Contact printing light box ideas?

Discussion in 'Contact Printing' started by scootermm, Oct 3, 2004.

  1. scootermm

    scootermm Subscriber

    Jun 10, 2004
    Austin, TX
    ULarge Format
    Im fairly new to contact printing. Like Ive said in another thread Im just getting into contact printing my 8x10 negs and can foresee it becoming my mainstay.
    what Im curious about is Im interested in creating a lightbox of sorts to use for exposing my contact printing. perhaps buying one of the nice and fairly inexpensive contact printing frames from photoformulary or such. I live in a house at present that has a darkroom with a 4x5 enlarger but the possibility exists that I might be going to graduate school in the near future so I will possibly move out and wont have the 4x5 enlarger to use as a light source. Id like to make something fairly compact and am wondering what others have done in situations like this.
    I also will potentially use UV bulbs in it for alt processes that I eventually want to get proficient in.

    just curious what others have constructed or use in this regard.
  2. mbarnett

    mbarnett Member

    Oct 10, 2004
    4x5 Format

    I haven't tried it yet, but I am going to start searching the thrift/2nd hand stores for a 'facial solarium' to use as contact printer for 8x10. The style I have in mind has 4 Phillips 'Cleo' bulbs w/ 15 watt output. If I find one cheap enough, it might be worth experimenting with. Don't know, exposure times might be long. What do you think?

  3. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Large Format
    What you might consider doing is to build an enclosure into which your contact printing frame can be inserted. What I have in mind would be a box type affair open in the front. If I were building something like this for 8X10 then I would use the F15T8 BL or BLB bulbs. Probably 4 of those mounted about 3/4 inch apart and about 3-5 inches above the frame.

    I would fire the bulbs with two each electronic ballasts. There are ballasts available that will handle two of these bulbs. I might consider incorporating a sliding filter diffusion slot between the lamps and the printing frame into the enclosure for two reasons. Those being that one could add frosted acrylic for eveness of light transmission and also to reduce the light intensity with graded paper and Azo. Graded paper and Azo will expose very rapidly with this light arrangement and no means of limiting output.

    While these are lamps with high UV output they will expose alt process and they will also expose graded enlarging paper and Azo. For VC papers one could substitute full spectrum flourescents for the BL or BLB bulbs. Of course with VC papers the thing that would need to be done is to incorporate green and blue acrylic panels in the diffusion slot. By doing this you could split filter contact print.

    Overall dimensions of this, depending on enclosure materials, would be about 20 inches long by 12 inches tall by 12 inches deep.