10x8 developing tank from Stearman Press

Stephen Batey

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I've just had an email which contains (amongst other information) a note that they hope to begin testing a 3D printed prototype next week. The tank is a tall cylinder taking 750mm of solution and 2 10x8 sheets; estimated price $147. They said they'd probably start a Kickstarter campaign when they have an idea of production schedules.

They tried a 10x8 tank before, and it failed to reach the target, so it will be interesting to see how this one goes. If it does...
 

David M

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That's interesting. I seem to have slipped off the Stearman email list. The previous 10x8 tank proposal used two litres of liquid for two sheets of film which didn't seem attractive. This sounds like a much more practical design. Mr Stearman does seem to be a very energetic and enterprising chap.
I'm wondering if it will be possible to use the new design in a dark tent. That would be an additional advantage as it could open the door to would-be LF photographers who can't have a darkroom as such.
 

Alan9940

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Given the fact that the lid uses the same type rubber seal and caps as the SP-445, it will be interesting to see what agitation technique he considers workable. I'm guessing it will be rolling the tank horizontally, then sitting upright until the next cycle. It would be hard to imagine that the lid could hold tightly against all that liquid during an inversion style agitation. Also, given the current dimensions I'd like to see his vision of the entire processing sequence.

For my money, I'd just build my own Steve Sherman tanks for a lot less and be able to process as many sheets as I can handle. Personally, I can't do more than 4 at a time.

I do wish him all the best with this new design. It certainly looks more practical than the SP-2810 design.
 

David M

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#4
I've done some scribbles, and a four-inch tube with a three-inch core would give about the proposed quantity of liquid –750ml. (All very approximate.) We can guess that the film would be held in a spiral formation, rather like the Mod54 or the Jobo 2521. I can't imagine what the details would be, but things work well on the 5x4 tank.
I wish him well, too.
 

Ian Grant

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#5
The BTZS developing tubes are very cheap if you realise what they really are :D Welding rod storage tubes :)

Ian
 

David M

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#6
A trip to B+Q or any similar establishment would yield a host of possibilities. A length of pipe, a coupe of end caps and away we go! Perhaps a nice new hacksaw...
 

Ian Grant

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#8
I keep looking for a bargain Paterson Orbital, I've used one at a friends house for 5x4 but fancy one for my 10x8's.

Ian
 

David M

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#9
We've probably passed peak bargain for Orbital processors and they will now become more and more expensive. Is it possible that Paterson would re-introduce them, or that some other company might buy the tooling from them? It's hard to estimate the potential market. A new version might include the changes that are usually suggested: a textured base, modified pegs and removal of the fins.
 

Stephen Batey

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I spoke to a Paterson representative at the Photography Show this year about this exact point; it appears that, as in the case of Mike Walker's moulds, the holding company threw the moulds for the processor away. And also as in Mike Walker's case, it is too expensive to recreate them.

If anyone fancies 3D printing them...
 

David M

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#12
Ian,
If you do find one to use for 10x8, be aware that the bigger, stiffer neg can float up and touch the fins. You need to cut them off. Some people suggest doing this anyway.
 

Stevelmx5

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#13
D'you think we should try and get Steve interested in this? ;)
Did I hear my name mentioned from afar.... :0) (well Stephen Batey has just told me about the thread!)

3D printing is only cost-effective for relatively small numbers of units. Once you start going upwards of 10-20 units (for anything but the smallest parts) the price per print makes it pretty unattractive. Those companies that have printed their own new products like Cameradactyl/Standard Cameras have bought multiple printers after their Kickstarter campaigns and are printing themselves, so I don't know if they factor in their electricity/spool costs too.

I'm currently working with a UK company to finalise costs for injection moulding my new double dry plate (and sheet film with caddies) holders after working with Jason Lane on the designs for the last few months. I'll still need a Kickstarter campaign to get it going as the pre-costs for moulding are eye-watering but once you've got it setup, the unit costs are considerably less than printing.

As for me printing a new dev unit...I've got enough on the go so don't tempt me!
 

Ian Grant

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#14
Ian,
If you do find one to use for 10x8, be aware that the bigger, stiffer neg can float up and touch the fins. You need to cut them off. Some people suggest doing this anyway.
I have one now, on loan at the moment until we do a deal :D

The issue isn't a sheet of 10x8 floating those fins actually touch a dry negative, I've tried it and it definitely needs modifying. It's easy to fill and empty a developer tray in the dark so rather than making a complex top with a light proof system to fill the tray a simpler plain light tight lid would suffice. It's the 12 minutes or so sat in the dark while the sheets in the developer that's boring :)

Alan Clark posted a thread on FADU showing his system for processing LF negatives. It's simple and works.

Ian
 

David M

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#16
One more thing on developing 10x8 in the Orbital. I once, only once, tried it with the emulsion down, for what seemed a good reason at the time. A few bubbles collected underneath and the centre of the film was underdeveloped.
 
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