View Full Version : Upright printing containers

27-Apr-2005, 10:27
Someone suggested that when printing in a confined darkroom, you really don't need to have a horizontal tray for the stop and the fix. Instead, you need some sort of vertical or upright container to dip the paper into. I don't ever except to work with prints larger than 11x14, so this sounded like a practical solution -- in theory.

But has anyone tried this, and how has it worked out? What did you use as the upright stop & fix container?

I have utility closet which I plan to use as a darkroom, with just 3 ft of tray space on one side and another 18 inches on another where I can just barely squeeze in my beseler 23c between the water heater and wall -- I will actually have to remove 1/4 inches off of each side of the enlarger base to make it fit there. Don't know how easy it will be to move the knobs etc...

27-Apr-2005, 11:01
Nova makes an upright print processor. If you do a search you'll see plenty of photos etc. People seem to like them.

27-Apr-2005, 11:59
I have a small bathroom downstairs (3x5 ft) this includes the toilet, sink. I put the enlarger on top of the toilet. I use the Nova 8x10. I bought the Nova used (it has temp. control) this Nova has a 4 slots.
Developer, stop bath, fixer, and just water.
I then copied the design and made a larger one (made of acrylic) 11x14. The design is great. It does not take much space.
The only thing is that to watch for the developer so it does not get exhausted. It is great because if you are not doing too many prints, you do not waste much developer, fixer, etc.
The Nova equipment is a bit pricy, but if you get it used it is great.
Good luck,

27-Apr-2005, 12:11
Thanks -- I was thinking of something even cheaper -- like Tupperware . . .

27-Apr-2005, 12:40
When I was making my initial experiments with minimal agitation development, I used tall plastic containers (like Tupperware, but not that brand) in order to develop the negative vertically. I see no reason they wouldn't work for what you're proposing.

Gene Crumpler
27-Apr-2005, 13:26
Have you seen the tray racks that stack 3 trays vertically?

27-Apr-2005, 13:36
Yes, thanks, I have considered the tray rack, which allos you to stack the trays on top of each other. The darkroom catalogs have the wire rack for just over $60 but if I go that route, I was considering making my own from plain PVC, or using one of the closet-organizer racks (which have drawer runners to make the trays capable of being pushed in and out of the rack) but that's all option B.

Option A is still some sort of vertical arrangement, which makes a lot of sense the more that I think about it -- there really is no reason for the stop & fix to be in horizontal trays, is there?

Gem Singer
27-Apr-2005, 14:01
Hi Liz,

The problems with vertical containers for processing prints are: large amount of chemicals needed; difficult to handle 11X14 prints when sliding them in and out of the containers; and difficult to fill, empty, and clean.. The 4-slot Nova processor is the best vertical processor available, but we're talking about a large investment.

Look for a print drum with a motor base (e-bay), or go with a tray ladder for your trays.

27-Apr-2005, 14:24
Yeah, I thought about the chemicals usage, but stop and fixer aren't expensive anyway. I'll only do the developing in a tray.

Filling and emptying shouldn't be a problem -- just dump it in the sink or bathtub. Cleaning...run some hot water through it a few times?

Sliding paper in and out will be a problem though, and another problem may be getting sufficient circulation of chemicals around the paper. The paper may stick to the sides when inserting, for example, but I guess that's lessened if the slot size is large enough.

Thanks for the info

Henry Ambrose
27-Apr-2005, 15:36
I have some vertical tanks about one inch thick with covers. I used them for a while when I wanted to keep my darkroom ready for immediate use to make just a few prints at a time. I could use the chemicals for at least a week before needing to change. I made them from acrylic plastic.

If you can find or make a container thin enough the chemical quantity problem is solved. Large tanks like this can be very difficult to empty or carry. Mine are a bit flimsy and if I couldn't turn them over in the sink without lifting them I'd siphon the contents when needed.

If you use a clear material you can see the print "come up" in your vertical tank. I never had much problem with sticking to the sides and used tongs to lift and drop the print for agitation - and inch or two does the trick. You could use stainless wires with a 90 degree bend extending to the bottom of the slot to agitate by lifting and dropping. Imagine a "Y" with little hooks on the end that hold the print. Of course you will need enough vertical space to fit the slot tank and room above to lift the print out. For a 12 inch deep tank you'd need at least an additional18 inches to clear the print and your hand while you lift it.

A rack with drawers that can be pulled out sounds like a good idea if you stay with trays. I doubt that a pvc rack would be stout enough unless it was made with big tubes. Full extension drawer slides would give you good access to each tray.

John D Gerndt
27-Apr-2005, 19:56
I have never seen anything that could be used right off the shelf.

I have built my own (large) vertical tanks and also bought a (12x16) used Nova processor. You have to spend time or money if you want it done well. I'd go for a used Nova if possible (got mine for $150.)

A tray rack is a pretty simple thing to come up with and fairly cheap - well-glued one-inch PVC will hold up 11x14 trays. Tray racks are kind of sloppy to use but everything is a compromise.

I think a service orented plastics shop or even an aquarium store migh be able to build you a tank for reasonable money. Show 'em a picture of the Nova...oh and the textured sides are a GOOD idea, prints can really get stuck to smooth surfaces.


27-Apr-2005, 20:30
Apparently, there are narrow (2" by 18 " by 18") plastic tubs or slot tanks for sale (used in the microchip-making business) but the cost savings are not substantial, and they take 3 gals of liquid which makes them hard tocarry and dump out, just as you guys said. So, I guess its Plan B! Stacked trays... Funny thing is that kitchen supply stores sell wire "shelves" used to stack pots and pans in the cupboards for about 10 bucks -- but I'm not sure they'll take the weight of two full 11x14" trays. . .

Larry Gebhardt
28-Apr-2005, 05:45
I had some made out of 1/4" acrylic. They are about 12x16x1 inner dimesion and hold about 3 liters of solution. I used the Nova clips and slid them back and forth to agitate. Including the valve at the bottom they cost about $60 each. Without the valve they would have been about $45 each.