enlarger close to the developer tray to minimize the amount of walking to the developer. I might change the arrangement so the enlarger is close to the developer and the print washer or holding tray is near the door.

    I don't see a spot for ventilation. Are you putting in a fan?

    Do you have to cover a window over? If so, consider insulating any airspace created when you close it off. In the summer, this can really become a hot spot.

    -Mike
     
  4. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Hi Chuck

    agree with above on sink , you can make it out of wood
    Simple shower device with thermometor will suffice
    Home depot filter device with filters the get out the crap
    Vent the drain or you will not be happy,

    Make sure you use a good plumber and electrician to set yourself up and find a local lab to service your used fix... DO NOT DUMP IT DOWN YOUR DRAINS.
    not only will you be polluting the environment but if you have any copper in the drainage system you will rot it our within 1 year and pay$$$ dearly for this
    good luck and happy printing
     
  5. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Hi Jay

    I would not like to be down wind , of any photo chemical darkroom dumping their fix. Different rules for different countries. But I would not suggest dumping fix no matter what the EPA may say. IMHO this is an extremely bad practice to get into.
     
  6. Loose Gravel

    Loose Gravel Member

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    You can use an auto-vent on your drain, instead of a real vent. It will keep the gurgles to a minimum and your trap will stay wet. I don't use a temp control valve and life goes on. I have a cold water filter from HomeDepot. Cost $20 or $30 and it takes out the chunks and sand and grit. Distilled water for drying negs. No vacuum breaker. I made my own sink, but if you have more money than time, then buying a sink is okay if it suits your needs. I had a similar space for my darkroom for the last 15 years and it worked fine. The only thing I worried about was springing a leak in the supply lines and flooding the house. Never happened there, but they do make moisture sensing shutoff valves for the laundry room that might be cheap insurance against water damage in such a situation.

    Have fun.
     
  7. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    I agree, jdef.

    I've just consulted with an expert in the field, my son, who is studying to be a Plumber. No kidding ... it takes a hell of a lot of study to become licensed in this day and age. After I waded through the internet and all kinds of informative web sites, I found he had the same answers - and a LOT more - "off the top of his head".

    In the future - those with all kinds of higher degrees from prestigious institutions will be completely at the mercy of the only ones who will know how to repair a toilet ... the Plumbers.

    One minor correction to your post ... common table vinegar is approximately 5% acetic acid ... I routinely cut that 1:4 with water ... to a concentration of ~ 1%. Even less "damaging". Of course, if we were on a crusade to keep acetic acid completely out of the environment ... we would have to eliminate ALL fruit trees.
     
  8. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    One simple way to make the dry side is to use kitchen units. Screw them together to make the run. Pull them 9" or so away from the wall. Put a 2x2" batten along the wall at the same height. Screw a 2'6"" to 3' wide counter top to the batten and to the units which ties it all together solidly.

    Put stop-valves in the pipes just as they come above the floorboards to allow you to shut the water off if something springs a leak.

    I use a 3kw instant hot water hand washer (this is in southern England: if you get seriously sub-zero temps in winter, a more powerful one may be needed, like the shower unit suggested previously) - mine supplies 40deg C water (just) when incoming cold water is 8deg C. Not as fancy as the set-and-forget industrial mixers, but a fraction of the cost - always a good point I think...

    You need a fan. You will also want to be able to open a window during toning or similar smelly activities...

    I've not got a filter - I use distilled for developer and mains water for everything else.

    Safelight(s) & inspection light over fixer tray. Do not use florescents (after-glow). A deep section in the sink is a good idea - makes washing up much easier - mine does not have one and I miss it...


    Bob.

    P.S. Ed - you are right: plumbing courses in London are reported to be 10 times over subscribed...

    P.P.S I though fruit contained citric acid...
     
  9. Deckled Edge

    Deckled Edge Member

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    Chuck,
    Whether you make it or buy it, your sink will not be big enough. From your sketch, it looks like you've budgeted about 7 ft. Go bigger. Plywood comes 8 ft. long. Use the whole sheet. Home Depot sells a polyurethane paint that works great. The instructions are long, but the product is fine, and when used along with silicone caulk, will make your sink absolutely waterproof without having to pay Marine Hardware prices.

    I used a simple Home Depot cold water filters with both the hot and cold--call me a rebel! Check the filters regularly. You'll be amazed. I taught myself to sweat copper pipe, and the whole installation is compact and keeps chunks out of my wash water.
     
  10. CPorter

    CPorter Member

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    Bob,
    I really like the idea of the kitchen units, I had not thought of that, but it's the "batten" thing that I'm unclear about. I think you mean just a 2x2 to mount the couter top to for stability. And the "stop valves", another good idea that I had not thought about. Regarding the fan, I plan on installing a louvered light tight vent in the door so that air can be drawn into the room when the exhaust fan is running.
     
  11. CPorter

    CPorter Member

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    Thanks for all the good info from all,

    I would like to entertain the idea of making the sink, but above all, it must be able to be removed easily, hence the attractiveness of the one that I am thinking of buying. Having said that, where can I get plans to make a sink, does anybody know of a site or perhaps someone has detailed plans of their own they would kike to share.

    Thanks, Chuck
     
  12. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    Yes, sorry, "batten" is just a word for "long piece of wood to which you fix things" - may be one of those "tomahto/tomayto" words :wink:...

    BTW, the "stop valves" are actually called "stopcocks" over here but I thought that might cause confusion over there if they are called something else...

    Bob.
     
  13. blaze-on

    blaze-on Member

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  14. chuck94022

    chuck94022 Subscriber

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    When I converted a spare bedroom to a darkroom, I had a never ending problem with stray light coming through the door. I didn't want to invest in a real darkroom door at the time, so I just kept sticking foam into each new crack of light I found. It was a royal pain.

    Are you considering this issue? With my old room, I'd have loved one of those nice revolving light trap doors!

    -chuck
     
  15. wfwhitaker

    wfwhitaker Member

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    Add my vote to using prefab kitchen cabinets. They're extremely versatile and fairly economical. In my darkroom I have used them for both wet and dry side. The units are bolted together and are rock solid.

    On the matter of temperature control, I have two units, an older Powers unit and a Hass Intellifaucet. The Powers is a mechanical device like the Leedal units. The Hass is electronic, monitoring the output temperature and using stepper motors to control the supply to maintain a preset temperature. Both work reasonably well. The Hass is very simple to use; an LED comes on to indicate that the correct temperature has been achieved. (I still have a good old analog thermometer on the output anyway.) If buying new, I would recommend the Hass unless you can find the other type for substantially less. When you do buy, be sure to consider your flow requirements as both types operate normally within a specified flow range. If I recall correctly, I bought a low flow rate version of the Hass.

    If buying a used temperature control, especially the mechanical variety, be careful. If it's been used without proper filtration or if the water supply has contained a lot of minerals or if it's been used for fluids other than water, it may be shot.

    Having said all of the above, if I had it to do over again, I probably would have saved my money and not bought any automatic temperature control. Both the mechanical and the electronic (Hass) types require a reasonable temperature differential in order to work. Said another way, your cold water supply needs to be several degrees below your target temperature if the device is expected to stabilize. I live in the San Francisco Bay area and for much of the year my cold supply is not as cold as I'd like. Of course, the solution is to use higher developing temperatures. But I've found that for black and white work a plain old manual faucet with a thermometer on the output allows me most of the control I need. Your situation in Owensboro may be different. But unless you need a large amount of set-and-forget tempered water for a specific process, you can save yourself the money.

    In-line filters for the cold supply are available from Home Depot for around $35 or so, I believe. Don't know about hot side filters. I found a brass filter housing on Ebay and am using it for my hot supply.

    If you're happy with the ABS sink and not inclined to get into construction, go with it. You can always upgrade later and in the meantime you can get to the business of printing. My sink is mounted on pre-fab kitchen sink base cabinets which are offset from the wall by about 8 inches or so. The supply lines run along a narrow shelf in back and through risers to a board mounted to the studs behind the sink. The mixing controls are mounted to the board (melamine-clad particle board). A shelf at the top of the backsplash covers the offset and provides a place to set things when working at the sink. Don't overlook the need for a place to set stuff. Horizontal space is always in short supply!

    The supply enters the room underneath the sink through a washing machine type shut-off (one lever controls both hot and cold on/off). An eyebolt connects a dowel which allows me to conveniently turn the supply on or off from the front of the sink. Naturally I keep it off unless I'm working in the darkroom.

    Vacuum breakers are required only when there is a possibility that loss of the supply might result in contaminated water being siphoned back into the line. In a commercial environment it's required because of code. Chances are you don't really need vacuum breakers at home. But ultimately it depends on how you're using your plumbing.

    Your floor plan indicates a closet. If that will be used for clothes, it will add to dust problems. The bedroom which became my darkroom also had a large closet. I removed the doors and built a counter in the space to create more usable workspace. Of course, I also lost a lot of storage space in the process. But then, I'm not married. :smile:
     
  16. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    Entertain for a moment saving yourself a whole lot
    of time and trouble. That is a temporary darkroom
    you've in mind?

    Process single tray using one-shot or reuse chemistry.
    Uprise a sheet of Baltic Birch solid-core hardwood plywood
    upon a 2 x 4 folding table. The table itself is about 28 in high
    and serves as a very handy shelf. The bottom supports
    also allow for a shelf. I may install a 16 x 20 sturdy
    processing tray and plumb it. I can then process,
    one-shot, 16 x 20s in the sink itself.

    My wet area occupies a five foot width made available
    with the removal of a washer and dryer.