Zone VI Washer - questions

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Marco Buonocore, Oct 19, 2013.

  1. Marco Buonocore

    Marco Buonocore Member

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    Hello,

    I've got a Zone VI print washer that has been gathering dust, and I thought I would make use of it. I've been using Kostiners up until now. The Zone VI is approx. 27"x21"x11" in size. Here's a photo of it:

    zone vi washer.jpg

    It looks like it's big enough to accomodate 16x20 prints, but the plexiglass dividers are only 23" x 12" - meaning they're at least 4" too short to be usefull. When I put a 16x20 in there, the top flops over. Kind of useless, no? I've always found fibre prints have a tendency to float upwards. Is there something I am missing?

    How do people use these washers? Is it worth getting new plexi dividers cut?

    Thanks!
     
  2. john_s

    john_s Subscriber

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    If I remember correctly*, these washers work with a slow flow of water that goes through each compartment in turn: under one divider, over the next one, under the next and so on. The later prints are washed initially with water that has already washed earlier prints. This way, a relatively small flow of water can ensure a constant flow over all print surfaces. These are often called "cascade washers".

    I wonder if someone cut down the dividers because they used a smaller paper size only. You might be able to detect a different style of cut on the tops or the bottoms of the dividers. On my similar Summitek washer, the alternate dividers are a different size to the other ones, to ensure that the flow went through the entire assembly.

    It's worth having new dividers made. On my Summitek, I had the original smooth dividers replaced with textured ones because with the smooth ones the prints tended to grip the surface. Large wet fibre prints need to be handled with minimal force. It turned out to be an expensive exercise, but worth it because they wash well and take up minimal space.

    If you don't get any further info, in about a week I can take photos of an original Zone VI 8x10 washer no longer used to get an idea of the original arrangement of the dividers, if that would help.

    * from your photo as far as I can see the arrangement on yours might be different to my Summitek, in that the water on yours flow from end to end whereas on mine it flows from side to side, enabling the water to wash prints in sequence. So maybe you can ignore much of what I've said! But if you need new dividers consider the textured dividers!
     
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  3. ROL

    ROL Member

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    You need to determine whether the washer is of the flow through (and over) type that john_s has suggested it may be, or a cross-jet type as later ZVI versions were. I have both designs. They both work equally well for cleaning prints, in my judgement. If the former, every other divider will likely have to be sightly lower and able to permit water to overcome surface tension as it flows over the top to the next compartment. Alternating dividers will be raised and/or taller to permit water to flow under but not over. Over – under – over, etc. If the latter design is employed, all dividers will likely be the same dimensions, as effluent water collects in a compartment on the side of the unit (as yours seems to have), where it is drained off. These will be much easier to cut than the passive (i.e., "fill and dump") design previously described. I also believe the originals may have been cut down, possibly to make it easier to use a sheet film washer. In either case, unless you routinely need to wash more than 6 prints at a time you could always halve the washer's print washing capacity and just cut 6 dividers.
     
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  4. Marco Buonocore

    Marco Buonocore Member

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    It's the cross jet version, where there are spouts - for lack of a better term - above each slot. Water flows up through the bottom of the washer and also through those spouts. Seems like a great system, that's why I'm interested in having it work well.
     
  5. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    Marco,

    I have A Zone VI 16x20 washer that I have used with 16x20 prints for many years. While the dividers in mine are 14 inches high it has never presented a problem. The spouts are on the top of the input chamber and the water flows out (down) into the opposite side chamber and out of the washer through a hose on the top of that chamber. The bottom opening of the hose is 17 inches. There is also a drain hose at the bottom of the exit chamber so the washer can be emptied. I don't recall when I bought it but it has been quite some time ago and was purchased new.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
     
  6. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    making new dividers is simple. the trick is to get a material that has a smooth and a rough side, because, the prints will stick to the smooth side.
     
  7. john_s

    john_s Subscriber

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    There is a material with a texture on both sides. I had new dividers made for my cascade washer to prevent this problem. Not so bad with 8x10 but big sizes are harder to handle when wet.