B&W Reversal Film Processor - The design and construction...
by, 01-16-2012 at 10:58 PM (853 Views)
I have a few moments to myself at work presently so thought now is the time for me to post about my desire or is it need for a B&W reversal processor. I was not sure where to post his in the forums (Darkroom Equipment, Camera Building...) So here is the Blog.
Why build from scratch. Well,
1. I am processing far too much B&W reversal in 35 and 16mm to keep going with the LOMO tank - 800 to 1200 ft annually. It was a bugger to learn to load but not bad now I have the hang of it, but I still have to cut my 100ft lengths in the middle to fit onto the two spools. My drying has been far from ideal - hang the wet film on the clothes line looped around abit, and when dry carefully clean with film cleaner as I am spooling back onto the daylight reel.
2. Sending off for processing was my original plan, but the only B&W 16mm processor closed down their operations in 2009, so I then sent my film off to Canada for processing but it came back quite fogged on both occasions. I suspect x-rays from the respective mail centres of Australia and Canada because of the way the banding occurs on the film. Why canada, the lab I found was comparable in cost when including the postage with what I was paying here in Australia.
3. My films are just family home movies, and novelties that I shoot and edit for community groups that I work with using my collection of cameras. As such I am wanting to manage my costs as best I can. I do not want to go out and purchase a machine capable of processing several hundreds/thousands of feet an hour as I have neither the space nor the power requirements for such a machine.
My first thoughts were that I get my hands on a couple of old Kodak Prostar microfilm processors and join them together. This proved to be too hard here in Australia as no one was still using them, and the people I spoke to at Kodak here in Australia confirmed the last of hte prostar machines that Kodak knew of were made reduntant around 2005/6. There are some of these and similar units for sale second hand in the US but the purchase and shipping cost rules thems out.
Now I have run several rolls of B&W film throught the LOMO, I have to find an easier method for me, and that is a roller transport processor where I can send a roll at a time through dry to dry, daylight spool to a takeup spool. I have decided on a having 10 baths, 5 of them are chemical baths sitting in a counter flowing water bath which is both the wash between chemical baths and the temperature control. The water bath will be a large PVC tank which will support the smaller chemical PVC tanks in a line. There will be racks of rollers (minimal numbers, material not selected and rollers not designed as yet) that will transport the film through the different baths before exiting the last bath and travelling through a dryer. The hot air was to be supplied by either a hairdrier or a small floor fan heater.
Now is the time for me to start documenting my progress. I hope I can get it to completion, but who knows what life might bring up that changes my focus on this idea. As I draw up the designs and incorporate any suggestions that might be an advantage I will port them here.