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  1. #31
    PhotoJim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gerald C Koch View Post
    Spelling is important. Sodium sulfite is different from sodium sulfate or sodium sulfide.
    But sodium sulfite and sodium sulphite are the same thing. Confusing this chemistry stuff.
    Jim MacKenzie - Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

    A bunch of Nikons; Feds, Zorkis and a Kiev; Pentax 67-II (inherited from my deceased father-in-law); Bronica SQ-A; and a nice Shen Hao 4x5 field camera with 3 decent lenses that needs to be taken outside more. Oh, and as of mid-2012, one of those bodies we don't talk about here.

    Favourite film: do I need to pick only one?

  2. #32
    PhotoJim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pdeeh View Post
    How does one acquire sufficient experience in order to start mixing developers oneself?
    What was said above is apt.

    Mixing one's own developers is not very difficult. A one-tenth gram digital scale is very useful, and you need to have very good habits to avoid contaminating your ingredients - but it's not too hard to learn.

    I am still the only person in the circle of local photography aficionados that I know that mixes his own chemicals at all, so I learned from the Internet and books (The Darkroom Cookbook and The Film Development Cookbook are awesome resources in this regard). All good so far!
    Jim MacKenzie - Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

    A bunch of Nikons; Feds, Zorkis and a Kiev; Pentax 67-II (inherited from my deceased father-in-law); Bronica SQ-A; and a nice Shen Hao 4x5 field camera with 3 decent lenses that needs to be taken outside more. Oh, and as of mid-2012, one of those bodies we don't talk about here.

    Favourite film: do I need to pick only one?

  3. #33
    Nicholas Lindan's Avatar
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    It's not hard to mix your own. Easier than making bread from scratch.

    The chemicals are a lot safer than what is under the kitchen sink or in the laundry room (or, heaven forbid, the garden shed [even worse, the garage]).

    You can get a perfectly adequate little digital scale for less than $10 on Amazon. Actually, you can use measuring spoons to parcel out the chemicals with no ill effects, other than driving some APUG posters positively livid.

    Very good developers can be concocted from vitamin C http://unblinkingeye.com/Articles/VitC/vitc.html.

    Coffee can be used to take the place of metol/phenidone - making a developer called Caffenol-C http://caffenol.blogspot.com/

    The washing soda in the recipe can be made by heating baking soda in a 200F oven for an hour.
    DARKROOM AUTOMATION
    f-Stop Timers - Enlarging Meters
    http://www.darkroomautomation.com/da-main.htm

  4. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by pdeeh View Post
    How does one acquire sufficient experience in order to start mixing developers oneself?
    I started doing this 1.5 years ago. For me, "The Film Developing Cookbook" was a great introduction to the chemicals and formulas involved. I bought labware (beakers and such) from FreestylePhoto.biz and both labware and chemicals from Photographer's Formulary. I bought a cheap electronic scale (.01 g resolution) from Amazon. And I read many postings on apug.

    Since then, I've made a few discoveries of my own and am in the final stages of testing a long-lasting concentrate that I've designed. You can monitor its progress in the "Progress on XTOL-Concentrate" thread. But my point is this: It only takes a small purchase and little knowledge to be competent at mixing your own developers. You only need to weigh a few chemicals and mix them in water. Easy.

    Mark Overton

  5. #35

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    I fear my - very slightly tongue-in-cheek & so apologies to Gerald - post might have derailed the thread somewhat.

    The advice is often given that beginners or those without experience should not attempt certain things. But it is sometimes forgotten that one has to start somewhere (even those who are very skilled and knowledgeable had to start without skill or knowledge), and that many if not most developers have rather simple recipes.

    Some thorough background reading, being able to measure accurately and being careful and methodical and consistent are really all that's required, and it's good to read the encouragement given by Mark and others above.

  6. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicholas Lindan View Post
    The chemicals are a lot safer than what is under the kitchen sink or in the laundry room (or, heaven forbid, the garden shed [even worse, the garage]).
    +1. But that said, even apparently innocuous chemicals can cause some harm when proper care is not taken. I don't know how many photographers have had chemistry experience, but I guess they number in the low percentages. I am a chemical engineer, and have worked with pretty dangerous stuff far worse than household chemicals. But I still respect those household chemicals, as do I the chemicals in my darkroom. It is always a good idea to get some guidance before going solo.

    Various countries have different legislation regarding chemicals, and shipping and importing them also differ somewhat from country to country. While most chemicals are available from US photographic suppliers to US customers, many of those chemicals can't be shipped outside of the US, and other ways must be found to source them. There are very few photographic chemicals that are not used as feed material or ingredient somewhere else in industry. I was stunned the other day to find sodium thiosulphate (hypo) in 5 kg packaging in my local farmers supply and hardware store. It is used as a food additive for cattle, apparently. Still looking for ammonium thiosulphate, though. Phenidone is used in hair products, as is amidol. But I am not sure that metol has any other uses. A supplier of bulk and/or fine chemicals such as Sigma Aldrich or Merck will have just about all the chemicals you may need on their list. If you can find a chemical or repackaging plant in your vicinity that buys bulk quantities and they are willing to spare you a few hundred grams of something, you can get very far with that. I got 100 grams of phenidone for free, and it will last me another few decades.

    The easiest concentrate to make, in terms of number and difficulty of steps, and in terms of sourcing and handling the necessary chemicals, is Parodinal. It requires four chemicals: Paracetamol (pain killers), sodium or potassium sulphite or metabisulphite, sodium or potassium hydroxide and dihydrogen oxide, otherwise known as water. I was able to acquire 2.5 kg of paracetamol from a bulk supplier, but needed a friend with a pharmaceutical license to order for me. It cost ZAR 215, or approximately 18 EU. It is enough to make 33 liters of concentrate, i.e. to develop ca 3300 films. Potassium metabisulphite is used as food additive and in winemaking etc, so is very easy to obtain by the bucketloads. Sodium hydroxide is commonly sold in grocery and hardware stores as drain cleaner. All you need apart from the chemicals is a scale that is accurate enough, and glassware to mix it in. I make anywhere from 200 ml to 1 l at a time, and do the mixing in Erlenmeyer flasks as those are easy to swirl and heat for dissolving the chemicals. Paracetamol does not dissolve in water easily, but does dissolve in a warm hydroxide solution. So I add the hydroxide to water and let it dissolve, then add the paracetamol to that solution. I dissolve the sulphite or metabisulphite in another flask, then I combine the two parts and make up the final volume with water. The whole process of weighing and mixing takes all of about 10-15 minutes, and only that long because I don't rush anything. After standing for three days, the developer is ready, and will last many years on a shelf.

    Sermon: Of course 10 grams of paracetamol can be a lethal dose, and hydroxide will burn skin and eyes, not to speak of the intestines if you care to ingest it. The rule is to store these things away from vulnerable people e.g. children, and to wear PPE during handling. Clearly label everything that you repackage, including the developer itself. That way your kin will know what to do with each item if you succumb in a plane crash or something. It is not a nice job to clean up a warehouse full of unlabeled and potentially fatal chemicals, and it can be very expensive to characterise and dispose of chemical waste. Buy and store only as much as you think you will need for a reasonable time. Think about what you leave behind and how it has to be dealt with in your potential absence. End of sermon.

    Have fun .

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by dorff View Post
    +1. But that said, even apparently innocuous chemicals can cause some harm when proper care is not taken.
    This is true with commercial powdered developers also, and to a lesser degree, with commercial liquid concentrate developers. The only difference is that you can be exposed to relatively pure chemicals while you are measuring the individual ingredients.

    There are a handful of extra things to know when you mix from scratch, but only a handful.
    Jim MacKenzie - Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

    A bunch of Nikons; Feds, Zorkis and a Kiev; Pentax 67-II (inherited from my deceased father-in-law); Bronica SQ-A; and a nice Shen Hao 4x5 field camera with 3 decent lenses that needs to be taken outside more. Oh, and as of mid-2012, one of those bodies we don't talk about here.

    Favourite film: do I need to pick only one?

  8. #38
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    HC-110 is a good one. Then there's Tetenal's Ultrafin and Ultrafin Plus. Both last reasonable well when kept right, and with the Plus you can use the working solution for multiple rolls. I've had both, in working solution, still viable after 2 weeks, and that's without the proper storage.

  9. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by dorff View Post
    There are a few "open-source" options, e.g. PC-TEA, but only if you know what you are doing when working with chemicals, and can source the raw materials.
    ...but if you want something with which to get your feet wet---not literally, of course---it's hard to do better than PC-TEA/PC-Glycol. Nothing in them is extremely toxic or extremely difficult to find, though I'm not sure what the European sources for chemicals are; but if you can source photo chemicals at all you certainly can get phenidone, and TEA and propylene glycol are both common chemicals with a variety of uses.

    I ended up switching from HC-110 to PC-TEA for most uses. I'm not sure whether that was because of real objective differences in the results, or a matter of convincing myself that the results looked better because I enjoy mixing my own developer. PC-TEA at 1+50 is very similar in characteristics to Xtol 1+2.

    -NT
    Nathan Tenny
    San Diego, CA, USA

    The lady of the house has to be a pretty swell sort of person to put up with the annoyance of a photographer.
    -The Little Technical Library, _Developing, Printing, And Enlarging_

  10. #40

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    If you can't find or don't care for HC-110, DD-X or TMax developers would be good to try. I'm currently using a bottle of TMax developer that I opened 2 1/2 years ago. The expiration date on the bottle is November of 2011 and it's still working fine.

    Dave

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