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  1. #1
    Sean's Avatar
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    Normal Dust Levels?

    Unless you have a special clean room lab like Intel and wear a body suit, chances are there will always be dust in your darkroom. I am trying to figure out what a normal level is. I think I am slowly winning the dust battle with my "Defender 4000 Air Cleaner". One of the ways I try to guage dust is to turn off all the lights and shine a flashlight through the air. I know that before I had the air filter, the flashlight beam showed a total dust blizzard. Now I still have very slight dust in the beam but nothing near as bad as before. I'm assuming this is just normal and there is no way to remove it all. I might also get a humidifier to further reduce it. If I go that route what is the max humidity level I should allow in the darkroom?
    Out of curiosity, when you guys do the flashlight in the dark test what do you see? Thanks

  2. #2
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    I try not to use a flashlight in the dark, it always seems to fog my film
    The good part about working in the bathroom for me has been that I don't have to worry about dust--I just take a shower before doing anything.

    Side note: I only shower to keep down the dust, so if I'm a little ripe that probably means I have some darkroom work I need to be doing!

    When are you going to be finished with the darkroom and joining us in the print exchanges?
    Let's see what I've got in the magic trash can for Mateo!

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  3. #3

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    I use two air filters which seems to work pretty much to clean room conditions, especially if you keep the room itself clean. Keeping the amount of fabric in the room (carpets, curtains etc) to a minimum is a big help and don't forget what comes off your own clothes. A friend once told me that she did her lab work naked to get round that problem. I have never gone to that extreme, but some artificial fibers seem less dusty than natural fibre (it might be the static holding the dust on). I have heard that an air ionizer can help, but have never tried.

    David.

  4. #4
    lee
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    I dont use an air filter. What works at my darkroom is the fact that the corners are sealed quite well and I used a good paint. The sinks do add moisture to the air as Jeremy suggested.

    lee\c

  5. #5
    rbarker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sean
    . . .when you guys do the flashlight in the dark test what do you see? Thanks
    Honestly, I'm afraid to check. :o

    I'm not sure what the optimal humidity level would be, but I'd guess something in the 60-80% level. Too high, and the dust might be replaced by mold spores.

    The question, I suppose, is whether increased humidity eliminates the electrostatic aspect of the air that might support the dust, versus the idea of micro-condensation that causes the dust to settle out of the air onto available surfaces (e.g. drying film, negatives, etc.).
    [COLOR=SlateGray]"You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus." -Mark Twain[/COLOR]

    Ralph Barker
    Rio Rancho, NM

  6. #6
    Ed Sukach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woolliscroft
    A friend once told me that she did her lab work naked to get round that problem...
    Uh ... she wouldn't happen to be interested in a fairly experienced Lab Assistant - would she? I would work CHEAP - like ... FREE!!
    Carpe erratum!!

    Ed Sukach, FFP.

  7. #7
    Sean's Avatar
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    I had tried an air purifier of the ionizing type but found the ozone it was producing gave me headaches, so I switched to the forced air type.

    Just when I think I'm ready to start printing I find more things I need to do to the room. I'm determined to do it all right this time so am being patient and getting everything 100% before diving in. Currently I share my darkroom with the washing machine, my home office, and some excercise equipment. I am finding between me and my wife going in and out of the room all day there is a lot of dust getting in. I've decided to put up another wall so the darkroom is totally self contained and not affected by household traffic. I think this will really help a lot. In hind sight I should have done this to begin with! ugh. Luckily my neighbor is a builder so it shouldn't be too painful to have him put a wall up.

  8. #8

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    Dust

    Sean-I also share my darkroom with the laundry. It may seem funny but I don't even have the dryer properly vented to the outside and I have NO dust problems.
    Maybe the heavier air from the dryer weighs it all down. Stop trying to blow air in or out of the room it just might help. A humidifier?
    Peter

  9. #9
    Ole
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    I seem to have very few dust problems - at least considering my level of cleanliness!

    The secret is to let the dust lie, and not disturb it...
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
    Norway

  10. #10
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    I read somewhere once the statement..."anxiety creates dust." It seemed the more I fixated on the problem the worst it became. One thing that I do use is a "Zerostat" anti static gun. It was what I used on LP Recordings to eliminate the static electricity on the records. Works very nice for negatives.
    "EVERY film and paper is good .......... for something"
    Phil Davis

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