How to build an inexpensive print washer

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Max Power, Sep 19, 2004.

  1. Max Power

    Max Power Member

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    OK,
    Over the last few months, I have been looking for one of the famous 'Kodak wash tray siphons'. In Canada, they are available for about $100 new, and I've been seeing them going for about $30 to $50 on eBay. Not thrilled with this, I rigged my own sytem and for anyone else doing 'low volume' work, it ought to work really well. Best of all, it's stupid cheap :smile:

    So I simply took my big print washing tray and drilled a hole in the side barely big enough to accept a short length of garden hose on one side. This short bit of hose goes directly into the drain in my sink. For the in-flow, I simply have a length of hose clamped to the lip of the washer and I use a Gardena quick connect to attach it to the faucet.

    I only need to fill up the wash tray with water, and then can keep it running at a decent rate and the water is moved around really well. The size of the outlet hose means that a good quantity of water is drained off and the water stays clean

    Kent
     
  2. jacbro

    jacbro Member

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    It makes a lot of sense.
    I will try this idea home and keep you posted on the evolution of this washer.

    Merci beaucoup...
    Jacques
     
  3. Lee Shively

    Lee Shively Member

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    I really need to buy or build an archival print washer. I don't print that much per session so a tray siphon has been my primary washer. Incidentally, the Koday siphon I use was purchased nearly 30 years ago and still functions perfectly.
     
  4. Fintan

    Fintan Member

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  5. bmac

    bmac Member

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    I fooled around with building my own print washer for several months, I was never happy with the design, and had problems with prints sticking, film scratching, etc. I ended up buying a Paterson print washer on ebay. I believe it was under $100, and I am done with it. I'd rather spend my time printing than trying to build sometihing to save a few bucks.
     
  6. geraldatwork

    geraldatwork Member

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    That's a great idea using the RC drying frame in one some kind of tub that's large enough. Instead of installing the tubing I would use the Kodak siphon I have or just have water just go in one side from a faucet and out the other occasionally dumping the entire contents. My problem I can't seem to find some kind of tub that is the right size. I'm looking for something that would fit the RC frame and do 11X14 prints.
     
  7. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member

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    From what I've heard building an archival print washer is a bit like building a greenhouse: You have no idea how difficult it is when you begin, and afterwards you'll recommend everyone else to but a ready-made one. But the second one is easier, so you'll recommend that noone try building one for the first time...
     
  8. Black Dog

    Black Dog Member

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    True........LOL
     
  9. wdemere

    wdemere Member

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    Go to your local fish store and ask to look at their aquariums.

    I made a print washer from an aquarium, an old tray washer (I use the part that fits on the faucet and the tube that the water comes out of), a small waterproof pump (at $35 the most expensive component and really not necessary) a clear hose, and some plexiglass. It works very well. Do the prints stick to the sides? Sometimes. I stick my hand in and move them when it happens. For 1/100th of the price of a new one I can live with a little inconvenience. I also wash my 4x5 sheet film in it. I can do 20 sheets of 4x5 or 10 8x10 at a time, though I only do 6 because that is the number of btzs tubes I have. I recommend trying it if you want to save some money. I think there was a thread about these here about two months ago.

    Best of luck,

    William
     
  10. Howard R. Tanger

    Howard R. Tanger Member

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    B & H lists the "Kodak Automatic Tray Siphon" for U.S. $42.95 plus shipping, unfortunately it is shown as "out-of-stock" at this time. Adorama has this same item for the same price and it is apparently "in stock".
    Howard Tanger
     
  11. geraldatwork

    geraldatwork Member

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    The Kodak try siphons appear on ebay with some consistancy and go for around $25-35.
     
  12. David Ruby

    David Ruby Member

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    I have been using a Premier print washer which basically has a small tank one one side that feeds numerous holes for the supply water. The opposite side of the tray has holes at various heights that drain the water. I'm getting ready to switch to fiber paper and am curious if this will work ok. I don't print very high volume and it seems silly to spend so much on a Nova or Versalab washer which would really seperate the prints. Anyone have any thoughts or suggestions?
     
  13. eheldreth

    eheldreth Member

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    I use the utility sink in my darkroom. I have a peace of 3" pipe with a rubber coupler from lowes and two apropreatly sized holes drilled near the bottom. I insert the pipe(Rubber side down) into the drain, fill the sink to the needed level and slow the water out of the tap down to match the speed of the draining. This works realy well and the only downside is I can't clean my trays and equipment until all the prints have finished washing.