View Full Version : Home Made proc. tubes

26-Jul-2009, 17:13
Quick question for all plz.
Has anyone used white abs pipe for BTZS type tubes for 4x5 sheet film?
I can not find black abs for the life of me in my region.
I am thinking it should be ok, once closed it has to be black inside.
Joey -- new to 4x5

Drew Wiley
26-Jul-2009, 17:23
White drainage pipe is typically vinyl and NOT fully opaque. ABS has a more complex core and is quite opaque, but you need to scrub and rinse it well to get rid
of the sulfur impurities generally present on new pipe. But I can't imagine where
you'd live and not be able to find ABS. It's a standard plumbing commodity. Heavier
guages of large diameter PVC pipe do exist, but they're a lot more expensive than draingage pirpe, and far less common than ABS.

Nathan Potter
26-Jul-2009, 17:24
Be careful. It is really translucent so some light will pass through but I can't tell you exactly how much. It will depend on the tube thickness and the intensity of outside light. You will find some suppliers of black PVC tubing by going on line - use Google.
BTW PVC will be attacked slowly by acetic acid but many people ignore the slow surface discoloration and I suspect it is OK with normal stop bath.

Nate Potter, Boston MA.

26-Jul-2009, 17:32
I stand corrected.
The test pipe I bought is PVC Type-1. 2in diameter.
I live in Key West, FL I have only 2 home depot in the Keys.
No Black pipe anywhere.

Gem Singer
26-Jul-2009, 17:46
Try a dealership that sells and services recreational vehicles.

RV's use ABS piping for their water supply and drainage systems.

That's where I managed to find a few short lengths of ABS piping in the past.

AJ Edmondson
26-Jul-2009, 17:48
I have made them from PVC, spray-painted the outside with black epoxy and used a table saw to cut a groove on the tube (for an o-ring) so that the cap seals. My home-made tubes actually seal better than my BTZS for some reason.

26-Jul-2009, 18:01
Joel, so the black epoxy was not a problem in the stop bat, etc?
Thx for the replies.

26-Jul-2009, 18:11
A plumbing supply house will get you some- or call a plumber?

AJ Edmondson
27-Jul-2009, 07:07
The black epoxy paint was used only on the outside and hasn't been a problem in the six years I have been using them. I would have preferred ABS but couldn't get the end caps in the small town where I lived at that time. Actually, in the subdued light of the darkroom - even with PVC - the only problem area was the end-caps which were thinner and did transmit enough light to cause problems!

David Beal
27-Jul-2009, 10:55
Ask a friend or relative to go to the nearest Loew's. They have all the black ABS you'll need, with a large assortment of fittings.

Good processing.

/s/ David

Gem Singer
27-Jul-2009, 11:08
Or, if worst comes to worst, merely purchase a genuine BTZS 4X5 film developing outfit from the View camera store.

Donald Miller
27-Jul-2009, 12:10
Not all muncipalities allow ABS as a drainage material under applicable codes...hence the difficulty in obtaining it locally.

27-Jul-2009, 18:47
Thx Guys,
Good tips for me to start with.
Cant wait to start getting those fumes up my nose again after years of abstinence.

31-Jul-2009, 17:41
Quick update-mostly for the newbies like me out there.
Do not use white abs pipe to make your own proc tubes.
I ended up with strange fogging.
Since I am just getting back to this game after a 10-13 year absence.
I started to back-track.
1. I used the BTZS system to the tee.
2. I took a unexposed sheet out and processed with the tube setup. It came out with the same base fog as my exposed sheet.
3. Then I tray processed a unexposed sheet. Bam! perfect emulsion/base.

I used very,very low light levels when tube processing.
Gotta be the white tubes.
Or is it the chemicals reacting with the plastic. I made sure that when I glued the fittings that none was to be in the tube to contact the film/chemistry.

Maybe I will try black, but!!!!
I am now jumpy about even trying black.
Thx for the replies everyone.

31-Jul-2009, 19:25
I thought about making my own tubes but I saw the really cool tray, extra caps, o-rings etc that came with the kit and just bought it. Haven't had a single issue, work like a champ.