View Full Version : Dip 'n' Dunk

27-Mar-2007, 05:29
Hi, .. just thinking about getting into dip n dunk

I have serviced and maintained a pro labs dip n dunk in past life, ... but this is a different set-up to doing dip and dunk at home.

When answering these question, you might like to indicate how many 4x5 you are processing each run, .. and home many runs per week/month etc.

Specific questions:
1) Replenish, or one shot. .. In the pro lab the chemicals are continuously replenished, the through put is high and everyday, this works well. At home throughput is low, and not everyday, .. so do I cover with floating lid, inbetween uses and replenish before runs .. or throw away and start fresh each time.
- What length of time can chemicals sit covered unused - month?
- Should I be running control strips?

2) In pro lab, chemicals are pumped and temp controlled, at home it seems you might sit the tanks in a larger water bath, .. is this bath temp controlled, .. or rely on fact the larger body of mass, will maintain chemical temp longer?

all replies appreciated
Thanks - Steve

Ralph Barker
27-Mar-2007, 07:41
Back in the late '60s-early '70s when Calumet was primarily a stainless steel lab equipment vendor, the stainless dip-n-dunk system looked really sexy - especially if combined with an 8' stainless sink and those snazzy temperature-control systems. Personally, however, I quickly realized that my film volumes wouldn't be sufficient to use dip-n-dunk economically. So, I took the cheap way out and used trays.

But, I think dip-n-dunk advantages/disadvantages depend on one's personal shooting and working style. Although originally intended for "standard" replenishable developers at "stock-solution" strength, one could use one-shot developers at home - if the typical volumes being processed were large enough for it to make sense. For example, if one's shooting style is such that typical batches are a dozen or more sheets, tanks start looking pretty good. At smaller or more variable volumes, the cost of relatively large amounts of developer gets expensive.

The life of "working strength" developer tends to be fairly short because of the higher dilution - a few hours to a day or so, perhaps. I'd guess that stock-strength developers might last a month or so - if air was excluded with a tight-fitting floating lid. But, I haven't really researched the question, so others probably have better answers.

Gene McCluney
27-Mar-2007, 08:27
I use dip-n-dunk for E6, C41 and b/w. In b/w I can process 40 sheets of 4x5 on 4-up stainless hangars. The 3.5 gallon tanks of developer have a relatively long life due to the volume of solution. Replenishment is good. I don't have floating lids, but I keep the tanks covered with normal tank lids unless in use. I don't process every day, sometimes not every week, but I get reasonable life out of the developers.

Brian C. Miller
27-Mar-2007, 11:13
Has anybody tried using a 8x10 vertical print processor for 8x10 film?

27-Mar-2007, 14:49
Other than the odd experimental sheet, I have used small (half-gallon and 1/4 gallon) stainless steel tanks with hangers exclusively for many years. Sporadic processing (days to months apart) definitely favors one-shot developer; PMK is my current standard, although in the past I have used HC-110 and a few others. Divided D-23 works well for Zone System processing, and in one gallon tanks with floating lids will develop quite a number of sheets before showing the effects of exhaustion or halide buildup.

The one-quart tanks will hold six hangers, but I have standardized on four sheets in a liter of PMK. (This is about half the nominal capacity.) Starting with all solutions at temperature, I have not found it necessary to use a water jacket for development times in the neighborhood of 10-12 minutes. With the developer at 70F, room temperature is usually only a couple of degrees higher or lower, so heat transfer is fairly slow. The relative humidity is usually pretty low where I am, so tray temperature is much harder to control due to evaporative cooling and the less favorable surface to volume ratio.

With the traditional lift/tilt/lower/repeat agitation, I have not noticed any uniformity problems (probably because I'm not that good a photographer...) but I do find that the FP4/PMK combination needs a presoak with a small amount of Photo-Flo to eliminate air bells. (I have been given to understand that this is "normal" for PMK and Ilford film.)

I typically have 4-12 sheets to process at a time; two cycles is usually about all that I want to do in one session anyway, so eight hangers are plenty. I think that somewhere around 20-30 sheets a week I would start looking to scale up the process with larger tanks and hanger racks, but I would probably stay with one-shot developer. At some point, the nuisance of doing process control on a replenished developer would be compensated by the cost savings, but this is almost certainly at a volume higher than I will ever have to worry about.

Armin Seeholzer
27-Mar-2007, 15:28
Hi Steve

I do it with with replinished XTOL and it works fabolous!
But you have to take the XTOL full strengs for replinishing, so I do1-2 cycles per months and have the soup a bit longer then a year now.
I alway's put 2 litre fresh XTOL in the soup and then I can make 10 8x10 in 2 runs, but bevor I put fresh in I take 2 litres out of course!
And a presoak in water is important otherwise I got uneven developements!
XTOL is the way it works smooth, my two cents Armin Seeholzer

Gary L. Quay
27-Mar-2007, 21:28
I dip 'n' dunk everything LF using PMK pyro, Clayton F76, Pyrocat, HC 110, or whatever developer I happen to be abusing at the moment. I have a one liter stainless steel tank and a number of two liter tanks for larger runs. If I'm doing under 6 sheets, I use the 1 liter tank. I always use my developers for only one batch. Replenishment is a mystery to me. That's why I try to match the size of my run with the right tank.

I've almost never been able to tray process multiple sheets without scratching. Dip 'n' dunk also keeps my hands out of the solution.

Someone mentioned adding Photo-Flo to the developer solution for FP4. I've never heard of this before. I get the occasional pin hole in my emulsion. Will this take care of that?