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  1. #1

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    Chemical dust in darkrooms

    I've been making several home-made film developers and fixers from bulk dry powdered chemistry over the past year.

    As I spoon out and weigh the dry components in my home darkroom, I've become aware of a fine dust that gets airborne despite my best and most careful efforts not to stir up the contents; sodium sulfite in particular I can smell-almost-taste in the air as I start to take it out of the bottle.

    Long term continued exposure to this chemical dust is undoubtedly not a good thing. Further, I know it's settling everywhere all over my countertops and printing equipment. Cutting large holes in the walls of the house to install an elaborate ventilation system in my darkroom is not an option.

    I spied this in a catalog that showed up in my mailbox: a self-contained fume extraction system. http://www.hakkousa.com/detail.asp?C...ID=4878&Page=1 I really liked the rigid self supporting hose that could be positioned over the project to suck up any airborne particulates right at the source. It's perfect except for the price. The system is meant for heavy electronics soldering with the related acids and smoke, but it gave me an idea--I don't need the fume/vapor part of it, just the dust part.

    What about something like a small Shop-Vac with their very best HEPA filter bag and cartridge? I could make something to hold a hose and large nozzle over the bottles of dry chemistry, and turn it on when I'm measuring out the powder for a formula.

    What do you APUGers think?

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by konakoa View Post

    What about something like a small Shop-Vac with their very best HEPA filter bag and cartridge? I could make something to hold a hose and large nozzle over the bottles of dry chemistry, and turn it on when I'm measuring out the powder for a formula.

    What do you APUGers think?
    Err wouldn't a shop vac just suck up the dry chemistry. Maybe turn it on after your done or use something slightly less powerful like large computer fans..

  3. #3

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    How about just mix them outside. Yes the vac and a hepa filter will work, so will a central vac that is ducted outside, or a free standing hepa type air cleaner with a "fume hood" made from a cardboard box.

    Actually you should never mix powdered chems in the darkroom, any escaping "dust" will do a wonderful job of contaminating paper and film.
    Bob

  4. #4

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    I don;t know why people choose to mix chemicals in the dark room. I can't think of a worse place to do this There is the problem of chemical dust eventually finding its way to film and paper. Then there is the relatively poor ventilation.
    A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.

    ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

  5. #5
    Diapositivo's Avatar
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    A balcony is your friend. A garage might be an alternative if your house has no balconies. If really no alternative is present to mixing chemicals in the darkroom, for whatever strange reason, I would just run an air purifier in the room for some hours a day. That reduces the amount of dust in the darkroom.

    An example with a programmable timer:
    http://www.lacasagiusta.it/idea-rega...roducts_id=168

    Cheers
    Fabrizio
    Fabrizio Ruggeri fine art photography site: http://fabrizio-ruggeri.artistwebsites.com
    Stock images at Imagebroker: http://www.imagebroker.com/#/search/ib_fbr

  6. #6
    vpwphoto's Avatar
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    I always mix my powdered developers and fixers outdoors.

  7. #7
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    I can't imagine mixing chemicals anywhere in my house except the darkroom where I have the containers, filtered water, funnels, ventilation, dust control and spill-resistant surfaces.

  8. #8
    BetterSense's Avatar
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    I don't mix powdered chemicals indoors, and I especially wouldn't in the darkroom because it's a dust violation (I work in cleanrooms a lot, and consider my darkroom something of a cleanroom, so the thought of opening and mixing powdered chemicals in the darkroom fills me with dread). You are right; powder gets into the air. Do it outside or in the garage or something.
    f/22 and be there.

  9. #9

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    After I mix my powered chemicals, I use a straw to snort the left overs!

    Jeff

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by ic-racer View Post
    I can't imagine mixing chemicals anywhere in my house except the darkroom where I have the containers, filtered water, funnels, ventilation, dust control and spill-resistant surfaces.
    Typically darkrooms had a dry side with the paper and enlarger and a wet side with a sink for the trays. Cheinicals were mixed in a separate room. Most amateur photographers are faced with a floor space limitation and so must make adjustments. But the books that I have that discuss darkroom usage all say you shouldn't do any chemical mixing there. In addition all spills should be immediately and thoroughly cleaned up.
    A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.

    ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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