Information on film dryers : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Printing & Finishing : One Thread

I was reading through the questions and responses concerning darkrooms and suggested items to include in the design. I read that one person had allowed space in the cabinet for film drying. Does this require anything special (other than space to hang the film)? I have seen ads for film drying devices, but these usually are rather high priced. Is an enclosed space that will allow a 36 exposure to hang adequate? What about vent holes or some type of device to induce a flow of air into the space?

Robby West

-- Robby West (, October 18, 2001


Robby: Simply providing space where film can hang to dry in a dust free enviroment is adequate. Speedier drying can be accomplished by cutting a hole in the base of the drying cabinet to accomodate the nozzle of a simple hair dryer. If you go this route, add some holes in the top so you get a good flow of air. Make the cabinet large enough to hold at least two rolls without interfering with each other. A very cheap and easy approach for a heatless area is to use a hanging garment bag with zippers. It can even be folded away when not in use.

-- Arden Howell (, October 18, 2001.

It seems extravagant to me to dedicate an empty cabinet space just to drying film unless you have an abundance of space. Some other possible locations that tend to be relatively dust- and draft-free are a shower stall (close the door or curtain) or a basement room. Both tend to be more dust-free and a little more humid than other parts of a house, so you don't get the excessive film curl that sometimes comes from a forced air or heated drying apparatus.

-- Tim Nelson (, October 18, 2001.

The above responses are correct in that all you need is a dust free enviroment. I made a simple frame from 1x2 finished lumber sanded and stained, 2'x3' with a 1/8" masonite top. Some velcro strips line the outside around which I attach a vinyl shower curtain cut to size. I then cut about a 2'x2' flap that seals with velcro and made a set of hangers bolted to the masonite top from wich I can hang a variety roll films or sheets up to 8x10. I have a similar frame at the bottom from 1" wood with a panty hose stretched over it to prevent any dust from being kicked up inside. The unit is about 4' in length. The advantages is I can hang it anywhere, fold it up for storage if needed and replace the curtain if need be.

My procedure is to move film direct from final rinse to the hangers and usually try to do this in the bathroom after running a hot shower for a few minutes. I then move the tent to the darkroom if needed. I have tested this procedure with with film direct from box, processed and dried and have 99% dust free negs. Now if I could have the same success with eliminating dust from camera and film holders.

-- James Chinn (, October 18, 2001.

A quick add on th my previous thoughts. Forcing air into a cabinet or tent no matter how well filtered is a invitation for problems. Use a photo-flo or similar and let the negs air dry in your dust free environment.

-- James Chinn (, October 18, 2001.

My main aim of dedicating a section of my cupboard to a film drying area is to kept inquistitive little hands off it. Currently I hang film in the shower recess, which works fine when left overnight. I do however have to retrieve it in the morning before the shower is required or Junior decides he wants to inspect the latest pictures! I don't want to hang it up over the sink as I may want to be printing while the films dring. I'm not going to provide for forced drying via a hairdryer. I will have a tray for drips to drop onto.

-- Nigel Smith (, October 18, 2001.

I made a film dryer from 3 large used coffee cans & a fan from a range hood. The fan has a filter glued to the intake side & blows air down around the films that are left on the reels. It produces a little heat & the air movement dries the negative in about 30 mins. I no longer use wetting agent. I have no marks on the negatives drying this way as I did when using wetting agent.I can dry up to 3 films this way. I am currently working on a mark 2 version which I hope will cut down my drying time.

-- Melvin (, October 18, 2001.

You might try a fast drying rinse. There are a couple of commerical types. Isopropyl alchol from the drug store also dries very fast. $0.02

-- Gene Crumpler (, October 21, 2001.

I simply hang my film in the bathroom shower using a clip at the top and a weighted clip at the bottom. Drying time is within the hour (unless it is extremely humid).


-- Ken Bruno (, October 22, 2001.

I used a garmet bag (the kind you store your cloths in with the clear front and zipper) for years. You can poke a hole in the top to put a hair dryer in. Poke a few holes in the bottom to vent the air, this will also expand the whole bag and the film will hang straight! After your done with it you can just fold the whole thing up and put it on the shelf 'til the next time...

-- Scott Walton (, October 23, 2001.

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