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Thread: Can anyone help me misuse a Kodak X-omat 2000A Processor?

  1. #1

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    Can anyone help me misuse a Kodak X-omat 2000A Processor?

    I just received a Kodak X-omat 2000A Processor. It looks like a giant laser printer and you put exposed x-ray film in one end and a few minutes later a developed, fixed, washed, and dried x-ray comes out the other end. I'd like to misuse this thing to process x-ray film for photographic purposes. I know that, processed as intended, x-ray film is way too high contrast. I've seen some great results here from x-ray film with reduced development to reduce the contrast and Dmax of the film into something usable for images. As it stands, this appears to have a fixed time and temperature for the whole machine. The development time is quite short: the whole process takes just 157 seconds or 118 seconds (depending on which gear the processor is in) but the temperature is quite high (33.3 or 34.3 C, depending on gear). I assume this implies they're using a high-activity developer to get the job done that fast. Would switching to a photographic developer like XTOL likely act in the correct direction to reduce contrast? Does anyone know of a way to abuse the control system to get it to either slow down or run colder (or both)?

    Any tips you guys might have would be awesome as being able to machine process up to 14x17" x-ray film would be wonderful.

  2. #2
    sepiareverb's Avatar
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    Re: Can anyone help me misuse a Kodak X-omat 2000A Processor?

    While I can't help I will be watching this thread. Seems like a very fun project.

  3. #3
    jp's Avatar
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    Re: Can anyone help me misuse a Kodak X-omat 2000A Processor?

    I can't help either.. But have you tried printing any films processed in it yet? If the contrast seems high maybe a lower grade of paper contrast or an alternative process would make nice prints?

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    Re: Can anyone help me misuse a Kodak X-omat 2000A Processor?

    It was probably designed for a high-energy developer- IIRC Kodak made a line of X-OMAT chemistry for this type of machine. Never used one myself. I think that you'll just have to burn some film testing. It's worth trying a 'normal' film developer- you'll be quite a ways off the map anyway.

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    Re: Can anyone help me misuse a Kodak X-omat 2000A Processor?

    Quote Originally Posted by jp View Post
    I can't help either.. But have you tried printing any films processed in it yet? If the contrast seems high maybe a lower grade of paper contrast or an alternative process would make nice prints?
    The long-term goal is negatives that I can contact print straight to cyanotype and kallitype. I don't have any intention of printing to "normal" silver gelatin paper.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sampson View Post
    It was probably designed for a high-energy developer- IIRC Kodak made a line of X-OMAT chemistry for this type of machine. Never used one myself. I think that you'll just have to burn some film testing. It's worth trying a 'normal' film developer- you'll be quite a ways off the map anyway.
    Yeah, in the end I'm sure I'm going to need the 4x5 Stouffer step wedge and a box of film to even get in the ballpark. However, there's always a chance I'm not the first one this crazy and someone can point me in the right direction.

  6. #6

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    Re: Can anyone help me misuse a Kodak X-omat 2000A Processor?

    Not familiar with this processor but have read in the past somewhere that either by gearing down the motor or more easily lowering the voltage and thus slowing down the motor, a processor like yours can be used for conventional processing. Also remember the wash cycle not being sufficient, but that is something easily taken care of by using another wash. Sorry but I can't remember where I read this, it was probably 30+ years ago. Best guess is the journal for the BPA (Biological Photographic Association) since I was an active member back then. BPA I believe turned into the BioCommunications Association years ago.

  7. #7
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Re: Can anyone help me misuse a Kodak X-omat 2000A Processor?

    What gamma are you obtaining right now; what is "way too high contrast" for cyanotype? You might want to try different films and or developers. For example the White Mtn T2 seems to produce less contrast in a X-omat than other developers. Also, are you running your machine at normal or the slow speed?

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    Re: Can anyone help me misuse a Kodak X-omat 2000A Processor?

    I have been repairing, updating, and using X-Ray film processors for 45 years now. I have used them with mixed results in photography. The problem is four fold.
    1. the developer used in the processor is very corrosive to the silver halides.It has to be due to the very short developing time in the machine. ( 45-90 seconds)
    You will need to find a developer that can work this fast and still give you good tonal results. Once the developer turns coffee color its toast. This happens in a few days in the machine and 30 days in the replenishment tank.
    2. Developer temps are normally 90-110 degrees F ( yours will be set to 35 C ) and is adjustable by you. Because of this temp developer life is very short and is depleted quickly hence you have an adjustable replenishment pump in ( CC's) per film size.
    3. Roller marks are a problem. If you processor was fed on the same side of the feed tray the rollers will have a low and high side. These will cause pressure bands in the film. New rollers are expensive and the tension springs can then be too weak causing transport slipping and scratches.
    4. The over flow waste of used through the weirs chems, go in you drains. Instantly ammonia is formed and the acid in the rapid fix will eat through chromed brass P-traps or black iron pipes in as little as a couple of months.
    I have owned a few film processors by Kodak, Fuji, Konia and AFP. Results were no where as good as tray or drum development and their no longer used to make negatives.
    That being said,I did get very good results developing paper images ( resin coated ) in all of the processors.
    An old Kreonite color film processor for sheet film and you'd be golden if you can find one.
    I traveled the country troubleshooting film processing problems when others could not fix the problems. DR and CR have taken over the X-Ray world because of the never ending problems with film processors and film quality as well as poorly mixed / stored chems.

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    Re: Can anyone help me misuse a Kodak X-omat 2000A Processor?

    Hmm.. the only part of that which really concerns me are the possible issues with the roller transport system. I figured worst-case I could always control it with a RaspberryPi to maintain tank temperature and slow the speed waaaay down to get a more normal processing time in something like XTOL. However, if I can't rely on the roller transport system working reliably, then I'm not entirely sure how much it's worth messing with this as a project.

  10. #10

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    Re: Can anyone help me misuse a Kodak X-omat 2000A Processor?

    The only way to slow it way down would be to re-gear the drive. Adjusting the motor drive signal will not be slow enough. Then the problem is film speed as it transits the tanks to the next roller assembly. If the film misses the guide shoe you have a film jamb.
    All processors have a circulation pump in the developer and perhaps the fixer tank as well. This causes a density problem on film used for photography as it passes the tank port.
    The pump cannot be turned off as it also goes through the heater.

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