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Thread: Unit to print paper negs. on carbon tissue

  1. #1

    Unit to print paper negs. on carbon tissue

    I've wanted to make carbon prints for a while now and built an 11X14 camera toward that end.The problem is I've also fallen in love with paper negatives and would like to print them on carbon tissue soooo,knowing of some of my crazy exploits you won't be surprised that I've just finished a piece of equipment which(if it works)will allow paper negatives to be projected onto carbon tissue.I'll take some pictures when the paint dries.
    Like most of the experimental stuff I build it's made from materials I had at hand and therefore ain't that good looking but since it might not work why spend money to make it pretty? Yesterday I sent an order for carbon tissue,sensitizer and clearing agent to Bostick and Sullivan so tests can't be far behind
    More to come.....

  2. #2
    Administrator Tom Persinger's Avatar
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    Jun 2004
    Pittsburgh PA USA
    looking forward to seeing both your results as well as the contraption you've constructed! Thanks for the update!

  3. #3
    Thanks Tom,
    Just thought of another change to make the contraption a little more versatile so will hold off on pictures a little longer.The results will be up in the air as I haven't ever made carbon prints and am attempting projecting paper negatives onto the tissue(a lot of variables)but think it will be fun.If this doesn't work the gadget will be turned into a contact printer and I'll resort to shooting litho film in the 11X14 camera for carbon prints.

  4. #4
    500+ Posts Ned.Lewis's Avatar
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    Jul 2012
    Sonoma County, California
    I've never made a carbon print. So far the dichromates keep me away from this process and gum. But isn't it possible to contact print a paper negative?
    Some photos: Ipernity
    ( pinholes and solargraphs mixed in among the rest)

  5. #5
    Administrator Tom Persinger's Avatar
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    Jun 2004
    Pittsburgh PA USA
    Definitely possible to contact print paper negs (especially if waxed). The only issue might be that the exposure times would be longer than a film negative. I'm not sure how long a projected exposure would be, but I suspect long... looking forward to seeing more!

  6. #6
    500+ Posts earlj's Avatar
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    Jun 2004
    Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota, United States
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    Carbon tissue exposures are similar to other uv-sensitive contact processes (cyanotype, pt/pd, kallitype, etc.) so you could test your projector and negatives with another process. Carbon prints are not like anything else, so you might want to work out the procedures for making a print with a contact negative and uv light source before you try your hand at the projected version.
    "a squid eating dough in a polyethylene bag is fast and bulbous, got me?"
    -Don Van Vliet

  7. #7
    Sounds like a good idea Earl, it would require removing the lamps and re configuring the set up and I may end up doing that but will probably give'er a try in the present configuration first(remember"Even a blind pig finds an acorn once in a while"),will probably live to regret it but what the heck!
    I made a few pictures of the unit and must warn you once again it's made of odds and ends and looks it.

    This camera backs up to the door of my little dark room for operating it in dark.
    More to come.

  8. #8
    Should add a little explanation as to the operation of the copy camera/enlarger.
    The hand wheel in the last photo moves the copy board/light unit back and forth for focusing and the easel moves up and down for sizing. The image being copied passes from the copy board through the lens reflects off a 45 degree first surface mirror and down to the easel,bending the image path allows a physically smaller unit and also inverts the image eliminating the need for a double transfer normally required for a right reading carbon print. The "boxes" on the back door serve two purposes, the smaller one is for handwheel clearance and the larger is a light trap to allow free air passage inside the unit. With the easel in it's up position I can hang sensitized tissues to dry as it's the largest dark box I have.
    Hope this helps...
    Last edited by blindpig; 04-06-2015 at 04:57 PM.

  9. #9
    Very ingenious, thanks Don for sharing this. I'm thinking eventually it'd be nice to replace the head on my Besseler 4x5 with an opaque projection head.

    "There was just that moment and now there's this moment and in between there is nothing. Photography, in a way, is the negation of chronology."-Geoff Dyer, "The Ongoing Moment"
    My Writing Blog: Joe Van Cleave's Blog
    My Pinhole Blog: Obscure Camera
    Visit my F295 Gallery

  10. #10
    Wow, looks really fun!

    I second Earl's suggestions to try something like cyanotype first in the enlarger, and try to get carbon working with negative on film and a UV source first; it took me a dozen or so attempts to get a basic carbon transfer to work even with a film negative and a UV box.

    To give you a rough feel for times, my carbon exposures with a 4% potassium dichromate solution are about twice as long as for traditional cyanotype . With a digital negative (on clear acetate) in my UV box (4 x 15w UV tubes, sensitised paper 2" away), a cyanotype takes about 3 minutes, carbon about 6 minutes to expose. Gum is faster than cyanotype and casein faster still, although you will need multiple layers to get a decent tonal range.

    Good luck!

    More mad ramblings at

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