Nuclear Dry-Down

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by Flotsam, Jul 6, 2005.

  1. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    The night before last I needed to make some 11x14s on a paper that I hadn't used for years. I had no idea what the dry-down charicteristics were and I didn't want to get up the next morning and find everything that I did in the session was either too dark or too light, (from over compensation).
    Luckily, I happened to remember that a few folks in the APUG forums had mentioned using a microwave oven to quickly dry test strips as a method to preview dry-down. I tried it and it worked great! A minute of nuking the strip and I was able to print with an accurate preview of it's dry tone in hand.
    I don't remember the specific individuals who have mentioned it so I'll just thank APUG as a whole. What a great resource!
     
  2. titrisol

    titrisol Member

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    ha! Microwaves
    It is so funny how nuclear gets tossed together with microwaves being 2 completely different things.....
     
  3. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Ansel Adams mentions this as a sign of his progressive enthusiasm for technology. It does work.
     
  4. Bighead

    Bighead Member

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    Should we have silver in the microwaves??
     
  5. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I haven't experienced any arcing from prints in the microwave or set any test strips on fire yet.
     
  6. titrisol

    titrisol Member

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    why not, you put aluminum in there each time you make popcorn
    The amount of silver in a print is very small and it is not a "sheet" but a bunch of "grains", and while it's wet I doub;t you'll see any sparks or burnout.

    And you can have stainless in there as well (have none of you left a spoon in your morning coffe?)
    Metals and microwaves are a very interesting combination, the fact is that it was a lot safer to tell the public DO NOT put metals in the microwave than it was to say you can put metasl in the microwave if so and so conditions are met.... it would have been a lawsuit in the making
     
  7. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    :smile: I _almost_ used the word "nukular" just to distinguish actual science from popular convenience food preparation vernacular. :smile:
     
  8. geraldatwork

    geraldatwork Member

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    I first learned about using the microwave from Adams "The Print". I often will put an 8X10 in the microwave if I think I've got the exposure real close. I've found if I put it back into the washer it turns out the same as all of the other prints. I just make sure I rinse it for a minute or two to get off the majority of the fix before microwaving.
     
  9. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    I was more concerned about the moisture in the paper boiling almost immediately and causing some sort of physical problems. No prob. The strip comes out dry and slightly warm. Very nice.
     
  10. L Gebhardt

    L Gebhardt Subscriber

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    It doesn't work so well for RC papers. I have had the print melt and bubble. Works great for fiber. I picked up a working microwave for free at the dump. It seems there is always one there at the "next to new" shed. Also great to heat up water for mixing chemicals.
     
  11. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    one can do RC but only in short burst of time. i.e. 10secs rather than 1 minute.
    1 minute times will result, usually in the melting that is mentioned in the above statement.
     
  12. colrehogan

    colrehogan Member

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    I have read that you don't want to use the same microwave you use for food.
     
  13. titrisol

    titrisol Member

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    is there a reason why?

     
  14. Andre R. de Avillez

    Andre R. de Avillez Member

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    I would guess that its because of fixer fumes or something like that. I use the same microwave, just put some paper towels under the wet print (and take them off when I'm done). I haven't died yet, but have enough genetic defects that some (more) toxins would just balance the whole mess out :smile:
     
  15. Joe Symchyshyn

    Joe Symchyshyn Member

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    1 min???

    It takes about 10 seconds or so with a hairdryer to dry the emulsion once squeegee'd off of surface water...

    joe
     
  16. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    1 minute was an example, not an absolute
     
  17. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    My first time. I set the power to 50%, the 1 minute gave me time to stick my head in the fridge in search of snackage.

    The concensus seems to relate dry down to paper shrinkage. Are you certain that just drying the emulsion is giving you the whole effect?
     
  18. Andre R. de Avillez

    Andre R. de Avillez Member

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    Possibly not the whole effect, but very close (at least in my case). I have kept a few microwaved strips and compared them with the air dried prints and could not find a difference. Doesn't mean its not there, just means that its beyond my technical ability anyway.

    However, I have found that insufficient washing of a test strip causes excessive warming in the microwave, as does excessive time in there. Microwaved strips look (just slightly) warmer than the final (air dried) print, but since I'm just worried about highlight detail (and overall shading) at that point, it doesn't matter.
     
  19. Christopher Colley

    Christopher Colley Member

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    I know I shouldnt tell anyone, but I've been drying 100% of my fiber prints in the house microwave for months..... I have seen no problems arising due to this. I only dry them after theyve been completely washed, and squeegeed, or let to drip dry for about 1 or 2 minutes.

    I dont end up with curled up newspaper prints, its much quicker to dry, takes about 10 minutes to dry a whole session of 8x10 prints (one at a time of course)...

    It usually takes about 1 minute, I go for 30-40 seconds on each side and place the print on a photowipe face down at first, then face up the rest of the time..

    Never had a problem, never tried RC, have done it with glossy and matte fiber without any problems, the prints seem fine months later..... only thing to watch out for is those prints can get REALLY hot!!

    (its also really fun to watch how much steam really comes out of a squeegeed print)
     
  20. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    You don't have to keep it a secret from us, but I wouldn't announce it to the folks that heat up their dinners in that particular appliance :smile:.
     
  21. photobackpacker

    photobackpacker Advertiser Advertiser

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    Selenium Chicken anyone :smile:
     
  22. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    Mmmmmm.. Boeuf au Dektol
     
  23. Donald Qualls

    Donald Qualls Member

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    Selenium toning aside, there shouldn't be anything toxic left in a print that's been archivally washed. The level of residual thiosulfate isn't anything to worry about (thiosulfate isn't terribly toxic) and the only other chemical likely to be present is sulfite, which has been used as a food preservative at much lower purity than photographic grade.

    Further, most food heated in microwave ovens is on a plate, or at least a paper towel, and doesn't directly contact the inside surface of the cavity.

    I wouldn't worry about it after drying properly washed prints. I would want a dedicated unit if using it to heat solvents (such as propylene glycol or TEA) for mixing developers, due to the possibility of toxic spatters.
     
  24. titrisol

    titrisol Member

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    even a selenium toned print, if properly washed should not leave a toxic residue.
    As per heating Propylene Glycol and TEA don;t worry too much, both can be used in food applications.

     
  25. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    I think that those frozen microwave Burritos that you can buy in the supermarrket are much more toxic. A little fixer would probably improve them.