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Ethan
20-Jun-2020, 13:26
Hey fellow photographers,

Iím getting started in wet plate photography, and am currently building my dark box. This is a folding design inspired by several I came across on the internet. Iíll post more updates as I get closer to finishing it.

paulbarden
20-Jun-2020, 13:42
Hey fellow photographers,

I’m getting started in wet plate photography, and am currently building my dark box. This is a folding design inspired by several I came across on the internet. I’ll post more updates as I get closer to finishing it.

That’s going to be fantastic, Ethan! I’m envious of your carpentry skills. (I have nearly none)

Tin Can
20-Jun-2020, 14:03
Yes, can't wait!

Ethan
20-Jun-2020, 14:21
That’s going to be fantastic, Ethan! I’m envious of your carpentry skills. (I have nearly none)

I’m not sure I would say I’m great at carpentry, getting here has been a good deal of measure once, cut twice :). I designed this box to be made from just two sheets of plywood, and designed it first in CAD. That helped me plan out all the cuts, but tolerances in CAD are much tighter than work in reality, so that’s where some of my problems stemmed from.

Ari
20-Jun-2020, 14:26
Ethan, verrrrry nice work. I like the way it folds down, I saw an English gentleman on YouTube using a similar design, and it seemed to be a quick set-up.

I was going to build one as well, but instead opted for a lighter solution I saw at Collodion Bastards: http://collodionbastards.org/darkboxes/
It hasn't arrived yet. Kent (Two23) has posted about his modifications to this box.

I bought some cheap black sweatpants and will cut the bottom off (with the elastic) and attach those to the box to get my hands inside and keep it light-tight.
On top, I'll fix a large piece of red/amber filter, or rubylith sandwiched between two pieces of clear plastic.

The box folds down flat and is lightweight.
Now, if it can only get here soon.

Enjoy your dark box, it looks great!

Two23
20-Jun-2020, 19:04
It looks great. The one thing I'll mention is I'm not sure having a smallish red window on the top or even the opposing side is enough. The single hardest thing to do in a dark lab is pour on the developer. For that I've been finding having a light coming from opposite of me on the side wall helps to make the plate more shiny so I can see where developer is going vs not going. You can easily do that in a box by adding a small red LED to the opposite side, angled slightly down.


Kent in SD

Ethan
20-Jun-2020, 19:26
It looks great. The one thing I'll mention is I'm not sure having a smallish red window on the top or even the opposing side is enough. The single hardest thing to do in a dark lab is pour on the developer. For that I've been finding having a light coming from opposite of me on the side wall helps to make the plate more shiny so I can see where developer is going vs not going. You can easily do that in a box by adding a small red LED to the opposite side, angled slightly down.


Kent in SD

I have a 10x12” Kodak safelight filter I planned on putting in the top. It has also been recommended to me to get a red headlamp, but I think I’d prefer a stationary light like yours, if the 10x12” filter isn’t enough. Do you have to worry at all about the spectrum of red it outputs, or would most res LEDs work?

Two23
20-Jun-2020, 20:01
I've heard there are a few LEDs that don't work, but I've tried three different ones now and they all worked fine.


Kent in SD

Ethan
21-Jun-2020, 10:52
I painted/stained the darkbox this morning. It isn't exactly pretty, but it meets my requirements of being functional, large, and relatively easy to transport.
204985

Two23
21-Jun-2020, 11:04
I painted/stained the darkbox this morning. It isn't exactly pretty, but it meets my requirements of being functional, large, and relatively easy to transport.
204985

Getting close!


Kent in SD

Ethan
21-Jun-2020, 12:49
Getting close!


Kent in SD

Yup!

What kind of fabrics have you guys used for the hood on your dark boxes? I’m considering going with the same stuff I built my bellows out of, because it is lightweight and light tight, but it only comes in 5x9ft pieces, and after putting a sheet of similar size over the box I’m thinking I may need a larger piece of fabric.

Two23
21-Jun-2020, 14:11
Fabric stores sell curtain lining fabric. It's 100% light proof. Mine is black on one side and white on the other.


Kent in SD

Ethan
21-Jun-2020, 15:52
Fabric stores sell curtain lining fabric. It's 100% light proof. Mine is black on one side and white on the other.


Kent in SD

thanks for telling me about that! My local fabric store looks to be closed to in person purchases, but I'll order some lining fabric and hopefully the mail service is functioning enough to get it here without too much delay :).

Something I haven't come across much information on is how dark boxes should be ventilated. Since working in airflow vents and fans might be difficult, I was contemplating just wearing my woodworking air filtration mask when I'm in the dark box, would that be enough?

Two23
21-Jun-2020, 17:26
It takes such a short time to pull a plate and put it in a holder, or take it out of holder and pour on developer, that I've not worried about it. If developing glass negs I could rig up a small battery powered fan blowing into a short black hose if needed.


Kent in SD

Erik Larsen
21-Jun-2020, 19:16
204999205000205001This is what I came up with for a portable dark room. I used jo Ann fabrics blackout fabric like Kent. I had to sew a bit to get the right pattern and gaff taped the seams. I used flag pole holders and dowels to hold the fabric up when in use. The fabric is stapled to the inside of the box. I gathered up the excess fabric around my waist to block light. The whole thing folds up into a 2 foot by 4 foot by 4 inch suitcase. Red led headlamps for safelight. It works ok but can get hot quickly. It's like being inside a plastic trash bag😀

Lachlan 717
21-Jun-2020, 19:31
For the OP's design:

Is there any reason that the sides are timber? For portability, couldn't you have a skeletal design with fabric (infill) sides/back to reduce weight? I understand that the base needs to be solid.

Also, does Rubylith work for windows, rather than electric lights?

Ethan
21-Jun-2020, 20:00
For the OP's design:

Is there any reason that the sides are timber? For portability, couldn't you have a skeletal design with fabric (infill) sides/back to reduce weight? I understand that the base needs to be solid.

Also, does Rubylith work for windows, rather than electric lights?

I could possibly have made more of it from fabric, but I know how to work with wood a lot better than I do with fabric. The safelight filter, if that’s what you’re referring to, is not transparent enough to see through, but does allow enough light in during broad daylight I think. However when the sun gets lower in the sky, which is when I often like taking photos, it might be too dark, so I’m considering getting a couple red led bicycle lights to use as needed.

Two23
21-Jun-2020, 20:05
For the OP's design:

Is there any reason that the sides are timber? For portability, couldn't you have a skeletal design with fabric (infill) sides/back to reduce weight? I understand that the base needs to be solid.

Also, does Rubylith work for windows, rather than electric lights?



In my own experience a window alone isn't enough light to do developing by.


Kent in SD

Ethan
23-Jun-2020, 06:13
205070
I picked up some wheels which I attached to one side of the stand. When the box is folded it is still quite heavy and awkward to carry, so my idea is that when the stand is folded it becomes a hand cart which can be used to transport the box

Ethan
24-Jun-2020, 11:58
205121
Here is the box in it’s folded cart state