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Thread: Large Trays

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    jeroldharter's Avatar
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    Large Trays

    I am trying to figure out how people archivally process large prints like 20 x 24. At a maximum, if I were to use 2 developer trays, stop, 2 fixer trays, water rinse, and hypoclear, I would need at least 11-12 feet of sink space plus room for a washer. I am finding my 8 foot sink unhelpful. Thanks for any advice on how to process larger prints.
    Jerold Harter MD

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    I don't understand two developer trays. but, it works for me to have one fixer bath then a holding tray with water. When I'm ready for the second fixer I eliminate the developer tray(s) and stop bath and replace the first fixer with the second and then have room for hypo clearing as well. A two stage process.

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    You could try one tray and many buckets, with a good rinse in between chemicals. Lloyd Erlick recommends this method. I think it's described at www.heylloyd.com, although I just tried the link and it's not working at the moment.

    I have an 8 foot sink which'll hold three trays (Cesco) big enough to do 20x24. I use a developer, stop and fix. Then it's into a holding tank. When I'm done printing, I throw out or bottle the chemicals and replace them with whatever else is needed to carry out the process, such as fresh fixer, toner, hypo clear...

    I'm also working on making vertical tanks out of ABS big enough to do 20x24" prints. In fact I have all of the pieces cut and just need to glue it together.

    Good luck.

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    Stack them up. I have a critical lack of space in my darkroom (no sink, and it's actually a closet, not even a "room"), so I built a rack out of 1x2s which holds my dev, stop, and fix trays; it's about 12 inches tall, and has the footprint of about one and a half trays (11x14s, in my case). I think it cost me a whole $5 in parts, and 2 or 3 hours to build.

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    Hmmm.... I get the concept, but how'a about some pictures??

    :-)
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    [FONT=Palatino Linotype]Remember each day as a blessing, be grateful and live happy![/FONT][/COLOR]

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    chiller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeroldharter
    I am trying to figure out how people archivally process large prints like 20 x 24. At a maximum, if I were to use 2 developer trays, stop, 2 fixer trays, water rinse, and hypoclear, I would need at least 11-12 feet of sink space plus room for a washer. I am finding my 8 foot sink unhelpful. Thanks for any advice on how to process larger prints.

    A fairly simple approach is to use the long narrow troughs that are used for wall paper. They will easily handle the print size you want and are only about a 75 x 12 cm base footprint.
    Steve

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    You didn't mention whether you had room for two 8 foot sinks. I am doing 16x20 in trays in one 8' stainless Arkay sink that I bought second hand for $300. If you have the room and can find one at that price, that is another answer.

    John Powers

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    Thanks for the advice.

    I like the homemade tray ladder idea, but the large trays are heavy and floppy when full of liquid so it might be messy at times. I don't have room for the second sink. The batching idea might work best for me. I recently saw a brief video clip of Clyde Butcher's darkroom. It showed his assistants processing a very large print, probably in the wallpaper trays but I did not realize what it was.

    Peter,

    If you figure out how to build a functional slot processer, please post pictures etc. I found out that the Nova 20x24 Trimate is unavailable in the US. I suppose withenough motivation and $1600 I could order one from Europe. It seems like a difficult project. The slots would have to be narrow or the chemical volumes rapidly escalate. Cleaning the bottom of the slots would be difficult, just like in my Nova 16x20.
    Jerold Harter MD

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    Quote Originally Posted by jeroldharter
    The slots would have to be narrow or the chemical volumes rapidly escalate. Cleaning the bottom of the slots would be difficult, just like in my Nova 16x20.
    My plans are out in the workshop, and so I'm not positive, but I believe the tanks will be 2" from the front to back when you're facing the wide side. At the moment I'm trying to decide if I want to make a water bath for all of the tanks, or if I want to put a small titanium water heater in each tank. I'm leaning toward the latter method.

    As an aside, the closest polyethylene tank that I could find was 4 inches from front to back, which is too big. That's too bad, because if there were ready made tanks, this would be a very easy project.

    I'll make a holding try for FB prints similar to the one that Nova uses in their FB processor.

    Regarding chemical use, I plan on replenishing everything. For a developer, I'm thinking about DS-14 (I think that's the right number), which is an ascorbic acid/phenidone developer. These tend not to stain trays very much.

    How often do you need to clean your Nova? I'd been hoping to do this, say, every 6 months or so. My plan was to empty the tanks. Spray them out, and put in a weak bleach solution overnight if there's stuff I can't get out.

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    Good Morning, Jerold,

    Very occasionally on E-Bay, a comercially-made drum originally intended for processing 20 x 24 inch color prints will be listed. If not, I'd suggest buying a length of plastic tubing around 10 inches in diameter, gluing a solid piece of plastic across one end and a similar piece with a 5-inch centered hole (for pouring, draining, and inserting the paper) across the other. It won't be light-tight, of course, so process under safelight through the fixer step.

    The drum approach works quite well. I have a 16 x 20 Chromega drum and have largely given up tray processing in that size. Years ago, I made a drum similar to that described above and used it to process prints which were about 40 inches wide; I made an accompanying platform with four plastic furniture casters mounted wheels-upright and rotated the drum manually. It's a little awkward and a little messy, but it's a lot more practical than dealing with super-large trays.

    Steve's suggestion about wallpaper trays also sounds like a good one. I bought a set of those about thirty years ago intending to try that approach, but never actually did. Maybe someday. . .

    Konical

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