Availability of Unicolor 8x10 Film Drums.

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Hi, I've decided I am going to try processing my 4x5 B+W negatives with a Unicolor motor base and 8x10 filmd drum. I've already won the motor base from ebay and now am in search of a 8x10 film drum, the ones with the "ridges", but have not been able to locate one. Anyone know a place besides ebay where I might be able to purchase one? I would greatly appreciate any help. Thank You

-- Paul Palka (c00lxd00d@hotmail.com), April 06, 2001


Try PrimeMart, look for Larry Baker. Think he may have one recently. I don't have his email at hand. Do a search on Ebay. He's registered there.


-- Aaron (ngaaron@singnet.com.sg), April 06, 2001.

You can try used camera shops in your city and in other cities. At least 50% of these drums will have bad gaskets and will leak rather vigorously; be sure to get return privileges. Also, these drums originally came with a little rubber spacer or divider which keeps the films from overlapping when you attempt to develop four at a time. These spacers are hard to find now, but substitutes can be fabricated.

FWIW, I abandoned the Unicolor drum method some time ago in favor of the Jobo expert drum. I found insoluble problems with the simple bidirectional flow pattern of the Unicolor drum (and of the BTZS tubes) which were solved by the much more complex flow pattern of the Jobo expert drum. The problems were not visible in negatives with complex textures, but were quite vexing in certain simpler archetectural studies and the like. Considerable testing led me to conclude that it was a problem inherent in simple bidirectional rotation. Others, though, seem perfectly content with the method, so by all means give it a try.

-- James Meckley (jmeckley@pegasus.cc.ucf.edu), April 06, 2001.

Hi Paul,

You can find these used drums frequently in used camera equipment stores. As an alternative use a search engine and search for "used darkroom equipment". I have found three sources using this method. In regards to the leaking problem of the gaskets your luck can go either way. Also you can sometimes buy replacement gaskets on Ebay. The gaskets tend to leak if the have been dry for quite awhile or if they get a small "kink" in them during their usage. I have successfuly revived them by heating them carefully over the stove which causes them to swell to their original form. This is a bit tricky though because you need to heat them enough to start the change, but now so much so that further damage will occur.I have also thought of placing them in very hot water but have yet to try that idea. In regards to the uneven development I have not experienced that problem. Many others are using the drums without problems but of course you are the best judge of the results you will obtain.

-- GreyWolf (grey_wolf@telusplanet.net), April 07, 2001.

www.gdwnphoto@aol.com Amy had two of them. If you get one that leaks, take the gasket out and run a small bead of bathtub caulking around the gasket between the lip and plastic and then put gasket back on and close cap and drum back up. Wait a day and then uase. It seals it right up. james

-- james (James_mickelson@hotmail.com), April 07, 2001.

I finally managed to get a development artifact on a couple of negs developed in the Unicolor drum.

It was a darker line across the short end of the negs, apparently the result of a standing wave; the film was TMX, one neg developed in Rodinal 1:100 and the other in TFX-2. A third neg developed in D-76H 1:3 showed no hint of the line.

-- John Hicks (jbh@magicnet.net), April 07, 2001.

John, thanks for that input. It's extremely valuable to me for two reasons. First, considering your expertise and frequently posted comments about successfully using Unicolor drums for sheet film, I've been hesitant to get *too* vocal about my lack of even results. Second, that you could overcome the problem with D-76H 1:3 means I should give things another try using that developer. My previous attempts were HP-5+ in straight Xtol. Thanks again!

-- Sal Santamaura (bc_hill@qwestinternet.net), April 07, 2001.

John, what were your quantities of developer per batch? I've developed a couple thousand negs in my 8x10 drum and never had any artifacts that weren't created by my own mistakes. I can't see how you can get a standing wave problem with a Unicolor drum used in conjuction with the reversing motorized base. I put from 1 to 4 sheets in the drum and never have any problems with film. I am interested in your opinions regarding the propogation of a standing wave. Where would it originate? I get consistant results from the Unicolor drum. James

-- james (James_mickelson@hotmail.com), April 07, 2001.

> overcome the problem with D-76H 1:3 means I should give things another try using that developer. My previous attempts were HP-5+ in straight Xtol.

Bear in mind that I haven't done any methodical testing. I normally shoot HP5+ or Delta 100, developing them in D-76H 1:1 or 1:3, plus I've also used quite a bit of Rodinal 1:50 and Xtol 1:1. I've just settled on D-76H because it's good overall, no problem to mix and I've obtained a couple pounds of each ingredient. I hadn't noticed any artifacts with HP5+ or Delta 100 in those developers. I'll need to test more before I can be confident that D-76H 1:3 solves the problem with TMX.

Otoh, I've seen one of the negs Jim M. referred to; there were definitely density streaks in the sky above a building, in the direction of drum rotation. The streaks corresponded to (if memory serves) thin (dark in the scene) vertical parts of the building.

I was monkeying around with TMX in anticipation of using Readyloads. One thing I don't like about TMX is that it doesn't show a whole lot of edge sharpness so I was trying a couple of developers that might enhance acutance (they do) and I was surprised to see the dense line.

One tidbit Fred Newman passed along a while back is that people in the Mammoth Camera Workshop were having the devil of a time getting evenly-developed negs, and D-76 1:3 solved their problems.

Anyway...so far so good with the Unidrums. I have a feeling that it's TMX that's somehow sensitive to the agitation pattern, but who knows what I might find on the next neg.....

-- John Hicks (jbh@magicnet.net), April 07, 2001.

> quantities

I usually use about 10 ounces solution in the 8x10 drums and 16-20 ounces in the 11x14 drums (for 2 8x10 negs).

Perhaps "standing wave" isn't the appropriate term. The line was in about the right spot to have been caused by turbulence over the "top" V-shaped divider. Strangely, three other similar-scene negs in the same batch didn't show the line but maybe those similar negs weren't similar enough. Those were in Rodinal 1:100.

A second run of one neg in TFX-2 had the line, but a third run of a third neg (same scene) in D-76H 1:3 didn't have the line.

-- John Hicks (jbh@magicnet.net), April 07, 2001.

Thanks John. I'll run some negs and see if I can replicate the streaks. I've used most developers and haven't seen any problems in the sky areas. The reason I like the drum is the eveness of development I get with it. I talked to an old color man and he said the agit pattern was developed specifically for the tempermental color process which was prone to density distortion problems. I think the Uni drum has a 1 2/3 rev pattern. I haven't tried any of the PF developers for film so I'll try them. James

-- james (James_mickelson@hotmail.com), April 08, 2001.

I just ran two loads of 8x10 HP5+ in Unicolor 11x14 drums tonight in D-76H 1:3; no artifacts at all, and the subjects included large smooth-toned areas that would've shown any.

-- John Hicks (jbh@magicnet.net), April 11, 2001.

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