Hi to all,
In my constant battle to reduce dust on drying film, I've decided to add another
weapon to my arsenal, the film drying cabinet. Now, I realize that these are very
high priced items. In order to cut costs, I've decided on the homemade version,but
wanted to run the idea by you all, as I know this forum has some very talented folks! I'm trying to stay away from the steamy bathroom method, the plastic clothes storage bags etc. My quest has brought me to a 12X18X72 single tier
school locker from www.thenoble-locker.com for $104.00. A 120 VAC computer fan
for around $22.00 mounted externally on the top of the locker. And finally, a 100 watt light bulb fixture mounted in the bottom to the side. Will also need a sheet metal over hang above the bulb for dripping water. Some misc. items would be
cork gasket material for under the fan, some filtering material to cover the vents in
the locker door and also some stripping around the door to prevent outside air entry. I figure the light bulb for the needed heat and just a standard on/off switch.
I would think one could also wire a timer switch instead of the on/off switch.
A google search on computer fans had several sites for the 5-6 inch square computer cooling fans. Something like 49 cfm, ultra quiet and billions of rpms!!
So, that's my idea folks. Haven't figured out how to hang 4X5 sheet film just yet.
The roll film (120 & 220) seems like a no brainer.
Have at it! What do you think? I promise I won't cry! Hey, I know it's not the $1200.00 model, but I think It'll work just the same.
Thanks for your input. Rick
Why not put the bulb up top with the fan? That way you don't have to worry about water. I use the plastic clothes bag (actually a shoe tree), and have an 1/8" rod run horizontally near the top. I slide plastic clamps for snack bags onto it. Holds rolls and sheets. I've thought about the locker, but I'd rather use the room for a 4x5 enlarger. Please post some pictures when it's done!
The bulb placement is from something I read long ago, just forgot what publication and when. The idea was to have the fan pull heated air up and around the film for better drying. I might mention that we're talking a cool basement during the Michigan winters too! One would have to play with the wattage of the bulb for best performance. I just said 100 W as a starting point.
A lab nearby actually used a home-built dryer like that for years--decades probably. It was a big wooden cabinet, with a bunch of wire strung in a grid across the top. On the floor, it had about a dozen or so 100 watt type lamps with the fixtures arrayed in a grid as well. They run about 100 sheets of 4x5 at a time in their deeptank, and would dry them this way. I used it a bit when we had alot of film to run here...It worked just by the heat rising. the whole cabinet was painted as well. It was low-tech to be sure, but worked. I couldn't even imagine how much film was dried in that thing, it would have been thousands & thousands of sheets and rolls. At least 300+ a day for abbout 25 yrs or more...
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I made a print dryer from an engineers metal storage cabinet that is about the same size as the expensive dryers. After cleaning I lined it with thin polystyrene stuck on with wallpaper paste and bolted a small tubular heater, about 120 watt, along one side. A grid of nylon cord was fixed about 6" from the top to hang the film to dry. No fans required and the film drys in less than 30 minutes. Total cost £20.
I use a cloth/plastic clothes bag with frame, some dryer hose, universal air conditioner filter, and a hair dryer. Take the bag, cut a hole at the bottom and one at the top. Put dryer hose into the holes. Add two layers of filter material to the inside of the bag where the holes protrude. Vent the top hose outside the darkroom (modify an actual house dryer indoor to outdoor vent flap). Use a small PVC size coupler (I use a 3" to 2" coupler) on the lower hose and attach a hair dryer.
Drys up to 20 rolls of 120 in under 4 minutes. Never have a problem with dust, heat, curling, etc. If you get worried about water staining the bag, put an old dev tray at the bottom to catch the water.
Use duct tape and caulk to seal the bag.
Usage: unzip bag, clip film to hanger bars at top of bag, put dryer on low heat and high speed, zip bag.
Cost: bag with frame, wally world @ 22.95. hose, wallyworld @ 7.00. Filter, wallyworld @ 2.00 per sheet (large sheets). vent trap: 7.95 @ Lowes. Dryer: 12.95 @ wallyworld.
Recently, I bought a thermocouple switch (115F) and added it to the inside of the bag. Then, I modified a switch and extension cord to this. Should the bag reach the TC's temperature, the dryer would switch off and avoid cooking the film.
The positive pressure keeps all dust out, and the filters remove any dust coming in. And, no stupid bulb to have to worry about exploding should water drip on it!
BTW, for 4x5 and 8x10 sheet film, I just grommet a few holes into the bag and run some plastic clothesline through the bag whereever I need it. Then,I clip the film there.
Rick, take a look at this link. It may help.
Man, that is real nice. But it is a lot more than I need.
I got a really good film dryer from ebay auctions. It cost me £100. plus delivery which was £35.00. These things are expensive new but I know that they come up on ebay quite often by people who are hooked on the digital thing and put them out to auction. Ebay is a universal thing so you may be lucky and get one even cheaper from there. As far as the dust problem is concerned, I just give my dryer a wipe out with a damp cloth and make sure I use wetting agent and they are spotless