Back to home page
Back to photography main page
Back to equipment page
A dedicated dryer is very agreable to dry films quickly and dust-free.
The model described here can dry up to 9 films 135-36.
Once upon a time, version 1
As every student, I had very few money at that time and I've realised it with an old
vaccum cleaner and some wood boards.
It's a very cheap solution that I consider compulsory to avoid disasters on the negs during drying.
I did not include a heater as the complete drying is already quick at ambient temperature.
The dimensions allow to dry nine films together, much more than I need.
Before every drying cycle, I run the vaccum cleaner a few minutes to eject any remaining dust.
The only drawback: the vaccum cleaner is a bit noisy ...
An air filter according to the type 2 would be preferable.
It is composed of a foam normally used on motorcycle air filters. You can buy it in sheets and cut it according to your needs.
These foams are made by Unifilter (and others) and exist in 3 different cell sizes:
Coarse=big air flow, poor filtration
Medium=medium air flow, medium filtration
Fine=low air flow, good filtration
These foams are washable and should be slightly (dip and wring it out well) oiled to "glue" and retain the dust.
The foam is maintained by two grids (in wood, in the final project) and covered by a tablet to avoid direct deposit of dust on its surface.
Instead of a vaccum cleaner, I've used a (quiet !) fan in a sucking position.
The fan should be sufficiently waterproof to avoid short-circuits due to the water coming from the films, a thick foam surrounds the fan and covers all the bottom up to the height of the fan, for electrical but also for cosmetic reasons ...
The Version 2:
The complete dryer, around 2 meters (~6 feet) high and 20cm (~8") wide and deep.
The air filter at the top using a Unifilter fine open cells foam.
The fan is a 230V, 160m3/h and low noise model (<50dBA, pretty agreable after the vaccum
cleaner era !).
In the back right corner, the inlet plug and the fuse holder. The cable goes to the main switch which could be replaced by a timer (10min-2hr).
A thick foam surrounds the fan and covers the electrical parts.
The closing system and the rubber-foam joint.
To version 2, I added a variable heater and a timer disconnecting the dryer
once the films dried.
Films are dried in 30 minutes.
The 500W heater element produces an air flow temperature around 38°C (100 °F), the temperature adjustment may be omitted.
Back view of these elements ...