A look at our designer's 32+ years of design.

A note from Versalab July 2010 - We are pleased to see a considerably improved market for darkroom equipment. This has been on the rise for a year and should be an exciting thought for those reading our web pages.  Both new and old experienced photographers are beginning to again enjoy the delights of film, chemistry and paper.

The PRINT WASHER is only available directly from Versalab. Buy direct from Versalab.
Frequently asked questions about print washers


 

 

 

11 x 14 - $265
16 x 20 - $385
20 x 24 - $190


We do not accept purchase orders from schools.

"I want to compliment you on the clarity of the instructions. I am really enjoying putting it together, I can see the thought process of the design as I assemble it." B. Curtis


The whole story ....
The Versalab archival print washer is a reliable robust product for professional darkroom use. It will very effectively wash prints with a moderate flow of water and it should do so almost forever since it is nearly indestructible. There are no better washers available!

“I wanted to write to thank you for offering an excellent product in light of other washers on the market - yours does exactly what I need without the ludicrous high expense charged by the other makers.”
Danny Spence

When we examined the print washer market we found it to be filled with overly-complicated and overly-pretty products. They end up being quite fragile and way too expensive!! Yet print washing is a fundamentally very simple process - surround the print with flowing water of low hypo concentration - that is all it takes. So we decided to build a product that was simple and well made, designed as if for the chemical process industry, and then give it an appropriate price.

And it turned out very simple indeed. The prints are held upright in water by means of a series of plastic dividers in a tank. Water is added between the dividers in a manner that creates a circular flow pattern without dead spots. Water and hypo is siphoned off the bottom at the far end.

CONSTRUCTION:
The tank is a one piece 1/4" thick polyethylene molding with generous radii in the corners for easy cleaning. This tank is leakproof and so damage resistant the entire washer could be thrown across the room and still be picked up and used (you might not even notice any damage). This product is so strong that we regularly tip the full (or nearly full) tank over in the sink to quickly drain it.

The dividers are fastened together in a lift-out 'print basket'. The basket has 14 slots 3/4" wide and is constructed of fifteen 1/16" thick sheets of white styrene fixed into the basket arrangement by 4 stainless steel studs with spacers. Prints are held off the bottom of the washer by 4 plastic rods that are part of the basket. The basket can be lifted out of the tank at any time.


It has been a little over a year now since I purchased your (now my) 16x20 print washer. I just wanted to let you know that I feel this is one of the best purchases on the market today. It has done everything that you claimed it would. I have accidentally dropped the empty washer from the sink to the floor, and there is not a mark on the washer. I have, however, had to patch the sheet vinyl flooring.

I can still remember the day it arrived. When I looked in the box, peeked at the instructions and saw all those rods, plastic sheets, and spacers, just bowed my head and thought -- ugh!!!! However, I found the instructions were easy to follow, and I had the washer together in little time. It is now a cherished item in my darkroom and one which I feel I had a hand in making. I do a test of every print which comes out of the washer. I have yet to find one that has not been washed properly. Thank you for making such a useful and well made product.”
Doyle Sanders


Process:
Water flows into the tank through a tubular plastic underwater spray bar which has a separate jet for each slot in the basket. The jets are angled such that they create a recirculating flow pattern within the tank.

At the other end of the tank is a simple PVC siphon hose that picks up the outlet flow off the bottom of the tank. There is a small hole in the siphon tube just where it exits the top of the tank. This hole both helps to regulate the water level and outflow rate, and breaks the siphon action if the water level drops, maintaining the water level for the safety of the prints. When the tank is to be drained, closing the hole allows the siphon action to drain the tank in minutes. The 16 x 20 has an additional drain. The outlets, including a safety overflow, are all fitted with hoses, allowing out of sink use. [In the pictures, the washer is shown without the overflow hose as it would be used in a sink.]

If you would like to see super size versions of the following two pictures, just click on one of them and another page will open. They show better details of the washer construction than we have presented on the website before.


Use:
Turn the water supply up high to fill the tank. As the water nears the flanged area at the top of the tank, reduce the water flow rate until the siphon break hole murmurs continuously. The washer is ready for use.

Note: While our washer has been designed for use outside a sink, we do not recommend any running water being left unattended while outside a waterproof area.

Performance:
It isn't possible to categorically state how fast any washer will achieve an archival wash under your processing conditions and chemistry. The only way to know is to test using HT-2 (which is simpler than you think).

For the 11 x 14 model, with proper care and clean preparation, a good wash can be possible in less than 1/2 an hour at less than 1/2 gallon per minute water flow. Different fixers, less care in fixing and different water chemistry may require double the time. See Print Washer FAQ for further discussion.

11x14 MODEL

outside dimensions:

20" L x 14" W x 14" H
                  508 x 356 x 356 mm.

volume: approx. 11 US gallons

weight: approx. 100 lbs. full

print capacity:

14 slots - 3/4" W x 15" L x 11 1/2 "H
                 19 x 381 x 292 mm.

14 prints 11x14

16x20 MODEL

outside dimensions:

26 1/2" L x 14 1/2" W x 19 1/2" H
                 673 x 368 x 495 mm.

volume: approx. 22 US gallons

weight: approx. 200 lbs. full

print capacity:

14 slots - 3/4" W x 20 1/2"L x 16 1/2'' H
                 19 x 521 x 419 mm.

14 prints 16x20


11 x 14 $265 + 25 shipping lower 48 states ($55 Alaska & Hawaii, $50 Canada)

16 x 20 $385 + 40 shipping lower 48 states ($80 Alaska & Hawaii, $60 Canada)

Both units will accomodate any combination of smaller prints that will fit their slot size.

20 x 24 ADAPTER for 16 x20 Washer  - $190 + 20 shipping lower 48 states ($50 Alaska & Hawaii, $30 Canada) (less if shipped with a 16 x20)

As described above our washers have a "print basket" which is a separate assembly that sits in the tank of the washer to hold prints in the proper position. The 20x24 adapter is a replacement print basket for the 16 x20 model only. It has four slots and holds four 20 x 24 prints in a "U" shape (quite large radius and perfectly harmless) emulsion side in (great wash that way).


"Like many others, I have used a number of print washers over the years, most of them made of heavy plexiglass sheets 'welded' together. All of them were fine, some even beautiful, but they pale in comparison with the Versalab! The solid, one-piece construction, of medium weight, is a superb design that is efficient, easy to put together and easy to take apart. As a diplomat who travels around the world, moving frequently, this ruggedness is vital because the Versalab can stand up to an amazing amount of abuse and work anywhere, with any level of water pressure, and still do the job. …. The Versalab is quite simply the best washer I have ever had and I do not expect to buy one ever again -- unless it's a larger Versalab!"
Michael McClellan, U.S. Foreign Service, KOSOVO


 

Best performance flow rates: .25 to .8 GPM.

Inlet connection: female GHT adapter

Outlet: Siphon from bottom and two overflow

Materials: Non-corrosive 18-8 stainless steel polyethylene, styrene and nylon


Minor assembly is required.

Click on this picture to see an enlarged
picture (on another page) of a partly assembled print basket. It shows the studs in place and the stackup of separator panels and nylon spacers. This is the main item of assembly of the washer.


See the Photographer's Formulary for a Residual Hypo Test Kit



Frequently asked questions about print washers

The user's instructions for the 11 x 14 in .pdf format

The drawings for the 11 x 14 instructions in .pdf format

The user's instructions for the 16 x 20 in .pdf format

The drawings for the 16 x 20 instructions in .pdf format

 


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