View Full Version : Apparatus to aid using Expert Drum with roller base

David Karp
19-Jul-2009, 23:37
This might be overkill for some, but I found that this homemade apparatus has made it much easier for me to use a Jobo Expert Drum on my Beseler roller base.

My problem using the drums (especially #3005) on a roller base was that it seemed that I needed six hands to keep the drum on the base and pour in the chemicals. Even if the back of the drum was blocked, sometimes the drum walked forward off the base. Once, my 3005 walked off forward, and why that drum did not break, I don't have any idea. Just lucky. I stressed out every time I tried this process.

So, I devised this crazy contraption that takes the place of the four hands I don't have. The bill of materials:
-1 liter funnel with valve, tube, and mesh filter (from Autozone)
-1 2x12 (all the rest of the materials are available from Home Depot)
-1 dowel
-4 leveling feet (to level the apparatus on the table)
-3 metal L brackets
-3 bolts
-3 wing nuts
-2 hose clamps
-1 Long screw to hold the dowel securely to the board
-Spray Kilz primer to prevent the 2x12 from oozing sap
-Spray black appliance epoxy (durable and easily repels liquids)

The photo is pretty self-explanatory. The L brackets hold the drum in place. No walking forward or backward. The front brackets are fixed. There are two holes in the base for the rear bracket, one for use with the 3005 drum, the other with the 3010 drum. The dowel holds the funnel in place so you can use one hand to pour the chemicals and the other to hold the hose in the drum. I had to experiment a bit to determine where to set the valve on the funnel to get the proper flow so that it does not overwhelm the drum's ability to accept the chemicals.

The weakest link is the use of the hose clamps to hold the funnel to the dowel. It would be nice to easily remove the funnel from the dowel. I am working on this.

Anyway, I tried it all today, and it worked just fine. It might be overkill, but it worked out nicely for four 5x7s and one WP neg.

Bjorn Nilsson
20-Jul-2009, 00:34
Hmm, it reminds me of something... Oh yeah, I saw something similar sitting on the fireplace in a log hut once. ... and the owner was not into photography, he was blind. :)

Nice work. Maybe not something directly from Jobo, but it seems to get the job done.


Chuck Pere
20-Jul-2009, 05:40
I've got my own kludge setup but yours is way nicer. I do find that the angle of the hose into the drum hole makes a big difference on how fast the chemicals enter.

20-Jul-2009, 06:03
David, thanks for sharing.

I manage my 3010 ok with a similar funnel. When do you start and stop timing the developer?

David Karp
20-Jul-2009, 07:11
When do you start and stop timing the developer?

When the chemicals are 100% in the tank.

However, it should be noted that I use a two bath developer and time in the soup is not critical. I don't think this matters too much though. As long as you do it the same way every time, and then dial in your processes around this practice everything should be fine. This is especially true since the funnel I stumbled onto has a valve that allows you to control the rate of flow into the drum, so the time it takes to load the chemicals should be consistent.

David Karp
20-Jul-2009, 07:46
I forgot to include another item in the bill of materials:
-Rectangular "Magic Sliders" (which stick to the face of the L brackets so that they will not wear on the tank where they contact it.) One package contains 4 sliders.

The sliders came with their own double sided adhesive pads to hold them in place, but they did not work. The adhesive stuck to the L bracket but not the slider! I put some double sided carpet tape on the sliders, and the are now holding just fine.

20-Jul-2009, 11:09
Thank you David. I try to be consistent now.

I have a feeling that there is a two bath developer in my future.

David Karp
20-Jul-2009, 12:51

2 baths are not for everyone. For me, however, they are great. I have often wondered why there are so many divergent feelings about this. Perhaps it is because I am in California, and often photograph in bright, contrasty situations. The inherent compensating nature of these developers certainly helps. However, I still use a 2 bath if the day was cloudy and overcast. Except in rare occasions, my negatives print on grade 2 or grade 3 paper, so I am happy. If I need to do + development, I can gain one grade of paper by intensifying the neg in selenium or use a higher concentration of accelerator in the B bath. Highlights rarely blow out with the standard concentration of accelerator in the second bath, and if I expose things properly, I get very nice shadow detail. The Thornton 2 bath that I use is a metol only developer, so the negs are also sharp.

I find that these developers free me from the tyranny of precise timing, which makes life much easier. I can let the drum spin a bit longer or leave the negs in the slosher without much concern about screwing up my negs. Testing is also easier. I just expose 4 sheets of film at various IEs, in open shade on a sunny day. I make sure that there is some area with shadows and highlights in the scene. I develop them together, and then choose the IE that looks best in the shadows.

One thing to consider if using rotary processing and a 2 bath. Sandy King wrote an article in VC mag about 1 year ago in which he detailed how Diafine or Divided D23 could be used to make full scale negatives for scanning. He tested both tray and rotary processing. He found that you had to dilute both developers 1:1 when rotary processing to achieve the same results achieved when tray processing. Others have posted that they pre-soak to dilute the A bath to reduce contrast. Others have reported that since the developer in the A bath is exhausted and not replenished while the B bath is working, rotary processing does not result in increased contrast.

I have to do some testing, but I have a feeling if Sandy found this in his testing, it must exist. First I am going to compare my negs from yesterday with some I did during my rotary processing "disaster period." The uneven streaks, etc. I obtained then probably won't impact the overall densities. Then I will run some test sheets through both diluted and undiluted.

20-Jul-2009, 12:58
My main reason will be freedom from temperature concerns. Houston tap water from May to October is about 80 degrees plus.

21-Jul-2009, 16:29
Great setup! I have been thinking about making something similar just these past few days to accommodate my 3005 drum....... this will work great!

David Karp
21-Jul-2009, 18:09
Great. I am glad this will help.

Make sure the drum is level when it is on the roller base (see various discussions in old threads).

This setup really makes it much easier to use the 3005 in this way.

David Karp
21-Jul-2009, 18:12

Eyeballing my negatives, I would say that using the roller base would allow me to use HP5+, FP4+ and Delta 100 at box speed. This is a gain of one stop compared to what I was seeing when using Thornton's 2 bath in a slosher and agitating for ten sec. each minute. I will do some more testing, but I think this is where I am going to end up.

SW Rick
22-Jul-2009, 07:52
thanks for your post and related info. Do I understand you've been using Diafine (or similar) in the stock mix form, and that that has been working for you? I'd not thought of using it for LF, and have an Expert Drum. If you dilute it 1:1, as Sandy recommends, I would assume that you continue to use that, and not as a "one-shot" (because it's diluted)? If reused, I'd guess one might want to replace it sooner with fresh solution, since it's diluted?



David Karp
22-Jul-2009, 08:40
Hi Rick,

I did use Diafine when I started using LF cameras. It did work for me, and I used it in stock form, although I think I used 4 + 4 min. in each bath. Later, I switched to Barry Thornton's Two Bath developer, which is a variant of divided D23.

I have not yet tried the 1:1 dilution, so I cannot answer your question about reuse from personal experience. However, Sandy King has stated: "Since you are using such a small amount of the diluted developer with tube or drum type development I would recommend just discarding it after use. I am certain that it could be re-used several times but since the developer is so inexpensive anyway I would at least discard it at the end of the day ." (http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?t=38670&highlight=bath+dilute) In his VC Camera article he stated that "The developer is quite inexpensive, so a more conservative approach of mixing fresh solutions after running fifty sheets or so through the soup, or after six months, is recommended." It appears that the diluted situation can be reused, but not for too long. Sandy King recommends that DD23 not be re-used.

I should state that I have run 25 sheets of film through the same 1L bottles of Thornton's Two bath via my rotary processing setup over the last few days, with consistent results.

David Karp
16-Aug-2009, 23:07
Just to follow up, I am really happy with this contraption of mine. Since building it, I have been going through my huge backlog of negatives, and have processed nearly 150 sheets of 4x5 in my 3010 drum, and probably 25-30 more sheets of 5x7 and WP film in the 3005. Everything works great, and the whole process is smoother and worry-free than it was before. The tank stays on the rollers, I can leave the room for a few minutes while the film is processing, the chemicals are easy to pour into the tanks, and my two arms seem to be able to easily accomplish all the necessary tasks to get the work done.

Regarding the two bath developer in a rotary setup: Sandy King recommends using Divided D23 diluted 1:1 for four minutes in each bath when used for rotary processing. My experience using Thornton's similar two bath formula supports this recommendation. Thornton recommended 5 minutes in each bath when processing sheet film using intermittent agitation. I found that the rotary processed negatives are too contrasty if the A and B baths are used full strength. This indicates that constant agitation has an impact on two bath developers, and that assertions to the contrary based on the idea that development stops once the developer absorbed into the emulsion during the A bath is exhausted are just plain wrong. Perhaps the constant agitation in the B bath causes some of the developer absorbed into the emulsion to go back into solution and work on the highlights.

At any rate, I have not done any testing, but based on my experience using Thornton's two bath for years, tray development with intermittent agitation using the two baths at full strength for five minutes in each bath resulted in a noticeably less contrasty negative than one processed at full strength for the same times with constant agitation. The constant agitation makes it easier to blow out the highlights, so I have to be more aware of the scene's contrast using the 2 bath with constant agitation than when I was tray processing the negatives.

I wondered whether the increased contrast was due to development in the A bath. However, I don't think much development takes place in the A bath, even with constant agitation, since I mix Thornton's formula with 40g/L of sodium sulfite in bath A and 40g/L in bath B (sort of like Vestal's DD76). Diluting this 1:1 leaves only 20g/L of sodium sulfite and nothing else to act as an accelerator. Maybe one of these days I will run a few sheets through the A bath only and see if any development occurs.

Thornton suggested that you could use a different B bath in N+1 or N-1 situations. I have not tried the N+1 with the rotary processor, but have tried the N-1 formula. A few of my 4x5 negatives from a recent trip came out with blown highlights when processed normally. I mixed up some B bath with 7g/L of Sodium Metaborate instead of the standard 12g/L used for N processing. I diluted this and the A bath 1:1 and processed the backup negatives for four minutes in each bath The results were very good. There was much more detail in the highlights and I think the negatives will print well.

I also found that the diluted baths are reusable for at least one day. I have run 30 4x5 sheets using the same baths with no problem, and discarded the diluted solutions at the end of the day.

2-Jun-2011, 21:02
First I giggled; then I sat in admiration.
Then I felt a little sorry for your wife :)
Then I thought "Hmm, she's probably giggling too."

David Karp
2-Jun-2011, 23:35
Ahh, she is a photographer too, but not large format. She laughs, but she understands. :)

Denis Pleic
3-Jun-2011, 02:17
David, I don't know how I missed this one back in 2009 (must have been because of summer vacations) - but your contraption is great!
Looks like something that came from my garage - but my contraptions are usually way uglier, since I don't bother much with "beautification" ;)

Robert A. Zeichner
3-Jun-2011, 03:53
The weakest link is the use of the hose clamps to hold the funnel to the dowel. It would be nice to easily remove the funnel from the dowel. I am working on this.

Funny that we independently discovered the same funnel. I made a little block out of wood to enable me to attach to a shelf. Perhaps this will give you an idea for a quick release attachment for your far more elegant set up.

Larry Gebhardt
3-Jun-2011, 04:54
I really like the idea of clamping the funnel to the wall for support. That would make dumping large trays back into the bottles much easier.

The roller base looks great too, and if my Jobo dies I'll probably be building something similar.

3-Jun-2011, 08:51
Hi David, This looks like an awesome solution. I just purchased a used 3010 and a beseler base. Perhaps this is obvious to others, but I was wondering how you empty the chemicals with this set up? Does the hose detach easily and your simply stop the roller base and pour them back in their chem containers? Thanks in advance.

David Karp
3-Jun-2011, 15:19
Robert: I really like the way you hold that funnel. I will have to think about making that adjustment to my rig. BTW, I use the 8x10 contact printing frame that you sold me to print my WP and 5x7 negs developed using this rig. :)

colotonphoto: The hose has a plastic fitting on the end of it. I just stick the fitting into the end of the Expert Drum when loading the chemicals, and it stays just fine. After loading, I just pull it out. To empty the chemicals, I lift the drum off of the Beseler base and dump the chemicals into their container, using another funnel. Sort of a human Jobo Lift! Hope this answers your question.