Mixing chemicals & storage

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by rpohagan, Jul 29, 2008.

  1. rpohagan

    rpohagan Member

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    I'm brand new and I have my darkroom all set up. I'm going to mix my chemicals for developing T Max 100. The chemicals I bought are all for making 1 gallon. Right now I have one of those half gallon brown storage bottles for the D-76 and a couple 2 liter soda bottles I was going to use for the Stop and Fix.

    I now realize that this could pose a problem trying to figure out exactly how much is half of a pack of powder intended for 1 gallon. Should I just sink the money into buying all 1 gallon brown containers or is there an easier way to do this? Thanks for the help!
     
  2. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Don't ever mix 1/2 of any powdered mix. The mix often becomes non-uniform and therefore performs unevenly. You should mix the entire powder package in the amount of water specified.

    Sorry for the bad news, but this is the case for powders.

    PE
     
  3. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    don't try to mix just half a pack, you need to mix the whole thing.
    you could put the mixed chemicals in several bottles. and frankly i would just invest in getting some gallon containers. i hve several at the lab if you want to pay the shipping and give a small donation to the school i would be glad to send them along. If not that is ok, but i would NOT try to mix half the pack.
     
  4. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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    Dear rpohagan,

    Make your life easier, don't reuse your developer. Mix up a full gallon and put it in two half gallon containers. Using it "one shot" will ensure that you go through it before it degrades and you don't have to worry about keeping track of how many rolls you put through a given amount of developer before adjusting times. Developer is much cheaper than film. As for the stop and fix, assuming you are using Kodak Indicator Stop, mixing a smaller amount is not difficult. Find an extra 2L bottle for the fixer and you will be fine. BTW: Purchase some Hypo Clearing Agent to reduce your wash time and help remove any stray bits of magenta stain.

    One last thing, purchase a copy of the Kodak Black & White Darkroom DATAGUIDE and keep it handy.

    Enjoy,

    Neal Wydra
     
  5. fotch

    fotch Member

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    Mixing the whole package at once is the way to go. Since air shortens the useful life of developer, rather than large jugs (like I use to use) I decant the gal. into 250ML glass amber large mouth bottles, fill to the brim, place a small square of saran wrap (for extra protection from air) and put the cap on. I think this will double or triple the storage life of the developer.

    Works for me, YMMV.

    I had a hard time finding affordable bottles and ended up buying a large quantity of them, brand new. Still have some for sale in the APUG classified.
     
  6. rpohagan

    rpohagan Member

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    Thanks for the responses! Looks like I'll head out to Calumet tomorrow to pick up some gallon bottles.
     
  7. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    Get a few more 1L soda bottles. Remove the labels, and write the name of the contents on the bottles with a magic marker.
     
  8. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    I concur with the advice to store chemicals in small bottles. One way to go is to mix sizes. For instance, for 1 gallon (3.785 liters) of developer, you could use three 1-liter bottles, one 500ml bottle, and one 250ml bottle. (Most bottles are labelled slightly pessimistically, so it'll probably all fit.) You'd then start using the stuff from the 250ml bottle, and when it's gone, open the 500ml bottle, use some of it and put the rest in two 250ml bottles. This approach will minimize air exposure until shortly before you use the chemicals, thus maximizing longevity.

    As to bottles, for stop bath and fixer, it doesn't matter much (except that acids tend to eat away metal caps), but for developer, preventing air exposure is the most important factor. Glass works best for this, but failing that, PET/PETE (#1 recycling symbol) bottles are the best type of plastic, whereas HDPE (#2 recycling symbol) is worst. See this page for details. For some reason most plastic bottles sold for photochemical storage in stores are HDPE.

    Personally, I reuse drink bottles. Soda, iced tea, and other beverages can still be bought in glass bottles. Drink the contents, wash the bottle, and it makes an excellent and cheap photochemical bottle. (That said, I live alone. If I had kids in the house, I might want to use bottles that look as different from real beverage bottles as possible.) This approach also won't work if you're in a hurry, unless you want to just dump the contents or hold a party.
     
  9. dougb

    dougb Member

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    beer bottles capped with a handheld bottle capper (part of my homebrewing gear) are completely airtight.
     
  10. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    Ten minutes ago the company that hauls waste in our area came by to empty the recycling bins. The metal/glass/plastic bin contained several bottles that could readily have been reused to hold darkroom chemicals (except that I already have more than enough).

    My point is that ordinary household waste typically includes containers that work very well for storing darkroom chemicals. Remove the labels, wash them out and let them dry, and then reuse them. Storage bottles don't have to be brown (in my darkroom, the lights are out the vast majority of the time), and they don't have to be those ridiculous accordian thingies that cost premium bucks and don't really do anything to prolong the life of the contents. Saves money and saves the planet.

    Also, after you mix up that gallon of D-76 and transfer it to storage bottles, make sure that you completely fill the bottles - all the way to the top. The last bottle that you fill will be a partial bottle, and that's the one that you should work on first. That way, you minimize contact between the developer and air.
     
  11. fotch

    fotch Member

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    Before I decided to go back to old fashion amber glass, I found threads about the expensive plastic ones made for photo use being not the right plastic, so I started colleting the proper plastic Pet1 bottles. One thing I notice was if they had anything other than water in them, example juice, the odor would always be retained. No amount of washing would get rid of it.

    Maybe I used cheap soap,however, I wonder how neutral the plastic could be and if it would effect the photo chemicals. Although the main reason I gave up on this was more of a safety issue anyway.

    Since no one is complaining it must not matter but I still wonder.
     
  12. rpohagan

    rpohagan Member

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    Wow you guys have been such a great help. Since I'm doing this completely on my own and I am learning from websites describing the process, I'm sure I'll be posting a lot with questions. It seems like the printing process is a bit more tricky, so get ready :smile:
     
  13. rpohagan

    rpohagan Member

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    Actually, while we're on the topic, would a laundry detergent bottle work for developer? I would just question this since detergent is a much stronger liquid than water, or juice.
     
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  15. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    It's not a question of how "strong" a chemical is, but how much it is effected by exposure to oxygen and how impervious to oxygen the material the bottle (and its cap) are made of.

    I would not expect detergent to be strongly effected by oxygen so the bottles are probably not made to be very airtight and made of a more permeable plastic. Fizzy pop bottles are made to be airtight and are made of one of the less permeable plastics so I stick to using them.

    Stop-bath and fixer (and some toners) however are less susceptible to being effected by oxygen and so may well be OK stored in detergent bottles - but then, why not stick with the pop bottles for these too, just for the extra insurance...

    Good luck, Bob.
     
  16. Murray@uptowngallery

    Murray@uptowngallery Member

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    I felt like I would have better luck getting juice residue out of a bottle than concentrated detergent.

    I have been hoarding #1 PETE 1/2 gallon or 2 l (not sure) bottles. There is an article somewhere on Ryuji Suzuki's chemistry page (Silver-something...silvergrain?) that will support what people are saying here about PETE vs HDPE and why 'Saran' wrap for caps with some explanation why, if you are interested in the 'why' part.

    I seem to recall Patrick Gainer noting an advantage consuming to prune juice in that the bottles are brown (but probably HDPE). I read somewhere (Ryuji?) that #1, PETE is the only recommended plastic for developers (high pH), but #2 HDPE is acceptable for stop and fixer, if you have to choose due to being short-handed.

    Another oft-cited advantage to plastic is resistance to breakage, sometimes pointed out by people who have had the unpleasant experience of dropping and breaking a brown glass bottle of chemistry in the darkroom.

    We have a couple of high-output felines, and I have been saving the large 'clumping litter' bottles (#2?) & buckets (?) for mixing/draining.
     
  17. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    Murray, I linked to Ryuji Suzuki's page on plastic bottle types in my earlier post.

    Concerning detergent bottles, I'd be reluctant to use them, since I can never seem to get rid of all of the detergent -- even soaking the bottle for days, there always seems to be just a little bit left. I've never had problems with glass bottles for soda, pasta sauce, etc.; although some do seem to retain a bit of an odor of their original contents, I've never noticed any problems with chemistry stored in these bottles.
     
  18. Murray@uptowngallery

    Murray@uptowngallery Member

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    Someone sells vanilla-scented chemistry :O)

    I missed previous SRS' RS link. Oops.
     
  19. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    Imported beer in brown, .5l bottles. Drink the beer; reuse the bottles. But LABEL them boldly and clearly.
     
  20. Edwardv

    Edwardv Member

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    I use 1000 ml, 500 ml, and 250 ml amber glass bottles for storing my stock solution. 4 1000 ml bottles for a gallon, 2 500 ml for a quart (or four 250 ml bottles) or I may use smaller bottles for storing chemistry I don't use as often. One thing I did learn from experimenting, the chemistry can last for 6 months when full and two months at half. I will also transfer the remains to a smaller bottle to last longer.

    Good luck
     
  21. Murray Kelly

    Murray Kelly Member

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    I have a supply of polypropylene bottles from the hospital. PP never seems to get a mention in suitability or otherwise for photographic chems. The bottles are very strong and I figure that if they use them for IV and other fluids they are probably OK for developers?

    Murray
     
  22. Murray@uptowngallery

    Murray@uptowngallery Member

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    I don't know but would think that IV fluids are pretty close to neutral pH, at least compared to developers...
     
  23. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    Getting the fruit juice smell out of the bottle is easy. Fill the bottle with an ounce (24 ml.) of chlorine bleach and the rest water. Let it sit for an hour or so on its side, drain and rinse. Done.
     
  24. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

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    Simple is better. I stick to 1 liter bottles for chemicals like my Zone VI print developer that require mixing a stock solution. I use one shot dilute stop bath mixed fresh for each session. If you re-use fixer, perhaps half-gallon bottles would be better. I don't re-use PermaWash or PhotoFlo. I do keep some stock bleach solution in a storage bottle.

    If you are using TMAX 100 film, why not use TMAX RS developer? Just mix the part B that comes in the attached foil packet into the main bottle, and use the contents as a stock solution. I typically dilute from the original bottle 1:9, sometimes 1:4 and it works very well.

    I went through a phase of figuring out storage bottles, then switching to better storage bottles, then wondering about buying glass marbles to keep the air out, then thinking of the best way to label the bottles, then getting rid of most of them. They take up a lot of room, require periodic cleaning, etc. The fewer the better.
     
  25. DaveOttawa

    DaveOttawa Member

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    My 2c:
    Glass: chemically the best but doesn't bounce when you drop it;
    Plastic bottles sold specifically for photochemistry: good but pricey;
    Plastic bottles sold with photochemistry IN then reused: good & cheap;
    Plastic food bottles: I wouldn't use on principle; they're for food not chemicals I dn't like to mix the containers just in case;
    Plastic bottles for domestic cleaners: can be good & cheap, e.g. bleach (Javex), in Canada at least, comes in 4L/1gal size plastic jugs, just rinse out until the chlorine smell is gone and use for your 1 gal of D76 stock solution.
     
  26. Edwardv

    Edwardv Member

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    You can alway buy amber safety coated glass bottles. When drop there isn't any leakage. The plastic coating contains the liquid and glass.