One more time: UV Light boxes

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by Nathan Smith, Dec 28, 2006.

  1. Nathan Smith

    Nathan Smith Member

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    I've looked at the archives for this and ran into a lot of questions and some dead links. The free plans on www.eepjon.com that were so popular seem to have gone away and I could no longer find similar info on Photographer's Formulary.

    So, since this is a popular topic, anyone up for writing an article on making UV light boxes? The one on unblinkingeye is an excellent resource, but frankly I'm looking for something that will tell me more or less exactly how to make a generic 11x14 box as I don't have time for the design phase. Having said that, I will be glad to jot down a quick article about whatever I wind up doing and post it to serve as a boiler plate for others to add to.

    I guess truthfully, it's neither the box itself, nor the wiring that put me off, but the cost & time required for what seems an otherwise simple project.

    TheFlyingCamera had an idea that seems very attractive - buying existing 2-bulb fixtures and putting 6 of them together. Since the largest neg I'm likely to deal with is 8x10, this sounds good - any drawbacks?

    Thanks,
    Nathan

     
  2. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    Edwards Engineered Products

    I am surprised the plans disappeared -- they use to be on the old Bostick & Sullivan site also. I suppose too many people were making their own.

    I bought one of the Edwards Engineered Products UV light box kits -- waste of money, actually. Fortunately it was the university's money, not my own. The boards were not cut to the right size, venting slits and the hole for the fan were not pre-cut like they were suppose to be, and instructions were written by an engineer not familar with the effective use of language (which is still better than instructions written by an English major with no knowledge of engineering!LOL!)

    I also made the false assumption that I was buying one of their pre-made lightboxes, but in kit form. Instead it was a lesser unit, based on the do-it-yourself plans they use to have on the site.

    EEP did offer to replace the boards that they failed to pre-cut the holes in, but I was under a deadline to get it together for an Alt photo class, so I winged that part and managed to put it together with the mis-sized boards anyway. I have to take it apart to find a bad connection -- one of the tubes does not fully light...perhaps it is not grounded properly.

    The advantage of the design is that it uses seperate balences, instead of fixtures. The tubes are closer together than if one uses fixtures...but it does require a lot more wiring. Having the tubes closer together can give you more UV, and a more even exposure with the printing frame closer to the tubes.

    But the pre-wired fixtures work fine, too. If you think you'd ever want to expose more than one 8x10 at a time, you might consider buildine a longer box using longer fixtures. When I use pyro developed negs, my exposure times are rather long (30 min+) -- and being able to expose two negs at the same time helps to keep the work-flow moving along quickly.

    Vaughn
     
  3. bruce terry

    bruce terry Member

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    Nathan -.

    I've got an 18x20 (exposure area) Edwards Engineered Products UV light box that I'm planning to sell due to a physical issue in working 8x10 format - don't want to give it up but I must.

    I constructed this 27.5” x 24” x 8” box to Edward's exact factory standards per the light box construction article in Sullivan and Weese’s New Platinum Print > > > Hinges, handles and screws are marine stainless and all wood is premium marine ply, no glue used. The "spec" equipment is: 12 x 1.5” 20 watt standard heavy duty fluorescent black lights, heavy-duty ballasts and heavy duty ventilating fan. This rock-of-a-box is 7 years old and has run flawlessly without any startup or cooling problems whatsoever. Exposure times with my zias and p/p’s take 12-25 minutes, though some of the more dense zias have run 1-1.5 hours. This bulky tank weighs 80 pounds and will be expensive to ship so my first hope is for a buyer within six car-hours of Wilmington NC (Atlanta up to DC) whom I could meet halfway and save the buyer substantial shipping costs. The alternative for commercial shipping - say to Texas - is to simply unscrew it (no problem) and ship the components in three separate cartons. The Freestyle and Bostick & Sullivan price on the equivalent factory box is $875 and I'm selling this one for $345/buyer pays freight. Included will be my remaining inventory of plat/pall printing chemicals and the Sullivan Weese book at no charge.

    Email me at btry@bellsouth.net for further details and lots of detail images if you're interested.

    Bruce
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 28, 2006
  4. Shinnya

    Shinnya Advertiser Advertiser

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    Hi there,

    I bought those fixtures from Homedepot too. I think it is called shoplight in fact, and only costed $9 or so for 4' unit. Then I took them apart, and used ballasts and sockets only. It is not difficult to take them apart and not that difficult to re-wire them either. The finish is nicer since you do not have to work with the housing. I have a lot of housing sitting in my studio by the way.

    I made the box with plywood, but this time the unit is a stand alone type with rollers at the bottom. We use the bottom space for storage space. We can roll this around wherever in the space, and we do not need another flat surface to place it, and it creates a table level flat surface for us.

    We needed a larger one since we use it for workshop and class setting. the lit area measures 48"x30". We just made 48"x38" one for a photographer in NY. That was pretty big. We used all the same method.

    By the way, I do have a several of spare 24" BL bulbs if anyone is interested.

    Warmly,
    Tsuyoshi
     

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  5. sanking

    sanking Member

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    For my large bank of UV tubes (twelve 48" tubes) I bought the two-tube fixtures and just used them as is by bolting the fixtures to a piece of 5/8" plywood, around which I placed sides 3/4" X 8" on the sides and back, and 3/4" X 4" on the front. All you have to do is wire the units together, including ground, and connect to an outlet plug. You will also need a small muffin type fan, 4" diameter or so, in one side of the unit to dissipate heat. Paint the inside white, and the outside to taste, and there you are.

    This really is remarkably simple to do for anyone with modest construction skills. As I recall, it took about 2.5 hours for me to assemble this big UV box, not counting painting. Took more time than that tryng to figure out how to get it upstairs, and even more time figuring out how to use it with my 38"X27" vacuum frame.

    Sandy King
     
  6. Nathan Smith

    Nathan Smith Member

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    Aargh! A professional quality unit AND the Platinum-Palladium materials ... I REALLY wish I could do this Bruce, but I just can't right now. Post this in the classifieds section and I'll bet you have a taker pronto.
    Thanks,
    Nathan

     
  7. menglert

    menglert Member

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    Here is the plans I used for my lightbox. LINK & directions LINK.

    Although, there are a few things you should note. This box holds 16 BLB (4x4), not the 8x4 that was stated (I need to change the design posted). You could fit more if they were placed closer together. In addition, you may have to modify the design some depending on the height of your contact or vacuum frame. Because I recently moved on to a vacuum frame I'll have to add some sort of extenders to raise the height of my lightbox.

    Since I built the box I have decided to add the remaining lights, as I had only started with 6, but the company I was buying the bulbs from no longer keeps an inventory of the bulb, so I had to wait about 6 weeks to recieve them.

    Regards,
    Martin
     
  8. Nathan Smith

    Nathan Smith Member

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    Shinnya / Sandy - thanks for this input, I'm definitely leaning in this direction, it's hard to beat the price. I'm inclined to make a shorter version (than 4') as I don't have a lot of darkroom space - I guess I can get away with using the same ballast for shorter tubes(?)

    ... also, Sandy - when you say that you used the fixtures as-is, do you mean that you used the bulbs that came with it too?
    I'm not in a big hurry, so if standard bulbs work a bit slower than BL, BLB, AQA, etc., I'm ok with that - now if it's a LOT slower that may be different.

    I need to email him, but on re-reading I think that TheFlyingCamera must have been speaking of 1-bulb black light fixtures ... the kind I had mounted under a poster in the '70's :smile: ... that would work too, and already has the bulbs, but I'm not so sure about having an individual ballast for each bulb like that. I've replaced enough ballasts in ceiling fixtures to know that they go out after a while.

    Thanks,
    Nathan
     
  9. menglert

    menglert Member

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    As a side note, you may be able to get by with one 27w BLB in a reflector for doing 8x10. Might set you back $40-50. :wink:

    Regards,
    Martin
     
  10. menglert

    menglert Member

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    There is also a 100w BLB, that may be useful in a reflector, but a bit expensive ($50). LINK
     
  11. Nathan Smith

    Nathan Smith Member

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    Actually, that's not a bad idea - thanks. I'm really only doing 5x7 for a while so I could do that. For that matter, if I do go with standard fluorescent tubes I could build the 11x14 type box and just put the center bulbs in for now ... and leave myself some money for some P.O.P, I'm dying to try that out.

    Nathan


     
  12. sanking

    sanking Member

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    No, the two-tube fixtures that I bought did not include tubes. You should use either BL or BLB tubes. Home Depot and Lowes may have BLB, since this is a kind of "party" tube, but probably not the BLs. But you can order them from a place like Top Bulb.

    Some standard tubes (Daylight, for example) will work, but exposure times will be much longer, by a factor of 2X-4X.

    Finally, make sure you get two-tube fixtures with electronic ballast. Much more efficient.

    Sandy King
     
  13. Nathan Smith

    Nathan Smith Member

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    This intrigues me - if it works for 5x7 it would certainly be a low-cost alternative until I have the time & money to build a really nice setup. I know lots of folks used to used "sun lamps" for this, does the 27w BLB in a standard shop reflector do the same thing? Here's a LINK to the bulb in question.
    Nathan

     
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  15. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    freq

    Sandy (and others)

    Please remind me the optimim UV frequencies for pt/pd printing -- and for carbon if they are different.

    I was looking at some interesting bulbs and wondering how practical they would be. Eye Lighting makes a 450W Merc Vapor self-ballasting reflector lamp (#68633) -- screw-in type base (mongol). It has a peak at a wave length of 400, a peak at blue...and then peaks at yellow, orange and red, which would just be a source of heat as far as alt. processes go.

    For my carbons I am using two 175W merc vapor lamps -- I'd like to simplify my system by using one lamp and up the wattage.

    Edited to add....looked up Sandy's article on the unblinkingeye site. Looks like I need wavelengths of 320 to 400 and that the bulb above would work...if it will give even illumination for a 8x10 at a reasonable height.

    The bulb is about $70 -- I'll have to give it some thought. Has anyone used such a bulb?

    Thanks, Vaughn
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 29, 2006
  16. sanking

    sanking Member

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    Vaughn,

    Carbon in particular is most sensitive to wavelenghts from about 350-450 nm. (Actually, it is very sensitive to radiation below 300 nm but the glass of our frames cuts this out.

    I have no personal experience with the 450 watt self-ballasting mercury vapor lamp you mention, but I think it would probably serve your needs better than the two 175 watt bulbs. All mercury vapor lamps put out a lot of useful radiation for exposing carbon.

    Sandy
     
  17. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    Thanks, Sandy....

    My last printing session with carbon produced prints that were sharp -- just not as sharp as previous carbons I have made. Everything was identical except for one thing. One of the merc vapor lamps seemed to be not as bright (in the visible spectrum), so I moved the printing frame around a lot during exposure to even out the exposure across the tissue. Normally I move it only once or twice during the exposure.

    All that changing of position (and not using a vacumn frame) probably gave me the same results as using a diffused light source similar to a bank of BLB tubes.

    I have the material/equipment for a vacumn frame system -- I need to get off my rear and figure out how to to put it all together. I remember years ago on the B&S forum reading about a glassless vacumn frame system that Stephen Luvick use -- I would like to try to duplicate that.

    Vaughn
     
  18. sanking

    sanking Member

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    Vaughn,

    There is a picture in the 2nd edition of David Scopick's book on gum printing of a glassless vacuum frame that looks fairly easy to assemble. You might also look on ebay for one as good units sell for a fraction of their original value. In fact, platemakers with light integrators and vacuum frames can often be found at very attractive prices.

    Sandy King
     
  19. Nathan Smith

    Nathan Smith Member

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    27watt BLB compact fluorescent bulb

    Anyone know where to get one of these?

    I decided to go with the 27w BLB spiral bulb for the short term before my project stalls while I build the larger unit ... BUT no one seems to have one in stock! In fact, bulbman.com is the only place I've found a reference to it ... and they're out of stock. Aargh!

    Nathan

     
  20. menglert

    menglert Member

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    You have to place the order with bulbman.com, then they will bring the item in for you. I had to do this and am currently waiting on 10 BLBs. It takes about 6-8 weeks usually. You could also use 15w BLB, that are available other places on the net, but your exposure times will increase.

    Regards,
    Martin
     
  21. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    Nathan,

    I order enlarger bulbs and the various other bulbs (strobe lights, etc) I need for the university from Bulbman -- always very helpful when I call them. Give them a call and they'll probably check their various warehouses to see if they have one somewhere.

    Vaughn
     
  22. timeUnit

    timeUnit Member

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    I'm also having difficulties finding relevant wiring diagrams for my UV box. I have all the parts (sans wires, will buy today).

    This is my setup, maybe someone can chime in and help me out with the wiring. I was planning to let someone else do the wiring, but can't find one to do it! Electricians here seem quite uninterested in doing a "cheap" job like this, they are busy working for corporations and making big bucks, it seems.

    6 Philips Actinic 05 tubes, T12 (36 mm diameter) 20W
    12 tube holders
    3 electronic ballasts
    6 starters
    6 starter holders
    3 condensors for balancing the current

    I understand how to wire a circuit of 1 ballast, 2 tubes 2 starters, but am unsure how to wire the condenser. And I'm very unsure how to wire it all together, in series or parallell. I live in Sweden, where we have 220-240 V and 50 Hz electrical power.

    Help would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks!
    Henning
     
  23. JLP

    JLP Subscriber

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    Hi Henning,
    You would want to wire your ligth fixtures parallel, they all need to get 230V if you wire in series you would halve the volatage for every unit you connect in the series.
    As far as the capacitor or Condensator, it is also wired in parallel or directly to the 230V.
    I just build my light box but with only 8 tubes.
    Hope this helps?

    jan
     
  24. timeUnit

    timeUnit Member

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    It does help, thanks Jan!

    If someone could attatch a wiring diagram as well I'd be most greatful.

    Thanks again!
     
  25. blaze-on

    blaze-on Member

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    Caution: I built a 3 foot box as I wanted to be able to put two or more frames in if needed, but didn't want as big as 48". Unfortunately, the F30T12BL tubes are all but non-existent. I will have to get the actinic (AQA).
    I tried some BLB from Light Bulb depot but most are defective (chinese made I believe)

    So...Build a 24" or 48"..
     
  26. wilsonneal

    wilsonneal Member

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