Without bichromate

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by Mustafa Umut Sarac, Feb 8, 2009.

  1. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

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    I am in chaotic cycle in many hobbies and going and coming back to photography.
    I loved gum bichromate prints which looks like a water color hand paint.
    But I will not do it with poison , no way.
    Can you advise me a clean way ?

    Best ,

    Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Istanbul
     
  2. tim_bessell

    tim_bessell Member

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    Yes, send me your money (lots of it), and I will gladly send you clean gun fichromate pints. :0)
     
  3. E76

    E76 Member

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    Sorry, but I don't think there is any other way to do it without the dichromate. Like many chemicals, its toxicity is probably overblown, but the risk is still there. Handle everything with care and you should be perfectly fine. Wear gloves when necessary, dissolve the powder in a well ventilated area (with a mask), and you should have nothing to worry about.
     
  4. tim_bessell

    tim_bessell Member

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    Sorry, I didn't mean to be rude in my post above, but think about what you are asking. Well, maybe there is a way; digital....

    As E76 noted use care and you will be fine. When dichromate is in its dry form it is much more dangerous because you have to be careful of dust that can become airborne. Use a mask when weighting and mixing. Once in solution it is much safer to handle.
     
  5. q_x

    q_x Member

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    There is way. Clean, non-digital and well supported. Silkscreen water-based emulsions use other agent. Ecological, non-cancerogenous, more sensitive to light yellow powder. You mix it into emulsion just before you use it. I'm sure you'll get some information at your autotype dealer (http://www.macdermidautotype.com/ i think this is their site).
    Share resources, discoveries and results

    Cheers,
    Luke
     
  6. q_x

    q_x Member

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    girls & guys, by the way: We have lots of problems in obtaining bichromate salts in Poland. Tones of paperwork, agency of national security has to be acknowledged (it is used to make bombs), you have also give a paper after you use it - a bill from someone who recycled it. Lots of phun. So I have 1kg in "secure place" :D Just in case :D
     
  7. smieglitz

    smieglitz Subscriber

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    Though I no longer have the citation, tonnes of dichromate are dumped via industrial use to the environment daily. A fraction of a gram used to make a gum print is inconsequential by comparison. And, much of the waste water used by a hobbyist can be collected and reused, then the chrome salt converted to a less toxic trivalent chromium form before being disposed of as a precipitated solid waste.

    I'm not sure if it is still made, but IIRC, Edwal tray cleaner was essentially dichromate solution and might be easier to obtain in that form in some countries.
     
  8. Chazzy

    Chazzy Member

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    Joe, that's potentially a golden piece of information. Obviously, handling a solution is easier than taking the necessary precautions to use the powder safely. Maybe an alternative would be to order a solution from Photographers' Formulary or Bostick and Sullivan, if they are willing?
     
  9. Kirk Keyes

    Kirk Keyes Member

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    Mustafa, there's risk to everything. And I'm glad you've looked into it for yourself and made a personal choice. It is much better to be informed than uninformed.

    However, I don't mean to say dichromates are too dangerous and that everyone should avoid them. Everyone just needs to make a decision that works for themselves.
     
  10. q_x

    q_x Member

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    smieglitz... It is not big problem to remove bichromate safely for me (read below). It is a problem for our government.

    One more thing, Mustafa:
    You don't have to have "clear" solution, there may be some crystals in water, even 3/4 of jar you have it in may be filled with crystals and you just refill it with water.
    You don't have to keep it in absolute darkness - when it got light it breaks into neutral green pigment, some other salts and oxygen (pigment is quite common chrome oxide olive green, very small particles, nearly safe in contact with skin, can be used to make gums too when you seize paper), so exposing to light all washing water and taking out the pigment may be sufficient in most cases.

    When healthcare comes to my mind, dichromate is big piece of shit.
    It is almost unable to hold it soluted in water in plastic containers. Holding it in liquid solution is much safer than in dust or crystal form, but you have to care of it too. And use glass with rubber plug (made of gum).
    I have 0,5 l bottle left after novocaine solution found in abandoned hospital - it is made of thick glass with crude scale, it has rubber plug *and* aluminium cap on it - it is quite good (If bottlenecks interior and plug is dried every time after opening it of course). Any drop or liquid left anywhere (bottleneck, tools etc.) will dry and form crystals and the fun begins again.
    Medical thick glass bottles are more suitable in my opinion, than casual photo soup bottles.

    Cheers,
    Luke
     
  11. sanking

    sanking Member

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    If objections to use of dichromates are based on valid environmental concerns regarding industrial waste disposal that is one issue.

    If objections are based on concerns for one's personal health, that is another issue.

    Having used dichromates in carbon photography for almost three decades, and carefully considered the risks, my opinion is that there is less risk involved with the use of dichromate in making gum and carbon prints than the risk involved dozens of activities that people engage in on a regular basis, not including smoking cigarettes and heavy alcohol consumption. Once the dichromate is in solution the concern is almost entirely dermatological, unless one decides to drink the dichromate.

    I can understand why governments want to regulate and/or reduce/eliminate the use of dichromates. But for the individual making gum bichormate or carbon prints there is, IMHO, virtually no risk to health, assuming reasonable care in mixing.

    Sandy King


     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 10, 2009
  12. can

    can Member

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    Sorry, this is not a direct reply to the question, but related to dichromates nonetheless.

    I just started working on gum bichromate process and am now preparing chemicals. There's a problem with ammonium dichromate though. Upon dissolving in water (I'm preparing 10% sol'n), small filaments form in the solution. The filaments are dark green/brown in color. They are insoluable and soft in consistency and stick to the walls of the glass beaker. I am using distilled water, but this is the first time i used samples from this particular chemist, so I can not vouch for its purity.

    Does anyone have an idea why these filaments appear? And does their appearance mean contamination of the dichromate solution?

    I have prepared the solution under dim tungsten light, so exposure to light should not be a problem.

    And Mustafa, if I'm able to eliminate this dark green/brown substance I can lend you some solution, so there, I had an answer to your question after all :smile:

    But if you want to prepare it at home I suggest you get controlled air flow in your working environment or a gas mask from Karaköy. The particular brand of dichromate I purchased had some very fine crystals (normally the crystals are relatively large and easy to work with) which may pose some risks unless there is controlled airflow.
     
  13. Kerik

    Kerik Member

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    Can - I don't know what the filaments are, but I would bet if you just filter them out, the solution will work just fine. Is the solution itself a bright orange color?
     
  14. Marczak

    Marczak Member

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    There`s no problem with it.

    q_x please try those two links

    http://www.aktyn.poznan.pl/

    http://www.chemik.aip.pl/

    Best wishes

    Paul
     
  15. Jack Lusted

    Jack Lusted Member

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    And to think of the way we used to chuck it about in chemistry lessons at school - and as far a I know I'm still fine.

    Jack
     
  16. can

    can Member

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    Thanks for the reply, the color is fine, bright orange. I'll filter the solution with a coffee filter when i get home.

    Though I have minimal experience in the process, I suspect the filaments (for the lack of a better word) formed because of impurities in water. Does anyone have an idea on how impurities in distilled water may affect dichromate solution (and during the printing process)?

     
  17. q_x

    q_x Member

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    Thanks for the links, Paul.

    Can: the things you're filtering (greenish brown filaments) are a thing left after exposing bichromate salts to light. It won't spoil your prints, just keep the solution in brown glass and in dark place if you dislike it. It is quite precious olive green pigment, but hard to use in bichromate processes due to its small particle size.
     
  18. Katharine Thayer

    Katharine Thayer Member

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    (1) It looks like can has got some impurity in the water (although there shouldn't be any impurity in the water, if it's really distilled water) or in the container. I agree with Kerik that as long as the solution itself is still bright yellow-orange, the filtered solution should be fine. (BTW, I've never seen anything like this in all the years I've been gum printing).
    (2) Light doesn't have any lasting effect on dichromate by itself; there must be some other material to participate in the reaction. Without a donor material to participate in the reduction of the chromium the reaction doesn't occur; that's the role gum arabic plays in gum printing, is serve as a donor to facilitate the reduction of chromium. The crosslinking of the gum, which is the foundational principle of gum printing, is a collateral effect.
    (3) As to the green filaments in can's dichromate being a precious pigment... well, I'm somewhat skeptical of that assertion, but would be glad to be enlightened, if it can be shown that this is the case. But since we don't know what the impurity is or how/whether it's reacting with the dichromate, it seems rather unlikely that we could say anything definitive about the product.
    Katharine
     
  19. can

    can Member

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    thank you all, g_x, katharine, kerik, for your fine answers.

    Troubleshooting a new process turns out to be very discouraging at times, especially in an early phase, thank you very much for your answers. I'll filter the dichromate solution and give it a try. And in the future I'll find a more reliable source for distilled water.

    the pigment comment is especially interesting

    i'll copy paste the thread for future reference

    cheers,
    can
     
  20. Katharine Thayer

    Katharine Thayer Member

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    Since q_x hasn't substantiated that comment, I'm going to assume it's not substantiable, any more than his statement that the green filaments are produced by the action of light on dichromate, sui generis. It just doesn't happen that way, as I explained.

    The kneejerk assumption one might make is that the green filaments are chromium oxide, but as I said, without knowing what impurities you're dealing with and how they're reacting with the dichromate, it's impossible to know that. There are, in fact, two chromium oxide pigments, neither of which is particularly precious; one is PG 17, chromium oxide green, sometimes marketed as "olive green" (although "olive green" usually is reserved for a mixture of pthalo green with various yellows and rose-colored pigments). Chromium oxide green is a dull green, weak pigment, not terribly useful in gum printing, and one of the cheapest pigments available. The other is viridian, PG 18, also a common pigment, not very expensive. There are no other green chromium pigments I am aware of, precious or not. But as I said, I'm always open to being educated, if someone has better information.
    Katharine