One Huge Print Drum

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by rwhawkins, Dec 12, 2011.

  1. rwhawkins

    rwhawkins Member

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    I'm interested in anyone who has used a print drum to develop 42"x52" B&W fibre prints. I have seen Clyde Butcher's video where he uses large trays and slides the paper from one to another. That seems prone to damaging the print, in addition to needing a large amount of darkroom real estate. I'm envisioning a 15" diameter, 52" long PVC pipe on a large roller base. Unfortunately the pipe is pretty expensive or I would "just try it". I'm interested in what you think are the pros and cons.

    Cheers,

    RW
    rwhawkins.com
     
  2. Robert Hall

    Robert Hall Subscriber

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    I cant see how you would keep the print from collapsing on itself. You couldnt support it with anything without damaging the surface. High rotation rates are fraught with peril.

    A friend intends to use rabbit pen trays for his. I have the large trays, but I also have quite a bit of space.

    Best of luck.
     
  3. Konical

    Konical Subscriber

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    Good Morning, RW,

    Several decades ago, I made a number of large prints using the method you are contemplating. My finished prints were approximately 30" x 40" on Ilford RC paper. My homemade drum is about a foot in diameter; I rotated it manually on upturned furniture casters mounted on a base. Everything went fine, except that washing was a pain. I recall taking the finished prints outside and using a garden hose. I think that Robert is probably correct about FB paper causing problems, since it lacks the springiness of RC.

    Konical
     
  4. squinonescolon

    squinonescolon Member

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    Actually I have a drum that does 20x24 fibre and the developer just keeps the print stuck to the drum walls, so no need for high rates of spinning. Actually sometimes I've had trouble trying to remove the paper and I have damaged it because it sticks so hard.
     
  5. rjmeyer314

    rjmeyer314 Member

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    I have a drum I made from 1 foot inside diameter sewer pipe that I use for 30"x40" prints. To do prints that are 42" you need a drum about 13.4" (or greater) in inside diameter. It will be a little clumsy to handle. I turn my drum on 2 Beseler rollers, one under each end.
     
  6. darkroom_rookie

    darkroom_rookie Member

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    As others pointed out, drums don't work well for FB (ask me how I know). You could try making your own monster trays:

    _big_trays_.jpg

    Plywood, epoxy and polyurethane.
     
  7. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Print drums have been made clear up to 40X60 print size, though the largest I use is for 30X40.
    The paper sticks pretty well to the walls of a smooth drum, so I wouldn't be too worried about collapse. But there are a few other tricks you can do to assist this. The nice thing about drums is that you can do either color or b&w work. But with very large b&w work more frequently inkjet these days, I wonder how much longer large rolls of fiber based silver paper will even be available. I notice Harman no longer offers Fineprint VC but only Multigrade IV (not my favorite choice).
     
  8. rwhawkins

    rwhawkins Member

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    RJ, do you do B&W fibre?
     
  9. rwhawkins

    rwhawkins Member

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    Drew, any problems with the back of the print not getting washed sufficiently? I figure now is the time to make some big prints while the material is available, but paper is manufactured in rolls to begin with so I would figure rolls should be available until the end.
     
  10. Robert Hall

    Robert Hall Subscriber

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    Awesome franken trays!
     
  11. Marco B

    Marco B Member

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    Maybe this video about the work by John Chiara can give you some inspiration and the balls to try it out. At some point in the video, you can actually see him rolling the sewer tube with his feet:

    [video=youtube;9xYWehyfFcM]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9xYWehyfFcM[/video]

    Also posted in the APUG video section:

    http://www.apug.org/forums/media.php?do=details&mid=40

    Marco
     
  12. darkroom_rookie

    darkroom_rookie Member

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    Thanks, Robert. It took one weekend of work in the backyard and they don't leak at all!
     
  13. rjmeyer314

    rjmeyer314 Member

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    Sorry, I haven't been watching this thread. Yes, I've been doing fiber based prints for 30x40, only because I hadn't found resin coated paper that big. I would prefer resin coated; less washing and less curl when drying.
     
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  15. PKM-25

    PKM-25 Member

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    Nice to see. I have my drum built for up to 32x48" after expansion which I have found to be around +2.48%. For now, I am working with my 3063 drum for 20x24, the biggest I can do with my current setup. I have a silly question though....I assume for consistency's sake, I have to do my test strips in a drum as well?

    I have a smaller 2830 drum I could do tests in I suppose.

    How are folks doing it, rough in the tray, final test strip in a small drum then final print? Also, do the times differ between tray and drum processing?
     
  16. Konical

    Konical Subscriber

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    Good Morning, PKM-25,

    I assume that you working with B & W. Drum processing is continuous agitation; tray processing is normally about the same thing. There shouldn't be much reason to do test prints/strips in a drum unless you're dealing with a serious space problem for the trays.

    Konical
     
  17. frotog

    frotog Member

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    I wouldn't recommend final wash of fb in drums for lots of reasons, not the least of which is that you won't get good flow over the back of the paper. I'm not sure why one would want to when the mural process is at it's simplest and most straightforward in troughs.


    rc is easier, a lot cheaper and available over 30"....http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=&sku=80151&is=REG&A=details&Q=
     
  18. PKM-25

    PKM-25 Member

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    Thanks, this is what I suspected.

    While I did use up a pack of 10 sheets of Ilford MG RC in 20x24 for getting my workflow dialed, I have no intention of selling people RC prints, only fiber. The big thing for me at least for the next 2-5 years is space, I am very limited on it and the drums make that end of the job a lot easier. And like I said above, I will be doing a max size of 20x24 until later this year at the earliest, so I have everything I need for that, including either trays I can put in the tub for washing or better yet, only put half the dividers in my 16x20 Eco-Wash and then carefully put the 20x24 fiber paper in favoring the short dimension, flipping them half way through the wash. I figure I can wash 4-5 prints like this at a time.

    One day when I have the space, I will consider other methods, but for now, I have to mastermind what I have at my disposal.
     
  19. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    I use Iflord Cirbrachrome 16X20 and 20X24 drums. I have developed both RC and fiber. I enlarge and place the print in the drum, once light tight I take the drum outside to process on my patio. I live the desert Southwest when summer tap water is often over 90 degrees so I only print this large in the winter. The 16X20 fits on my Unicolor motor base, the 20X24 I roll on the patio floor. So far I have not had any issues with the constant agitation with Dektol as my standard developer. I add the developer then roll the drum for as long as needed, drain into a bucket, add stop bath, drain into a bucket, add standard fix, drain into a bucket,. I then rinse with a water baths, the print is still in the drum I change the water a couple of times. I then use Orbit Bath, drain into a bucket. I use all of the chemistery as one shot. At this point I am ready to pry off the top of the drum, next using a garden hose I very carefully use the water pressure to separate the print from the drum wall. Takes a little practice to figure out how much water pressure is required not to tear or crease the print. I then transfer to childÂ’s play pool and use a couple of Kodak siphons for final wash. I dry outside on a 20X24 framed screen. I have not toned any of these print, I dont have a tray large enough.
     
  20. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    The biggest I'm working at the moment is 30x40. I don't know if I want to build a bigger drum or not,
    just to please the bigger is better decor fad at the moment. But a drum system is easier to maintain
    than a roller-transport processor with all its finicky pumps and circuits. But per washing: my drums
    have shallow ribs which allow some water behind, so final rinsing is done in-drum. Then the print
    goes into a giant tray with automatic siphon etc for the final wash period. With RC prints, it can all
    be done in drum with repeat water cycles.
     
  21. frotog

    frotog Member

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    Hi, PKM-25,

    I was not addressing your particular concerns but rather the op's. The only salient point I have to offer regarding the topic of large fb or rc prints is that making large prints in drums offers no advantages over scrolling in troughs. Quite the opposite - drums introduce needless variables and a host of new ways to crimp your print, fiber or rc. They will also take up more room.
     
  22. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Didn't quite get that last remark. A drum will take up just a tiny amt of the space required by trays.
    That's the whole point. Plus way less volume in chemistry. And not necessarily difficult to load and
    unload at all. Whether or not they process as evenly as trays is a function of how well they are
    designed.
     
  23. PKM-25

    PKM-25 Member

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    +1,

    As far as I know, drums are the only way to soup prints in spaces other than a darkroom, that is my primary reason for using them, not only do they take up less space when doing large sizes, you can use a kitchen or other bright area to get the job done.
     
  24. frotog

    frotog Member

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    This is a good pt. I didn't realize you're having to process with the lights on. That's an unfortunate scenario. But as far as the amount of chemistry is concerned, I process in troughs with the minimum amount of chemistry for a one-shot process. For a 40x60 fb print that's less than a gallon of working dektol. I can work with one tray, but prefer two. My trays (54" X 10" X 4") take up a lot less room than a 40" x whatever size plastic drum.

    More importantly, removing a wet fb mural from the inside of a cylinder that you're hoping it adhered to during processing cannot possibly be a fun time. Crimp city.
     
  25. PKM-25

    PKM-25 Member

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    Only if I go above 16x20, I have a stacked tray system for prints smaller than 20x24. I think the Jobo 3063 tank is brilliant for what I need, hardly unfortunate. I am not into funky developing / toning beyond archival, it's all done in camera really.
     
  26. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Frotog - that's way more chemistry than you'd need one-shot in a drum. And a 40-inch circumference drum isn't forty inches in diameter! Don't worry - the math teacher didn't like me either.