The following is from The Basic Darkroom Book, Tom Grimm, 1978, Plume Books, New American Library, New York, London and Scarborough, Ontario (Canada)
Pages 266-268, Making Photo Murals
Here is the relevant passage on page 267:
“You can buy processing tanks designed especially for large prints. One such product is the Maxwell Photo-Mural Tank, for processing prints up to 30 x 40 inches. These are available through camera stores, or you can write directly to,
Maxwell Photo-Mural Tanks
999 East Valley Blvd.
Alhambra, California 91901
Tanks like the Maxwell type are light-tight tubes with an apron. The photo paper is rolled up in the apron, which keeps the paper from sticking to itself and allows chemicals to cover its emulsion.”
This company and its products no longer exist and I have never seen any such used tubes for sale. I have seen other even larger tubes for processing mural papers in darkroom books of the same era, usually the early to late 1970s.
The Maxwell Photo-Mural Tubes are illustrated on page 99 of the November 1976 issue of Popular Mechanics in the article, “You Can Make Giant Prints at Home.” There is also a photo and general description of an automated CPI Deville mural processor. Additionally, there is a print-transport device called “The Big Dipper” and a simpler version called “The Little Dipper” for handling mural prints while processing.
Last edited by Ian C; 09-25-2012 at 11:17 AM. Click to view previous post history.
If you go the route of scrolling, you may want to try what Clyde Butcher does and use a foam pool noodle to scroll the prints around for ease of handling. They help keep you from crimping the paper and transporting from one tray to the other.
Closed grillstile for large prints?
Thank you also Ian and Greg - inspirational and some topics to look for!
I am wondering, if anybody has worked along the following lines:
1. You secure each end of the FB paper between two thin rails of metal, PVS or something.
2. Paper is laid around the OUTside of a cylinder/drum/tube of appropriate diameter, one to two feet according to paper format, so the rails allmost reach each other. These are then connected with rubber bands so the paper is only gently stretched. Of course, emulsion side outwards.
3. The cylinder has a central axis and is now placed in a slightly larger halftube, with or without the other half as lid, the axis resting in slits in the end plates of the outer halftube. Developer poured in, and the paper now rotated like a chicken/pig/ox in a grill. Weight of inner drum addjusted to keep it down in the developer even when this is pressed up between paper and outer tube.
4. Additionally, axis at each end can be liftet to get the paper out of developer. And while still slowly rotating, helper or motor, (so developer will not accumulate downwards along the same line across the paper) you can add slight modification to the proces with a cold or warm sponge with water or concentrated developer.
5. Same outfit with appropriate modification for stop, fix, and wash.
Sure will demand some floorspace, with that provided however, would seem to give good control of the proces.
Could, with modifications, be scaled down as well, if someone likes closed tanks.
So, as mrs. Wilberforce says to Alec Guiness in "The Ladykillers": 'That is such a nice thought, I wish someone has expressed it.' Meaning here, this has proberbly been done, have you heard of pro's and con's??
Perhaps you're over-thinking this? Other than being unmanageable and expensive, the contraption that you've suggested will undoubtedly crimp the print. Do yourself a favor and scroll - you don't even need to mail order a pool toy! If you already have the material, why not cut an 11" x 40" strip of the width of your roll, set up 11x14 inch trays and give it go with a test strip? You'll get the hang of it in five minutes after which these strange contraptions and extraneous bits of useless hardware will lose their magic bullet aura and suddenly appear as they really are - strange contraptions and extraneous bits of useless hardware.
You can basically develope large prints in small trays/troughs if you presoak the print in water which insures a more even developement.
It is important to insure quick and even wetting of the print in the beginning otherwise you will get stripes. The problem with fastening paper onto something is that it will expand when soaking up water. about 3-4% in one direction. This will cause creasing on the paper if fastened too tightly on something when it is dry.
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You are basically describing , a Kodak K16 processor which we used in 1973 for processing colour prints.
K16 - was a smooth smooth drum, it had a tray in front of the drum at waist height, which accepted the chemicals and when you lifted the chems fell
into the wash out tray.
Beside the drum system was a large tray with a large mesh and two metal snaps that would hold onto the drum system.
by presoaking the exposed paper, and preheating all the chemicals all you did was turn on the timer and the drum rotation.
lift up the hangers and mesh and put the print face down on the drum.. Yes face down.. pour in chem and time.. dump and pour in second chem and so on.
Calumet basket system- I used this as well
Calumet nitrogen basket system was a large mesh paper holder that had nitrogen burst on bottom( it had slots to put more than one print in at a time).. the tank holding the paper holder would have five ports where you insert the traveling paper holder into preheated chemical and water baths. the nitrogen burst would supply the agitation and you would move from tank to tank till you are finished.
With two or more paper holders you would be able to do continuous runs. Finish one run , take out prints to dryer, dry basket , load new basket - process.
These two systems were in my darkrooms at school and I used them for three years with wonderful results... the first hope RA4 roller transport
processor was installed the year after I left, I never felt I was cheated by using the K 16 and Calumet methods.
I liked using both methods, if I was setting up at home to do colour RA4 small I would use the K-16 method for sure , very compact and consistent.
up to 16 x20 print size.
For larger prints or more volumne I would use the Calumet Basket system.
But for large murals you are suggesting I would make my life easy and use some of the methods described above.
Originally Posted by lhaumann
How I did it.
Thank you again for suggestions and comments - how time keeps comming - thought I would follow up in this old thread with my solution so far:
Got cylindrical tanks/drums, 40 inches high, some 16" diameter for developer and fixer and some 20" diameter for rinse etc..
Filled up 120l of developer (a mixed Soup of leftovers and new of many kinds) to a strenght of very approximately half recommended concentration, same with fixer. Stopbath 200l of water. Rinse 200l, hypo 120l and selenium toner 1:40 in 200l with a cylinder in center of tank.
Cut Ilford Multigrade Warmtone FB 36"x56", enlarged 6x9cm negatives 16-18 times. Exposure was trial and error of the day.
Rolled the paper gently up, sank it into dev. cylinder, stood with two long sticks and slowly carefully kept the paper in slow motion curling slowly around and it kept upright (36") all the time, 6-8 minutes. Less motion in further tanks.
Made three pictures in a triptycon in a couple of copies - will try and find out how to add photos in a post, I have also one of me in the darkroom handling a print. Felt like one of the witches at Shakespeare.
This was last autoom - kept dev. and fixer i the tanks with tight lids - dev. weaker but still active -removed some interesting fungi?? (black and white curly growth on fixer). This April I am going to partly renew dev. and fix and make some 34"x48" enlargement on Ilford Art300.
So this is happy time of a retired/pensionist, greetings from Lars
Trying upload in connection with post above:
“You seek escape from pain. We seek the achievement of happiness. You exist for the sake of avoiding punishment. We exist for the sake of earning rewards. Threats will not make us function; fear is not our incentive. It is not death that we wish to avoid, but life that we wish to live.” - John Galt