I write these thoughts and post these images with the hope of repaying a debt of gratitude, to say “thanks”.
30 years ago I got a 35mm camera as a gift in prelude to a year long trip as a Foreign Exchange student. I found I liked taking pictures. A little over 25 years ago I took a course at my University in photography, and learned a little about black and white photography, everything from composition to developing and printing. At this point I was in a word addicted. The process from start to finish fascinated me. I have been at it in starts and fits ever since.
I worked in everything from college darkrooms to moral support darkrooms in the military to makeshift ones where ever I might have lived at the time. After a while I began to dream of one day having my own. I spent some time and a little money accumulating the stuff I needed but never seemed to be at the right place at the right time to start.
Then not too long ago I ran across something called APUG. Here is a community of people with lots of good ideas presented in ways that I found inspiring. So I “borrowed” a lot of the ideas and have soaked up some inspiration. Here are some of the results.
The enlarger is based on heavy duty shelving brackets. (Based on a lead I got from APUG) It has an aluminum and plywood frame. The bellows I made and are from a homemade camera project. They worked great but were just a tad twisted. They didn’t look so good, but for this application it didn’t matter. The light stage, the negative stage and the lens stage can all be aligned independent of each other via threaded rod. The focus is also with threaded rod. ( yes, alignment takes patients ;-) ) The light source is 6 ea. 11watt “daylight” florescent bulbs (75 watt tungsten eq.) behind a “diffuser” of Perspex.
The negative drying cabinet is shelving material, some 2x2 and air-conditioning filter from the local hardware store. It has an 80 watt heater in the bottom that was from an electrical box, but I seldom use heat.
The 4x5 film washer is Plexiglas glued together with loctite attak. I then went over the joints with fish tank silicone.
The darkroom sink is of 12mm plywood. The joints are sealed with tech7. I then painted it with 6 ( or was it 7) coats of boat paint. It is sitting on a frame work built with 2”x2” lumber.
The print washer is a plastic container form the local hardware store with a Plexiglas false wall at the drain end to force drainage from the bottom. The separators are Plexiglas held in place with PCV trim. Water is injected in each section from a plastic pipe clamped to a water hose. The “jets” are 2mm holes drilled at appropriate intervals.
None of the ideas behind the dark room equipment I have made are my own. To all of you from whom I have borrowed ideas; thanks for helping me realize the dream of having my own darkroom! To those of you who are on the edge of building your own but aren’t quite there yet, if I can you can. I hope you see here an idea or get inspiration to realize your wish.
Thanks Sean for putting together the community called APUG.
Your post was a joy to read! It's so great to see someone "stand on the shoulders of giants" and use what they've found here to create such a wonderful space.
This is the first time I've seen the enlarger-from-shelving-brackets approach. You've got me thinking about perhaps doing one in my own space, fixed focus, for the sole purpose of enlarging full-page print files onto 11x14 or 16x20 enlarged contact sheets.
Thanks for the inspiration!
I too could not have completed my "Darkshed" without this thread and the help of everyone here. I've spent many hours trawling through posts, taken on board all advice and recommendations and even built the sink with the help of Appugians.
So thanks to everyone who contributed, and specially to Fintan for all the equipment and for hauling it to Cashel for me!
Here's a few pics of before and after :
I've learned so much from my mistakes... I'm thinking of making more...
Nice work. Almost a shame to keep it in the dark!
I feel, therefore I photograph.
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Wow, you have a very nice setup there. Thanks again for the graflex holders I bought from you. I'm in the process of converting a spare room into a darkroom.
Originally Posted by JLMoore3rd
Wow - Page 60 of this thread is a real humdinger!
Note to self: Turn your negatives into positives.
Dang Bill. All the creature comforts! Hope to see this rig up in Northern MN this fall :-)
Thanks Andrew! Really hoping to be able to bring it along.
Originally Posted by Andrew Moxom