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View Full Version : Experiences re: Calumet Archival Print Washer



Daniel Unkefer
6-Mar-2019, 05:59
https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7802/46560835274_78a5d27ed0_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/2dWqsaY)Calumet Archival Print Washer 2 (https://flic.kr/p/2dWqsaY) by Nokton48 (https://www.flickr.com/photos/18134483@N04/), on Flickr

Hi All!

I'm renovating my old darkroom for B&W printing, an ongoing process. I just pulled the trigger on this Calumet Archival 16x20 print washer. It will wash 12 16x20s or 24 8x10s in one go.

I'm in the process of replacing the tubing on mine. I have printed out the original instructions on the internet. Obviously I will need to make a table to support this unit, out of 2x4s or maybe 4x4s.

Anybody here using this print washer? Experiences please :)

Randy Moe
6-Mar-2019, 08:23
I had the larger 20X24 version hooked up and running on a 2X4 stand

I added a ball valve externally to the drain hose

Never leaked, but I did worry what if it did

I now have a 16X20 emulation DIY made by somebody and it is safely in a double tub utility sink

Very similarly plumbed


I have a gate valve on the input now so I can slow the flow as ! believe it only needs low flow for an hour for FB paper. Drain is still a ball valve.

My 20X24 is now being used by another member here or there...

Greg Davis
6-Mar-2019, 11:01
I’ve used one. It is a great washer, you should have years of great service with it.

Mike in NY
6-Mar-2019, 11:13
I use the exact same one; it sits at the end of my 8 foot sink. I love it, and use the adjustable clip on the drain hose to regulate the out flow.

Daniel Unkefer
6-Mar-2019, 15:43
Thanks for responses Guys!

Kodak tray siphon is most economical for archival one print 16x20 washing.
Multiple prints? This is why I bite the bullet and get this monster.

Daniel Unkefer
6-Mar-2019, 15:48
I had the larger 20X24 version hooked up and running on a 2X4 stand. I added a ball valve externally to the drain hose
I have a gate valve on the input now so I can slow the flow as ! believe it only needs low flow for an hour for FB paper. Drain is still a ball valve.


I put a gate valve on my input, as recommended in the original instructions. What is a ball valve? Why do I need one? THANKS!

Randy Moe
6-Mar-2019, 15:58
I put a gate valve on my input, as recommended in the original instructions. What is a ball valve? Why do I need one? THANKS!

I like valves everywhere. A 100% diameter ball valve opens the fastest but harder to control flow compared to a gate valve.

a simple video. https://youtu.be/txDANNh4_ME

I never saw any instructions

Jac@stafford.net
6-Mar-2019, 16:34
Do we have an authoritative evaluation of the washer? I think not, but I look forward to rebuttal. These washers serve most to remove money from your wallet and increase our water bill.

Daniel Unkefer
6-Mar-2019, 17:00
Do we have an authoritative evaluation of the washer? I think not, but I look forward to rebuttal. These washers serve most to remove money from your wallet and increase our water bill.

Ummmmmmm

JAC, I'm curious, how do you archivally wash 12 16x20s or 24 8x10s at once? Let us know.

Jerry Bodine
6-Mar-2019, 17:12
I also have this washer. It just keeps working. I have two SS sinks, 7 ft and 4 ft, end to end. The washer sits in the 4 ft. FWIW, I've rigged my water system with a 4-outlet manifold connected to the temp mixing valve outlet via a gate valve that serves as the master shutoff for all four outlets - pic attached. Note that two of the manifold outlets have flow-control valves attached, one is for a hose to the long sink to provide water jackets for the trays, the other is for a hose to the washer. An inline water flowmeter goes to the washer. So once the flow rates to the long sink and the washer are set via the flow-controllers, they are never altered and the manifold outlet valves are used as full-open or shut-off. The remaining manifold outlets are used for (a) general water needs and (b) rinse water for negatives that’s been filtered (blue tubes). All connections are 3/4" garden hose threads. Very convenient, allows me to go into the darkroom and quickly be ready to start once water temp stabilizes.

Water flowmeters can be had from McMaster-Carr:
https://www.mcmaster.com/flow-rate-meters

Manifold can be had from Home Depot or Lowe’s:
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Melnor-4-Way-Hose-Faucet-Connection-9009/202881087
https://www.lowes.com/pd/Yardsmith-Brass-4-Way-Restricted-Flow-Water-Shut-Off/50328287

Same with the flow-control valves:
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Orbit-3-4-in-Threaded-Brass-Shut-Off-Coupling-27933/100659291?N=5yc1vZbx5n
https://www.lowes.com/pd/Yardsmith-Brass-Restricted-Flow-Water-Shut-Off/50328301

Good luck with your darkroom.

Photo here (https://www.dropbox.com/s/fyq8do40dh90x45/Water%20Temp%20Controller.JPG?dl=0):

Daniel Unkefer
6-Mar-2019, 17:18
Thanks Jerry!

BTW today I got a Modern Enlarging Systems Model 2 Omega DII LED head. It's on my enlarger now and playing with it, it's way cool :)

Willie
6-Mar-2019, 17:26
On a platform for it. Might look at used desks from military surplus and colleges. Got all metal that supports a large darkroom sink and another for dry mounting station - for $15 total plus "haul it away". They had so many they were dumping them for almost nothing.
Easier and less expensive than making a table of wood.

Greg
6-Mar-2019, 17:54
Once had and used a Calumet Archival Print Washer. Remember making slight modifications to it to decrease the fill rate, but that's all I remember. Now use a Kostiner archival washer which looks very, very much like the image you posted. Also had to decrease the flow rate to the Kostiner print washer, mostly because the previous owner had modified it to a horrendously high flow rate. Does anyone out there know what the optimal water exchange (flow) rate should be? East Street Gallery (hope I have that name right) once published an extensive paper on the optimal way of washing FB prints, but have long ago lost their catalog and published papers

Bruce Barlow
6-Mar-2019, 18:11
I have a Zone VI washer.

I put prints in it, and run water for about 15 minutes. Then I shut it off and let the fixer leach out of the prints. After 1/2 hour, I turn on the water for about ten minutes, which will ensure one complete change. HT2 test confirms that there's no residual fixer on the fiber prints, and I've saved a bunch of water.

I used to have a governor-thing on my hose that limited the water to 1 gal/minute, but it got old and no longer worked reliably. Now I just guess. Close enough for photography.

Mike in NY
6-Mar-2019, 19:49
Instructions for the Calumet washer, including the suggested method for achieving an optimal flow rate, can be found here (I used it to calibrate the flow on my Calumet):

http://www.rangeoflightphotography.com/Technical%20Manuals/Calumet%20Archival%20Washer.pdf

Randy Moe
6-Mar-2019, 20:08
Thank you!

Duolab123
6-Mar-2019, 21:53
All of these washers use a lot of water. They only make sense if you are washing a lot of prints. A good reality check is to put 3 or 4 drops of red food coloring in the full washer, then at 1 gallon a minute see how long it takes to clear. If you want a really good test put some sort of fluorescent dye tablet like are used in plumbing tests. These things work great if you fill them run for a bit drain and refill. I use a small recirculation pump salvaged from a Noritsu processor. I fill the unit, shut the valves, turn off the water and let the washer run with the pump. The pump gives more vigorous agitation. After a bit I drain tye washer, refill from a bucket in one big whoosh, and turn the pump on again. Test your prints, you will be surprised how well this works.
I've noticed in the past at low flow rates, 1 gpm, I have had millions of tiny air bubbles, really tiny on the surface of the prints. The only cure for this is to increase flow. I do it with a pump.
I should save the wash water, you could probably drink it after a bit. Probably not something to recommend :eek:

Duolab123
6-Mar-2019, 23:07
On a platform for it. Might look at used desks from military surplus and colleges. Got all metal that supports a large darkroom sink and another for dry mounting station - for $15 total plus "haul it away". They had so many they were dumping them for almost nothing.
Easier and less expensive than making a table of wood.

That's a great idea.

Bernard_L
6-Mar-2019, 23:43
I use a small recirculation pump salvaged from a Noritsu processor. I fill the unit, shut the valves, turn off the water and let the washer run with the pump. The pump gives more vigorous agitation. After a bit I drain tye washer, refill from a bucket in one big whoosh, and turn the pump on again. Test your prints, you will be surprised how well this works.
+1
Most print washers make no distinction between recirculation and water renewal; as a result they waste a lot of water. I made a check, washing 12x16" prints in a large and deep tray (about 22x26") with an aquarium pump to move water (and prints) around. 10 minutes, then empty/fill water. After two cycles the HT-2 test was OK, so the third cycle was for good measure and peace of mind.

LabRat
7-Mar-2019, 02:34
Suggestions are to make sure the base sits evenly on a flat level surface so the washer is not strained over time possibly causing failure much later on, don't leave them filled when not it use as it is unecessary strain and mineral buildup, and it's a very good idea to place in a large basin or sink in case of breakage, the mess will be confined...

Yes they wash a lot of prints at once, but do have their downsides (as mentioned) high water use, complete changes of water happen slowly by dilution flow, long wash, sometimes one corner and edges of prints can discolor from long washes with micro rust hitting the same areas, and I have seen units that sat on uneven surfaces break from strain over time and leave a big mess...

Leave unwashed prints in a holding tray or washer, but don't start the wash flow until all of your session's prints are in, then wash all together for the same time...

Steve K

Daniel Unkefer
7-Mar-2019, 04:40
Here's what I'm waiting to get

https://www.ebay.com/itm/3-4-ID-CLEAR-VINYL-TUBING-HOSE-BY-THE-FOOT-CONDENSATE-DRAINS-BILGE-PUMPS/202595313342?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2060353.m2749.l2649

https://www.ebay.com/itm/1-2-ID-x-5-8-OD-x-3-FOOT-CLEAR-PVC-VINYL-FLEX-TUBE-WATER-AIR-HOSE-FOOD-SAFE/292356390381?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2060353.m2749.l2649

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Inline-Ball-Valve-Shut-Off-3-8-Barb-Quickly-Stop-Flow-in-Draft-Beer-LEAD-Free/201533821134?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2060353.m2749.l2649

https://www.ebay.com/itm/3-4-Female-Garden-Hose-x-3-8-Hose-Barb-Swivel-Adapter-Fitting-Lead-Free-Brass/391785486652?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2060353.m2749.l2649


The hose clamps and 3/8" tubing I bought at the local Lowes

Pat Kearns
10-Mar-2019, 22:00
Daniel, I bought one of the 16x20 Calumet print washers in 1985 and still use it. I put all my finished prints in a holding tray of water until it is time for the final wash. Just the weight of the washer with all dividers is substantial with water added you will need a very sturdy support. I put the washer in my darkroom sink to wash the prints letting the water to drain from the washer into the sink and down the sink drain. It does use a lot of water as mentioned by others. After washing is finished I drain the tank, remove dividers, separators, turn the washer upside down with one end resting on the edge of the sink and let it dry. After drying I put everything back inside and store the washer under my sink. About 5 years ago I got a 20x24 model and have it set up on a stainless steel rolling food cart I purchased at Sam's Club. You might look at a rolling cart to set it on.

Daniel Unkefer
11-Mar-2019, 18:25
Thanks for the ideas Pat!

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7819/46439657605_88701619a2_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/2dKHogP)mustee washing machine part (https://flic.kr/p/2dKHogP) by Nokton48 (https://www.flickr.com/photos/18134483@N04/), on Flickr

Ok my plan is to make a custom work table for this, out of 2x4's. I'll use metal corner braces too. To avoid a potential flood, I'll order this washing machine floor pan $78 from Hope Depot. I'll run a drain in the pan with PVC to the large drains right next to the washer.

Daniel Unkefer
12-Mar-2019, 06:37
https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7839/40393633873_af7341a39e.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/24xrW4k)Luxor Heavy Duty Rolling Cart (https://flic.kr/p/24xrW4k) by Nokton48 (https://www.flickr.com/photos/18134483@N04/), on Flickr

For my needs I ended up buying -this-. A Luxor Heavy Duty rolling cart from B&H. 17.5 gallons H20 plus maybe 50 lbs for washer, equals about 198.75 lbs fully loaded and weight distributed. Rated for 500 lbs so should be ok.......... When I'm done with it each time I will drain the Calumet completely. 24.5"x37" is the inside dimension of the Luxor. The cart has got about 2 1/4" of lip which would catch slow leaks, I can drill a hole and install a 3/8" drain hose just in case?


New plumbing is complete so the next step is to fill it up :) 30 day store warranty if the Calumet leaks..........

Peter Lewin
14-Mar-2019, 19:03
I have a general question that applies to these washers, as well as the ZoneVI mentioned earlier in the thread by Bruce Barlow, and probably all of those using plexiglass dividers: is there any way to get the dividers flattened once they have warped? I have a ZoneVI, and a number of the dividers are by now quite "bowed" rather than being straight. They still work, but the shape of several of the compartments is now quite strange!

Mike in NY
14-Mar-2019, 19:23
I doubt it. You could try getting new sheets at Home Depot, though I'm not sure they'd be as thick. It's not difficult to cut plexiglass or acrylic down to the size needed if you get a plexiglass knife. Of course, you could get real glass at a glazier. Heavier, but will never, ever warp. Just ask them to smooth the edges.

popdoc
16-Mar-2019, 18:45
From Google-

Flattening warped acrylic

Find a flat, heat-proof surface.
Put your warped acrylic on the work surface.
Cover your arcylic with a heat-proof teflon sheet or similar (I bet a silicone baking mat would work)
Warm your iron to ~180F.
Put the iron on top of the acrylic–weigh it down if you can. ( ...
Leave the heat on for about 15 minutes.


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