I am excited. In my new house, my stuff arrived after 2 months of waiting, and now I just need some small stuff before getting this whole thing set up! The plastic cart looks like it's going to work quite well as a makeshift shallow sink.
Having a local woodworker fab up an enlarger stand, cheap.
Splurged on a new 220v/50hz Gralab timer, because I wanted something that'd keep good time on the local electricity. Might wall-mount it over the sink for use when tray developing film and paper, and use my old Time-o-Lite on the enlarger...even though the electricity will result in timing errors compared to the clock, everything's based off of increments on a test strip, so it really doesn't matter for printing.
Darkroom doors and ventilation will still be a challenge. There's a small exhaust fan out the window and I bought some louvers to install in the panel I'm securing over the window, but I'm concerned that without some kind of intake into the darkroom from outside, the fan might burn itself out. I think I have a workable plan to compensate for this, but it'll cut down on the amount of air actually being sucked out of the darkroom. C'est la vie.
Been almost 15 years since I last stepped foot in a darkroom. Got back into shooting and processing film, and was scanning my negs, but had nowhere to print. This is gonna be cool.
Just got my kit
I just got a complete darkroom kit from a long-time developer who can't find the time any more. Durst F60 (it will do the 6x6s from my 1948 Zeiss Ikonta), timer, safelight, trays, washer, focuser, a bunch of jugs and all kinds of accessories, all for $80. The really good thing is that it's a bathroom system that has been in use and not a bunch of stuff a guy accumulated. It took 4 months of watching Craig's list to get just the right system at just the right price.
It's going into an internal bathroom with no windows but good ventilation. The Durst will sit on the vanity, the trays on plywood over the tub, the washer in the Laundry room across the hall. I was thinking of cutting a terrycloth towel into strips sewn end to end and stuffed around the door.
I've been scanning slides and negs for a few years, but I had printed almost nothing in the last year. I realized it was because after 30 years programming computers I just can't stand to spend more time in front of a keyboard and monitor at home.
My darkroom, which is still somewhat in progress is made of my bedroom and the bathroom. There is a hallway connecting the two with only one door to the living room and the rest of the apartment. I put dark cloths in the door way with clamps you can buy from home depot. I use blue masking tape to close some corners and etc.
I just got a stainless steel table, 2'x4'x3', with wheels from ebay for $135 with shipping. It has a wire shelf below the main table top, where I put all my chemicals and etc.
My LPL 7451 sits in my room, on top of an Ikea drafting table that my friend gave to me. It has these triangle legs with a small shelf near the floor. I put all my paper there. I put focuser, and etc, enlarger accessories around my enlarger. I have a rotor cutter right next to the baseboard.
I have a Thomas duplex safelight in the hallway, so, no safe light in the bathroom. Thomas light is bright enough that I can see fairly well in the bathroom.
I put all my chemicals in on the stainless steel table. I expose, I walk over, and I develop the print.
One of the trickiest component is the ventilation. I got a vent from Home Depot, plus fold out tubing, I basically put the vent right next to the stop and fixer. The exhaust tube actually runs into my bedroom, out of my window. I had to do some tricky cutting of foam board and darkroom plastic sheets.
That's pretty much it. I still need to tweak a few things here and there. I want the place to be completely dark, so, I can print during the day. Which has been somewhat difficult.
I've had two darkrooms in a bathroom with only the toilet and sink. One was under a stairway. That's about as small as it gets.
Worked rather well for 8x10. Maybe that's where I got in the habit of printing small.
In both cases, I made a table to go over the toilet and placed the enlarger, timer, dodging/burning tools, grain focuser on that table. The paper safe went on the seat of the toilet, so that it was handy to the enlarger. I used a Durst 600 enlarger in the bathroom under the stair, and I had room for a D2 in the second bathroom darkroom.
If I recall, I cut a sheet of plywood that went across the sink. One could cover it with sheet vinyl to protect the surface and improve the appearance. I must have had blocks on each corner to raise it just above the height of the sink. This gives enough surface for three 8x10 trays. (D, S, F.) You might consider using a citric acid stop bath in so small a space. Of the three chemicals, it's the stop that gives off the strongest odor, especially that Kodak stuff. (Highly caustic.) I made fresh developer for each session and stored the stop and fixer in appropriately sized containers. These, and other darkroom utensils could be stored in drawers and in the cupboard below the sink. I did not have good temperature control of my developer, and in those days, I didn't care! A Zone VI compensating, developing timer would rectify that. I removed this plywood for developing film. There's usually enough space on either side of the sink for developing tanks, etc.
One nice thing about bathrooms, they usually have fans. If the small bathroom is being used ongoing for a darkroom, one might consider installing a lightproof vent in the door. This would much improve ventilation. (It's hard to exit air, if there's little or none entering the area.)
I hung a single safelight in the center of the ceiling and ran the cord down through open hooks to the plug that all bathrooms have. That way, I could remove the safelight, when I was done. The hooks weren't all that obtrusive, so I left them when the darkroom wasn't in use.
To make the darkroom light-tight, I hung a simple, removable curtain rod well above the door frame outside the darkroom. That worked quite well. The curtain was wide enough to prevent light from entering from the sides, and the black cloth was long enough so that the curtain would sit on the floor a little. I took care to make sure that the cloth was thick enough to prevent light from getting through. If the door opens out to the exterior, one could put the curtain inside the darkroom. Of course, the door was closed when printing or developing film.
After a printing session, I could put all this stuff away in a storage area.
I have a dedicate darkroom now but will not have a print washer for a long time, I put the print in a plastic basket available at any dollar store and use the sink faucet on low pressure 20 degree water to rinse the print off, i do it a few minutes, then let the basket overflow for a few, then rinse the entire surface area again. Very water inefficient, but given i only print 10 prints a week maximum, its not the end of the world.
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Lots of ideas in this thread. I recently became the owner of a Omega Super Chromega D enlarger and I need to find a place to set it up. The bathroom isn't an option so I think I'm going to build some light weight walls in my garage to make my darkroom. I won't have running water or a sink but I've made due with out them for developing.
My one big question is how to ventilate the darkroom. There is a window that I will blackout but I'll leave a small space for an exhaust fan. How does one make a fan light proof? Looking forward to trying some printing. =)
Light can't turn corners on it's own. My home made darkroom fan duct utilizes 6inch black plastic pipe with two elbows that make a U before exiting the room.
Originally Posted by robbalbrecht
That's just, like, my opinion, man...
Brilliantly simple, Mr. Brunner.
I have a no cost, guerilla, dry darkroom utilizing the laundry room. The washer and dryer are divided by a 24 inch wide countertop with under counter drawer. The enlarger sits on this countertop. To the left is the washer where I place a 1/8 inch square of plywood on top of the washer. The plywood provides an enlarged/flat surface for (4) 8x10 trays. If developing 11x14s I single tray process. I place photo paper and other DR tools on top of the dryer located to my right. Above the washer is a cupboard handle where the safe light is hung. The safe light uses a 10 inch diameter silver reflector with a red Jr Lab bulb. The light is hung by wrapping the electric cord around the cupboard door handle. The window behind the enlarger has an operable internal shade between the glass. The DR is only usable at night. Next door is the kitchen. Prints are transported from the DR into a 12x16 inch water hold tray located in the kitchen. The tray fill and dump method is used to wash prints. Very simple. Better location than the bathroom which lacks the flat surface area, space & proper countertop height. If you lack a DR vent try using fresh developer, a water stop and TF4 fix. No problematic DR fumes.
Last edited by Richard Jepsen; 09-24-2011 at 12:24 PM. Click to view previous post history.
I've got to say I'm setting up my darkroom in a spare bathroom after reading this thread.
We've recently relocated and living in rented until we buy somewhere and I thought it was a no-no doing any printing.
Now, after reading how you guys are doing it, I have no excuse.
It also helps I just picked up, for free, some Nova slot processors....