Omega steel tank lid question

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by altair, Jan 26, 2012.

  1. altair

    altair Member

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    Hi all. Today I received an Omega stainless steel developing tank, marked Simmons-Omega on the bottom of the tank. It can hold 2 35mm reels or 1 120 reel. It came with 2 LPL brand 35mm reels. The tank has a steel lid or cover, not those black plastic or PVC ones. I plan to start using them either tonight or tomorrow. Before I do, I noticed some peculiarities & would like to ask:

    a) It seems that the tank's lid is quite loose. Being used to Paterson's Super System 4 & AP plastic tanks, I'm rather used to screwing the lid shut or pushing it down securely as with the Paterson. But with this Omega, there's no thread for me to screw down the lid. I just need to push the lid as far down as it will go and that's it. But, it just doesn't feel that secure. Same thing with the lid for the intake hole at the top of the lid, rather loose. Is this normal for all steel tanks?

    b) If I'm just going to develop 1 35mm film, then is it imperative for me to put in the other empty 35mm reel on top of the loaded one in the tank? I think so, if not the loaded reel would bounce around too much. It just seems...I don't know, weird to put in an empty reel. With the Paterson, the reel is put into a central core that keeps it from sliding up. Only 1 reel is needed.

    Would be glad if anyone can verify these for me. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    Before you use it, fill with water and test the lid for leakage. The lid must fit somewhat snug, without sticking. I have an Omega tank, has the black plastic lid, none of my SS lids work on it, they're all loose and leak.
    If you only develope one reel, then by all means, place an empty spool on top to keep the film submerged. There is another school of thought, to allow the film to come out of the solution for brief periods during agitation, just make sure to rap the tank to dislodge any air bells that may form by doing that(I prefer not to chance it).
     
  3. mdarnton

    mdarnton Member

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    It should be a slip fit, not particularly tight, but definitely not loose. Me, I gave up a couple of decades ago, and keep a roll of plastic electrical tape in the darkroom, for one tight turn around the tank/lid joint. Even then, the little pouring cap, with its jam fit, still leaks, and I only agitate the tank while holding it with a junk dish towel.

    Yes, you need to use both reels, and fill the tank with developer, too. This prevents odd agitation effects from the tank or the developer aggressively shooting from one end of the tank to the other, jetting developer through the sproket holes:
    (photo from http://blakeandrews.blogspot.com/2010/06/brief-history-of-sprocket-holes.html

    [​IMG]
     

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  4. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    The lid may not be the original one. Do keep a finger on the cap when inverting. A wide rubber band around the junction of lid and tank may stop any leaks.
     
  5. altair

    altair Member

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    Ok, thanks for that Rick. I think I'll skip on that 'film for coming up for air' method for now :smile:
     
  6. altair

    altair Member

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    Yes, it's a slip fit. That term fits nicely. Not a screw on fit, but a slip fit. It's snug, not too tight. Gosh, I hope mine doesn't leak as bad to need a roll of tape! Thanks very much for your tip on filling the tank, wow, haven't thought of that..but is it necessary? If so, it negates the whole 'SS tanks require less solution volume' benefit, doesn't it? My tank says 8oz of solution (only!) for 35mm, and double that for 120. So basically if I'm just going to develop 1 roll of 35mm in 1 reel, then not only do I have to put in the other reel in, I also have to fill the tank completely with 16oz of chemical solution?
     
  7. altair

    altair Member

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    Thank you. I think the lid is original to the tank, as 'Simmons-Omega' is also written on the top of the cap. I'm wondering though...since leakage seems to be a major problem, what if I agitate not by inversion by a gentle swaying motion from side to side? I used to do this with my Paterson plastic tanks, as it sometimes leaks too. Hated getting developer & fixer on my hands so much that I used that agitation method instead. Worked fine & I didn't notice any adverse effects on my negatives. What do you think?
     
  8. Sundowner

    Sundowner Subscriber

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    The point of agitation is to get fresh chemicals in contact with the film surface...so, the method that you use really doesn't matter too much as long as you are getting the results that you want.

    At least you're not in my situation, where I have a tank lid that fits too tightly, and I can't get it to seat all the way. I've been trying to figure out how to fix that for weeks, now. :pouty:
     
  9. mdarnton

    mdarnton Member

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    It doesn't negate SS needing less; that's compared with plastic tanks. You have a two reel tank that uses 8 oz per reel, which is a lot less than the plastic tanks. It's not made for one reel. . . that's why they make one reel tanks. If you are doing something it's not intended to do, you have to take precautions to avoid bad agitation patterns showing up on the film, and the easiest precaution is to put in both reels and fill the tank. That doesn't mean it can't be done some other way, but by doing it some other way you increase the chances things will go wrong.
     
  10. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    I used to have 10 or 12 SO stainless tanks all with stainless tops.
    If the tops got mixed up, some of them were so loose they would leak. I went to the extreme of marking them to prevent this problem.. The likelihood is that you got a tank with the incorrect lid.
     
  11. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    Mebbe you should invest in a single 35mm tank if you want to save chems. It's convenient for using only 8oz per roll.
     
  12. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    You can use the tank half filled and an empty 35mm reel on top, but the effects of agitation will differ from the single roll tanks, so it will be hard to maintain the same level of consistency that using one roll tanks for single rolls and two roll tanks for two rolls.

    And your tank will leak - maybe a tiny amount, maybe a bit more - but there will be at least a little.

    I think the leak shows up more than with the black plastic tanks :smile:.
     
  13. altair

    altair Member

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    Thanks everyone for your input. I'll look into getting one of them 1 roll 35mm tanks..they do look kinda cute :tongue: in the meantime, I'll take the risk & go ahead using enough solution only to cover one of the 2 reels inside my tank. Hopefully it will turn out ok. I've been doing the same thing ( using just enough solution for 1 reel in a 2 reel tank) with my Paterson plastic tanks & so far haven't seen any adverse affects.

    I do believe that the lid, small cap & tank that I have are all 'original' to each other. In other words, they're not mixed up...yet.

    Anyway, right now, I'm not really concerned with the tank or its lid anymore. I tried practice loading film onto the 35mm SS reels last night & failed miserably. I dont see how I can avoid the film kinking when I'm in the changing bag. And the film keeps loading on not straight. I dont know what I'm doing wrong. The SS reels I have are the Kindermann type, I believe. With the 2 triangular small teeth to grip the film sprockets. Do you have any tips for an SS newbie?
     
  14. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    Send me the price of postage and I'll send you a film loader for SS reels. It even has a built in cassette opener.
     
  15. Sundowner

    Sundowner Subscriber

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    Yep...three things:
    1. Use your thumbnail to open the cassette.
    2. Make sure that the reel is facing the correct way when you begin to feed the film into it. Practice in daylight with scrap film, if need be. (I get them backwards all the time, if I'm not paying attention).
    3. Totally unspool your film into a separate coil (I let it wrap around my pinky finger) and cut the spool free before you start feeding it onto the reel. This also reverses the film on itself, which places the tightest curl inwards to the tightest part of the steel reel. It makes loading the reel much simpler.

    Hope that helps...if you were already doing all of those things, then just practice a lot!
     
  16. mdarnton

    mdarnton Member

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    Keep your fingers close to the reel. I feed between my thumb and first finger with them resting right against the reel, holding the film with my two back fingers and the base of my thumg. Don't force anything, push anything. LET the film feed itself as you turn the reel. Only use your fingers to keep the film going into the reel symmetrically--both sides at the same angle/level to the center, and squeeze the film enough that it is curved so that it doesn't hang up on the outside coils, but only flattens out where it enters its position on the reel. Trying to make the film go in doesn't help anything; let the reel suck the film from your fingers, as you turn the reel. It's most important to keep the sides of the film level with each other as they go into the reel, and keep it curved sideways.

    For agitation, if you're going to fill the tank only half way, spend more time rolling the tank gently on it's side, less time inverting. One inversion, gently, and some rolling, that's all.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 27, 2012
  17. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Find a cupboard or other room you can make fully dark, and load there.

    That way you can hear the film as you load - the auditory clues are really helpful.

    Remember, you can load va tank and then develop the film the following day.
     
  18. Richard Jepsen

    Richard Jepsen Member

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    These so called slip tops never are leak free. I use a black plastic lid with stanless tanks. That type lid is 98% leak free.
     
  19. akamatsu

    akamatsu Member

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    I just obtained a SS tank on ebay. The filler cap is way too loose. I used to have another SS tank years ago, and the filler cap was nice and snug. I'm just wondering if I was sold a tank with the wrong filler cap.
     
  20. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    Ditto what Rich et all have said. And they almost all leak. And if yours is marked Simmon-Omega, it is far from new. Some people do the rock three times and swirl gently. If that worked for you with plastic, it shall work for you with this old fellow. I know of no way to tighten up the interior of a lid that is loose. The big rubber band outside is an help. MaInly just work over the sink and get used to solution running down your arm. LOL
     
  21. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

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    I've never run into one that didn't leak. Wear an apron, keep a towel nearby to dry your hands, and don't worry about a little leakage.

    As for rolling the film, just practice a lot. If you want to use the teeth to grasp the sprockets, it's important that the sprockets are parallel to each other. Easier said than done, in the dark. Sundowner's method for removing the film will give you an even area to cut.

    Hey John- Long time... I still need to get those Zone VI newsletters. One of these days...
     
  22. altair

    altair Member

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    Thanks everyone for you help & input.

    mdarnton: I find your way of doing it to be spot on, it's really critical to put one's fingers really close to the reel when loading, and to just bend the film just enough to make it go in when one turns the reel. Thank you.

    MattKing: Your advice on auditory clues is correct as well. I can now know by ear when the film is spooling into the reel correctly. I used to load SS reels while listening to music..not anymore! Thanks!

    Richard & Anscojohn: I now have 2 SS tanks, one a Simmons-Omega and the other is a Nikor. Both have SS slip tops, not the rubber tops. Fortunately, I find that both are virtually leak free. My plastic Paterson Super System 4 tank leaks even more. I'm now using SS tanks & reels 100%, thanks to the advice & tips here. It's all about muscle memory and getting things right at the very beginning when you attach the film onto the teeth or clip that's on the reels.
     
  23. mikebarger

    mikebarger Subscriber

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    The two I've bought new do not leak, the two off ebay, I suspect, are mismatched.
     
  24. altair

    altair Member

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    mikebarger: I'm lucky to have both tanks have matching caps.