Homebrew Dark Room Possible?

This is a discussion on Homebrew Dark Room Possible? within the Darkroom forums, part of the FILM PHOTOGRAPHY FORUM category; I just ordered my Holga and some accessories but I would like to ask. Would it be possible to home make a dark room for ...

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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    I just ordered my Holga and some accessories but I would like to ask. Would it be possible to home make a dark room for a low cost? I believe somewhere I had read that it is possible to create your own dark room enlarger. If it helps I would only like to create 4"x6" photos.
    ~ Nikon D200~Nikkor AF-S 70-300mm VR ~ Nikkor AF-S 18-200mm VR ~ Nikon SB 800 ~ Whale Tail Light Diffuser best diffuser I have ever used ~
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  • #2
    Super Moderator
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Higham, South Yorkshire
    OK I saw Homebrew and my mind went elsewhere - I'm sure there will be answers to this one.

  • #3

    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Lawrence, KS
    Fundamentally an enlarger is not very complicated, and you probably could fabricate one. A fiddly enlarger will drive you crazy though. It needs to be solid and steady and easy to operate in the dark.

    Right now the used darkroom gear market is saturated with a lot of fantastic gear, and not enough people interested in it. It's easy to find a bargain. Before buying anything put some free ads out there that say something like this:

    "I'm a starving artist looking for someone who wants to give away their long unused darkroom equipment to someone who wants to put it to use and give it a good home."

    I bet you can find people who would love to have their closet back, and are sick of storing it.

    You can probably find loads of those cheap 35mm format enlargers (Printmaster, etc...) that would only print up to 8"x10" for free. A little modification (possibly as simple as a DIY cardboard neg carrier) and it could be okay for your 120 Holga negs and small prints.

    "I donít use an exposure meter. My personal advice is: Spend the money you would put into such an instrument for film. Buy yards of film, miles of it. Buy all the film you can get your hands on. And then experiment with it. That is the only way to be successful in photography. Test, try, experiment, feel your way along. It is the experience, not technique, which counts in camera work first of all. If you get the feel of photography, you can take fifteen pictures while one of your opponents is trying out his exposure meter." -Alfred Eisenstaedt

  • #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Billings, MT
    I bought an enlarger a while back for less than $50, and that included shipping. Lenses are cheap, too, usually $15-100 depending on the age, brand, ect. Being that you're using a holga, I wouldn't worry too much about sharpness, so any cheap/slightly damaged enlarger lens will work. While it is more than possible to build your own, I doubt you'd save much when comparing USSR-made stuff or amateur kodak enlargers from the 1960's on ebay.

    I'd sell you mine, but I already got rid of it.

    As for safe lights, just get some rubylith from ebay or a local drafting or printing supply store, attach a 3-5 layers to the windows and a couple layers to a low-wattage incandescent clip light. Get an over-sized piece of heavy, black velveteen from wal-mart and hang it from your door, close the door behind you and check for leaks in complete darkness, do whatever you can to stop the leakage. Duct tape and a staple gun will be your friend.

    As for trays, visit your hardware store or kitchen areas at the department store. I actually prefer pyrex over plastic. It's easier to clean, but you might prefer the ridges of developer trays, I'm sure there would be something.

    Print washers are cool, but not necessary. They can be fabricated pretty easily with plexiglass and a drill. I wouldn't try to construct a rotary type.

    If you need a sink, but have no plumbing, get a 50 gallon drum, some pipe and a hose. Plumb the drain into a 10 gallon tub.

    Film developer canisters will also be something you'll want to buy, and you might want to consider a JOBO developing machine, esp if you're tight on space.
    bear with me. i don't have an escape button...


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