I’ve found a regulated pressure of 5psi works best for me. Any more pressure and I would worry about damaging the negative.
I presently use my large shop air compressor, which is an oil system, but I use an in-line filter and with the very small amount of air I need I’ve never had a moisture problem.
I’ve also used a very small and light airbrush compressor, and it seemed to work fine. Airbrush compressors don’t compress air to high pressures, so you won’t have any problems with moisture, and since they use no oil I did not use ANY type of filter.
I would second this and with any sort of blower you are not creating a vacuum but replacing the air with more or less added dust.
Originally Posted by kerne
“The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”
The Moisture traps on airbrush compressors are usually pretty good. For Filters you could either use a fuel filter or spend 10-20 bucks and get a pistol grip filter. They are sold at airbrush stores and screw directly between pistol and compressor.
Originally Posted by Michael R 1974
I am using a pretty small airbrush compressor and in combination with a soft brush for really stubborn dust specks it solved almost all of my "dust-on-negative-and-enlarger-glass" problems.
i 'd heck into the compressor from calumet photo graphic.dos the job and was a great deal for $60.
I'd regard a good compressor a "must" for any serious darkroom. The cost of canned air adds up pretty fast and you get nothing in return. I'd avoid a tankless version - the air will pulsate without reliable regulation, and there's
no place for condensation to cool and settle. Getting a small rig that's quiet, low RPM, reliable, etc is getting more and more problematic, since most small compressors are now made in China and the quality varies from OK
to nearly worthless. Cheap compressors run at excessive RPM's to deliver more air based upon general inefficieny, thus run too hot and condense more water, make too much noise, and wear out fast. I'm not generalizing - I have over thirty years experience in compressor design, distribution, and repair, along with
equal darkroom experience. I used to recommend Thomas compressors because they were the only oilless high
quality small units made in the USA - but now, alas, have thrown in the towel in the face of the flood of dirt
cheap imports. You get what you pay for. Expect to pay 2 to 3 hundred dollars for anything decent. Anything
less is a toy. Airbrush compressors are generally overpriced (art store distr) and undersized, but whatever...
Anything needs a decent regulator, and then a series of in-line filters going right down into the micron arena.
You can purchase there separately if necessary. Flush all fitting and the line itself before darkroom use to get
the particles and oil out. Avoid any compressor without a proper cooling coil - when you see those units with a
plastic clamshell cover, it's a certain symptom of bad design - all the heat will be trapped in, and those plastic
covers are just for the sake of disguising excess noise due to a junk pump. Beware of phony horsepower ratings-
another symptom of sleazy marketing. Right now I'm experimenting with substitutes for the Thomas, and about
the best I've found is the Rol-Air JC-10 - an import, but quieter than the avg refrigerator, and so far, holding
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I have used a small air compressor from a big box hardware store. I have the requisite filters and regulate my pressure down to about 20 psi, which is more than enough to move the dust. Which I began thinking about right after finishing my new darkroom and running 2 air stations in...blowing just moves the dust from one place to, presumably, another. So I am currently retrofitting a vacuum system. It is a small $20 vacuum from Lowe's that fits onto the top of a 5 gallon pail. The vacuum sits outside the darkroom, and I reduced the 1-1/4" inlet hose to about 1/2" nylon tubing before it goes through the wall, and got a kit of wands and brushes meant to clean computer parts for the other end of the tubing. It is in the beta-test stage now but seems to work well. Plus, I now have a ready source for the vacuum easel I intend to construct.
It is a good idea to have the compressor is a different room with a hose thru the wall. Vacuuming
rather than blowing dust seems like a good idea, but it means you will have to contact the negative
a lot more to pick things up. I personally clean negatives right beside an industrial air cleaner, so that everything blown off gets picked up by this. Overhead I have a machinist's inspection light,
which is great for seeing any dust in the first place. You can use ordinary household air cleaner units, but mine is an older device which has banks of electostatic copper plates to attract particles
prior to the filters themselves - works more efficiently, but would be very expensive to make today.
I use a tankless compressor that I got with a paint sprayer outfit. It gives me about 25 psi, and seems to work fine for blowing dust off film and out of film holders.
Get an air tank. Add a moisture filter and a very fine air filter. Take it to the service station and fill it up. One fill will likely last you months and the cost is minimal.
[FONT=Comic Sans MS]Films NOT Dead - Just getting fixed![/FONT]
It always amazes me how people will go out and spend a thousand bucks for the latest tweak on some SLR lens and call anything for three hundred bucks junk, and will buy a dozen lenses they
never use, but then never spend a dime on serious darkroom gear. You're only as good as your
weakest link. I started out on a very tight darkroom budget myself, but as I was able, got the best
stuff I could and have never regretted it. Compressed air is useful for cleaning cameras, loading
filmholders in the dark, cleaning film, and with a branch line, also useful in the shop. Very few tools
I have ever owned get as much use. But with good sense, you can find worthy used ones at good
prices. However, make certain you have particulates and well as water well filtered.