Fixer recipes, etc

Discussion in 'Darkroom Developing and Printing' started by Larry, Jul 24, 2008.

  1. Larry

    Larry Guest


    I am currently living in a small town with no access to photographic
    chemicals. I would like to manufacture my own anyways.....

    I need recipes for Fixer and wetting agent...

    Thank you in advance to your replies and also, please send the replies
    via e-mail


    Larry, Jul 24, 2008
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  2. All of this stuff can be gotten mail order, try
    Freestyle Photo since they seem to be able or willing to
    ship stuff that B&H claims is restricted. Also, there are
    web sites with large collections of formulas for nearly all
    photographic solutions.
    I don't have a formula for a wetting agent but virtually
    all of the commercial wetting agents are based on a
    substance sold as Triton-X. This is a very highly
    concentrated chemical and a little will last you a lifetime.
    Kodak Photo-Flo 400 is a mixture of Triton-X and another
    wetting agent, I am not sure what. More concentrated
    versions of Photo-Flo seem to be Triton-X alone. I think it
    would be easier for you to obtain a large container of
    Photo-Flo than the ingredients to make it.
    In use I make a combination of Photo-Flo at half
    strength with about 30ml of rubbing alcohol per liter. This
    makes a sort of super wetting agent which is less likely to
    leave a residue on the film. The rubbing alcohol should be
    70% isopropyl alcohol (isopropanol) without oil of
    wintergreen or other flavorings in it. Pure alcohol can also
    be used, just use a little less.

    I don't have formulas for rapid fixers, which use
    ammonium thiosulfate in place of the sodium thiosulfate in
    standard fixer. Ammonium thiosulfate is not very stable as a
    powder so is usually supplied as a liquid concentrate so the
    formulas vary according to the concentration obtainable. For
    powdered ammonium thiosulfate use about 60% of the amount
    specified for _crystaline_ sodium thiosulfate. For liquid
    concentrates calculate the amount from this and the
    concentration. Other than the use of the ammonium salt in
    place of the sodium salt the formulas are identical.
    A form of rapid fixer can be made from sodium fixer by
    adding ammonium chloride to a standard bath but mixing
    directly with ammonium thiosulfate is, in general, more

    This is a standard formula for an acid, hardening, fixing
    bath for film or paper, Kodak F-5. If you want a
    non-hardening fixer just leave out the potassium alum or use
    F-24, which follows below F-5.

    Kodak F-5 Fixing Bath

    Water (at about 125F or 52C) 600.0 ml
    Sodium thiosulfate, crystalline 240.0 grams
    Sodium sulfite, dessicated 15.0 grams
    Acetic acid, 28% 48.0 ml
    Boric acid, crystalline 7.5 grams
    Potassium alum 15.0 grams
    Water to make 1.0 grams

    Notes: 1, Use crystalline boric acid, the granulated type
    dissolves with great difficulty.
    2, If sodium thiosulfate, anhydrous is used the amount
    should be reduced to 154.0 grams and water not over 90F
    should be used for mixing.
    Note also that crystalline thiosulfate is is very
    endothermic and will quickly cool the water as it goes into
    solution so some heating may be necessary to insure it
    dissolves completely. Anhydrous thiosulfate has little heat
    of solution so cooler water should be used to insure against

    Kodak F6 Oderless Fixing Bath

    Water (at about 125F or 52C) 600.0 ml
    Sodium thiosulfate, crystalline 240.0 grams
    Sodium sulfite, dessicated 15.0 grams
    Acetic acid, 28% 48.0 ml
    Kodalk (sodium metaborate, see below) 15.0 grams
    Potassium alum 15.0 grams
    Water to make 1.0 liter

    Notes as above for F-5
    This bath must be preceded with an acid stop bath.
    If you can not find Kodalk you can made the equivalent
    as follows:
    In order to make 1.0g sodium metaborate tetrahydrate, mix
    0.692g borax and 0.145g sodium hydroxide. When dissolved in
    water, these two make the equivalent of 1.0 gram of sodium
    metaborate in solution.
    Note that while Kodak has referred to Kodalk as the
    octahyrate is is actually the tetrahydrate in modern
    Sodium hydroxide pure enough for photographic purposes
    has long been sold as Red Devil Lye but may be hard to find
    these days. 20 Mule Team Borax is chemically pure borax
    suitable for photographic purposes. Again, its harder to
    find than it used to be.

    Kodak F-24 Non-Hardening Fixing Bath

    Water (at about 125F or 52C) 500.0 ml
    Sodium thiosulfate, crystalline 240.0 grams
    Sodium sulfite, dessicated 10.0 grams
    Sodium bisulfite (or metabisulfite) 25.0 grams
    Water to make 1.0 liter

    Notes as above for F-5

    It is strongly recommended that any fixing bath of any
    type be used in a two-bath system. This not only insures
    complete fixing but is economical because the capacity of a
    two bath system for complete fixing is from four to ten
    times that of a single bath.
    Full instuctions for two bath fixing are in several
    Kodak publications such as the _Kodak Black-and-White
    Darkroom Dataguide_ and have been posted to this group by
    myself and others.
    Richard Knoppow, Jul 25, 2008
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  3. You can find a scan of Kodak publication J-1 on my site (20 MB file): j-1.pdf

    Various other sites provide formulas, some of them:

    Regarding wetting agent, if you can't find the proper stuff, a couple
    of drops of dishwashing detergent will work but don't use to much.

    Claudio Bonavolta
    Claudio Bonavolta, Jul 27, 2008
  4. There is something wrong with that version of J-1. At least, at the top of
    page 39, they leave out the formula for Kodak Stop Bath SB-5, but then
    continue how to modify it to make SB-5a.
    Jean-David Beyer, Jul 27, 2008
  5. I've had good luck with Ryuji's Neutral Fixer. It's stable and
    doesn't seem to affect staining developer behavior with films.

    water 600ml
    ammonium thiosulfate @60% 200ml
    sodium sulfite 15g
    sodium metabisulfite 5g
    water to make 1.0 liter

    Used full strength.

    Craig Schroeder
    craig nospam craigschroeder com
    Craig Schroeder, Jul 28, 2008
  6. Yep, you're right, some lines are missing here !
    Kodak SB-5
    Water 750 ml
    Acetic acid at 28% 32 ml
    Sodium sulfate anh. 45 gr
    Water to make 1000 ml

    Claudio Bonavolta
    Claudio Bonavolta, Jul 28, 2008
  7. Larry

    Peter Guest

    I have to admit that I don't fully understand the role of Sodium
    Sulfate in the formula.
    Peter, Jul 28, 2008
  8. It is supposed to minimize gelatin swelling.

    Claudio Bonavolta
    Claudio Bonavolta, Jul 29, 2008
  9. Right. Developers, e.g., D-76, have a lot of salts in them (100gm/litre for
    D-76), as do fixers. But the typical acetic acid stop bath (e.g. SB-1) have
    none. The idea is not to shock the film with this, so they put some sodium
    sulfate in there, which is pretty much inactive chemically, but physically
    is a salt that keeps the gelatin from swelling and then shrinking again (or
    vice-versa, I no longer remember which) when put into the fixer.
    Jean-David Beyer, Jul 29, 2008
  10. Larry

    Peter Guest

    Thank you.
    Peter, Jul 29, 2008
  11. SB-5 is a double strength stop bath for photo-finishing
    use. The sulfate is to minimise swelling as you state. The
    original instructions are to leave the film in it for three
    minutes, probably in order that the emulsion becomes
    saturated with the bath.
    Sodium sulfate was an ingredient of many "tropical"
    developers and fixing baths for the same reason. Emulsions
    were a lot softer in the past. Some current B&W emulsions
    are hardened like color film to withstand 100F processing.
    Kodak T-Max films are an example.
    Another example of a non-swelling bath is Kodak SB-4, a
    high temperature stop bath using chrome alum as a hardener:

    Kodak SB-4 For Use at 75 to 90F
    Water 1.0 liter
    Potassium chrome alum 30.0 grams
    Sodium sulfate, desiccated 60.0 grams

    Agitate films or plates for 30 to 45 seconds after placing
    them in the bath and allow them to remain for at least 3
    At temperatures below 85F rinse films for a 1 or 2 seconds
    in water before immercing in the stop bath.
    Richard Knoppow, Jul 30, 2008
  12. I think you are mixing up SB-5 and SB-5a.

    Water 1 Litre
    28% Acetic Acid 48.0 ml

    Water 500 ml
    28% Acetic Acid 32 ml
    Sodium Sulfate Anh. 45 gm
    Water to 1000 ml

    28% Acetic Acid 64 ml
    (every thing else the same as SB-5)
    Jean-David Beyer, Jul 30, 2008
  13. Actually what I think happened is my eye skipped over
    the last part which was to bring the volume up to 1.0 liter
    because SB-5a is not on the page I was looking at. I don't
    remember what time of day I posted this but if I was just
    home from work I may not have had many brain cells working.
    Richard Knoppow, Jul 31, 2008
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