I must say I'm kind of surprised that there isn't a sticky full of peoples UV sources, the processes they use, and approximate exposure.
I've been researching for a uv source myself for a post collage price point, and its difficult.
So far what I'm leaning towards is: facial tanning lamp (110 usd), some sort of homemade blacklight contraption (who knows usd), a grow lamp from a hydroponics store (again unsure of usd).
What are you guys using?
The place where I work has a silk screening shop and I use there UV exposure table. The table may not be an option for you, but I will tell you that it is nice and I have gotten spoiled by having a UV table with a timer and running water in a dark room (there safe lights are yellow). Before I got up the nerve to ask the silk screen guy to use the table I was using the Sun, it was cheep and available, but exposures took longer, wind was a problem, and believe it or not the sun is not the most reliable UV source.
I looked at tanning lamps before I gained access to the table, and they looked either too expensive new, or too dangerous from an electrical standpoint used. I did give some thought to using a halogen work light but wasn't sure of the UV output, and in a fit of insanity I thought about getting a bunch of stuff ready to print and going to a tanning salon and using a tanning bed, that would have been funny.
One thing I notice with the UV table is that when I put my sandwich of paper and negatives in and apply the vacuum the whole thing looks like a mess of newton rings but the prints come out great with no signs of newton rings transferring onto them.
If your working why not see if your employer or a sub contractor of yours has a UV table you can use. Another thing you can do is see if there is a local shop that does silk screening and will do your exposures for you, or with you assisting. Some of the people that do this type of work are graphics geeks and might let you do it just so that they can see how the process is done and what the results look like.
Last edited by bblhed; 11-08-2010 at 07:04 AM. Click to view previous post history.
"Would you like it if someone that painted in oils told you that you were not making portraits because you were using a camera?"
"Shouldn't it be more about the joy of producing and viewing the photo than what you paid for the camera?"
You didn't say what size bulbs you need. My light box is from Edwards Engineering through Bostick & Sullivan and I use blacklight bulbs from Light Bulbs Unlimited (a local lightbulb store). Not costly and they work fine for pt/pd. If you are so inclined you could make your own light box. It doesn't require many parts just woodworking ability.
check out some old fashion contact printing boxes on ebay and switch out the light with a uv light.
I actually do use a tanning bed. It was cluttering up a friend's garage - had been there for a few years ever since Granny had gone to the big beach in the sky.
I bought it for $50. I could expose a dozen or more 8x10's at a time if I had enough contact frames, but usually I do 3-5 prints at a time. It folds up against the wall when not in use.
Depending on the process (and the negatives) exposures are in the 3-10 minute range.
I don't use it for tanning.
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If you ever want to take a road trip to north central Pa., I have all the parts you need to make an 18"x24" UV exposure unit including bulbs, timers, and even a vavuum easel with motor and hose. Oh ya, its all free for the taking. I dismantled a repro camera for other parts, and I've decided I wont be needing these.
Check this out...
I use several different types of UV light. Self ballasted reflector mercury vapor lamps make for a nice portable system -- I use a 450W and a 750W bulb, but I don't see them in in the catalogs anymore, so they may be hard to find. This is the type I use for carbon printing. I use the "pizza oven" style of light (box of black-light tubes) for pt/pd.
The type of lamp and its strength can affect sharpness, contrast, and printing time.
There are also these single self-contained Blacklights -- plug in and expose -- but you would need perhaps 5 or 6 for an 8x10.
But there are also other flourence bulb fixutures you can buy ready to go -- just buy the blacklight tubes. There are two types -- BL and BLB. Not much difference in UV output, but the BLB has a more expensive visible light filter built in (the BL's are white like regular tubes)
Last edited by Vaughn; 11-08-2010 at 10:26 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Reason: added info
At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.
I use sometimes the good old sun. And it shines for free !
We cannot change how the cards are dealt, just how to play the hand...
I'm facing the same issue myself.... good timing for the thread!
I'd be interested in a method that's slow, as long as it's cheap, reliable and good. If I had to let a print sit overnight, that'd be ok with me.
What consumer lights put off the greatest UV? For instance, how long would it take to make a print on dichromated gelatin with a single blacklight??
A couple CFL black-lights, some scrap wood to form an overhead 'U', a baking tin painted white inside for a reflector.