Print washer suggestions

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by Ray Bidegain, Nov 14, 2003.

  1. Ray Bidegain

    Ray Bidegain Member

    Messages:
    90
    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2003
    Location:
    Portland, Or
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    I am getting ready to buy a print washer, does anyone have any recommendations or feedback on the one they have,thanks,

    Ray Bidegain
     
  2. L Gebhardt

    L Gebhardt Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,769
    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2003
    Location:
    NH
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    I like my homemade one. It's a 10 gallon aquarium with 6 plexi divideres held in place with PVC pipe with slits in it. Took an hour or so to build. Prints test very clean for residual hypo after 45 minutes and one water change. I got the idea from www.fineartphotosupply.com
     
  3. dr bob

    dr bob Member

    Messages:
    871
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Annapolis, M
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Thanks for the info. Could you make more details available? I have always wanted to design a home-built washer for my 11x14s.

    Slightly off topic, I recently located some wire baskets at the local Kmart which just fit a 4x5 negative. I bought four for a trial and they work great. I stack them with a negative in each then put the whole assy into a tray just high enough for the water to cover the highest negative. Should work equally well with several more - and they are cheap. There is a choice of coated or stainless steel.

    Truly, dr bob.
     
  4. L Gebhardt

    L Gebhardt Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,769
    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2003
    Location:
    NH
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    More details: Start with a standard 10 gallon aqarium. Cut 4 peices of 2 inch PVC pipe to fit the short way across the tank. Mark the pipe lengthwise in half - draw two lines from each end of the pipe opposite each other. Then draw 5 cut marks evenly spaced along the pipe. Using a chop saw cut slots into the pipe - only going to the 2 lines that divide the pipe in half. Do this for all 4 peices of pipe. Put two peices of pipe on each end of the tank stacked on top of each other - these are the supports for the plexiglass dividers. Now cut 5 peices of plexiglasss so that they will fit into the tank and slipinto the slots in the pipe. I added a drain syphon hose through one set of pipes and then drilled a series of three holes in each compartment to get better drainage from the bottom. Thats about it. Also, use thin (1/8 inch) plexiglass so it will fit into the saw kerf - makes the cuts simple.

    To use I fill it with a hode from the top. I start a siphon to drain it. I have found for FB paper all I need to do is let the prints soak for 15 to 30 minutes, drain half the water while filling it with the hose and wait another 30 minutes. The prints test clean. I do wash in Perma Wash 5 minutes first. This design works for 6 11x14 prints. And it is cheap.
     
  5. Aggie

    Aggie Member

    Messages:
    4,925
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2003
    Location:
    So. Utah
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    ..
     
  6. juan

    juan Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,749
    Joined:
    May 7, 2003
    Location:
    St. Simons I
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I made a very similar washer, but for the dividers used a grating made to go in ceiling light fixtures. It's about 1/4" thick, so sawing the cuts in the PVC is a bit more complicated. The advantage I see is that the grating is mostly hole, ensuring plenty of water flow around the print.
    juan
     
  7. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,974
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2002
    Location:
    Wine country, N. Cal.
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I have Calumets 20x24. works great. Has individual chambers that don't contaminate each other. Available from Calumet.com

    There are kits available to make your own on www.fineartphotography.com


    Hope this helps,

    Michael McBlane
     
  8. dr bob

    dr bob Member

    Messages:
    871
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Annapolis, M
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Aggie I don't have a d-----l camera or a close-up attachment for my Polaroid so an instant image is not possible. However the little baskets are just that -little steel mesh baskets with a square base about but not quite as long as the 5" side of my 4x5s, which causes the film to just stand off the bottom a slight way. The sides are about 2-1/5" high and tapered so that they can be stacked, without bottoming out on the ones below.

    I've been thinking of trying a couple of s.s. ones to test processing. The plastic coated wire ones work very well for washing, which has been a hassel without a proper film tank like I used in circ. 1950 (oops). They sure are easier to load.
     
  9. dr bob

    dr bob Member

    Messages:
    871
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Annapolis, M
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Thanks so much. I will give this a try on a warm day or next spring. I want to use my radial arm saw and band saw which are in my unheated garage. Also the Mate wishes me to move _her_ Miata outside when I cut. I also like the idea of the waffle diffuser material for the separators. Will check on the materials there to insure against contamination. I have found that some "home improvement" materials can be pretty "dirty" chemically.

    Truly, dr bob.
     
  10. jobel60

    jobel60 Member

    Messages:
    34
    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2003
    Location:
    cornwall uk
    My answer, for a limited amount of prints. Use an old developing tray, buy one of those cheap rubber mixer shower/tap things and drill a hole a bit smaller than the pipe at the bottom of the tray, squeeze it in and attatch to the tap. Water flows from the base to the top and rinses the print.
     
  11. RogerBird

    RogerBird Member

    Messages:
    20
    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2002
    Location:
    Burlington,
    A quick question about the dividers in your home-made washer a-la Fineartphotosupply; If I use smooth plexiglass will the prints stick to the side and therefore not get washed? Would a textured material (ceiling flourescent light) be better for this reason?

    Roger
     
  12. lee

    lee Member

    Messages:
    2,913
    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2002
    Location:
    Fort Worth T
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    it might be better for the reasons you state but the ones with the texture have little points on them and it leads me to believe they could damage the print surfaces without too much trouble. I own two washers and neither have a textured surface separators. I don't seem to recall seeing the prints stuck to the sides of the dividers. just my opinion.

    lee\c
     
  13. bmac

    bmac Member

    Messages:
    2,156
    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2002
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    The ceiling light fixture plastic is really sharp. I was using it as dividers for a while, but it scratched my prints. The Versalab print washer I used to use had smooth sides on the dividers. I use a 16x20 tray with a kodak tray siphon now.
     
  14. RogerBird

    RogerBird Member

    Messages:
    20
    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2002
    Location:
    Burlington,
    Just curious... Why did you switch from using the VersaLab? The reason I am making mine (total cost of CAD$35) is that I am too frugal (cheap) to get the VersaLab.

    Actually I was looking at the light fixture dividers; nevermind scratching the print, I am sure my hands would be bleeding by the end of the night. There is one though, with a cracked ice appearance.

    Roger
     
  15. bmac

    bmac Member

    Messages:
    2,156
    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2002
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    It was too big for my work area, otherwise, it was a great washer.
     
  16. kwmullet

    kwmullet Subscriber

    Messages:
    889
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2004
    Location:
    Denton, TX,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I bought the 11x14 one from fineartphotosupply.com. The link to the washer page is here. What you get in the mail is ten (or so... not near the washer right now) pre-cut plexiglass dividers, two pieces of PVC pipe with the slits pre-cut, and a couple of pieces of plexiglass to stick on top in case any prints float up. You're left to your own devices to get a 10-gallon acquarium tank because the cost of shipping them would greatly outstrip their value. I got mine from Wal-Mart for $10-12. You're also left to your own devices to get water into the tank.

    Since I'm using a somewhat-converted bathroom for a darkroom (I don't have to tear it down when I'm done), the print washer fits perfectly in the width of the bathtub, in case there's any run-over. I run a hose through a heavy-duty clamp and clip it on the side for incoming water, and the siphon hose for outgoing is supplied with the kit.

    You can see my print washer "in the wild" in this partial shot of my darkroom. It's in the bottom left of the frame, in the tub.

    Really saves on water. I fill it up, pull prints from the fix to a water-filled holding tray, then fill up the washer, let the prints soak for a half hour, recycle the water in the washer for fifteen minutes, then let them soak for another half hour.

    btw -- once in a while a print sort of clings to a divider, I just wiggle the divider back and forth and the print flows off. Hasn't been a prob for me.

    -KwM-
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 12, 2004
  17. wdemere

    wdemere Member

    Messages:
    85
    Joined:
    May 11, 2004
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I made one similar to what is described above:

    1 10 gallon tank - $13
    4 pieces of 11"x20" plexiglass - $12
    one small pump (not really needed) - $30
    6' of 3/4" clear tubing - $3
    the rubber and metal tube with fitting for the sink faucet from a tray print washer - ($8 on ebay)

    The plexiglass goes into the tank so that an inch of space is at the bottom of each piece. The metal tube from the print washer goes in the bottom, along with the little pump (though you can just use the clear tube without the pump and siphon the water out.) I had planned to use silicon sealant to hold the plexiglass in place, but found that it wasn't necessary.

    No problem with the prints sticking to the plexiglass at all.

    Good luck,

    William
     
  18. RogerBird

    RogerBird Member

    Messages:
    20
    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2002
    Location:
    Burlington,
    Thanks for the ideas. I think I will stick with the thin plexiglass for the dividers, although I am not sure how many I will put in yet. The only thing I am thinking of doing different is cutting a 3" wide strip out of the middle of every other divider (from the top) so that I can reach smaller prints. Even though the additional cost of making a 5x7 washer out of a 2.5 gallon tank is miniscule, I just don't need something else to crowd my room. Thanks again!

    Roger
     
  19. L Gebhardt

    L Gebhardt Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,769
    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2003
    Location:
    NH
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    With only 6 dividers I can slip my hands in to get to the bottom. With 10 I don't think I could.
     
  20. RogerBird

    RogerBird Member

    Messages:
    20
    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2002
    Location:
    Burlington,
    Well, my print washer project is almost done. I decided to put in 6 dividers. It has taken me longer than expected to cut the pvc pipe. If I had a table saw it would have been quicker. But I have been stuck using my jigsaw and dremel.

    Total Cost in CAD$:
    10 gal tank $12
    Plexiglass sheet 30"x60" 25
    1/2" clear tubing 6
    1 1/4" pvc pipe 3 (it came in a 10' length, used only 40")

    total cost CAD$46

    This is going to work well!
    Roger