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Category Archives: Hardware

Got my scanner working

I finally got my scanner working thanks to an overstock of power supplies at my day job, one of which happened to be exactly the type for my scanner. Here are a few scans:

First scan: to show how crappy the laser printer is when printing on transparencies. The heat completely ruined the darker areas. Also, I put a black rectangle on the left to indicate how little contrast the print has: the two people should be about as dark.

Crappy laser printer transparency

Second scan: the blackberry anthotype. Very little to see on this print. It’s clear that the exposure wasn’t long enough because even the parts outside of the negative are still quite dark.

Blackberry anthotype 1

Third scan: the wine reduction anthotype. A bit more visible. Higher contrast negatives (particularly darker blacks) and a longer exposure should help.

Wine reduction anthotype 1

A friend of mine gave me the hint to stick a negative + dyed paper to our roof window, which is oriented south. I can easily leave it there for a much longer time, there are no trees or buildings blocking the view and it’s safe from rain. Great tip ! Thanks, Dirk !

Contact print frame, finished !

I finished my contact print frame today after simplifying it again. Here’s the final result:

A contact print frame

I decided to keep the frame itself in the state that it was in after the previous blog post. On the long sides, the glass is supported by a wooden ridge of about 2cm. This is enough so I didn’t need to add more wood on the front to also support the glass along the short edges. Here’s a close-up of how it is intended to be used:

Replace the magazine by a real subject & photo paper

The principle is of course very simple. Light hits the frame, passes through the glass, is filtered by the subject and hits the photo paper. Because light changes stuff, the parts where the light can pass through the subject are exposed and something happens. The other parts stay unexposed. The subject can be a negative (if the photo paper is negative paper, i.e. the exposed parts become dark) or it can be a positive photo itself (if the exposed parts become lighter).

I have to admit that at 4kg, it’s not a very elegant frame, but it cost me nothing and it was a fun little project. The next step is to choose a kind of plant, to extract the juices and to soak paper into it. I’ll expose that with a positive, because plants discolour by exposure. Because the exposure time is at least a few days, don’t hold your breath for a result !

Contact print frame, part 2

I had a short bit of free time, so I continued work on the contact print frame. I’ve mounted two sides against which the glass will rest. To do that, I took the wooden board (shown in the photo in the previous post on the left), sawed it into three pieces in its length and mounted two on the frame I had already made. Here you can see the result. The outside of the piece of the wooden board is identical to the outside of the frame, but the inside is more narrow because the glass will rest against it.

Front facing away, glass will be put in from this side

Next time, it’s the final work to get the frame itself ready. Then there’s the back plate (that will be pushed against the photo paper + negative and against the glass) and some metalwork to provide that push.

Short note about the budget: spent so far: €0. The glass plate, the wood and the screws are all recuperated from somewhere. Also, in my first post I mentioned the frame would be over 8cm thick. Correction: it will be 51x35x6cm and it will accomodate just over an A4 page. It will still weigh a ton compared to commercial solutions !

Contact print frame, part 1

I finally managed to start working on my contact print frame. I found a large stock of glass panels of about 38x30cm, which was great news. They come from our sheds: one has a glass wall (or at least, something that aspires to look like a glass wall) but it’s all small panels set in putty. The putty is quite old so panels have started dropping out, which is not a good idea with a little kid around. So we decided to replace the whole glass construction with something else, perhaps plexiglas (acrylic glass).

Frame with my workspace in the background (outdoor stairs)

I’m building my contact print frame around one of these glass panels. The frame consists of a front frame and a container frame. To expose, I will put the glass panel + a large negative + photo paper + a backing panel into the container frame. This whole will be pushed against the front frame, which holds it as it has smaller internal dimensions.

On the photo you can see the container frame on the right. The board on the left is part of the front frame, but it’s much too wide. I will cut it along its length into two narrower pieces and screw it onto the the container frame.

The wood is quite rough so I’m using sand paper to make it smooth. It’s taking a bit more time than I expected, but it’s fun.

After the contact print frame is done, I’ll be checking out several plants in the garden to see if I can use them for dyeing paper. By exposing this to sunlight, the exposed parts should lose their colour, giving a positive image. This way of printing photos is called an anthotype.

Selecting wood

I took a look at our wood stocks today to select what I will use for my contact print frame. Because I want to spend no money, the choice is limited to what has been left by the builders who renovated our home. It’s not ideal. The frame will have a total thickness of more than 8 centimetres and will probably weigh a ton. For an A3 frame (42x30cm), the frame should be about 57×45, adding a whopping 15cm in each direction. And then I’m not adding any margin in the frame itself, which I should because the part that holds the glass will be 2cm thick, casting shadows over the sides of the photo.

Should make a nice frame !

Tomorrow I’ll be buying glass and probably a back cover in light wood. I could use a leftover plasterboard but I expect it’d be messy. It’s also hard to cut accurately. I have other leftover boards, but they’re heavy and quite thick. When I get the glass and I have exact measurements, I can start putting the pieces together.

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