DIY spiral processing tank, first test

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chrisgavin
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DIY spiral processing tank, first test

Post by chrisgavin » Sun Jul 28, 2013 10:56 am

Following on from my first short-length DIY processing tests I decided I'd need a bigger tank...

I researched the available Lomo spiral tanks for a while, but then decided to try the DIY route... I've been on this (as a 'spare time' project) for a good few months. I investigated 3D printing and laser cutting solutions, but eventually resorted to hacking this thing together from 'readily available' materials.
I've written up my experiences (with photos of the project) over on my blog here...

http://www.chrisgavin.com/2013/07/diy-s ... -cine.html

I tried this out for the first time last night. I processed around 37 feet of super 8 Argenti (APX100) B&W neg again using Caffenol C-M developer. It's by no means a perfect arrangement, but I've got pictures on the film... so I can say, "it's worked."

Until I can digitize this film however, I wont be able to judge how effective this venture has been. The real test will be to examine the footage properly to see if the processing is even or if there are any unwanted marks along the film etc.
Films made for you... www.chrisgavin.com

john59
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Re: DIY spiral processing tank, first test

Post by john59 » Mon Jul 29, 2013 12:39 am

interesting post, I have the 10 m lomo tank that was given to me and would like to have a go at developing standard 8mm film thanks for the link to your blog.

chrisgavin
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Re: DIY spiral processing tank, first test

Post by chrisgavin » Mon Jul 29, 2013 2:42 am

Yes, using a proper Lomo spiral is definitely the way to go if you've already got one. I looked on ebay from time to time and saw quite a lot of the 10m (30ft) Lomo tanks but not quite so many of the 15m (50ft) ones. The bigger ones are always more expensive, and they usually have some hefty postage added to ship from Eastern Europe / Russia (I'm in the UK). It's the cost and the worry of buying a broken one that put me off buying a Lomo tank online.

Although I've only just started dabbling in home processing, I really can recommend having a go. Black and white negative is definitely the easiest film to start with, it processes at room temperature (20 deg C), the timings are quite forgiving and the chemicals are cheaper and not quite as nasty as the colour kits. I think I'll shoot/process at least a few more rolls of B&W negative yet, to see if I can get better at it.

My motivation for home processing is really just to get to the point where maybe I can shoot a few more rolls of film than I otherwise would.
Films made for you... www.chrisgavin.com

woods01
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Re: DIY spiral processing tank, first test

Post by woods01 » Mon Jul 29, 2013 6:30 pm

As a long time hand processor in buckets and lomos I'm really impressed with your project. Great work! I look forward to reading about your further experiments.

chrisgavin
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Re: DIY spiral processing tank, first test

Post by chrisgavin » Mon Jul 29, 2013 6:51 pm

Many thanks for the encouragement.

My apologies for my replies/comments taking some time to appear; because I'm new to this forum (less than 10 posts) my comments can take a little while to be moderated.
Films made for you... www.chrisgavin.com

carllooper
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Re: DIY spiral processing tank, first test

Post by carllooper » Tue Jul 30, 2013 2:52 am

Great experiment.

I hand processed my first roll of film (Tri-X) a few days ago. In a Lomo. I'd done a few test strips in the previous months. I managed to get everything right in the test strips, but when it came to doing the roll, I mucked up loading the film onto the spiral. Other than that my camera exposures were good, the chemistry mixing was good (although almost forgot to add the acid to the bleach). Processing was good, although after first develop I was about to do the next step when I realised I'd only done six minutes rather than seven - so put the developer back in and did another minute.

Now because I'd loaded the spiral incorrectly the result was quite bizarre. Where the film came into contact with itself there was of course those strange chemical effects. But the way it was loaded was strangely consistent. The shape of the film in the tank was a cross between a nice circular shape (a correct spiral) and a trianglular shape, the corners of which being where it was skipping tracks in the spiral? Towards the outside of the spiral it became less prone to skipping tracks with a corresponding decrease in the regularity of the self contact. In any case the result was this consistent beating effect between perfect image and surreal swirls, occasional flashing a negative image, fast at first and slowing down towards the end.

I was really quite happy with the result. I found it quite beautiful to watch. The original shots were five wide-angle tripod shots, each 30 seconds long, of people jogging in a park, waiting at traffic lights and crossing the road. The length of the shots meant that the chemi-graphic swirls had a nice consistent background against which to dance. And as the film progressed towards it's conclusion the visibility of the image became longer (the chemi-graphic interventions further part).

C
Carl Looper
http://artistfilmworkshop.org/

chrisgavin
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Re: DIY spiral processing tank, first test

Post by chrisgavin » Tue Jul 30, 2013 4:37 am

Hi Carl,

Strangely I've just had a very similar experience. The first time I tried my spiral, the loading went pretty well... however ... I just loaded my second batch of film tonight (a whole 50 foot load this time) and had a minor nightmare... My mistake all came down to letting the end of the film disappear back inside the cartridge. So this time, I was in the dark trying to use pliers to hack the cartridge open, then consequently had a lot of snagging and twisting of the film as it wouldn't dispense evenly from the bashed-up cartridge. This time I was in the dark for well over an hour! I share this here in the hope that readers might avoid making the same mistake.

But on the upside, the second batch of film ended up on the spiral, and a little modification I made to the design worked well. I've added a little strip of plastic to act as a 'top plate': this holds the film in place even washing vigorously or blasting the film with a hair dryer. I've updated my blog story to show this new addition and also added quite a few stills there to show how the film is turning out.

As you've found too I think, this home-processing certainly adds an 'edge' to the film-making experience. I don't reckon there'll ever be a 'Spiral Processing Accident' timeline plug-in that gives these wonderful chance effects : )
Films made for you... www.chrisgavin.com

aj
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Re: DIY spiral processing tank, first test

Post by aj » Tue Jul 30, 2013 7:24 am

Nicely done but speaking of acid. I don't think the aluminium goes well with the bleach used for black and white reversal.
Kind regards,

André

chrisgavin
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Re: DIY spiral processing tank, first test

Post by chrisgavin » Tue Jul 30, 2013 11:41 am

aj

So far I've only been using Caffenol/water stop and Hypo fixer in my aluminium tank. The processing of negative film this way doesn't use any bleach fortunately. Thanks for the warning though, because I was hoping to try some reversal in the future. I really didn't know this was a bad idea, so you've probably helped me avoid a very nasty mess...

Maybe I can find a plastic film can for this... I've got one, it's a little larger (35mm 1200ft size) but the plastic material lets a little light through. Maybe I could get another one, or there's something I could paint/coat it with to get it light tight...

Thanks again
Films made for you... www.chrisgavin.com

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timdrage
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Re: DIY spiral processing tank, first test

Post by timdrage » Tue Jul 30, 2013 1:15 pm

Nice work!
Tim Drage
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"It's cheaper to shoot someone with a gun than a film camera." - amishman35

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