Minilab in my basement.

Discussion in 'Darkroom Developing and Printing' started by alanrockwood2000, Nov 7, 2005.

  1. I have an oder Noritsu minilab in my basement. I bought it to start a
    small part time family business. I ran some film and prints on the
    machine but never actually started operating the business.

    I tried to sell the lab but have had no takers. I am wondering if it
    makes any sense to keep the lab and operate it on an occassional basis
    as an amateur lab to run my own film. However, I am worried about
    stability of the processing solutions in this type of operation. Any

    alanrockwood2000, Nov 7, 2005
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  2. Typo: I meant " older Noritsu..."
    alanrockwood2000, Nov 7, 2005
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  3. alanrockwood2000

    Ken Hart Guest

    My first question would be "how did you get it into your basement?!"

    Not knowing what model/type minilab this is, I can only speak in

    1. You need to calculate your tank turnovers. What this means is how much of
    each chemical does the machine hold, and how many replenishment's will it
    take to replace the chems in each tank. Do you process that much material
    within the shelf-life of each chemical. For example, let's say it holds one
    gallon of chemical "X", and with every roll of film that goes through, it
    replenishes one ounce. Chemical "X" has a life of six weeks. Do you process
    128 rolls (the number of ounces in a gallon, right?!) in six weeks (the life
    of chemical "X")? If not, you will have to go with longer life chemicals or
    additives. BTW, for RA-4, I've switched to Trebla brand developer-- it's
    cleaner, less tar and longer life than the Kodak version.

    2. How about the rollers/racks? The action of the film or prints going thru
    the machine helps to keep the rollers clean and turning. If the machine sits
    for an extended period of time, the rollers can get crudded up. That crud
    can work loose and deposit itself on the film or prints: tar in the
    developer tank and sulfur in the Bleach-fix tank.

    3. How long does it take to bring the chemicals up to temp? My older minilab
    (a 1984 model Hope EP-2 machine converted to RA-4) requires about 30-45
    minutes to get the 15 gallons of developer up to 87'F. OTOH, the small water
    tempering bath (about one gallon) that I use to hold C-41 chemical
    containers and manual stainless steel tank takes about 10 minutes to get
    everything to 100'F-- less time if I fill it with warm water.

    For me, it makes sense to run an RA-4 machine. I run enough prints to just
    barely make the tank turnovers (using the Trebla developer). It doesn't
    _yet_ make sense for me to run a C-41 machine.

    If you're still looking to sell the machine, you might e-mail me privately
    with details: price, model, location, condition, etc. I might be interested.
    Ken Hart, Nov 7, 2005
  4. Ken,

    To answer your first question, it wasn't easy getting it downstairs. I
    hired some guys from a moving company, and several big Polynesians
    showed up and manage to get it moved to the basement. I had to take a
    few things off the print processor to get it down, and it went down
    with barely any room to spare.

    Based on the points you made it looks somewhat doubtful if it makes
    sense to run this as an amateur lab, since I would not be running
    nearly that many rolls through the machine, particularly for the film
    processor. The print processor also sounds doubtful. I do have a
    Phototherm Sidekick and a Jobo CPE, so I could do occasional rolls of
    film in those using one shot development.

    Thanks for the reply.
    alanrockwood2000, Nov 8, 2005
  5. alanrockwood2000

    Matt Clara Guest

    Several polynesians showed up? Are you in Hawaii? Can you process
    medium-format? I've been told that all medium-format is sent off island for
    processing, thus you might have a valued commodity there, if you care to
    take on the business. If you're not in Hawaii, ignore what I've said...
    Matt Clara, Nov 16, 2005
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