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  1. #1
    kwmullet's Avatar
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    Homebrew wetting agent?

    My crystal ball tells me that I'll eventually be using chems mixed from bulk ingredients exclusively. I'd like to wean myself off Photoflo. The whole "pouring formaldihyde down the drain" thing, not to mention covering my negs with something after they're all "clean" from the wash is something to which I'd like to explore alternatives.

    Is there a homebrew wetting agent out there? I think I remember there's some folks who just give their film a distilled water rinse, then hang it to dry. What are the procedural and chemical alternatives to photoflo?

    -KwM-

    [added later]
    Should have done a search first. Found this interesting thread, where non photoflo folks seem to use a combo of distilled/filtered water, isopropal alchohol and something called LFN. What's LFN?

  2. #2

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    Hi !
    May I suggest not using Photoflo at all ?
    For all my roll film, being it 120 or 135 size, I use a salad spinner instead...
    I've bought a device used to remove the water from the salad by spinning it in a bowl. On the bowl, I've installed two diametrally opposed rubber bands I use to hold the spiral on which the film is in, ensuring that the spiral side is up. I put two spirals at a time for equilibrium, and gently spin the whole thing using the cord provided. It drives the water droplets out, leaving only the enclosed water in the gelatin. After a few spins, I hang my films to dry in my shower (least dusty part of the house) and let them dry (it takes only an hour or so to dry). This way, no water marks, no squegee marks, no Photoflo, etc... And a fast drying....
    Of course this is unpractical for sheet film....
    Oh, I _do not use_ the film spinner for the salad anymore, it is high tech photographic equipment now, and priced as such.....

  3. #3
    Ed Sukach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwmullet
    .... where non photoflo folks seem to use a combo of distilled/filtered water, isopropal alchohol and something called LFN. What's LFN?
    LFN is a wetting agent produced by Edwal. Some usurious price of ~US$5 for a little bottle .. that fortunately lasts for years at one drop per liter of water.
    Does a great job ... unlike Kodak's Photo-Flo, which has a tendency to leave brown, rock-hard, bullet-proof solidified drops on the film.

    Calgon is used as a wetting agent in photography.... possibly the same stuff used in dishwashers. I've never tried the Supermarket stuff. Has anyone else here given it a go?
    Carpe erratum!!

    Ed Sukach, FFP.

  4. #4
    titrisol's Avatar
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    I don't see why replacing LFN/Photflo is cheap and does the job well.
    I doubt it si formaldehyde, but some sort of alcohol.

    I have used JetDry as a test, and it works OK.

    May I suggest just using 3 changes of distilled water at the end of the wash cycle?
    Or the use of a single wash into propyl alcohol (Rubbing alcohol in the US)?
    Mama took my APX away.....

  5. #5
    Ole
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    Iv'e got good clean soft water here, so I use - nothing at all. I had a lot of problems with drying streaks and such before, but they went away when I stopped using PhotoFlo or similar. Now I just hang the films to dry straight out of the wash. If that didn't work, I'd use distilled water (or bottled drinking water) for the final rinse.
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
    Norway

  6. #6
    rogueish's Avatar
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    I've been using Ilford's version of photoflo and have no complaints or problems. Stuff lasts forever as it dilutes around 1+500 or so.
    Forgot to put it in the final rinse once and the only real difference was the film took a little longer to dry. Had a small water mark at the end of the film. Washed it with some bottled water and a light rub with a cotton swab and mark was gone.

  7. #7

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    PhotoFlo contains formaldehyde? I'm surprised. That's pretty harsh stuff.

    A few years ago I bought a bottle of "Forma-Flo" from Photographer's Formulary. You can get it there when you order your bulk chemicals. At the current rate I'm using it up, the bottle will literally outlive me (and I'm a pretty young guy).

    The primary constituents of wetting agents are IIRC water, some alcohol (isopropyl, most likely) and a non-ionic surfactant like Triton X-100.

  8. #8
    BruceN's Avatar
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    I just use a couple of changes of distilled water and hang it up. An added benefit is that I just set the tanks and reels, etc. aside on a towel and they dry without water spots, too.

  9. #9

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    I'd be surpised if it contains formaldehyde. My homebrew stablizer for C-41 requires me to add formaldehyde to photo-flo.

  10. #10
    Bruce Osgood's Avatar
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    The best of all possible worlds:

    DISTILLED Water...................750 mL
    Isopropyl rubbing alcohol (70%)...30 mL
    Photo Flo .................................2.5 mL
    Distilled Water to make.............1000 mL

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