cheap x-ray sensitive film?

Discussion in 'Photography' started by John Jacobson, Feb 8, 2009.

  1. My son just completed his high school science fair project which is a
    homemade x-ray machine, the plans of which appeared years ago in a 1960's
    amateur science publication (please don't worry as this is a shielded unit
    and has been checked). What we are running into is a problem of sorts.
    Most everything has gone digital and of course digital cameras aren't x-ray
    sensitive and therefore can't record x-ray images. The plans he has suggest
    Polariod 51 or 57 film, but I see that is no longer being made and I have an
    additional problem: no darkroom. So I'd to ask the group: is there a type
    of b&w film, 4x5 inches or greater in size, that I could use and is there an
    alternative to a darkroom? I'm not really up on photography, but I one time
    read about a "developer tank" that would allow all processing steps to be
    done in total light but in a sealed enclosure(?)

    Any help would be appreciated. We're trying to keep costs as low as we can
    since this is mostly a DIY science project.

    Thanks,
    JJ
     
    John Jacobson, Feb 8, 2009
    #1
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  2. John Jacobson

    Pat Guest


    You might get away using something like this:
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...5200784_FP_100B_Professional_Instant_B_W.html

    If you use regular film, you'll need a developing tank such as this:
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/122936-REG/Omega_455031_Universal_Developing_Tank_with.html
    Plus you will need some basic chemicals.

    Call B&H, explain what's up and they'll hook you us with what you
    want. Who knows, they might even have x-ray film.

    BTW, you might call you local hospital and see if they have some old
    film laying around since they are all digital now, too.
     
    Pat, Feb 8, 2009
    #2
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  3. Pat,

    Thanks for your response. I like the Fujifilm instant suggestion, although
    at ISO100 I doubt it would be very useful. They (Fuji) also make a Polaroid
    type 667? equivalent with ISO 3000 that might be more useful. Am I
    mistaken, or would we need to get a hold of a Polaroid instant land camera
    to use this?

    My son actually has a pack of GE AGFA X-Ray Film D5 NIF Structurix 29MA7
    film. It is large, 2x10 and I'm told that it will work with standard
    developer chemicals, but I wouldn't know how to proceed using this without a
    darkroom.

    JJ


    You might get away using something like this:
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...5200784_FP_100B_Professional_Instant_B_W.html

    If you use regular film, you'll need a developing tank such as this:
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/122936-REG/Omega_455031_Universal_Developing_Tank_with.html
    Plus you will need some basic chemicals.

    Call B&H, explain what's up and they'll hook you us with what you
    want. Who knows, they might even have x-ray film.

    BTW, you might call you local hospital and see if they have some old
    film laying around since they are all digital now, too.
     
    John Jacobson, Feb 8, 2009
    #3
  4. John Jacobson

    Pat Guest

    It's been years since I've developed film but it's a 4 step process.
    First you develop it. Then you "stop" it. Then you fix it. Then you
    rinse it.

    Call B&H (off of that link) and ask them for the chemicals you need.
    They come as powder or liquid-concentrate. You'll also need a book or
    chart with development times/temps.

    Basically you prepare the developer per instructions (mix with
    water). Bring to the right temperature, and develop it. It can be in
    a tray in a light-proof room or in a light-proof tank. (safe-lights
    like you see on TV are ONLY for prints, not film). Developing
    basically means sticking the film in the developer and agitating it a
    little and getting out all air bubbles. When the time is up, you
    either take the film out of the tray or dump the developer out of the
    tank. You refill with "stop bath". It's an acid. It stops the
    development process. Then you "fix" it which removes the silver and
    makes it so it can be exposed to light. The first time you do it, you
    then experience the most nervousness since childbirth when you open up
    the tank (or turn on the light) and see if everything worked okay.
    Then you rinse it for quite a while to get the chemicals off of it.
    The final rinse is with a wetting agent (sort of like what you use in
    a dishwasher) so the water comes off of it and doesn't leave any
    marks. Then you carefully hand it up and let it dry. It's no big
    deal.

    Xrays of bones and stuff are just the film. No printing necessary.

    If you want prints, the easiest way is to work without an enlarger or
    anything. Just lay the x-ray right on a piece of photo paper and use
    a timed light to blink the light. Then process the paper in the same
    manner (except using different chemicals).

    I suppose another option would be to see if there's a local photo club
    around and ask if anyone still has a darkroom. Moving the film from
    the x-ray to the darkroom will, of course have to be done in in a
    light-free manner but maybe someone would bring the equipment to your
    place and develop the film on-site.

    Anyway, contact B&H and they will set you up with the basics and it
    shouldn't be too expensive.
     
    Pat, Feb 8, 2009
    #4
  5. Dont forget your friendly Dentist, small size foil packaged dental film
    usually about 1.5 inches square, & the low tech ability to process.

    Chris
     
    Merlin's Laptop, Feb 8, 2009
    #5
  6. John Jacobson

    Vance Guest

    I think the dentist approach is brilliant! If the film size is
    workable for the subjects, find a local dentist or find out where they
    get their film. However, if dental film won't work...

    Any film is going to be sensitive to X-Rays, but I would suggest a
    slow speed orthograpic B&W film. These fims are not responsive to red
    lights, so you can make your own light proof 'film packs' using sheet
    or roll films under a dim red darkroom light. This will enable you to
    handle the film in day/roomlight for subject placement, etc., If
    orthochromatic film is availble in roll stock, just go into a darkroom
    (easily jury rigged in a bathroom) and cut it with scissors to the 2
    1/4 x whatever size you want and put it in your homemade film holders
    (you can make those out of black construction paper and several other
    ways).

    I am not sure how, or if, ISO relates to X-ray response. ISO's relate
    to the visible (mostly) spectrum of light and X-rays definitely aren't
    that! The way X-ray exposures are set, at a given distance a known
    amount of electrons are bounced of a tungsten target and a known
    exposure is the result. WAY back in the day, we would check X-ray
    machine calibration by exposing a film to a stepped density target and
    measuring the densities. If we weren't seeing the right densities we
    would adjust things until the exposures were standardized. You have
    two exposure controls, the amount of power to the X-ray generator and
    the length of the exposure - analgous to shutter speed and (loosely)
    aperture. You will probably need to work out your own exposures based
    on the subjects you are working with.

    Good luck!

    Vance
     
    Vance, Feb 9, 2009
    #6
  7. John Jacobson

    Misifus Guest

    Regardless, I hope he's using some sort of dosimeter. Any professional
    using professional equipment would certainly be monitoring their exposure.

    -Raf
     
    Misifus, Feb 12, 2009
    #7
  8. John Jacobson

    Murray Guest

    IIRC the film itself isn't particularly sensitive to X-ray
    but is loaded into a cassette that has a photo-luminant
    lining - ie it glows with the X-ray and thus exposes the film
    to light. They are made from aluminium which is X-ray
    transparent and come in sizes fron small to verry!! large for
    chest X-rays etc.
    I have never torn apart a dental 'bite' film, but would expect to find
    it had the same kind of structure.

    At one period of my life I had no darkroom or even paper so used
    the hospital X-ray film to make transparencies. Big transparencies.
    The developer and fixer are just like one uses for ordinary film
    except maybe stronger. I diluted them to develop/fix the 35mm film.

    Murray
     
    Murray, Feb 14, 2009
    #8
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