Must build UVexposure box and have ?

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by mark, Aug 10, 2006.

  1. mark

    mark Member

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    I have been using the 1000 watt Agrosun MH growing light in a Hydrofarm Reflector to expose my POP prints with. The light is set up in my classroom and does double duty growing tomatoes and lettuce in a hydroponics garden. I will be leaving my classroom in a month to assume a more administrative role. This means more money but less space. I will not be able to set my gardens up, at least not where I will be working, so no light set up means no printing. With my very young kids at home and the rising cost of utilities setting the light up there is not practicle. Sooooooo....

    I thought I would build a UV exposure box for home. Now my questions.

    1-DOes using the light source dramatically increase your electric bill?

    2-How are the sprial bulbs working? or should I stick to the straight bulbs?

    3-How much is invested in the construction costs? I am handy so building it will not be the problem cost outlay might be. I assume it is much cheaper to build it myself than buy a premade unit. Hopefully this is not too personal.

    4-Anyone build a unit just using the BL ready made fixtures from Home Depot and just screwed them into the box and plugged them into a power strip with a main power switch on the strip?
     
  2. matt miller

    matt miller Subscriber

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    I built mine based on the Ubildit plans on the Edwards site. I think I spent roughly $400 for materials, and I have cheap magnetic ballasts.
     
  3. sanfrancisconudes

    sanfrancisconudes Member

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    What I'm using right now is just a work light reflector with a single spiral bulb (as suggested by a couple of people on this forum) and for 8x10 images it's taking around 18 minutes to expose a Vandyke. This is with a 27W bulb. Total cost $25ish.

    I'm considering making a 2x3 grid of the same bulbs and wiring it into a plywood box (I do a lot of electrical work so I'm comfortable doing this and have most of the stuff already) - so that would pull 162W and hopefully the exposures would drop down to 3-5 minutes depending on what distance they end up being from the paper and so forth.

    I'm not experienced enough to know what exposure times for different processes are, but I can't see a setup like that having a major effect on your power bill even if you make quite a few exposures with longer run times.

    I was thinking I'd spend around $150 on it but again I have some of the stuff.
     
  4. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    Do a search for Screw-in UV bulbs, or spiral UV bulbs on APUG and you will find some good communication on building with screw-in bulbs. They are working well for many people and I calculate the cost to be a substantial saving over tubes requiring ballasts. I am experimenting with one spiral bulb in a #2 Photoflood reflector as an easily portable source for demos. It works well with 4x5 and I believe it will do so with 5x7. For 8x10 I would look at 4 of these bulbs as close together as the porcelain bases will allow.

    Jim
     
  5. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    6x24" BL bulbs in a plywood box. The fixtures, bulbs and light switch (fixtures are wired to switch) cost around $100. The plywood was scrap so it was free. It seems to work fine, but I've only made 30 or 40 prints so far in Van Dyke and Cyanotype. I left enough room for another 2 bulbs just in case I ever want to make huge prints!
     
  6. mark

    mark Member

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    Jim,

    I was wondering how the spiral bulbs were working over a period of time. Things sounded pretty positive at the outset.
     
  7. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    Last winter I built a box using spiral bulbs. Major cost was for the bulbs and a small blower; the box itself was made from a 1/2" MDF "handypanel" from the home center, plus a piece of plywood left over from a previous project. Total cost less than $100. It works quite well - 4-10 minute exposures for VDB or Pt/Pd. Impact on utility bill is negligible (but then I don't leave it on to grow plants continuously). My box uses 6x27 watt bulbs on 6" centers (2 rows of 3), with the spacing between the ends of the bulbs and the top of the printing frame about 6".

    A few weeks ago at a workshop I used a box based on 6x36" "actinic" tubes. Printing time was 4 - 15 minutes for Pt/Pd. There were two boxes that the instructor had built by a friend - don't know what they cost him, but the woodworking was furniture-quality - much better than my painted MDF. Both boxes had problems getting all the tubes started - solution was to look, and then reach in and tap the tubes that wouldn't start. That's a problem with tradtional fluorescent tubes that you don't have with spirals.

    I thought about using the pre-made fixtures at Home Despot, but frankly they looked pretty cheesy, and in the end the box that I build offers a larger exposure footprint at lower cost than I would have achieved using those units.
     
  8. sanking

    sanking Member

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    If all of the tubes are tied to a common ground they should all start at once. Another thing that you should do, if you make a unit with the bi-pin holders, is to place a sheet of metal at the top of the box, behind the tubes. Or, alternatively, just lay a bare wire over all of the tubes at the side.

    A unit built from two-tube commerical holders does not need the sheet metal or the wires since you have this already in the metal holder. Just be sure to ground all the tubes. I have a twelve tube unit of 48" tubes made from commercial two-tube fixtures. All of the tubes are tied together, including ground, in the power outlet. Every tubes comes on at the same time in this unit.

    Sandy
     
  9. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    I built a simple light box with parts from Home Depot. The light fixtures are four 2 X 20 watt fluorescent strip light units fastened to a MDF-laminate sheet. They are spaced as close together as possible. The mounting sheet is in turn mounted to a study frame made of 1X4 pine lumber that keeps the tubes about six inches above the printing frame. I mounted a standard electical box and switch on the side. The whole thing cost very little, and it works well.