View Full Version : Cibachrome drums...useful?

18-Dec-2007, 23:51
yes i've done searches, but couldn't find an answer to my question. :)

the other day i acquired some old darkroom equipment. the previous owner used to do a lot of cibachrome print making. i'm wondering how i can use these with 4x5 film development, if at all.

i've got a bunch of tubes, from 8x10 to...16x20? certainly very large, possibly bigger than that. i've got the ends for pouring in fluid. these are straight tubes though, no ribs or anything else inside. the largest tube has an insert sort of tube, perhaps to take up space so the paper didn't slosh around, i don't know. even has a motor base, although it's pretty flimsy.

so...can i process 4x5 film with these? if so, how do i keep the film from sliding around?

if there isn't a cheap hack, i'll just stick with my taco-method development for now. but i was excited when i saw them!

Ron Stowell
19-Dec-2007, 09:29
I beleve you can use these drums for developing 4 x 5 film. I used to have a drum and a base that rotated the drum durning the processing. I never liked the results, because the end product sometimes didn't completely develop the whole piece of film.
Might want to experiment with the drums and see what you can do.

19-Dec-2007, 09:54
I dont know how you could develop 4x5 in them without some sort of insert. 8x10 would probably work in the 8x10 drum and possibly the larger ones. But 4x5 would just slop around in there. Where there is a will there is a way, but its not jumping out at me. I'm sure one of the engineering types here could devise something. On the other hand, how expensive are drums designed for film? You've got the base...

try this


Jim Rice
19-Dec-2007, 11:05
Another potiential problem is the smooth inner wall of the Ciba drum. I personally have no experience developing film in them but it has been mentioned here that the ridged innards of the Unicolors are preferred.

19-Dec-2007, 11:39
Ron: Thanks!

Wayne: i was hoping they'd stick to the walls somehow, via centrifugal force and surface tension of the solution. but you're probably right, it'd be more like a tumble dryer.

Jim: unfortunately the woman i got all this equipment from said "perhaps i'll do cibachrome again some day...so i'll just keep one of these, just in case." it was a unicolor drum, with ridges inside! i couldn't very well grab it out of her hands, but it was tempting. :)

she's never going to do cibas again, who's she kidding?? she's all digital now. but i digress...

from what i've read, ridges are good to get the backsides washed and the antihalation layer off.

I could probably chop an 8x10 in half, and then process a single sheet of 4x5 in it. seems tedious though...i can do four sheets 'a la taco' at the moment, so that would merely cut down on solution.

what about tubes within tubes, so the film is held securely inside a small tube, but can bounce around in the larger one? some sort of tube that has holes in it, perhaps made out of mesh so the back can get washed too. i can't think of any such thing off hand.

the base is really cheap and cheesy, and i have no idea how long it will last. it was the least exciting part of the acquisition, at least initially.

Frank R
19-Dec-2007, 13:44
I remember someone recommending that inserting a piece of window screen material into the drum will work. It allows the developer to get behind the film.
If anyone has tried this, I hope they will report back on the results.

19-Dec-2007, 15:06
hmm, that's given me an idea, Frank.

what i used the mesh as both backing and film positioner? i could sew (or otherwise create) a modified cylinder, with sets of loops to hold the film in place. it would keep the film from slipping, allow liquid to get to the back of the film for anti-halation removal, and might reduce or prevent flow marks from more traditional clips. that last one i wouldn't know until i tried. here's a line drawing, side view, of what i mean. red lines are where the film goes. there's an extra space because the circumference is slightly more than two lengths of 4x5 film.

comments anyone?

and how do i make these loops? sew them?

and...will i ever get around to doing this? :)

20-Dec-2007, 07:23
Jobo Drums on a motor base. Get the 8x10 drum. Make sure the base is on a level surface.
They have a built in ridge to hold 4 sheets of 4x5 against the walls. Just make sure you put the emulsion side facing inward. Should develop evenly with 250ml of fluid. I use HC110.
Oh, and don't develop with pyro in your drum. you will see a faint rib pattern as the developer "tans" the back of the neg. Trays are better for pyro.

20-Dec-2007, 09:49
it's the 2830 i need, right? i hope so, because anything else i've seen Jobo-wise is out of my price range. remember, these ciba tubes were free. and the base has got a limited lifespan...i'm going to buy expensive tubes to go with it! :) i'll have to stick with my taco method otherwise.