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Thread: DIY Changing box/tent/bag

  1. #1

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    DIY Changing box/tent/bag

    Hi there,

    I was looking for some feedback or suggestions on building a changing box. Currently I'm loading and unloading 5x7 into a Bessler 11x14 drum in a normal changing bag. Goes without saying that this leaves something to be desired. Fingerprints, scratches and dust are all part of the game.

    I've been thinking about building a folding changing box out of that foamcore that you get in art stores. My idea is to cut up the black foamcore to make a box and more foamcore on the ends. I could cut the arms out of my current changing bag and put them through holes in the front of the box.

    Would gaffers tape be good enough to lightproof the seams? I also have some Gorrilla brand tape that looks pretty heavy duty. I was thinking velcro to hold any parts that won't be taped, so that you can fold it down.

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks
    Paul

  2. #2
    Joanna Carter's Avatar
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    Re: DIY Changing box/tent/bag

    I would question the use of foamcore, as the static is prone to might attract even more dust.

    Haven't you seen the Calumet Changing Room?
    Joanna Carter
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    UKLFPG

  3. #3

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    Re: DIY Changing box/tent/bag

    hmmm...would the changing room be big enough to really manipulate film holders? It doesn't seem that large. Definitely interesting...

  4. #4
    Joanna Carter's Avatar
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    Re: DIY Changing box/tent/bag

    I regularly load and unload 4x5 into Jobo drums. I wouldn't say there was enough room to swing the proverbial cat but there's probably enough room to swing a large hamster
    Joanna Carter
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    UKLFPG

  5. #5

    Re: DIY Changing box/tent/bag

    Quote Originally Posted by sully75 View Post
    I've been thinking about building a folding changing box out of that foamcore that you get in art stores. My idea is to cut up the black foamcore to make a box and more foamcore on the ends. I could cut the arms out of my current changing bag and put them through holes in the front of the box.

    Would gaffers tape be good enough to lightproof the seams? I also have some Gorrilla brand tape that looks pretty heavy duty. I was thinking velcro to hold any parts that won't be taped, so that you can fold it down.
    I've been thinking of doing that very thing. Please post your results if you do.

    I'm curious about the idea of foamcore attracting dust due to static electricity though, I would not have considered that and I haven't ever worked with the stuff so I don't have any experience in that regard. I do know that STYROFOAM seems to have problems with static electricity, but foamcore is a bit different.

    I think that gaffers tape would be fine. Plenty of folks use it to repair film holders, so I wouldn't expect light leaks.

    Nathan

  6. #6
    Format Omnivore Brian C. Miller's Avatar
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    Re: DIY Changing box/tent/bag

    I recently bought a Photoflex Changing Room bag. Attached is a snap of one holder and a box of 8x10 inside it. I have the new style with the arm holes on either side. Would I like something larger? Of course, but this is quite adequate for the price.

    As for building your own, keeping it light-tight and collapsible is something that is quite important. Experiment first with just making a folding box, using cardboard as the template.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails IMG_0276.JPG  

  7. #7
    lenser's Avatar
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    Re: DIY Changing box/tent/bag

    Nathan, Using gaffers tape might not be the light tight result that you envision. Repairing the flap on a film holder which already has a mechanical light trap as part of the design and structure does not rely on the tape which only replaces the hinge, not the light trap. Using it as a substitute for a light trap in a home made changing room might be an invitation for a disaster.

    Paul,

    If you haven't done so, you might look at the Harrison tents (3 sizes) from Camera Essentials.

    They seem a little pricey, but my first one lasted me well over ten years of perfect light tight changing of thousands of sheets of film (often in bright sunlight) before I bought a new one just this month. I only replaced it because the outside started to get gummy and sticky, but again, that's after over ten years of hard and hot field use. That figures out to probably less that $20.00 per year to own and use it pretty constantly.

    I don't care for the Calumet style changing rooms (I've owned and used them) due to the difficulty in collapsing them and because of the curved walls which tend to limit the usable floor place. If you push stuff out of the way to the walls, it tends to slide back toward you a bit and get in the way of how you are working. Much more so if you are working 5x7 and larger.

    The tents have vastly more usable floor space and much better ergonomics in terms of the placement of the sleeves at the front instead of the sides like most others......way easier for me to use.

    If you are determined to build one, I would go with 1/2" top grade plywood, interior thoroughly sanded smooth and then double painted flat black enamel to insure a total seal against any edges where dust could collect. The joints need to be notched to create light traps and both glued and screwed tight for perfect seals, then caulked with a black caulk which will dry hard, not like typical plumbing caulk. Same kind of notches on the door and clamps to pull it very tight. And then, how are you going to make and attach the sleeves to prevent leaks there?

    Sounds like ordering something ready made is a lot less trouble.

    Tim
    "One of the greatest necessities in America is to discover creative solitude." Carl Sandburg

  8. #8

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    Re: DIY Changing box/tent/bag

    You could always drape some black plastic over the top of something that isn't 100% light tight. Ansel Adams used to change film in his sleeping bag.

  9. #9

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    Re: DIY Changing box/tent/bag

    The Harrison tents look awesome, I've seen them before. But just totally out of my price range right now. If they were $80 I'd be buying one.

    Honestly, I can buy a real tent, that you can sleep in, for the price of one of theirs.

    Not sure that I'd be that much better off loading my bessler drum in the Calumet or Photoflex bags.

    Argh.

  10. #10

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    Re: DIY Changing box/tent/bag

    Quote Originally Posted by sully75 View Post
    The Harrison tents look awesome, I've seen them before. But just totally out of my price range right now. If they were $80 I'd be buying one.

    Honestly, I can buy a real tent, that you can sleep in, for the price of one of theirs.

    Not sure that I'd be that much better off loading my bessler drum in the Calumet or Photoflex bags.

    Argh.
    What's the price of a box of fogged 8x10 film going for these days? If you need this for handling film on the road they are indespensible.

    If you just need dark at home most any bathroom can be made light tight with black plastic and black photographic tape, or black gaffers tape.

    IMO trying to engineer and manufacturer your own tent is a waste of time and money unless you plan to sell your own line.

    Don Bryant

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