Darkroom - need some help!

Discussion in 'Talk About Darkroom Work' started by Isabel, Feb 9, 2017.

  1. Isabel

    Isabel Active Member

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    Hi guys,
    I am currently finishing my little darkroom. :)
    As I have decided to also try printing and alternative techniques like collodion, platinum and others, I think I will need a very good ventilation system. I have to rely solely on ventilation as there are no windows I could open - only the door but that leads into our workshop with lots of (saw)dust... :confused:
    Can you recommend something? What do you use and are you happy with it?

    All help is very much appreciated :)
    Thanks!
     
  2. KenS

    KenS Active Member

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    Isabel,

    A number of years ago I HAD to remove the 'grid' from ceiling mounted heating vent and 'stuff' an old towel into the 8 inch circular heating vent from the furnace because of the 'excess' of hot air blowing down onto my bench-top in the cold winter months.... (closing the vanes proved to be less than effective enough).. and in summer the direct too-cool air from the air-conditioning was as bad.. if not a little, worse. I am yet to be convinced that for the few hours I'm working behind a double-door system, that I have experienced any 'ill effects' from the open trays for the couple of hours I spend 'in my splendid isolation'.... as long as I leave both doors open during my essential 'coffee-breaks'.

    Ken
     
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  3. Isabel

    Isabel Active Member

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    Thanks a lot Ken. I would agree if it was "just" the normal developing stuff but the fumes from the Platinum Palladium process seem to be quite a bit nastier (or is it more nasty... :-D). So I would rather not take a chance and the room is otherwise completely airtight and quite small so the concentration will go up quickly. Maybe I should take more coffee breaks...:rolleyes::p
     
  4. Alan9940

    Alan9940 Active Member

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    Isabel,

    When I had my custom built darkroom/studio back in my old house, I mounted two ventilation fans in the ceiling of the darkroom, over the sink area, and ran dryer vent type hoses to the outside wall; same fans as used for bathrooms. I never measured the rate of air exchange, but I never noticed any issues from fumes, etc.

    With my current darkroom, which is in what used to be a bedroom, I have a high vaulted ceiling and, like Ken, I just take breaks for some fresh air and to exchange the air in the room a bit. That said, however, for pt/pd printing it's really of no concern because you can work anywhere in the house as long as you don't expose the mix/coating to any UV light. I still work in the darkroom (aka bedroom), but I just leave the door open. As long as you don't use a hair dryer to dry the coating, you won't have any dangerous particles flying around.
     
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  5. alexmuir

    alexmuir Member

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    In the U.K. you can buy specially made extractors for Darkroom installation. They are like a normal extractor, but with a light baffle. I can't remember the name of the people who sell them, but the company also make specialist equipment like Darkroom sinks. Perhaps someone else here will know the company. If I recall correctly, they are based in Hull, England. It sounds like you are creating a multi-purpose space for several processes, some even not thought of yet, so a light-proof environment is probably best. If you fit good ventilation now, you can get on with the creative work without worrying about your health! Another option might be a cooker/stove hood. You would need a pipe to direct the fumes out of the workspace. Some of these are quite powerful, but can be noisy. You could restrict dark space work to simple photo processing chemicals, in which case you only need a simple passive vent to promote air exchange, but this relies on your workspace including an exterior wall or door to which you can fit a vent.
    My own space works this way, but I wouldn't work with chemicals that give off dangerous fumes in that area.
    Alex.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  6. Bill Martindale

    Bill Martindale Member

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    Last edited: Feb 9, 2017
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  7. Isabel

    Isabel Active Member

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    Thanks, Alan! :)
    I am probably one of the very few women who don't even own a hairdryer :D so no risk there. ;) I also heard that a breathing mask could help.
     
  8. Isabel

    Isabel Active Member

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    That is the second recommendation for Richards :) I wish they would publish prices on their website...I guess I will send them an email or call them. :)
     
  9. Alan9940

    Alan9940 Active Member

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    Certainly couldn't hurt...but, I only ever wear a mask when mixing raw pyro chemicals; and, that's a proper chemical style mask, not one of those painting style things one pulls over the nose/mouth.
     
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  10. Isabel

    Isabel Active Member

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    Yes, it would definitely have to be one of those proper ones :)
     
  11. Graham Patterson

    Graham Patterson Member

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    You have two issues with ventilation: where is the clean air coming from, and where is it going to go. If you have a 'dirty' room outside your darkroom, you do not want to draw air from there. You could use a filter on the inlet, but with sawdust around it will clog up fast. If the workshop is big enough and ventilated you could vent into it. You have to think about that - no point in having a fume-free darkroom if you choke passing through the workshop!

    If you can work out a route to get clean air in, then put your fan on the source and pull air into the darkroom. That will tend to give you positive pressure and keep dust at bay. Depending on how your door works, you may not need much of a vent, but if the door is tight, a vent is necessary.

    Light blocking a vent is not too difficult.

    My own darkroom has a 'pocket door' - sliding door that fits inside a wall. This is made light proof with 'U' channels on the top, bottom, and jamb side. Although I allowed for a wall vent, I found that the door allows enough air flow around it to act as one part of the flow. I do have to be careful about the space outside that door, as there is a small lobby that leads to the garden. It needs periodic sweeping.

    My vent extracts to the outside. This works for my setup, but is the opposite of what I think you need.
     
  12. Diz

    Diz Member

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    Second hand darkroom have a couple of extractor fans Isabel. Not cheap though.

    http://www.secondhanddarkroom.co.uk/index.php/s-h_darkroom/miscellaneous/?k=:2:16455::0

    I am planning a new darkroom at the moment as well. At the moment my thinking on extraction is by positive air. Pushing air in to vent it out. To do this, I have bought a 240v silent computer cooling fan. The idea is to put it in a light proof box, attach it to a pipe with a dust filter. If its quiet enough but not powerful enough, add more till it is. If it doesn't work, plan B will have to be thought of.
    Cheers
    Diz
     
  13. Isabel

    Isabel Active Member

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    @Graham Patterson: Thanks so much for all the info...lots to consider and work out...my door is a regular one and with all the additional rubber things we put in to make it light-tight it is now also pretty air-tight :D:eek:. I think I will go through the wall to the outside...

    @Diz: Curious to hear if your solution will work...always good to come up with Plan B after A has already failed :D:p I bookmarked the site - thanks! :)
     
  14. Monsta

    Monsta New Member

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    if you are doing collodion then the ether sinks to the floor so a ceiling fan would not be much help there.
     
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  15. Isabel

    Isabel Active Member

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    Thanks for the help and you are of course right and after I had my collodion workshop I think I can for now get away with a "low-profile" solution...let's see :)
     
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