What's the worst 'rigged' thing in your darkroom?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Sean, Jul 19, 2004.

  1. Sean

    Sean Admin Staff Member Admin

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    Just wondering if anyone has gone to the lengths I have to rig things in their darkroom. My worst so far is my exhaust fan. I cut a 1ft hole in my wall above the sink for it only to find a horizontal beam in the way (doh!). I then patched the hole, and re-cut the hole, and also cut the outside wall hole. Luckily no one goes in the backyard so doesn't see the back of the house where this thing will be (it's a bit of a forrest). I then find the fan is a bit too wide for the wall and is exposed to nature, so rig a rain proof vent to cover it. Nothing some screws and sealant can't handle. Now time to decide how to light proof this thing. I seal the holes around the unit up with can foam and then buy some 6inch aluminum flexible hosing to pass the air out of. I figured aluminum hosing would be light proof if I bend it a few times right? Well, not really, it's some sort of sprayed on plastic stuff and I see 1,000's of pinpricks of light coming through it. Off to the hardware store to buy some plastic sheeting and duct tape. End result is a mass of black tubing protruding from the back of the house going up and down to trap the light, covered in plastic sheeting and duct tape! It works well, but is hideous. I think next time I'll try to buy a real darkroom fan..

    Surprisingly my home made sink looks great, just finished it this weekend and the polyeuro coating resembles the shell of a bathtub :smile:
     
  2. Les McLean

    Les McLean Subscriber

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    I can't match that Sean but I too had problems with a ventilation fan in a darkroom many years ago.I was living in a rented house and could'nt carry out and major changes but wanted to ventilate the darkroom which was a huge utility room at the back of the farmhouse. This room had a large window at one end so I blocked it up with an equally large piece of inexpensive and thin plywood and decided to install an extractor fan. I cut a suitable hole adjacent to a part of the window that could be left open without creating any problems and imstalled the fan in the plywood fixed to the inside wall. It all looked great and reasonably tidy given that I am not the worlds most practical man. However, when I switched on the fan the large bit of cheap plywood sounded like a drum skin as a result of the vibration of the fan and the noise inside the darkroom was a bit loud and distracting so I gad to turn up the volume on the Led Zeplin tape and when I was printing the house sounded like Woodstock which got me into big trouble with the other half, but that's another story.
     
  3. Poco

    Poco Member

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    When I bought my 4x5 enlarger, it came with the wrong length enlarging cone for my lens. Not happy with that, I ordered a second wrong-length cone from Classic Enlargers ...just for the fun of it, apparently. Finally, I ended up making one out of 3" PVC sewage pipe that's attached to the enlarger by way of a metal flange you screw a toilet to. The upshot is that 1/4 of my enlarging setup was already meant to have crap flowing through it.
     
  4. L Gebhardt

    L Gebhardt Subscriber

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    Well that's better than my setup which has crap flowing through it 3/4 of the time.
     
  5. Jim Chinn

    Jim Chinn Member

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    You could probably coat the hose with a few layers of spray paint that is close to the exterior of your house to help the appearance. You wouldn't need the plastic. The paint will seal the pinholes. The platic also is a dust magnet.

    You could also build a box around the exterior hose and paint it to mathc the house. It would not look so odd that way.

    With regards to the original question, I would have to say my attempt long ago to use part of a sink for a print washer. I made a plexiglass rig that could set in the sink and had a hole drilled in the bottom so I could insert a tube that acted as an overflow. The tube had several holes drilled to allow water to flow into it at a steady rate after the sink was filled. This way I could keep a constant flow of fresh water going. Well the holes got covered by a print and the top of the tube could not keep up so after I put the prints in and went up stairs you can imagine what i had to deal with 1 hour later.
     
  6. Doug Bennett

    Doug Bennett Member

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    It used to be my homemade "cold light". I took a PVC 6" T fitting and put the biggest compact fluorescent that I could find horizontally so that the coils were above the vertical opening. Made a reflector above and a diffuser below. Then taped the whole thing with gaffer tape until it was light tight.

    It actually worked OK (fell off at the edges), but I chucked it and started looking for a real cold light.

    I'm in the middle of a print washer made out of a big plastic tote.
     
  7. bmac

    bmac Member

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    I can honestly say that everything in my darkroom is rigged in some way similar to Sean's exhaust fan.
     
  8. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    It's gotta be the typewriter table. I process in a bathroom, so I wheel the enlarger in on a typewriter (you remember those?) table that slides right over the commode and fits just between the wall and the sink. For 6x7 and smaller I have a Paterson/Philips enlarger, and for 4x5" I use my Tech V with a Graflarger back on a copy stand, because a real 4x5" enlarger won't fit in the space. On both baseboards, I have a second set of rubber feet to fit the small area of the table.

    In some respects, this is an elegant solution, but the copy stand baseboard is really too small for my 11x14" easel, so I have to use a board under it, and the floor isn't really level, so I have to use a rubber wedge to keep the table steady.
     
  9. Joe Lipka

    Joe Lipka Member

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    My dark room sink was home made with half inch plywood (C-D grade of course) covered with a hand lay up fiberglass sheet and resin (tastefully dyed grey, of course). The bottom of the sink bowed up, which of course put the drain at the high point of the sink.....

    The darkroom tables were originally nailed together and quite laughable. I was able to upgrade table construction by using "slotted angle iron" to make some hell for stout tables to hold the enlarger and the fiberglass sink.
     
  10. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    Since I built my darkroom from the walls in and floor up I guess all of it is "rigged". I started with a space in the basement that was just studs. My positive ventilation is kinda perched up above the darkroom door with it's double filters showing and the aluminum ducting laying on top of the drop ceiling. The worst problem I've had with something I've modified is the paint on truckbed liner I put on the sink, it doesn't stick to the stainless steel, which is a cheap grade that tries to rust at the drop of a hat. It's peeled off the bottom in huge patches and will eventually be totally bare full length. I've also had to jury rig the silver recovery unit, one of the pumps died a horrible mushy death when the magnet that couples the impeller to the motor disintegrated so I set it where it can drain with the help of mister gravity. So far though every thing works like I intended, I just need to learn to work like a master photographer. That might take me until I'm 70 or 80.
     
  11. Jorge Oliveira

    Jorge Oliveira Member

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    Everything is rigged over here - I have a large board I hang to the bathroom wall to place enlarger and trays, an homemade LED safelight that hangs from the rooflamp, a large water tray inside the shower box to keep prints in until final wash, done in the laundry...

    I would really like a real darkroom!

    Jorge O
     
  12. Silverpixels5

    Silverpixels5 Member

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    What's a typewriter?
    :wink:
     
  13. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    my door is made of sheets of black canvas screwed to the doorframe
     
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  15. Ash

    Ash Member

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    How about strips of carpet underlay forced into the gaps in my garage door to block out daylight...
     
  16. Fintan

    Fintan Member

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    <sigh> i actually bought a second hand water filter. the seal was a bit loose, so i made another. it leaks so badly i have a 10x12 tray under it and scoop out the water before and after every session. theres about 200 other things i need to buy so i'm stuck with the tray...and the scooping....
     
  17. Joe Lipka

    Joe Lipka Member

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    I was thinking about this thread last night in the darkroom, and there is something worse than my darkroom sink. It is my hot water bath for the potasium oxalate developer for Pt/Pd printing. A styrofoam six pack cooler filled with two liters of microwaved hot water and an aquarium heater mounted held in place with a scrap from some kindling wood. Real Elegant.
     
  18. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    I built my entire 5X7' darkroom against one wall in the garage (shared with the house) with materials scrounged at the local dump. They've since changed the laws and that could no longer be accomplished. Go figure. I bought drywall new so it doesn't look too bad. The sink is one of those old one piece cast iron affairs that had a drainboard on either side. So I have a U shaped counter in my tiny 5X7' area with the only non counter space where the door comes in. If I gain any more weight, I won't be able to get my butt in far enough to close the door around myself. The old bathroom vent/light/heater was also found at the dump. Even in Tonopah where it can get butt cold, that little ceiling heater can get my little 5X7' room cozy in minutes. There's just enough room for the D2, three 11X14 trays, and a 16X20 wash tray. Oh, and a small stereo of course.
     
  19. dr bob

    dr bob Member

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    I stick a black trash bag, doubled, over the window in the door of my laundry/dark room with painter's tape. Looks awful but works really well. It gets comments and lol from students when they visit. You can see that it really bothers me.
     
  20. philldresser

    philldresser Subscriber

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    Dr Bob

    How do you manage to get the students to do the Laundry? :smile:

    Phill
     
  21. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    Not a damn thing, I built my house and the most important part of the house was the DR. But that does not mean I have not suffered for my art...:smile:

    Let me tell you how I started. While going to college I had a very and I mean very small 1 bedroom, which basically was a living room/dinning room, kitchen and bedroom with bath. In the bedroom I had a mattress on a wooden platform I had made. So, to develop pictures, I would prop the mattress against the wall, cover the windows with the bet spread, assembled the enlarger, put the trays on the wooden platform and away I went. After I would wash everything, disassembled the enlarger, put the mattress back on the platform.

    Of course, may a times it was easier to just go sleep on the couch than pick everything up.
     
  22. John_Brewer

    John_Brewer Member

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    LMAO, William Heath Robinson eat your heart out. :tongue:
     
  23. mobtown_4x5

    mobtown_4x5 Member

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    My entire darkroom is built of blackoput cloth stapled to the basement ceiling joists. My enlarging table is a piece of scrap countertop on two sawhorses. THe table for trays is also plywood and sawhorses, this time suspended over a toilet. My sink is a free-standing plastic sanitary tub which stands in the shower, a hose instead of the shower head...it gets worse, shall I go on? :smile:

    Matt
     
  24. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Okay, eventually I will get the proper hose for the stainless steel printwashing tray I picked up recently for cheap, but in the meanwhile I've got a funnel precariously balanced over the inlet, leaning against the side of the bathtub, so that most of the water from the spigot goes into the funnel and into the print washer.
     
  25. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    Since my "darkroom" doesn't have running water. I use my bathroom for washing prints. I place my home-made washer on the toilet with the overflow tubes draining into the bowl.

    But that's not the answer to Sean's question.

    After about Ten minutes of listening to the washwater musically tinkling into the bowl, I find it urgently necessary to run out into the back yard and press a nearby tree into service for a purpose for which it was never intended.

    That's the worst 'rigged' thing :smile:
     
  26. DrPhil

    DrPhil Member

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    My darkroom is a small converted bedroom. It's really more like a storage room at 9x12. However, the rigged part is the aluminum foil that I used to block out the window. All the neighbors think I've got a hydroponic pot growing setup in my spare bedroom. I'm waiting for the police to raid my apartment.