Vacuum Frame/Nuarc ?
Ok so now I have a sizable stack of processed 11x14 negs and I would like to start my first venture into contact printing. I understand through some preliminary research that anything above 8x10 needs a vacuum frame while contact printing to insure sharpness.
I am processing my negs to be used with AZO/Amidol and PT/PL mainly. I would like to purchase the correct unit size and type the first time instead of upgrading again and again.
Could some one recommend a "set up" that would acaccommodatehe processes I've listed?
I found a large vacuum frame on Ebay not long ago, it is about 23x27"! Postage was a lot more than the winning price, but it at least proves that they are there.
Combined with an overhead growlight (or bank of fluorescent tubes), I'm ready for anything!
I've been using a NuArc 26-1K mercury exposure unit that has a vacuum frame about 2' x 2.5'. It was donated to my place of employment but I've seen similar units go for a couple hundred bucks on eBay. It may be overkill for your needs, but I like the fact it has a built-in integrator to monitor and adjust output. It's noisy and has about a 3' square footprint, but otherwise no complaints.
I purchased a Sandmar (now Olec) FX1200 plate burner. It is a self-contained metal-halide lamp, vacuum frame and light integrator. It works great! Bulbs aren't cheap and they have a definite lifetime ($40 for a MHL-1000 or GW-114..) but it's a pleasure to use.
I'd go for it, especially if you plan on building a BLB fixture. I purchased my unit for $100 but had to drive two hours to pick it up.
Also check for Douthitt frames, very high quality. Olec makes some nice ones as well but I believe they are better known for their Olite lamps and light integrators.. *shrug*
look on the for sale section of APUG as there is at least one for sale