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Thread: Beseler 11x14 color unidrum

  1. #1

    Beseler 11x14 color unidrum

    I have the opportunity to buy a Beseler 11x14 color Unidrum and a motorized (i think) stand. I'm thinking that this might be useful for developing 4x5 and 8x10 black and white film. Right now I'm developing large format film in PMK in large tanks. This works pretty well. I can develop five or six sheets of 4x5 at a time in Kodak hard rubber tanks. For 8x10 I can develop about a dozen sheets at a time in very large tanks, but this uses a lot of developer. I'm wondering how many sheets of 4x5 or 8x10 I can develop at a time in the Unidrum. I'm wondering whether I will end up using less developer. And, of course, I'm wondering if there will be any difference in the results.

    Thank you in advance for your thoughts.

    David

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jun 2001
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    obx,nc
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    170

    Re: Beseler 11x14 color unidrum

    For 4x5 & 8x10, I used a Unicolor 8x10 drum on a Unicolor motorized base, model 352. This setup will process 1 - 8x10 or up to 4 - 4x5 negatives.
    The motorized base auto reverses. I plug the motor base into a Gralab timer.
    Check developer data sheets for minimum amounts of stock developers, usually listed as for 80 sq.inches of film. I can't remember the total volume of liquid that can be held in the 8x10 drum trough without contacting the film, but I think it's 200 ml. when the drum is horizontal and level. I usually usually use around 350ml of solution, pouring it in fast and start the timer.
    I don't know the film capacities of the 11x14 drum.
    Last edited by d.s.; 8-Aug-2020 at 07:02. Reason: corrected trough capacities.

  3. #3

    Join Date
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    Re: Beseler 11x14 color unidrum

    Are you talking about the "Color by Beseler" drums? If so, I have used the 8x10 and 11x14 drums. Does your 11x14 drum have the divider rod? If so you can process 2 8x10s at once. I tried 4 4x5s but the film moved and caused uneven development due to an overlap. They don't use much chemistry. I was using around 250-300ml to be on the safe side for 11x14 film. They can have light leaks though. Test it out with some expendable film first. I always pull the film out after the stop bath and fix in a tray.

  4. #4

    Re: Beseler 11x14 color unidrum

    Thank you.
    David

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Sep 1998
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    Oregon now (formerly Austria)
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    2,652

    Re: Beseler 11x14 color unidrum

    Keep in mind that the continuous agitation when using drums will oxidize your PMK quickly, possibly exhausting it before the end of your development time. Some use Rollo Pyro, a PMK variant with ascorbic acid developed especially for rotary processing instead of regular PMK.

    Bob Carnie dumps his PMK halfway through development and replaces it with fresh when rotary processing. You might want to check out his posts on this.

    Best,

    Doremus

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Iowa City, Iowa
    Posts
    1,173

    Re: Beseler 11x14 color unidrum

    Quote Originally Posted by Doremus Scudder View Post
    Keep in mind that the continuous agitation when using drums will oxidize your PMK quickly, possibly exhausting it before the end of your development time. Some use Rollo Pyro, a PMK variant with ascorbic acid developed especially for rotary processing instead of regular PMK.

    Bob Carnie dumps his PMK halfway through development and replaces it with fresh when rotary processing. You might want to check out his posts on this.

    Best,

    Doremus
    That's the first I've heard of Rollo pyro? Is it a hybrid of sorts? I'm a XTOL guy. Those little Beseler and other reversing roller bases work nice. I found some rubber rings, similar to the original rings (keeps the drum from creeping off). They are cheap gaskets that tractors use on canister oil filters.

  7. #7

    Re: Beseler 11x14 color unidrum

    This is the end of my short saga of the Beseler Unidrum. I found the drum and base for sale on Craigslist for $20.00. How big a mistake can you make for $20.00? The seller said the equipment was in excellent condition. I asked if he had used it him self. He said "no" he really didn't know very much about it. Thinking perhaps he had bought the drum from a photographer, I asked where he had gotten it. He refused to say. I asked if he would ship the Unidrum to me if I paid for the shipping. "I don't ship" he said. I didn't want to be driving fifty miles for a pig in a poke during the Corona virus epidemic. So that is then of the first installment of my Unidrum adventure.

    Thank you to all of you for your kind replies.

    David

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