Stainless tanks size question

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by michaelbsc, Aug 14, 2010.

  1. michaelbsc

    michaelbsc Member

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    I have a question about something I just noticed today regarding SS tanks.

    First, let me state that I've been a plastic reel user all of my photographic life, so my discovery today was a surprise. And I don't want to start a plastic vs. stainless discussion. I'm just trying to clarify facts in my own mind.

    Over the years I've collected a small handful of SS reels and a couple of tanks as tag-alongs in auctions I've won while looking for other things. I just have them on a shelf basically doing nothing.

    A friend asked about them, so I was demonstrating how they were used.

    My meager stainless collection consists of a no-name 35mm single reel tank with a defective light trap, a Kalt 4 reel tank with reels and a little doo-hicky to lift the reels out of the tanks when you're done, and single Nikor 120 tank with a 120 reel.

    So I demonstrated how one reel went into the 135 single tank, how the 120 reel went into the 120 tank, and how the 4 reels went into the 4 reel tank. Then I said you could put two 35mm reels into the 120 tank like a Paterson. So I stuck two 135 reels into the 120 tank.

    They did fit, but to my surprise they completely fill the tank. Right up to the top next to the lid. There is practically no air space in the tank if you pour in enough chemicals to cover the reels. And absolutely no overhead room.

    So my question, are stainless tanks designed for 2 35mm reels slightly taller than stainless tanks designed for a single 120 reel? If not do you run the risk of the top edge being uncovered if you're not careful when developing two reels? Or is this a Nikor anomaly, and other brands of stainless tanks the 120 single and 2x135 are the same size?

    I know the Kalt 4 reel tank has plenty of overhead room just because the metal lifting rod pokes up a few mm. I would think that a 2 reel 35mm tank would need some extra room so you can agitate. But being a plastic kind of guy, I assumed that the 2x135=1x120 and they were really "the same tank" between them.

    Any clarification from a dedicated stainless tank user?
     
  2. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Michael:

    I read your post and just had to go look at a few of my tanks and reels.

    Looking at 3 different tanks (1 plastic and two different steel ones) and both 35mm and 120 reels, my observations are:

    1) when the 120 reels are in the tank, there is approximately 3/4 of an inch of headroom between the top of the reel and the rim of the tanks; and
    2) when 2 of the 35mm reels are in the tank, there is approximately 1/4 of an inch of headroom between the top of the reel and the rim of the tanks.

    The 120 reels are Hewes brand, and the 35mm reels are no name reels.

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. jmcd

    jmcd Member

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    I have an assortment of stainless tanks—Nikor, Omega, etc. One of these just holds two reels height-wise. Most have a little extra space at the top.
     
  4. michaelbsc

    michaelbsc Member

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    Which is the least forgiving? The Nikor? That's the one which sparked my question. I would have expected that to be the most forgiving. Unless of course they made several sizes while others simply made one larger size to handle all cases.
     
  5. michaelbsc

    michaelbsc Member

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    Out of curiosity, what brand of tank is it, if you know?
     
  6. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    The plastic tank is a Kindermann, made in Germany.

    Both metal tanks are made in Japan - one is an "LPL" tank, and the other is unlabelled as to brand.

    As best as I can recall, I've had the Kindermann tank since I bought it new 20-30 years ago. The other two came used with a bunch of other things in a Craigslist lot.
     
  7. frobozz

    frobozz Subscriber

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    You know how on Nikor tanks you need to keep the original tank, lid, and little cap together as a set? No two tanks are the same, and if you switch around parts, they either won't fit, or they'll leak like mad. I mean it's almost as if Nikor has to put extra effort into making sure no two tanks are the same. So it wouldn't surprise me at all if that included tank height. In fact I know they're all over the map because I had to sort through a lot of 4-35mm-reel tanks to find one that would fit 4 Hewes reels. They are taller than all other reels, so I figured all hope was lost, but then I noticed the height variations and eventually found one that worked!

    ...but that brings up another possibility. Are the two reels you stuck in there Hewes reels? Because that is absolutely the case, that two Hewes 35mm are taller than a single normal 120. (They use much thicker gauge wire.)

    Duncan
     
  8. michaelbsc

    michaelbsc Member

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    <Posted via APUG mobile wap service..> (Logic-Joe)

    I thought Nikor was supposed to be the best of the lot.

    Is that not true?

    MB
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 14, 2010
  9. bsdunek

    bsdunek Subscriber

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    frobuzz is right - don't mix and match covers and caps. When steel is drawn, especially stainless steel, there is what is callec 'spring back'. From one batch of steel to another that will vary. I have Nikor, Omega and Kindermann tanks that work well so long as you keep the parts together. The single 120 tanks take two 35mm reels with about 1/4th inch. left over like Matt King says. Of course, others may vary.
     
  10. Wade D

    Wade D Member

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    The Nikor tank I have holds 4 35mm reels with about 1/4" head space. When I use 2 120 reels there is a bit more room, about 1/2". As the others have said don't mix up the tank/lid with another one. They do leak like crazy if you do. The one I have is so tight it takes a bit of effort to separate them.