View Full Version : aluminum trays for film processing

will kirchoff
12-21-2007, 05:05 PM
Is it possible to use disposable aluminum trays to develop some 11 X 14 ektapan? My developing trays are in another state and I wanted to process this weekend.



12-21-2007, 05:10 PM
Doesn't seem like a good idea to me. Aluminium oxide is amphoteric, which means it will dissolve in acids and alkalis both. I don't know what aluminium contamination will do to a developer, but I have a fair idea of what a developer spill through a small hole etched through the dish will do to the bench underneath...

12-21-2007, 05:14 PM
perhaps a plastic-lined cardboard box?

works for fish

Photo Engineer
12-21-2007, 05:23 PM
No, no, no, no, no, no.. repeat for a total of 1000x.

Aluminum in contact with developers generates hydrogen gas while destroying developer and etching the tray, and it is dissolved by the fixer. Aluminum salts can then precipitate in the coating giving it a nasty matte haze. You may luck out, but why take a chance.

If you do try, don't light any matches. I've actually done that and watched blue flashes over the tray as the hydrogen ignites, but then I'm known for my bad luck.


12-21-2007, 05:52 PM
Is it possible to use disposable aluminum trays to develop some 11 X 14 ektapan? My developing trays are in another state and I wanted to process this weekend.



Based on the replies you may have thought of this already but how about cheap cat litter trays or trays that garden centre put plants into?


12-22-2007, 12:23 AM
They might do. Another option is to go to a store that sells car parts. They often sell oil drainage pan/container. It will hold something like 1.5 - 2 gallon and if cut in to two halfes will make excelent developing dishes. The price in Denmark is about 15 USD for one.

12-22-2007, 01:14 AM

All you have to do is check out our own dude - JBrenner on You Tube and just go out and get some "kitty litter" trays! See #2.....


12-22-2007, 05:59 AM
There's also cement mixing tubs for really large film/paper. We used to use one as a massive kitty litter box for our cats, nearly 2ft x3ft in size.

What? We had 5 indoor only cats. They had to go somewhere! :D

12-22-2007, 06:52 AM
i've been told wallpaper troughs or long plastic dinner trays work well ... YMMV :)

David A. Goldfarb
12-22-2007, 08:02 AM
Wallpaper troughs are good for mural printing, but could be tricky with film without some practice, which is probably not worth it just for a little processing until you and your trays end up in the same state.

I'd investigate the garden supply. I have some plastic seed trays that work for 7x17". Perhaps there is something comparable that would work for 11x14".

12-22-2007, 08:41 AM
In WWII New Guinea, my father made his own paraffin coated trays. I dont know how well they worked, but they worked.

12-22-2007, 08:47 PM
Cat litter trays at Target - $4.99 (in Washington State).

At Walmart, they are slightly more expensive.

The side walls aren't vertical, and one of the dimensions is quite close to the paper size, but they work.

They come in two colours too :).


will kirchoff
12-29-2007, 11:32 AM
I found a great inexpensive alternative for processing trays for my 11 x14 ectapan. I went to a price comparison web site called shopzilla and searched for cat litter trays. I found unbreakable plastic trays measuring 18" x 16" x 4" for $2.00 each. This is $15 less than the trays I was going to order from B&H photo!