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View Full Version : A little help needed, building a drying cabinet



jaschiero
06-16-2013, 03:05 AM
I have recently begun taking steps toward plate photography and I am building some equipment I will need. I have run into an issue with trying to design a drying cabinet for plates and papers, I cannot find any information on how to successfully light proof the cabinet while still providing air flow in the box. Any suggestions on where I might find ideas on how to design the light traps, or if anyone has built one, how did you design yours?

Rick A
06-16-2013, 07:01 AM
You might try using vents designed specifically for dark rooms, they have built in light traps. Check Freestyle for darkroom louvers and fans.

jnanian
06-16-2013, 08:35 AM
hi there

do you have a darkroom .. a room dedicated to doing photographic work?
i ask this because i am fortunate enough to have a room that is dark,
and i also do hand coated plates and paper, often ..
the plates i leave face up on the baseboards of my enlargers until they are dry .. and
cyanotype, or paper coated with silver gelatin emulsion, i hang by 1 corner ( or 2 ) and leave hanging until
they are dry ...
i dont' think i am much help for your situation, but i also have a plastic shelved cabinet / closet purchased from
lowes / home depot and it is pretty light tight ( well, sort of ) i took the shelves out of it and strung wire and use that for
drying film ... maybe with the shelves still installed, and some well placed black flocking cloth you can use that to dry your
paper and plates ?

good luck and have lots of fun !
john

polyglot
06-16-2013, 09:29 AM
Getting the box light-tight isn't so hard (rubber weather strips on the door with a strong latch to compress them slightly and matte-black folded air-flow manifolds*) but how do you get the plates in there without exposing them? Do you need some means of putting a holder in and manipulating it through sleeves or something?

Edit: now I assume you mean you're pouring dry plates rather than doing something with a freshly exposed (wet?) plate. I assume that if you can load the drying cabinet in a darkroom (wherever plates were poured), close the door and put the lights on then that's OK?

My dryer (film) is a tall wooden box with car engine air filter at top, bathroom exhaust fan above that pushing air down and a bunch of holes in the bottom. An extra couple of baffles would make it light-tight.

* Think of the air taking a path through 3-4 S- bends, all with matte black paint or flocking. If it's the simple box-construction, this means just putting in a couple of baffles with notches cut from one edge/corner:

|________ |
| ________|
|________ |
| ________|

The width is about 40cm (width of cabinet) and the gaps maybe 20mm. Or use a handful of PVC stormwater elbows (diameter to match a small fan) painted black on the inside to make a set of maybe 5 U-turns.

jaschiero
06-16-2013, 04:49 PM
hi there

do you have a darkroom .. a room dedicated to doing photographic work?
i ask this because i am fortunate enough to have a room that is dark,
and i also do hand coated plates and paper, often ..
the plates i leave face up on the baseboards of my enlargers until they are dry .. and
cyanotype, or paper coated with silver gelatin emulsion, i hang by 1 corner ( or 2 ) and leave hanging until
they are dry ...
i dont' think i am much help for your situation, but i also have a plastic shelved cabinet / closet purchased from
lowes / home depot and it is pretty light tight ( well, sort of ) i took the shelves out of it and strung wire and use that for
drying film ... maybe with the shelves still installed, and some well placed black flocking cloth you can use that to dry your
paper and plates ?

good luck and have lots of fun !
john

Sadly, I do not. I work in my closet with a safelight (seal the door with an old blanket tucked between the door and the frame, works better than I initially thought it would.) Which is why I need a light proof drying cabinet. I am going to be building a small-ish one to hold 5-6 whole plates at a time. And due to space restrictions, it needs to be move-able (to place in a larger room that is not light proof.

jaschiero
06-16-2013, 04:54 PM
Getting the box light-tight isn't so hard (rubber weather strips on the door with a strong latch to compress them slightly and matte-black folded air-flow manifolds*) but how do you get the plates in there without exposing them? Do you need some means of putting a holder in and manipulating it through sleeves or something?

Edit: now I assume you mean you're pouring dry plates rather than doing something with a freshly exposed (wet?) plate. I assume that if you can load the drying cabinet in a darkroom (wherever plates were poured), close the door and put the lights on then that's OK?

My dryer (film) is a tall wooden box with car engine air filter at top, bathroom exhaust fan above that pushing air down and a bunch of holes in the bottom. An extra couple of baffles would make it light-tight.

* Think of the air taking a path through 3-4 S- bends, all with matte black paint or flocking. If it's the simple box-construction, this means just putting in a couple of baffles with notches cut from one edge/corner:

|________ |
| ________|
|________ |
| ________|

The width is about 40cm (width of cabinet) and the gaps maybe 20mm. Or use a handful of PVC stormwater elbows (diameter to match a small fan) painted black on the inside to make a set of maybe 5 U-turns.

I am going to be doing some dry plate experiments (found a few formulas for emulsions I have been wanting to try out, and have a couple I think might work), but as I do not have a dedicated darkroom that is always dark, I need a light proof box with air flow.

My plan is to use some computer fans (2 or 4), placed inside blowing air in one direction straight through. But I ran into an issue of how the moisture would escape, if I put holes in it, it will leak light and kill the plates.

polyglot
06-16-2013, 07:56 PM
Hence the black-painted S-bends through which air can flow but light will not...