View Full Version : Best way to dry after processing?

4-Sep-2010, 17:49
I've been using a Combiplan T to develop my B/W film, and it seems to take forever for the film to dry.

Maybe I'm doing it wrong?

I've been leaving them in the frame, and placing them under a small desk lamp, thinking it'd make the remaining water evaporate faster.

But they seem to take forever, especially the inner sheets, and it seems to attract dust.

What's the right way to dry my film?

// Wally

Louie Powell
4-Sep-2010, 18:03
The best approach is to take the film out of the processing frames, and hang the individual sheets. You can purchase clips made specifically for hanging film, or you can use binder clips from the stationary story or clothes pins (the plastic pins work best).

I have a shelf over my darkroom sink to hold chemicals. For years, I had a series of hooks screwed into the bottom of this shelf to hang film hangers from. Hang the film, then leave the darkroom, gently closing the door so as to not raise any dust. When you come back the next morning, the film is dry and dust free.

I built a new darkroom a few years ago, and planned to include a film drying cabinet. Basically, a closet-like box made from MDF and arranged with a blower to pass filtered air through the box. A light bulb in the air path heats the air some without making it excessively hot. Film drys in about an hour with no dust.

4-Sep-2010, 18:25
Thanks, Louie. would one of those modest-CFM PC case fans be enough?

What's MDF?

// Wally

Paul Bujak
4-Sep-2010, 19:23
MDF is Medium Density Fiberboard, a rather heavy substitute for real wood. It's moisture sensitive unless you paint it.

I use plastic clothes pins like Louie said and using pieces of soft wire, hang them from a plastic clothes hanger. Clip the film on (at a corner) and hang the whole thing from the shower head and close the curtain. The film dries in about an hour but I usually wait for three hours or so. Result is dry film and no dust.


4-Sep-2010, 20:32
The quickest way would be to get a film dryer like an Arkay CD-10 (20). These dryers are compact about the size of a small frig and you can sometimes find a used one for sale in your community. I purchased one locally a couple of years back for $70 so I didn't have to worry about shipping.

Another solution is to purchase a women's wardrobe from WalMart or target for about $6 and film clips from B&H which cost about $10 for 10 clips. The clips have hooks for hanging and you can get about 7 or 8 sheets on the hanger in the wardrobe which zips-up to protect from dust. For 120 roll film you can purchase film clips in pairs where one clip is weighted to keep the roll from curling. You can dry 6 or 7 rolls in the wardrobe at a time. For 135 or 220, I hang from the ceiling heater shield in the bathroom and close the door. Never had a problem with dust so far. I wait at least 4 hours after hanging film before attempting to place the negatives in protective sheets and usually wait until upon waking the next morning as I usually process in the evening.

In fact, I'm getting ready to process 5 rolls of 120 Provia that I shot today.


4-Sep-2010, 20:37
We have a stall type shower in a downstairs bathroom and it's hardly ever used. I have a contraption of coat hangers set up to hang film from them to dry. I use binder clips.

4-Sep-2010, 20:46
Thanks for all the suggestions. Those Arkay film drying boxes look functional and expensive.

I think I'll get a small wooden cabinet from Home Depot and fit it with a filtered fan on the back for positive air pressure, and an incandescent nite lite to push out the moisture.

// Wally

6-Sep-2010, 08:48
Just hanging them from a corner to dry from a clothes line suspended somewhere has always worked for me. It is simple and doesn't take any counter space.
If you have a dust problem, do it in a bathroom after steaming up the place.

8-Sep-2010, 07:53
Edwal used to make an instant film dryer, which was I believe, just ethanol alcohol. Check the old Edwal catalog at:

It's in a photo at the bottom of the page. My Dad used to use this stuff and it seemed to work well. I think you could just buy ethanol and try it.

8-Sep-2010, 09:03
Like Thomas, I get one of the hanging wardrobe boxes/bags that zips up. You can hang them in your closets and fit about 50 shirts on hangers in them. They stretch bar to floor and zip up. ALSO, in the bottom a put a small air cleaner. It circulates the air really well AND removes ALL dust. It's really an awesome setup. Just hang your film in there. Make sure you turn it on at the beginning of your session so that any dust that may have gotten in there is gone by the time you put your film in.

13-Sep-2010, 21:34
This idea isn't mine. It was shown to me by LFFr Michael E. Gordon (http://michaelegordon.wordpress.com/).

Use a plastic file folder with a folding and closable lid. Drill a few smalls holes in the bottom for air circulation. Use the metal hangers from a hanging folder and you have two rails to hang the negatives.

I use the Jobo clips and can get 6 sheets inside the "unit." In Southern California where I live, it takes anywhere from 24 - 48 hours to dry depending on the time of year.

Simple and inexpensive solution.

14-Sep-2010, 09:12
That sounds like a very compact solution.

I cobbled together a small storage cabinet from Home Depot, a replacement hepa filter for a vacuum cleaner and a case fan for a PC held together with hot glue and mounted up against a 3 inch hole drilled at the bottom of the cabinet. I had to run self-stick foam around the door edges at the bottom and sides, and left the 1/8 inch gap at the top for the air to escape. A straightened coat hanger attached lengthwise at the top holds the clips.

It took about six hours for the prints to dry, so I put a 25-watt fish tank heater in the bottom, held away from surfaces with an appropriately bent second coat hanger screwed into the base of the cabinet. My prints now dry in about two hours, so I put the whole thing on one of those wall outlet timers so it's only on for three.

// Wally

Samuli Haataja
17-Sep-2010, 13:11
Using wetting agent like Ilfotol makes the negs dry faster. Also negs are a lot cleaner from drying marks when using wetting agent. I think wetting agent is essential!

Sirius Glass
17-Sep-2010, 13:16
The quickest?

I use an Arkay 150 Dual-Dri Drum which is 28" wide. Just put the emulsion side towards the canvas. Look at Craig's list, that are not expensive since the photo labs are dumping them.