I don't think I'll ever understand some things. I missed the Transformers toy fad by at least a decade and yet...

Here's my new darktent (aka Son of Darktent) for doing wetplate collodion work in the field. This one is slightly smaller than the last one I built and will fit in my cartop carrier (except for the legs which fit inside the car).

I added removable wheels to this one. The first image shows the box packed and ready to roll.



The wheels come off and the handles become legs when inserted the opposite way into the v-shaped channels I've built on the sides of the box. The legs/handles simply slide into the channels and abut against each other and the channel sides to support the box and facilitate assembling it into the working position. Hitch pins and carraige bolts hold the legs/handles in their various positions and make for rapid function change.



The box dimensions are 30" wide x 20" high x 10" deep. The hinged bottom front door is 14" high and when folded down forms a workspace tabletop of 24" total depth in combination with the box base. I've cut a sheet of 3/8" acrylic to cover most of the tabletop in order to facilitate cleanup and help prolong the life of the fabric. This panel is dimensioned to fit inside the box in its closed position.

The shroud is Porter's better quality nylon darkroom cloth. It is stapled to the rear wall of the box and a dowel inside a piece of similar fabric holds 3 cup holder hooks which rapidly attach the shroud to the extension dowel struts on the top front door via eyehooks. The fabric has been contact cemented in place and thin strips of material will also be cemented in place tomorrow to cover the multitude of sewing needle holes at the seams. Metal cable attached to similar eyehooks on the door and turnbuckle hooks on the other end form the upper lid support which raises the shroud above head level.



A hole with 20-degree angled sides has been cut in the bottom of the box to allow a large silver bath capable of sensitizing 10" x 12" plates to drop through and be suspended below the box when the legs are used. The tank rests on foam and felt weatherstripping to form a light baffle. The tank and the legs rest at an angle of 20-degrees as well. The silver bath can either face with the opening leaning towards the front of the box for doing large plates, or it can be turned around to point at the rear wall when doing full-plate or smaller images. (I prefer the tank in the latter position but also wanted to do big plates using it so I made the orientation reversible.)

A 4mm-thick red transparent acrylic sheet forms a sliding safelight window which can be opened for ventilation on the rear wall of the box.



Surrounding the window both inside and out are strips of Velcro to which can be attached panels of blackout curtain material that make the box suitable for loading panchromatic films into holders as well as regulating the amount of light inside the box when doing wetplates.



The shroud fits neatly inside the box for transport and I'll be adding some more hooks and bungee cords to hold the sensitizing tank box and development trays against the interior walls for secure transport.



The darkbox also sits level and can be used on other horizontal tabletops if desired. A handle allows the box to be carried by hand if desired.



I'm also thinking of adding a net suspended from the handles when the box is in the transport position. The net would be used in conjunction with the darkbox top exterior surface to transport miscellaneous supplies to location.

The final addition may be a solar-powered espresso machine.

I'm mobile...

Joe