Making your own sheet processing tank

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Matt5791, Jan 21, 2007.

  1. Matt5791

    Matt5791 Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,001
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2005
    Location:
    England, Bir
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Ok, I haven't had much success tray processing my 5X7 sheet films, but I have acquired a load of 5X7 film processing frames. I was wondering how straight forward it would be to make my own tank to use these in - or is this crazy?

    The obvious difference to the trays I suppose would be, I'm guessing, an increase in required quantity of chemicals.

    Thanks for any help,
    Matt
     
  2. dphphoto

    dphphoto Member

    Messages:
    349
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2004
    Location:
    Knoxville, T
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Hi: the problem with frames is that you get poor agitation around where the frame holds the film. You usually use frames with conventional deep tanks, and they do use a lot of chemistry.
    You might be better off sticking with trays. I do 8X10 sheets without a problem. Use lots of chemistry, at least 48 oz in an 8X10 tray, and don't do more than maybe four at a time until you get used to them.
    There's all kinds of advise on the internet about how to tray develop. Also look at viewcamera.com. Dean
     
  3. CBG

    CBG Member

    Messages:
    894
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Dear Matt,

    If you end up sticking with tray processing, I would be interested in purchasing a few 5x7" film developing hangers - I presume that is what you refer to.

    Charlie
     
  4. Gatsby1923

    Gatsby1923 Member

    Messages:
    243
    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2006
    Location:
    Holyoke, MA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I started in LF with 4x5 developed in trays, scratched alot of negatives. Then I started using a daylight tank, with ok results, but then I started developing on hangers in tanks. That was the best way to go, for me any ways.
     
  5. wildbill

    wildbill Member

    Messages:
    2,827
    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I made my tanks for 8x10 from 1/4" clear plexiglass cut on my table saw. You can get adhesives that'll bond the stuff together from a glass place but i used hot glue. Don't use aquarium sealer, i tried that and the tanks fell apart. One 2x4' sheet should make you four tanks for that size if you make them about 2" wide. The best would be opaque abs but it's very expensive. If you agitate properly you won't get poor agitation. go slow and don't pull the hanger all the way out of the developer.

    vinny
     
  6. Reinhold

    Reinhold Subscriber

    Messages:
    743
    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2003
    Location:
    Washougal, W
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Making plexiglass tanks is a snap. The nice thing is that you can make one each for developer, stop, fix, wash, etc.. Cheaply. You can make them as large or as small as you like, according to how much chemistry you'd like to use. You can even make them slightly larger or smaller so they nest inside one another to take up less space.

    For example: a 7-3/4 long x 7 deep x 2-3/8 wide tank easlily handles 6 hangers and needs only 1750 ml to cover. Make that tank 4 inches wide, and you can easily handle 10 hangers which need only 2750 ml to cover. And... the developer won't oxidize anywhere near as fast as in a tray.

    Go to your local TAP plastics store for 1/4" acrylic, a small bottle of cement and an instruction sheet detailing how to make all sorts of things with plexiglass. They'll even cut it for you. If you cut it yourself, the best saw blade for acrylics is one with a Triple Chip tooth grind. Take a peek at all the Plexi equipment in my darkroom at: http://www.classicbwphoto.com/Darkroom.html

    I set up the tanks in a row with all chemistry in place, turn off the lights, and have at it. Like wildbill says, you need to learn how to properly agitate film when using hangers. (They've been around for a loooong time, and they work). Very well.

    Once you start, you can't stop...

    Reinhold

    www.classicBWphoto.com
     
  7. Matt5791

    Matt5791 Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,001
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2005
    Location:
    England, Bir
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Thanks for the advice,

    Matt
     
  8. George Collier

    George Collier Member

    Messages:
    1,066
    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2005
    Location:
    Richmond, VA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Reinhold, I'm impressed. I have a radial arm saw right outside the darkroom (opposite side from the door) that I've used to make a plexi tank or 2, and a rack and such, but your list and range of stuff is in another class.
     
  9. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,414
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2007
    Location:
    Stratford-up
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Matt - have you condidered converting a Paterson 10x8 Orbital Processor ?

    You would only get 2 sheets at a time done but thos who use them claim very even Development and low Chemcal usage

    Martin
     
  10. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,307
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2008
    Location:
    florida
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    While you are at it - consider making a print washer as well. It's easy just copy a picture of one.
     
  11. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    17,922
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Honolulu, Ha
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    5x7" tanks are cheap and plentiful. You can get older style hard rubber ones on eBay or look for a used set of stainless tanks (try finding them locally on sources like Craigslist, because they can be heavy to ship, particularly if they come with a water jacket), or buy new ones with floating lids--

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/13146-REG/Cescolite_CL10FT_1_Gallon_5_x.html

    If you get older hard rubber tanks, buy more than you think you need. Some have hidden cracks, which can be sealed, but since they're easy enough to find, you might as well use the leaky ones as dry tanks for storing hangers and holding them temporarily while you load before moving them to the developer.

    Bromide drag around the edges of the frame is usually caused by insufficient agitation.

    I process sheet film using open trays, daylight Nikor sheet film tanks, and with open tanks and hangers, and when I have a lot of film to process, tanks and hangers are the most efficient method.
     
  12. greybeard

    greybeard Member

    Messages:
    377
    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2005
    Location:
    Northern Cal
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    I wish that I could endorse the idea of buying the stainless Arkay tanks through B&H, but when I finally broke down and purchased a set of 1-gallon 8x10 tanks, they took almost a month to deliver and the quality is rather poor (functional, but one of them is angled at the bottom to the point that it will barely stand upright).

    On September 1st, I broke down and yielded to the temptation of buying an Arkay print washer; after five weeks, it took almost another week to get the fact that the washer hadn't been shipped, built, or even scheduled yet. They did, however, cancel it for me promptly.

    Making acrylic tanks is almost certainly the best solution nowadays, since the most common used tanks seem to be ones that will take 4x5 but not 5x7 hangers (don't ask me how I know this...). The only difficulties are likely to be that imperfect seams will create traps for residual chemicals (having dedicated tanks for developer and fix pretty much solves this) and the low thermal conductivity of acrylic means that adjusting temperature quickly by setting the tank into warmer or colder water is problematic. But the same technology that lets you make the tank will also serve to build a water jacket, assuming that you have the luxury of enough time and a supply of tempered water.
     
  13. ChuckP

    ChuckP Subscriber

    Messages:
    625
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2003
    Location:
    NW Chicagola
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    One thing to think about is to make the tanks sized for 8x10. That way when you do try 8x10 you won't have to build or find new tanks. They make hangers that take 2 5x7 sheets and fit 8x10 tanks. They used to be very cheap but I haven't looked in a while. Used tanks also used to be cheap but maybe that's also changed. If you use the 2 up hangers you can go with 8x10 tanks which should be easier to find. You can also look at the various plastic products in the food storage section of large stores or plastic file folder boxes.
     
  14. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

    Messages:
    7,193
    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2007
    Location:
    Midwest USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    What he said...:wink:
     
  15. DanielStone

    DanielStone Member

    Messages:
    3,105
    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I processed a sheet of 4x5 in a 4-reel stainless tank the other day in a water bath @ 101deg F.

    I'd imagine that if you wanted to, you could do it for b/w as well. I don't have access to 4x5 tanks for developing at school for color. B/W only, and thats in trays.

    worked for me, I just made sure to give it random movement, side to side and rolling back and forth, rotating ends every 30 sec or so.

    -Dan