View Full Version : Stand development in a beseler/unicolor drum.

28-May-2006, 09:38
Has anybody developed a scheme of doing this with rodinal? I know from research that stand development in a drum is counterintuitive, but I'm curious as to whether anybody has done it, got it to work with edge effects, etc.

28-May-2006, 10:17
Stand the drum on it's end and filler up.

Jay DeFehr
28-May-2006, 11:20
Those drums hold a large volume of solution; much larger than necesary. ABS tubes/BTZS tubes are far more practical.

28-May-2006, 12:30
Has anybody developed a scheme of doing this with rodinal? I know from research that stand development in a drum is counterintuitive, but I'm curious as to whether anybody has done it, got it to work with edge effects, etc.

I actually use a drum for semi-stand and extreme minimal agitation of 4X5 and 5X7 film, but I first place the film in open-ended PVC tubes. If you are developing 4X5 you can get three of these tubes in an 8X10 unicolor drum, many more in a 11X14" drum. To develop you just fill the drum with developer to make sure it covers the top of the tubes, load the tubes in the dark, and then just plop them together into developer. Put the top on the drum and agitate virgorously for 1.5 minutes, then just go away until the next agitation cycle. After the top goes on the drum the lights can go on until it is time to take the film to the stop bath, which I do by tranfering the tubes to a tray containing the stop.

If there is a better, easier, and simpler way to develop film than this I have not found it. This method has the simplicity of tray development, but without the risk of scratching, and you can use any agitation scheudule you want. And after you load the film and place the tubes in the developer you can work with the lights on.

BTW, be sure to use PVC tubes as the ABS plastic floats, which could place part of film out of the developer.


Jay DeFehr
28-May-2006, 21:18
My Unicolor drums are not made to be inverted, and if I turned one upside down, developer would gush out. Is there a lid made for these drums that can be inverted without losing developer? My Unicolor drums hold 4 sheets of 4x5 (don't see the point in using tubes in them for 3 sheets), and 2.2 liters of solution. If you're diluting your Rodinal 1:200, you'll need 11ml of Rodinal for 4 sheets of 4x5, which is about optimal, since the minimum volume of Rodinal/roll or 8x10 sheet is 10ml. If you can find an inversion lid for your Unicolor drum, it should be ideally suited to stand development with Rodinal @1:200. At 1:100 you'll use 2X as much developer as you need, and at 1:50 you'll use 4X as much as you need, but Rodinal is cheap (unless you're a panic ebay buyer). Good luck.

29-May-2006, 08:52
There are several advantages to placing the film in open-ended tubes for development in larger drums for stand and minimal agitation procedures.

1. With this method you first fill the drum with developer to about 5.5" deep, or about 1/2" more than the length of the tubes, and begin development by just dropping all of the tubes at once into the developer. This assure that all of the film well be wetted out evenly and at the same time, which will not happen if you place the sheets in the drum and then fill it from the top.

2. If the film is in individual tubes it is protected from damage during agitation, and this also facilitates very vigorous agitation. If the film is positioned in the drum with clips it is unlikely that it will stay in place with vigorous agitation. Inversion of the drum is not necessary as it possible to get very vigorous agitation by rotation of the drum from side to side and by tilting it back and forth toward the horizontal. Since the drum is only about half full the developer won't come out the top unless you turn it to the horizontal position, and there is no need to go this far.

3. Although it is only possible to develop three sheets of 4X5 film at a time in a 8X10 drum when the film is placed in tubes, the actual amount of developer needed is less per sheet because you only need to fill the drum to a depth of about 5.5" of the total 9" height. This requires only about 1100 ml of solution, whereas if you fill a Unicolor drum to the top you need about 2000ml of solution. So, that is three sheets in 1100ml, or four sheets in 2000ml.

If three sheets at a time seems limiting, get a 11X14" drum. With a 11X14" Beseler drum it is possible to develop up to six sheets of 5X7" film in 2.0" ID tubes, and as many as 10-12 sheets of 4X5" film in 1.5" ID tubes.

If you already have a drum, all you need is three open ended PVC tubes and you can try it both ways and decide for yourself which is the better and more convenient system. I did, and the tube method was a clear winner for me. I have been using this system of develoment for small sheet film (primarily 5X7) for about three years when minimal agitation procedures are desired, and highly recommend it for its simplicity, ease of use, and outstanding results.


Jay DeFehr
30-May-2006, 00:16
I don't use my Unicolor drums for stand/semi-stand development, for a number of reasons, but for those who might consider it, or using any large container, there is a simple way to fill them quickly, evenly, and easily. Borrowing from the Paterson system, a tube can be attached to a funnel so that it nearly reaches the bottom of the container to be filled, with the funnel resting in the mouth of the container. The container can now be filled from the bottom up, by simply pouring into the funnel.

Rodinal requires a minimum volume of concentrate of 10ml/roll or 8x10 sheet, which makes a large container necessary for dilute solutions. Developers I use, like 510-Pyro, require only 1ml/roll or 8x10 sheet, and so much smaller containers can be used for dilute solutions. I can develop 3 4x5 sheets in a Paterson tank that holds 500ml of solution, fills and empties quickly and evenly, and can be used in daylight once loaded, no tubes necessary. The films are secured by rubber bands in a U-shape, leaving a gap at the ends for very efficient agitation, and are held in place very securely by the tank and the films themselves. I've never damaged a film developed this way, regardless of agitation. If a greater number of films are to be developed, a taller Paterson tank can be used, and the films stacked, in courses of 3, with each course requiring 500ml of solution, or 166ml/sheet. Many of us already have Paterson tanks, and only need add a few rubber bands to convert them to sheet film use.