Normal Dust Levels?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Sean, Nov 14, 2004.

  1. Sean

    Sean Admin Staff Member Admin

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    Unless you have a special clean room lab like Intel and wear a body suit, chances are there will always be dust in your darkroom. I am trying to figure out what a normal level is. I think I am slowly winning the dust battle with my "Defender 4000 Air Cleaner". One of the ways I try to guage dust is to turn off all the lights and shine a flashlight through the air. I know that before I had the air filter, the flashlight beam showed a total dust blizzard. Now I still have very slight dust in the beam but nothing near as bad as before. I'm assuming this is just normal and there is no way to remove it all. I might also get a humidifier to further reduce it. If I go that route what is the max humidity level I should allow in the darkroom?
    Out of curiosity, when you guys do the flashlight in the dark test what do you see? Thanks :smile:
     
  2. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

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    I try not to use a flashlight in the dark, it always seems to fog my film :smile:
    The good part about working in the bathroom for me has been that I don't have to worry about dust--I just take a shower before doing anything.

    Side note: I only shower to keep down the dust, so if I'm a little ripe that probably means I have some darkroom work I need to be doing!

    When are you going to be finished with the darkroom and joining us in the print exchanges?
     
  3. Woolliscroft

    Woolliscroft Member

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    I use two air filters which seems to work pretty much to clean room conditions, especially if you keep the room itself clean. Keeping the amount of fabric in the room (carpets, curtains etc) to a minimum is a big help and don't forget what comes off your own clothes. A friend once told me that she did her lab work naked to get round that problem. I have never gone to that extreme, but some artificial fibers seem less dusty than natural fibre (it might be the static holding the dust on). I have heard that an air ionizer can help, but have never tried.

    David.
     
  4. lee

    lee Member

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    I dont use an air filter. What works at my darkroom is the fact that the corners are sealed quite well and I used a good paint. The sinks do add moisture to the air as Jeremy suggested.

    lee\c
     
  5. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    Honestly, I'm afraid to check. :surprised:

    I'm not sure what the optimal humidity level would be, but I'd guess something in the 60-80% level. Too high, and the dust might be replaced by mold spores. :wink:

    The question, I suppose, is whether increased humidity eliminates the electrostatic aspect of the air that might support the dust, versus the idea of micro-condensation that causes the dust to settle out of the air onto available surfaces (e.g. drying film, negatives, etc.).
     
  6. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    Uh ... she wouldn't happen to be interested in a fairly experienced Lab Assistant - would she? I would work CHEAP - like ... FREE!!
     
  7. Sean

    Sean Admin Staff Member Admin

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    I had tried an air purifier of the ionizing type but found the ozone it was producing gave me headaches, so I switched to the forced air type.

    Just when I think I'm ready to start printing I find more things I need to do to the room. I'm determined to do it all right this time so am being patient and getting everything 100% before diving in. Currently I share my darkroom with the washing machine, my home office, and some excercise equipment. I am finding between me and my wife going in and out of the room all day there is a lot of dust getting in. I've decided to put up another wall so the darkroom is totally self contained and not affected by household traffic. I think this will really help a lot. In hind sight I should have done this to begin with! ugh. Luckily my neighbor is a builder so it shouldn't be too painful to have him put a wall up.
     
  8. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    Dust

    Sean-I also share my darkroom with the laundry. It may seem funny but I don't even have the dryer properly vented to the outside and I have NO dust problems.
    Maybe the heavier air from the dryer weighs it all down. Stop trying to blow air in or out of the room it just might help. A humidifier?
    Peter
     
  9. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I seem to have very few dust problems - at least considering my level of cleanliness!

    The secret is to let the dust lie, and not disturb it...
     
  10. mikepry

    mikepry Subscriber

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    I read somewhere once the statement..."anxiety creates dust." It seemed the more I fixated on the problem the worst it became. One thing that I do use is a "Zerostat" anti static gun. It was what I used on LP Recordings to eliminate the static electricity on the records. Works very nice for negatives.
     
  11. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    someone told me toooo many years ago that it was common for people who spent a lot of time in commercial darkrooms wore silk to reduce dust. Is this true? beats me, but it makes an interesting story, but doesn't top "naked".:cool:
     
  12. Sean

    Sean Admin Staff Member Admin

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    Maybe I should get one of those Speedo bodysuits like the swimmer Ian Thorpe wears? Better yet, I can start manufacturing darkroom body suits! :tongue:
     
  13. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Something like this, Sean?
     

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  15. joeyk49

    joeyk49 Member

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    I'm in the process of constructing my room right now. Aside from all of the little holes that have to be plugged to make it light tight, the most challenging part to the whole project is that the dryer vent pipe comes right throught the room from the upstairs laundry room. I also have exposed fiberglass insulation directly overhead (the room is in the basement).

    I'm seeing it as half of an opportunity though...I'm going to work on installing a baffle and using the same vent pipe to vent the darkroom. I think it will work, in theory. The making it reality is proving to be a challenge.
     
  16. Francesco

    Francesco Member

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    I do not have a dedicated darkroom and I do not have an air filter/purifier/etc. I do not have any dust problems with nearly 300 8x10 negatives. My way of working is simply to be careful without obsessing over it too much. I had more dust problems when I was living in London and had all the bells and whistles for preventing dust. It seems that the more I obsessed over it the more dust I got. The only concession I have today is an anti-static brush.
     
  17. bmac

    bmac Member

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    Its not dust bud, its acute darkroom anxiety. Get in there a make a print!
     
  18. photomc

    photomc Member

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    Guess I take the same approach as others have mentioned and don't really think about it. Between the sink and trying to not distrub any dust not really problem. Do use a static brush, but that is about it....now I hope that posting this does not raise the dust :wink: ... but the computer is on the other side of the house from the darkroom..don't want to get my digital to close to the analog...can't have any cat fights breaking out.
     
  19. mikepry

    mikepry Subscriber

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    Hey bmac...the acronym for that would be ADA!
     
  20. Sean

    Sean Admin Staff Member Admin

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    I think your right. If they don't turn out I will just invent a new alt. proc. and call them "Dustypes" :smile:
     
  21. Woolliscroft

    Woolliscroft Member

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    Somehow that doesn't quite have the right ring. If you follow the old tradition of using Ancient Greek for tehnical terms (e.g. photograph = light drawing), you would get Tephratype, how about that? :smile:

    David.
     
  22. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Sean
    We have huge fluctuations in humidity here in Toronto, During the winter months we actively raise the humidity in the darkroom and in the print finishing area , primaraly to flatten the fibre prints, it is a real problem,
    Idealy if you could keep the humidity between 45-65% most dust and print curling problems will be lowered.
    right now we are fighting with a new finishing space and are trying to raise the humidity near the hot press. We will be putting the press in a closed environment to keep the humidity higher during the winter months.
    In my darkroom , I have a commercial humidifier hooked up to a hot water heater to keep the humidity level constant year round.
    During spring summer , we have no problem as the humidty is very high.
     
  23. BruceN

    BruceN Member

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    OK, you guys almost got me. I had a flashlight in my hand and was headed up to the darkroom to check, when I stopped on the stairs and thought "Is this something I really want to know?" Seriously, I'm obsessive enough about that sort of thing that I would feel compelled to do something about it if I did see dust, and who knows how much lost time and money that could lead to? No, much better to put the flashlight away, go out to the garage and grab a fresh Ale, then head back up to the darkroom for a printing session using my time-tested static brush and canned air. Ahhhhh, much better. Ignorance truly is bliss! :wink:
     
  24. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    Bruce - I had similar concerns, but mustered up the courage and breeched the darkness with trusty Maglite in hand. Whew! No dust. Eventually, I may try it while wearing my glasses. :wink:

    David - I like "Tephratype" - sounds classy. What's the Greek word for "crappy"? :wink:
     
  25. BWGirl

    BWGirl Member

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    Tephratype....I'm going to HAVE to remember that! :tongue: haha Mike, great idea about the static gun....I'm going to have to try that.

    I find that if I dust everything when I go down & turn on my space heater, I have far fewer problems. There are some days that seem to be dustier than others. I've thought about running one of those small cold air vaporisers that you use in the kids' rooms when they are sick. That would definitely reduce static, which contributes to the dust staying airborne.

    It's good that you've decided to block your darkroom off from the laundry, Sean. There's tons of lint on clothes. BUT, I guess I agree with Brian.... Just get in there & make a print! I had the SAME problem, but you can do it!! You've got us all rooting for you!! :D
     
  26. BruceN

    BruceN Member

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    Tell you what, Ralph, when I start producing prints that come even close to the stuff you have posted on your site I might start worrying about little stuff like dust. :wink: