Will these be ok to use for UV source?

Discussion in 'Contact Printing' started by m1tch, Dec 10, 2012.

  1. m1tch

    m1tch Member

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    Hi all,

    Just looking into UV sources so that I can do cyanotype printing - I live in the UK so the sun isn't something that is usually there or indeed reliable for exposures, I have found some grow lights which come as a kit with the reflector, bulb and ballast so basically plug and play. Its a 600w system which is a tad more than the 36W UV nail lamps I have seen and it seems to be more powerful than some of the multi bulb DIY setups using 4 x 15w bulbs. As its used for plant growing its not really going to cook the plant so I am guessing its ok. I could always add some cooling fans or something if needed - the shop also does cooled reflectors which have an air vent you can pump air through to cool the setup as well.

    http://www.growell.co.uk/proxima-600-watt-lighting-system.html

    Would something like this be ok? I like the fact that its quite powerful as well as its plug and play so I don't need to wire anything up myself, there are also lower wattage kits at around 125W, but they aren't much cheaper than this 600w setup lol

    What do people think? I can't really afford a UV printer (funnily enough!) and I am looking for a simple but effective setup to do cyanotypes on when the sun isn't out/at night so I can do them whenever I want.
     
  2. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    Sure, you'll get some UV from that. The HID bulbs take a couple minutes to warm up though, so you might want to add a mechanical shutter if you expect exposure times to be short. You can buy dedicated UV bulbs (eg for sterilisation) with a different gas mix (mostly mercury) that will give you a much higher UV-to-visible ratio.

    It will be UNBELIEVABLY bright though. I have a couple of 150W HID lamps in outdoor luminaires and they are incredible. You can't stand too near them and with the two, I comfortably lit a few hundred square metres at night. With 600W, you're not going to want to be in the same room as the bulb.
     
  3. m1tch

    m1tch Member

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    That...sounds...EPIC lol sounds like I should look into those sterilisation bulbs I have seen then, I might look for a 2nd hand face tanner first though as I have seen a few posts where someone has used them successfully on cyanotypes.

    I can just imagine me setting up that 600w bulb in my room, then turning it on at night whilst wearing goggles lol would be like a lighthouse in the road :D I think I best avoid them lol but was worth a try, just trying to find the most cost effective option that doesn't involve me buying all the bulbs and wiring them into a box.

    What sort of wattage should I look at getting? I have seen those smaller nail UV dryers at 36W, would they be too weak?
     
  4. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    This lamp is high pressure sodium - it is exactly the wrong light for alt-process. It is a re-purposed street lamp and gives off yellow-orange light. This is the right lamp for plants: leaves are green, and so absorb orange light.

    Use 'black lights'. In the US they sell compact fluorescent black lights that can be used in a household lamp.
     
  5. m1tch

    m1tch Member

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    The blacklights are very powerful though, I might try one of those 36w nail drying things, its 36w but in quite a small area - not looking to do massive cyanotype prints at the moment, has anyone on here tried using one?
     
  6. paul_c5x4

    paul_c5x4 Subscriber

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    Have a look at the Philips HB175 facial tanning units - You should be able to pick one up on ebay for £10-12 (put don't pay more than £15). I use one for gum/carbon printing propped up around four to six inches over a contact printing frame with six to eight minute exposures.
     
  7. m1tch

    m1tch Member

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    Thanks Paul, I was hoping that someone could confirm what sort worked well, im not too worried about the exposure time, just need to find something that works lol will have a look out for the Phillips one on ebay or something.
     
  8. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    i have.
     
  9. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    Do not use any UV lamp designed for sterilisation -- those more than likely are designed to put out UVC...which is not the best wavelength for alt processes, and is deadly. Blindness and skin cancer danger!

    If you want to go with this the system you linked to -- I suggest substituting a Metal Halide lamp, instead of a 'Full Spectrum' lamp. Full spectrums will just pump out a lot of wavelengths (and heat) that you don't need.

    I work with a couple 750W self-ballasted, reflector Merv Vapor Lamps, I also have a 450W one. It is nice having them in a separate room!

    Vaughn
     
  10. m1tch

    m1tch Member

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    Hmm blindness and skin cancer doesn't sound fun either lol so far the options are:

    Light house effect
    Blindness
    Skin cancer
    Death

    lol :D I think I will go with that Phillps face tanner, I can't see many going that cheap though, might just get a brand new one at around £50, seems to have 4x15W bulbs in an A4 size which sounds about right for what I want, I could create a small wooden frame to basically rest it on so that it points downwards evenly or indeed just mount whatever I am contact printing on the wall lol
     
  11. Whiteymorange

    Whiteymorange Member

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    The face tanner option works for me. I have set it up for about 4" of clearance from the bottom of the box in which it is mounted to the plate glass under which the plate and positive are placed and I get exposures in the 45 second to 1 min. range for K93 plates (plasti-gravure). You can plug the entire unit into a time-o-lite timer or the equivalent because the built-in timer works in minutes, not seconds. Cheap and easy set-up for up to about 8x10, maybe larger– but not much.
     
  12. m1tch

    m1tch Member

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    Sounds like a face tanner will work, I don't think I will be going larger than an 8x10 although I could do a photogram or a digital negative at that size, I will check out those time-o-lite timers, it might be useful for when I do my own dev work or indeed get an enlarger for negatives in the future. Could I perhaps look at getting a cheaper face tanner and simply buy the 15w UV tanning bulbs to upgrade it? Are there any more powerful tanning bulbs I could look at getting eg a 25W or something?
     
  13. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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  14. m1tch

    m1tch Member

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    Yeah I checked that site out but didn't want to build my own lol