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Thread: BIG prints

  1. #1

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    BIG prints

    There is an Engineer I work with who is into photography, and has been intermittantly shooting an 8x10 for the past 10 years or so. A few weeks ago he brings in a print to hang on the wall. A 4x6. That is 4ft x 6ft. Razor sharp edge to edge, and you have to look really close to see the grain.

    For about the last two years he has been building a horizontal enlarger for his 8x10 negatives. He designed the entire thing from scratch. The light box is illuminated with green & blue LEDs which are controllable for use with multicontrast paper (custom control circuitry with feedback for stability, and tons of light available for reasonable exposure times). He tinkered with & tested many ideas over the last couple of years, and has ended up with a great system for making BIG prints. The last few months we often discussed methods for handling large pieces of wet paper, which was his last obstacle to overcome.

    Quite an accomplishment. If I can ever get over there & if he will let me shoot some picts, I will post them.
    Those who don't think Photographers have the skills of REAL artists such as painters obviously have not had to spot my prints.

  2. #2

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    What do you mean handle? Processing or for washing and drying?

    BTW, how much did his enlarger cost to make? And can it do other formats or just 8x10?

  3. #3
    Robert Hall's Avatar
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    Forget the wet paper, let's see the print!

    Oh, and see if he would make a 12x20!! (or at least show pics of the enlarger)
    Robert Hall
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    Technology is not a panacea. It alone will not move your art forward. Only through developing your own aesthetic - free from the tools that create it - can you find new dimension to your work.

  4. #4

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    "Handling paper" in my note meant how to process, dry to dry. He ended up with a two-roller contraption with the paper in a loop around them. Think of it as a conveyer belt where the print is the belt. This hung into a home-made tray of chemistry. Four trays, dev stop fix & wash. Dump the wash a couple of times. Easy to visualize, difficult to make work in practice.

    As far as cost, I haven't a clue. The easel alone took 2 or 3 4x8 sheets of 3/4" MDF. The negative is held in place by taping to a piece of glass, so any format up to at least 10"x10" is workable.

    I don't think he is interested in making these for people, or sharing the design for that matter. I just thought this group would appreciate his efforts, and results. Maybe it will gently nudge some individual who has thought of doing the same... the results are incredible. My recommendation for anyone interested would be to realistically decide on your strenths & weaknesses for a construction project like this, figure out which parts will be the absolute toughest to accomplish, and do them first. I would suggest the light source. Stable (both with voltage and temperature), uniform over a 10" square diffuser, with green & blue sources that are individually controlled. Oh, and bright (think in hundreds and hundreds of LEDs). Makes a Durst 138 look like a bargain. I have seen old horizontal enlargers from graphics art shops which would be an excellent starting point, and some of those are available for carting them out.
    Those who don't think Photographers have the skills of REAL artists such as painters obviously have not had to spot my prints.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Hall
    Forget the wet paper, let's see the print!

    Oh, and see if he would make a 12x20!! (or at least show pics of the enlarger)
    Robert if you are looking for enlargements from 12X20 you might check with this guy.

    http://www.f32.net/Associates/TomYanul.html

    I don't hear much about him anymore...he was enlarging from 12X20
    Art is a step from what is obvious and well-known toward what is arcane and concealed.

    Visit my website at http://www.donaldmillerphotography.com

  6. #6

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    Well here is Ilfords publication on processing, and its pretty decent, although I don't insert the paper the way they do, and their way seems weird. Ilford mural printing guide But it will give you an idea. You can buy plastic troughs for hanging wallpaper and use them or if he's going to be doing this a lot, I'd suggest making a 5 or 6 bath dedicated system out of 3/8" or thicker plexiglass, with drains that have a screw tube into them for easy drainage. I've got plans for that if he's interested. Its pretty basic but after doing mural printing for a while, you figure out easy ways to do things, processing wise.

    As for drying, the easiest way, although you do need some space, is taping them on particle board that has that smooth, white surface on it. You squeegie the excess water off, them use kraft tape, the kind thats brown and has fiber web in it. It has a wet activated glue on 1 side. You attach this tape to the print and board. This will make the print dry flat, and therefore you don't need any type of press to flatten out the dry print. If space allows, you can then either lay these flat, and stack them on top of each other with spacers inbetween, or stand them verticle.

    I've done hundreds of murals and didn't have a press. This made the most sense to me, and reduced prost production of flattening the prints.

    I am currently looking for a horizontal enlarger and thats why I was curious. Used one are usually far away, thus increasing the price thru shipping. Plus, the sellers still are trying to charge to much for them.

    Hope this helps.

  7. #7
    David Brown's Avatar
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    What kind of paper is available for doing murals?

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    Well I still have an Agfa stock...the MCC. I'd assume Ilford and Forte still produce it. And I'd bet Bergger would make a special package if asked.

    John???

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    Kentmere is in rolls to.

    If people do a search on LEDs they should have some discussions on building LED light heads. Unless the prices have come down a lot since last year it must have cost ALOT. A lot more then any used 8x10 enlarger that's for sure.

  10. #10

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    Here is a photo of Bob standing next to the print, and a close-up from the upper center of the print showing an area approx 2.75" tall.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails DSC_2506-02a.jpg   DSC_2507-01.jpg  
    Those who don't think Photographers have the skills of REAL artists such as painters obviously have not had to spot my prints.

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