One Huge Print Drum
I'm interested in anyone who has used a print drum to develop 42"x52" B&W fibre prints. I have seen Clyde Butcher's video where he uses large trays and slides the paper from one to another. That seems prone to damaging the print, in addition to needing a large amount of darkroom real estate. I'm envisioning a 15" diameter, 52" long PVC pipe on a large roller base. Unfortunately the pipe is pretty expensive or I would "just try it". I'm interested in what you think are the pros and cons.
I cant see how you would keep the print from collapsing on itself. You couldnt support it with anything without damaging the surface. High rotation rates are fraught with peril.
A friend intends to use rabbit pen trays for his. I have the large trays, but I also have quite a bit of space.
Best of luck.
Good Morning, RW,
Several decades ago, I made a number of large prints using the method you are contemplating. My finished prints were approximately 30" x 40" on Ilford RC paper. My homemade drum is about a foot in diameter; I rotated it manually on upturned furniture casters mounted on a base. Everything went fine, except that washing was a pain. I recall taking the finished prints outside and using a garden hose. I think that Robert is probably correct about FB paper causing problems, since it lacks the springiness of RC.
Actually I have a drum that does 20x24 fibre and the developer just keeps the print stuck to the drum walls, so no need for high rates of spinning. Actually sometimes I've had trouble trying to remove the paper and I have damaged it because it sticks so hard.
I have a drum I made from 1 foot inside diameter sewer pipe that I use for 30"x40" prints. To do prints that are 42" you need a drum about 13.4" (or greater) in inside diameter. It will be a little clumsy to handle. I turn my drum on 2 Beseler rollers, one under each end.
As others pointed out, drums don't work well for FB (ask me how I know). You could try making your own monster trays:
Plywood, epoxy and polyurethane.
Print drums have been made clear up to 40X60 print size, though the largest I use is for 30X40.
The paper sticks pretty well to the walls of a smooth drum, so I wouldn't be too worried about collapse. But there are a few other tricks you can do to assist this. The nice thing about drums is that you can do either color or b&w work. But with very large b&w work more frequently inkjet these days, I wonder how much longer large rolls of fiber based silver paper will even be available. I notice Harman no longer offers Fineprint VC but only Multigrade IV (not my favorite choice).
Drew, any problems with the back of the print not getting washed sufficiently? I figure now is the time to make some big prints while the material is available, but paper is manufactured in rolls to begin with so I would figure rolls should be available until the end.
Awesome franken trays!
Originally Posted by darkroom_rookie