print washers

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by aljanjr, Apr 7, 2005.

  1. aljanjr

    aljanjr Member

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    i want to purchase a print washer. it seems all are similar to one another. is there a model that separates itself from the group? nova-calumet-gravityworks etc. thankyou for your help.
     
  2. edz

    edz Member

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    They are all very similar. The questions.. before I start to offer specific advise... are
    - How many prints do you tend to do per hour in a typical session?
    - How many prints do you do MAX. in a typical very busy, high output, session?
    - What size prints do you tend to do?
    - Only fibre? A mix of fibre and RC? Any non-Bayta fibre?
    - What is the typical max. size print you do in an average session?
    - How large is your darkroom? Does space matter?
    - How many people work at the same time in the darkroom? Personal or group?
    - Do you have a termperature controlled water supply?
    - Is water cheap and in abundance or is it limited?
    - Is water hard or soft?
    - Do you work everyday or at odd times?
    - Do you work in big peaks or a little here and a little there?
     
  3. Robert Hall

    Robert Hall Subscriber

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    I have had several of this brand.. http://www.summitek.com/ They are made here in Salt Lake City and sold by various vendors.

    The reason I like them so well is that they are very effective and use VERY little water.

    I have had custom models of these made for my Pt/Pd printing and washing of negatives.

    I have also used them for print washing for years. They are fantastic and use as little as 1/2 liter of water per minute.
     
  4. Early Riser

    Early Riser Subscriber

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    I own archival print washers by gravity works (16x20) and Calumet (20x24). They are both very efficient in their use of water something like 1 to 2 liters per minute depending on washer size. Before I bought the Calumet I did a good deal of research on washers, unfortunately I was unable to get all the features that I wanted in the 20x24 size. A few tips:

    Some washers have a "total dump" feature, that is you lift a panel and all of the water dumps out, this can come in quite handy after a wash session as it dumps all of the water rapidly and more completely, this cuts down on the accumulation of any mold. It's also good to do a total dump a few minutes after the last fixer soaked print is added to the washer, this will accelerate the wash process.

    The nova washers have textured inner panels, this is a great feature as it keeps prints from sticking to the panels and also aids in faster washing and makes it easier to add or remove prints.

    Some washers give you less wash space but add chemical holding tanks, 1 or 2, that can hold a second fixer and a wash aid, I think these are more problematic than they're worth as they can cause inadvertant contamination.

    If you have the space get a bigger washer, there's a reason why I own a 16x20 AND a 20x24 washer, I bought the 16x20 first. Having the 20x24 allows me to wash twice as many 11x14"s as the 16x20 would allow. The only problem with this is that if you print 8x10"s they can be tougher to get out of the washer. Calumet provides a plastic stick with a piece of rubber on the end to help you retrieve small prints. The bigger washer does use a bit more water but I feel that it tends to wash more thoroughly than a smaller washer and therefore is faster, so the extra water wasted is minimal.

    Buy a water flow meter, Delta makes a good one. You'd be surprised just how little water these washers actually need. If your water temp is stable don't worry too much about shocking the prints with hot water if someone flushes a toilet, there is such a large volume of water in the washer that momentary fluctuations matter little, filling the bath though is another matter. With any washer make sure you have enough temperate water available. These washers draw so little that it's rare that they would make you run out of hot water.
     
  5. Blighty

    Blighty Subscriber

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    I use a Silverprint archival washer. Very similar to Nova's design. It has a rapid dump facility (sounds a bit dodgy doesn't it!). where you can drain the water out of the tank in around 20~30 secs. I know the Nova machines have a slot(s) for HCA or whatever. They're built like the proverbial brick sh*thouse, and should last a life time. BLIGHTY
     
  6. Clueless

    Clueless Member

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    "Textured" inner panels of washers

    I've heard of the advantage...wonder if one could apply "bath-tub" safety strips to the removable inserts for a similar effect. A few full height strips per side might accomplish the job.
     
  7. Early Riser

    Early Riser Subscriber

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    Bath tub non slip pads use an adhesive, that might leech into the prints. The actual plastic that Nova use is readily available if you want to go through the trouble on getting it cut and having the edges polished, I believe it's called crackle finish plexi.
     
  8. Peter De Smidt

    Peter De Smidt Member

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