UV - Alternative to Fluorescent

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jantman

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I'm thinking about doing some more work in alt processes, specifically trying more than cyanotype. I'm thinking about trying three or four others, just to see what they're like. I don't want to use outdoor light for exposures, as it is very inconsistent this time of year, and with sunset before 5:00, I would hardly ever get to expose anything.

I priced out building a UV lightbox. I took the suggestion of using 48" bulbs since the ballasts are more common. However, with bulbs at about $8 ea. and two four-light ballasts at $56 each, it seems like the box would run over $200, which I don't have to spend.

Are there any alternatives to fluorescent-based UV lightboxes?

Somewhere I read about someone who used some sort of HID lamp, I think a mercury or sodium vapor or something of that type (an industrial HID lamp) suspended over a printing frame.

Any experience out there with fluorescent alternatives?
 

noseoil

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Jason, take a look at bulbman's site in Nevada. There are some BLB screw in base types available which might be more reasonable. Do you really need 48" tubes? tim
 

Ole

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I use a HID light, originally intended as a growlight. When I have to, that is - ordinarily I use sunlight...
 

Donald Miller

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The screw in base BLB incandescent bulbs exhibit very little if any effective UV emission. I have tested them against the more common F15T8BLB bulbs and there is no comparison. The F15T8BLB bulbs are available at Walmart for about $3.60 each. These are shorter in length then the 48 inch bulbs you mentioned. The ballasts are available from electrical wholesalers at about $25.50 for a two lamp electronic ballast. Hope that this helps.
 

mark

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HID lights and ballast can run pretty high too, not to mention shoot the electric bill through the roof. Sandy has an article on Unblinkingeye that is pretty informative and covers HID lights.

If you choose to go this route look for hydroponics stuff on the internet. The ballasts can be had cheap as the closet pot growers sell off their old stuff as they move up to new.

Disclaimer-not every one on ebay who is selling used hydroponics equipment are growing pot. Just the ones I have bought from for my classroom hydro garden.
 

Ole

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I bought mine to grow cactus! :tongue:
 

Brook

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if anyone is intrested, i just posted a "for sale" in the darkroom section of the classified section for 400 watt mercury vapor lamps useful for alt process printing. i hope its ok to mention it here, if not i apologise and wont do it again. it seemed relevent to the discussion.
brook
 

Ole

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eric said:
Riiiight, cactus...in Norway, they do real well over there....

So why do you think I needed a growlight? :D

If I were growing hemp, I'd simply plant it ouside in the wilderness part of the garden. Grows like mad with 18hrs sunlight throughout the summer :smile:
 
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jantman

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I think that after pricing out the options (fluorescent bank or HID lamp) I'm inclined to look into the possibilities of a bank of incandescent (screw-in) lamps. Any ideas? I know their output is lower, but it's really all I can afford, and maybe I can just build two of them. So, two questions are raised:

1) What type of lamp? I know that they make BLB in incandescent, but is that the only (or best) option?

2) How do I build the array? If anyone remembers Adams' back for his 8x10 enlarger as shown in The Print, that's what I'm thinking about, a box with an array of lamps. But what about spacing both between lamps and between the lamps and the glass for the print? Diffusion glass? I assume some sort of wooden hinged top like a printing frame back. Also, any suggestions on cooling? I know that this would obviously need one hell of a blower to keep it cool. I was thinking about putting a filtered inlet one one side, and a large blower ducted outside of the darkroom on the opposite side. Any ideas of strength? I can easily to up to 550CFM. How many times would the air need to be exchanged to keep it cool?

Thanks.
 

mikepry

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I aquired a used 400w HID and have spectacular results with it. Unless you're printing 16 hrs. a day the increase in your bill isn't really that bad. I love how it works and would really urge you to keep an eye out for a used one. A bulb can be had for about 30 bucks and will last quite awhile. I don't make my negs to thick and find my exposures are around 2-5 minutes normally and if the neg is bulletproof they will go to around 15-20 minutes. Attached is an image with 2:00 under a 400 watt HID.
 

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Jorge

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Yeah, yeah, yeah...quit showing off Mike.. :smile:
 

mikepry

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You're killing me Jorge! One of the reasons I responded to this thread is that I have what seems to be really short print times. I hear allot longer times than what I do and don't know if it's the light or my negs or whatever.
 

Brook

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Mike,
Are you using a staining developer? I use a 400w HID as well and my times are around an hour for ABC developed negs, and not the bullet proof ones either.

Someone mentioned using incandesent bulbs, wont work, no UV.

Brook
 

mark

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What kind of reflector/hood are you using?
 
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