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  1. #1
    Sean's Avatar
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    What's the worst 'rigged' thing in your darkroom?

    Just wondering if anyone has gone to the lengths I have to rig things in their darkroom. My worst so far is my exhaust fan. I cut a 1ft hole in my wall above the sink for it only to find a horizontal beam in the way (doh!). I then patched the hole, and re-cut the hole, and also cut the outside wall hole. Luckily no one goes in the backyard so doesn't see the back of the house where this thing will be (it's a bit of a forrest). I then find the fan is a bit too wide for the wall and is exposed to nature, so rig a rain proof vent to cover it. Nothing some screws and sealant can't handle. Now time to decide how to light proof this thing. I seal the holes around the unit up with can foam and then buy some 6inch aluminum flexible hosing to pass the air out of. I figured aluminum hosing would be light proof if I bend it a few times right? Well, not really, it's some sort of sprayed on plastic stuff and I see 1,000's of pinpricks of light coming through it. Off to the hardware store to buy some plastic sheeting and duct tape. End result is a mass of black tubing protruding from the back of the house going up and down to trap the light, covered in plastic sheeting and duct tape! It works well, but is hideous. I think next time I'll try to buy a real darkroom fan..

    Surprisingly my home made sink looks great, just finished it this weekend and the polyeuro coating resembles the shell of a bathtub

  2. #2
    Les McLean's Avatar
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    I can't match that Sean but I too had problems with a ventilation fan in a darkroom many years ago.I was living in a rented house and could'nt carry out and major changes but wanted to ventilate the darkroom which was a huge utility room at the back of the farmhouse. This room had a large window at one end so I blocked it up with an equally large piece of inexpensive and thin plywood and decided to install an extractor fan. I cut a suitable hole adjacent to a part of the window that could be left open without creating any problems and imstalled the fan in the plywood fixed to the inside wall. It all looked great and reasonably tidy given that I am not the worlds most practical man. However, when I switched on the fan the large bit of cheap plywood sounded like a drum skin as a result of the vibration of the fan and the noise inside the darkroom was a bit loud and distracting so I gad to turn up the volume on the Led Zeplin tape and when I was printing the house sounded like Woodstock which got me into big trouble with the other half, but that's another story.

  3. #3

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    When I bought my 4x5 enlarger, it came with the wrong length enlarging cone for my lens. Not happy with that, I ordered a second wrong-length cone from Classic Enlargers ...just for the fun of it, apparently. Finally, I ended up making one out of 3" PVC sewage pipe that's attached to the enlarger by way of a metal flange you screw a toilet to. The upshot is that 1/4 of my enlarging setup was already meant to have crap flowing through it.

  4. #4
    L Gebhardt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poco
    When I bought my 4x5 enlarger, it came with the wrong length enlarging cone for my lens. Not happy with that, I ordered a second wrong-length cone from Classic Enlargers ...just for the fun of it, apparently. Finally, I ended up making one out of 3" PVC sewage pipe that's attached to the enlarger by way of a metal flange you screw a toilet to. The upshot is that 1/4 of my enlarging setup was already meant to have crap flowing through it.
    Well that's better than my setup which has crap flowing through it 3/4 of the time.

  5. #5

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    You could probably coat the hose with a few layers of spray paint that is close to the exterior of your house to help the appearance. You wouldn't need the plastic. The paint will seal the pinholes. The platic also is a dust magnet.

    You could also build a box around the exterior hose and paint it to mathc the house. It would not look so odd that way.

    With regards to the original question, I would have to say my attempt long ago to use part of a sink for a print washer. I made a plexiglass rig that could set in the sink and had a hole drilled in the bottom so I could insert a tube that acted as an overflow. The tube had several holes drilled to allow water to flow into it at a steady rate after the sink was filled. This way I could keep a constant flow of fresh water going. Well the holes got covered by a print and the top of the tube could not keep up so after I put the prints in and went up stairs you can imagine what i had to deal with 1 hour later.
    "Fundamentally I think we need to rediscover a non-ironic world"
    Robert Adams

  6. #6

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    It used to be my homemade "cold light". I took a PVC 6" T fitting and put the biggest compact fluorescent that I could find horizontally so that the coils were above the vertical opening. Made a reflector above and a diffuser below. Then taped the whole thing with gaffer tape until it was light tight.

    It actually worked OK (fell off at the edges), but I chucked it and started looking for a real cold light.

    I'm in the middle of a print washer made out of a big plastic tote.
    "If You Push Something Hard Enough, It Will fall over" - Fudd's First Law of Opposition

  7. #7
    bmac's Avatar
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    I can honestly say that everything in my darkroom is rigged in some way similar to Sean's exhaust fan.
    hi!

  8. #8
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    It's gotta be the typewriter table. I process in a bathroom, so I wheel the enlarger in on a typewriter (you remember those?) table that slides right over the commode and fits just between the wall and the sink. For 6x7 and smaller I have a Paterson/Philips enlarger, and for 4x5" I use my Tech V with a Graflarger back on a copy stand, because a real 4x5" enlarger won't fit in the space. On both baseboards, I have a second set of rubber feet to fit the small area of the table.

    In some respects, this is an elegant solution, but the copy stand baseboard is really too small for my 11x14" easel, so I have to use a board under it, and the floor isn't really level, so I have to use a rubber wedge to keep the table steady.

  9. #9
    Joe Lipka's Avatar
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    My dark room sink was home made with half inch plywood (C-D grade of course) covered with a hand lay up fiberglass sheet and resin (tastefully dyed grey, of course). The bottom of the sink bowed up, which of course put the drain at the high point of the sink.....

    The darkroom tables were originally nailed together and quite laughable. I was able to upgrade table construction by using "slotted angle iron" to make some hell for stout tables to hold the enlarger and the fiberglass sink.
    A New Project! Transformations 02/02/2014

    www.joelipkaphoto.com

    250+ posts and still blogging! "Postcards from the Creative Journey"

    http://blog.joelipkaphoto.com/

  10. #10
    glbeas's Avatar
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    Since I built my darkroom from the walls in and floor up I guess all of it is "rigged". I started with a space in the basement that was just studs. My positive ventilation is kinda perched up above the darkroom door with it's double filters showing and the aluminum ducting laying on top of the drop ceiling. The worst problem I've had with something I've modified is the paint on truckbed liner I put on the sink, it doesn't stick to the stainless steel, which is a cheap grade that tries to rust at the drop of a hat. It's peeled off the bottom in huge patches and will eventually be totally bare full length. I've also had to jury rig the silver recovery unit, one of the pumps died a horrible mushy death when the magnet that couples the impeller to the motor disintegrated so I set it where it can drain with the help of mister gravity. So far though every thing works like I intended, I just need to learn to work like a master photographer. That might take me until I'm 70 or 80.
    Gary Beasley

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