View Full Version : Tank Processing: How to Use Less Chemistry?

27-Jun-2011, 06:13
I recently got some 8x10 film hangers and Kodak tanks, and was going to try processing some x-ray film, when I measured out the quantity of solution needed to cover the film whilst in the tanks.
It was about 10-11 litres, nearly 3 US gallons.
Now, I shoot maybe 4-6 sheets at a time, let's say 12 sheets per week, and I can't justify using 10 litres of one-shot developer for 12 sheets.
On the other hand, I don't want to wait weeks to process a lot of film just to justify using so great a quantity of chemicals.
I'm about to head off to Ikea to see if they have anything that would fit a few 810 hangers, but in a slimmer profile.
Anyone have any suggestions on smaller home-made tanks, easily available?
Thanks in advance.

27-Jun-2011, 06:40
What about an air tight top, and replenishment? I've done it in the past, and it works well. There is some advantage to the excess silver in the developer as well, from what I have heard. With replenishment, the developer should last a number of months as well.

27-Jun-2011, 06:49
An airtight top is a good idea, as is making a slim tank, capable of holding 4-6 hangers.
I don't like replenishment, as it leaves me unsure of the strength and quality of the developer.


27-Jun-2011, 07:06
Having used replenishment for 40 years I have to say think again, actually it's very consistent and ideal for your purpose.

Most people forget that developers like D76/ID-11 were designed for replenishment most common way of working and gives higher quality than the same developer used one shot or dilute.


27-Jun-2011, 07:12
that's why i abandoned the tank idea for large stuff and went with tubes..that being said, however, i have recently had an idea which may make tank easier on the chemistry volume---put in dummy items that take up the volume in the unused space--wedge in some styrofoam---it'll float unless it's wedged in there---maybe even make a styrofoam insert with slots cut in it to slide the hangers in ...give it just enought space---if you get the slots thin enough, you can do one-shot processing----but styrofoam would wear and break wiith steel hangers in /out...but...hey---it's a start---

OR somethig inflatable--baloon...you know---just take up the space.

27-Jun-2011, 07:27
That's a fantastic idea; I would think that the styrofoam would be more likely to be eaten away by fixers and such, but hey, it's a start.

27-Jun-2011, 07:27
Replenishment is the only practical way to go with large tanks. It's not that scary. I used to maintain replenished D23. In my experience, the stuff is just unkillable. I now use one-shot with tray processing, partly because I shoot less, partly because I lost some shadow speed with the D23.

Bob McCarthy
27-Jun-2011, 07:31
Why not ditch the hangers, put the tank on its side, close off the top, open the upper side.

My 10x12 "trays" can use as little as 2 liters, if I'm not doing many sheets at once. I use the developer "One shot".


27-Jun-2011, 07:35
You might look for X-ray process tanks. Back around 1986/7 one of my suppliers made small X-ray process lines, the tanks were quite narrow about 2"-3" (5cm - 7.5cm) but larger than 10"x8". He was manufacturing them under contract so wasn't permitted to ell them himself. His tanks were Polypropylene but you can get them in stainless steel.

Another option would be to make a wooden mould and make tanks from black fibre-glass. It's easier than it sounds.


David Karp
27-Jun-2011, 07:36
There are also 1 gallon containers out there. These will hold an 8x10 hanger.

27-Jun-2011, 07:38
Should mention I use HC-110, and while replenishment is a possibility, 22lb tanks full of chemicals are not. But thanks, BS.
Bob, I developed the X-ray film by tray method, but it is extremely sensitive to scratching; that's why I got hangers, and I aim to use 'em.

27-Jun-2011, 07:43
Ian & David, I'll have a look if nothing turns up locally at Ikea or an arts & crafts store, and I will likely make something if all else fails; it really is easier than it sounds, and pretty cheap, too.
Thanks, guys.

27-Jun-2011, 13:34
Before I managed to acquire some 1-gallon tanks, I contemplated the space-filler idea. Never actually tried it, but decided that solvent-glued acrylic boxes with filling holes for something like sand seemed to be attractive. I also thought about using water with a strong dye in it, so that I would be able tell if an leak developed.

In the end, it did seem like the work of building space fillers could be better used for making narrow tanks, since the materials issues would be the same in either case!

27-Jun-2011, 13:51
Here's an easy solution of my own - simply bend a film hanger handle section, and then lay the hanger flat in a tray. You only need enough chemistry to cover it. You can probably stack a few hangers on top of each other too.


27-Jun-2011, 13:53
@ Harold: True; I'll likely go buy some acrylic and make a developer tank and fixer tank.
Cyrus, I thought of that as well, but I want to develop several sheets at a time.


28-Jun-2011, 12:49
One thing that may or may not be obvious: 1-gallon 8x10 tanks are only marginally stable against tipping over, which is not a problem if they are racked in a water bath, but a bit nerve-wracking if they are standing up in a sink.

If I were building acrylic ones, I'd probably extend the ends to widen the footprint, at least at the bottom. A couple of extra inches on each side should be plenty.