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Thread: DIY 5x7 Drums

  1. #1

    Question DIY 5x7 Drums

    Does anyone have any suggestions or a link to a site where I can find out about making some 5x7 developing drums? I live on a boat, so there os NO room for a darkroom & I can't afford spending the price of another camera for a JOBO set. It seems as though drums could be built from 4" ABS drain pipe & a couple of caps & plugs, but... Thanks for any advice.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Feb 2010

    Re: DIY 5x7 Drums

    Unicolor 8x10 drums are pretty cheap...I've gotten some on ebay for $5ish. They fit two 5x7s with no problems. You can also use the 11x14 drums (also cheap) to do 4 5x7s. I've had problems finding anything that works reliably for seperators to keep the two negs from sliding against each other. I'm thinking I'm going to just use the 8x10s and really work on getting my negatives perfect.

    Anyway. Both of those are cheaply available.

    Chromega drums are harder to find. They have a more positive locking mechanism if you have all the parts, but I've had problems with prints getting lose in the 11x14s too. With the 8x10s, two in a drum, you can't go wrong.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Oct 2010

    Re: DIY 5x7 Drums

    You can also do one 5x7 sheet at a time in Cibachrome 8x10 drums no problem. Other drums are great for multiple sheets, but I don't shoot enough volume to worry about ganging up my negs.


  4. #4

    Join Date
    Sep 2005

    Re: DIY 5x7 Drums

    I've tried making several different versions, but the ABS that's available here in Washington state always left grit from the open-cell structure of the ABS on the film, no matter how much I cleaned them. Depending on the ABS available to you, you might have to seal the cut ends with silicone, instead of relying on solvent welding the caps to seal the edges. Very difficult to seal after they're welded together without making a big mess. Anyway, after I finally started getting clean negatives, there was still the hassle of only 1 sheet per tube...

    I finally made a tank for 4x5 film out of 4" ABS that just fits 4 tubes cut from those clear fluorescent light sleeves. Each tube holds a sheet of 4x5 and a screw-in clean-out plug acts as the lid. Sounds better than it is- it's not a true daylight tank as the lights have to go off when changing solutions. And it takes a while to crank the lid on tight so it doesn't leak light or solution. And it needs a liter of solution to be able to fill all the tubs and still circulate, so it gets heavy. And you have to wash the film in a tray or print washer to remove the anti-halation layer completely. Also, the tubes tend to drift up in the tank during agitation, so the tank has to be sized/designed accordingly to keep them anchored in the baths.

    Maybe for 5x7 you could get by with less solution using a rubber band or mesh 'taco' to fold the film in to help the solutions circulate better? Then you'd only have to use a marginally larger tank than what's described above.

    Anyway, I'd be interested in what you come up with, it's a nagging problem I revisit every year or so.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Sep 2009

    Re: DIY 5x7 Drums

    I came across some plans for DIY daylight safe BTZS tubes. I've been meaning to make a few for 8x10, but haven't gotten around to it yet.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    San Gabriel Valley, California

    Re: DIY 5x7 Drums

    I have used my 8X10 BTZS tubes to develop 5X7 film.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    May 2008
    El Cajon, CA

    Re: DIY 5x7 Drums

    I have been very happy with the Unicolor drums. Two 5x7 sheets, they are easy to load and process. much easier than the ABS tubes. I have tried them too, but the ease of the Unicolor drums is a no-brainer.
    Michael Cienfuegos

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