US 3695162 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Wing  DEVELOPING MACHINE FOR PHOTOGRAPHIC FILM'  Inventor: Ray D. Wing, 4680 S.W. Upper Drive, Lake Oswego, Oreg. 97034  Filed: Aug. 17, 1970  Appl. No.: 64,197
 US. Cl. ..'....95/89 R, 95/90.5, 134/159  Int. Cl. ..G03d 3/00  Field of Search ..95/89 R, 89 D, 90, 90.5, 93,
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3 ,124,051 3/1964 Buechner ..-...95/96 3,000,288 9/ 1961 .Winnek ..95/89 R 3 ,508,483 4/1970 Wiedner ..95/96 Primary Examiner-Samuel S. Matthews Assistant Examiner-Richard L. Moses Attorney-Kolisch & Hartwell 1 Oct. 3, 1972  ABSTRACT A developing machine for photographic film. The machine includes a covered tank having a developing trough secured therein. A perforated cylindrical sleeve surrounding a film reel is removably supported within the trough by circular hubs adapted to fit within the open ends of the cylinder. One hub is located at the end of the trough, eccentrically attached to the shaft of a motor mounted on the trough, for rotating and agitating the cylinder. The other hub is supported on a fence that can be adjustably positioned along the length of the trough to accommodate cylinders of dif-.
ferent length. Fluid is admitted to an outer portion of the tank to control the temperature environment of the trough. A valve controlled fluid supply system is provided for sequentially furnishing developing, washing and setting solutions to the trough from remote containers. Inert gas such as nitrogen under pressure is used to propel these solutions from their containers. A programmable timer is provided to control the valves of the supply system and establish thetime intervals and sequence of steps of a desired developing cycle.
10 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures PATENTEnnm 3- 1912 31595, 162
SHEET 1 OF 2 Ray D. Wing INVENTOR KM HCJLJQ,
DEVELOPING MACHINE FOR PHOTOGRAPHIC FILM BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION open ends of the sleeve. A first hub is rotatably secured at one endof the trough, being eccentrically secured to the shaft of a motor mounted on the tank for rotating and agitating the cylinder and film reel. The other hub is supported on a fence adapted to bridge the top of the trough so that the hub'can be. located along the length of the trough at any location desired; This permits use of cylinders of different lengths.
A valve-controlled fluid supply network is provided Developing machines, as presently used at large m for furnishing the developing and wash solutions to the commercial processors include a complex. conveyor system which sequentially moves film to be processed through a series of baths and washes. Since these systems include a large number of baths and washes, a considerableamount of space is required for their installation. Furthennore, an intricate control system is used to establish and control the time intervalsin the selected developing process. Consequently, such developing equipment is quite complex and usually expensive.
In other systems used for development of smaller amounts of photographic film, it is usual for an operator to place the film on a suitable rack which is then placed in a machine and submerged into the various solutions used in the development process. The solutions are manually added and agitated and a hand timer is used to regulate the exposure of the film in each of the solutions. These systems are not satisfactory since they are cumbersome touse and require the constant attention of the operator.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Accordingly, it is an object of the invention to pro vide an improved developing machinefor photographic film which can handle small or large amounts of film, and which can be readily modified to handle either black and white film or color film of various sizes.
It is another object of the invention to provide a developing machine of simple design and construction which is sufficiently compact for use in a small space by a studio or a photographer. It is yet another object of the invention to provide a developing machine having a film retaining holder and cylinder adapted to be power-rotated and agitated in a unique manner while submerged in the developing solutions, for uniformly developing the film.
It is yet a further object of the invention to provide an improved developing machine which includes a programmable timer and valve control system for automatically admitting washes and solutions to the developing trough in a certain order and at certain interval's for completing a predetermined developing cycle selected by the operator.
It is still another object of the invention to provide for the use of minimum amounts of solution to process varying amounts of film so that it is economically possible to discharge the solution after one usage.
These and other objects of the invention are attained in a developing machine which includes a covered tank having a developing trough therein. A perforated cylindrical sleeve is adapted to fit within the developing trough and carry a film holder therein. The holder supports the film to be developed in a helical roll so that it is uniformly exposed to the solutions within the trough when immersed. The cylindrical sleeve is supported in the trough by circular hubs adapted to fit within the trough from remote containers. Inert gas such asnitrogen under pressure is used to force the various solutions from the respective containers through the fluid supply tubing. The water used duringthe wash cyclesis introduced through the same tubing system used for the solutions, thereby cleaning the tubing systems between each charge of solution andavoiding chemical contamination of one solutionwith another.
A system is provided to furnish water of a predetermined temperatureto the outer tank for controlling the temperature environment of the developing trough. A programmable timer is provided toestablish the intervals for each step of the developing process and to control the valves of the fluid supply system in a predetermined sequence for performing an appropriate developing cycle for the type of film to be processed.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS Other objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:
FIG. 1 is a right elevation view of a console-mounted developing machine with the front partially removed;
FIG. 2 is an end elevation view of the console shown in FIG. 1 withthe end wall partially removed;
FIG. 3 is a plan view of a developing tank designed in accordance with the invention with the cover removed;
FIG. 4 is a right elevation view, in section, taken along lines 4-4 in FIG. 3;
FIG. '5 is an end elevation view, in section, taken along lines 5-5 in FIG. 4; and
FIG. ,6 .is a detail view of a film holder utilized in the embodiment described, taken along linesv 6-6 in FIG. 4.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION Referring now to FIGS. 1 and 2, the developing machine 10 generally includes a cabinet 11 and a control console 12 supported for movement on wheels 13. The cabinet serves as a base for a developing tank 18 with a removable cover 22. The cabinet includes an upper shelf 16 upon which are retained a plurality of removable containers 17a-l7d adapted to confine the various developing solutions used in the machine. The cabinet is provided with a lower storage shelf 20 which supports a tank 21 filled with nitrogen or another inert gas under pressure, utilized for expelling the contents of containers 17 through a fluid supply network generally indicated at 26 in a manner to be explained. Doors 24 enclose the upper and lower shelves of the cabinet.
Control console 12 surrounds a programmable timer l4 and includes a front control panel 25 having various control switches 28 and dials 40 thereon. The timer is of conventional design and includes a plurality of sets of contacts adapted to be opened and closed in response to movement of the timer. Each dial can be manually set to control the opening and closing of one or more sets of contacts at predetermined times. A control switch is associated with each dial 40 by which the contacts controlled by that dial can be set to regulate one of a set of valves in the fluid supply system in a manner explained hereinafter.
Tank 18 has a trough 46 supported therein. The tank is bounded by a floor 45, side walls 42 and ends 43, 44. The trough has a substantially semicylindrical bottom 48, opposed sides 47 and ends 49.
The trough is provided with an inlet 19 connected through conduit 27 to a main supply tube 29 which is adapted to receive fluid selectively from each of the containers 17 through one of a plurality of supply tubes 30a-30. As shown, each of the supply tubes extends through a suitable vent in the associated container and reaches nearly to the bottom of the container. Each of the supply tubes includes an upper loop 31 which prevents backflow of liquid from supply pipe 29 into the respective container.
Each of the containers is adapted to receive inert gas from tank 21 through one of a plurality of corresponding gas lines 32. Electrically controlled valves34a-34d connected to. the timer by electrical cables 85 are provided one in each gas line, to selectively regulate flow through the lines in a manner to be explained. In the embodiment shown, four containers are utilized. However, any other suitable number of containers can be used, it being understood that corresponding valves, supply tubes and gas tubes are required therefor.
The main supply tube 29 is also connected to a source of temperature controlled water, not shown, by
a tube 35. An electrically controlled three-way valve 36, connected to the timer by an electrical cable 86, is connected in tube 35 to regulate flow of water therethrough. A tube 37 is connected between a third outlet of valve 36 and an inlet 38 in outer portion 18 of the developing tank. Thus, water for maintaining uniform temperature is introduced into outer portion 18 of the tank with valve 36 in one operative position, and with valve 36 in a second operative position such water is introduced into the trough for wash purposes.
An outlet 53 is formed in the bottom of the trough, at the left end thereof as viewed in FIG. 4, and another outlet 23 is formed in the bottom of the trough at the other end. An electrically controlled drain valve 89, connected to the timer by an electrical cable 88, is provided between outlet 53 and a drain tube 90 communicating with the outlet. Drain valve 89 is closed during the various processing intervals of a developing cycle and is opened at the end of each processing interval to permit discharge of the solutions or wash water from the trough. Outlet 23 is connected directly to the drain tube, which is adapted for connection to a suitable V drainage reservoir, not shown, at the installation site of the developing machine.
Overflow vents 39 drain water from tank 18 into the trough when the water in tank 18 exceeds a certain level. Such water flows from the trough through outlet 23.
A motor 50 is secured to one end of tank 18 adjacent the end of the trough, having a shaft 51 that extends through an opening in end walls 43, 49. Suitable sealing means, not shown, are provided around the motor shaft to prevent leakage. The motor is energized from a suitable power source and is electrically connected to the timer for control by means, not-shown.
A partition or fence 55, divides the trough into left and right portions as viewed in FIG. 4. The fence comprises a wall 56 having a flange 57 along the outer edge thereof. The flange is designed to generally conform to the cross-sectional outline of the trough. The wall is formed with a plurality of overflow openings 54 therein. The overflow openings are particularly designed to let wash water overflow into the right portion of the trough for discharge through outlet 23.
A. section of rubber tubing 58 or other sealing material is provided, adapted for placement between the flange and the inner surface of the trough to establish a liquid seal therebetween when the fence is positioned in the trough. A cross member 59 is secured at the top of the fence, having depending flanges at the ends thereof for supporting the fence on the side walls of the trough. Thumb screws 61 extend through threaded holes in the flanges for clamping the fence in the desired position. i
A circular hub 60 is mounted on the shaft 51 of the motor, adapted to be rotated therewith. The hub is fabricated of plastic and includes an outer flange 62 and an inner race 63 of reduced diameter. A rubber ring 65 is secured about the periphery of the inner race for a purpose described hereinafter. The center of hub 60 is offset with respect to the motor shaft so that the race of the hub describes an eccentric motion when rotating.
Another hub 66 of similar design is removably mounted in the trough near the fence in generally opposed relationship to hub 60. Hub 66 is secured to an elongate arm 68 vertically suspended from a cross member 69. Cross member 69 is of alength sufficient to extend between the sides of the trough for supporting the hub and arm. Detents 71 are formed at the ends of the cross member to retain the latter between the side walls of the trough. Hub 66 differs from hub 60 in that hub 66 is mounted for rotation about its center axis. Also hub 66 does not include a rubber ring about the periphery of its inner race.
A perforated cylindrical sleeve 74 is adapted to be suspended in the trough, having open ends 75 which fit over and rest upon the inner races of the hubs between the hub flanges. As shown, the inside diameter of the sleeve is somewhat larger than the race diameter. However, ring 65 on race 63 provides sufficient friction to enable the sleeve to rotate with hub 60. In addition to rotational movement, the sleeve is agitated due to the eccentric motion of hub 60.
A sleeve having a length approximately one-half the length of the trough is shown in the embodiment described. However, it should be apparent that sleeves of different length can be used. Thus, the positioning of the fence and hub 66 at various locations along the length of the trough will accommodate sleeves of different size as necessary to process film of different width.
A film retaining reel, or holder, 77 is confined within the cylindrical sleeve adapted to separate and retain the film surfaces for even exposure to the contents of the trough. The holder, shown in detail in FIG. 6, includes a center or mandrel 79 comprised of four wires having upturned end segments. Mounted on the inner sides of the end segments are a pair of generally opposed spirally wound wires 80. The ends of the spiraled wires are located opposite each other whereby continuous, identical spiral paths are formed leading to the center of the film holder. The wires are spaced apart a sufficient distance to accommodate easily the width of the film to be processed in the machine. In using the holder, the end of the film to be processed is fed under the outer end of each of the spiraled wires and drawn inwardly along the path described above.
In the operation of the apparatus described, film to be developed is placed within the holder and sleeve, the sleeve is placed within the left portion of developing trough engaging the hubs and the cover of the tank is replaced. The operator then sets each of the switches on the control console to an appropriate position to select a desired valve. This controls the order in which the valves'will be operated and establishes a desired sequence for delivery of the developers, washes, and other solutions to the tank. Then the operator sets the dial corresponding to each switch to an appropriate position to establish the desired times at which the timer contacts associated with a particular valve will be turned on and then turned off by the timer. Thus, the dial and switch settings serve to establish a fill, agitation and drain cycle for each of the solutions and washes that is to be provided to the trough during the selected developing cycle. With the settings completed, the timer and motor are energized and the developing cycle is run. 4
In atypical cycle of operation, with all the valves ini tially closed and the timer energized, valve 36 is changed to its first operative position and temperature controlled water is delivered to the outer portion of the tank. After a predetermined fill interval, valve 36 is closed and valve 34a is opened to supply solution from container 17a to the trough.
After a predetermined fill interval, during which the left portion of the troughis filled with solution to a desired level, usually well below the overflow level, valve 34a is closed. An agitation interval ensues, after which drain valve 89 is opened and the solution drains from the trough. Valve 89 is subsequently closed. A
second solution can be admitted to the trough by opening valve 34b whereby the sequence described above is repeated. Alternatively, valve 36 can be changed to the second operative position so that wash water is supplied to the trough. The wash water eventually fills the left portion of the trough and thereafter continuously overflows into the right portion of the trough. After a suitable washing interval, valve 36 is closed and drain valve 89 is again opened to drain the wash water from the trough.
After the drain interval, valve 89 is closed, another one of valves 34 is opened to admit solution from a container and the above operations are repeated in the manner described above. The cycle continues until each solution has been furnished to the trough and the film has been completely processed. The motor can be energized only during the desired agitation intervals or it can be energized continuously.
1. Apparatus for processing photographic film comprising a fluid-retaining developing trough,
means for delivering fluid to the interior of said 5 trough first and second circular hubs rotatably mounted in spaced relationship within said developing trough, at least one of said hubs being eccentrically mounted within said developing trough,
a hollow cylindrical sleeve removably disposed within said developing trough, said sleeve being rotatably supported at its ends by said hubs, said sleeve having a film'holder removably confined therein for supporting film to be developed, and
motive means mounted on said tank for selectively rotating said cylindrical sleeve.
2. Apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein the periphery of at least said one hub is partially surrounded by a ring of nonmetallic material.
3. Apparatus for developing photographic film comprising an elongate developing trough having opposed side walls and opposed ends,
an electric motor mounted adjacent said trough having a shaft extending through one end of said u a first circular hub eccentrically mounted on said shaft for rotation therewith,
a support arm movably mounted on said trough, extending downwardly into the trough between opposed sides of said trough,
a second circular hub rotatably mounted on said support arm, opposed from said first hub, and
a cylindrical sleeve removably disposed within said trough, said sleeve having open ends of a diameter greater than the diameter of said hubs, the ends of said sleeve being adapted to fit over said hubs for rotation therewith.
4. Apparatus as claimed in claim 3, further including fence means movably mounted within said trough for dividing said trough, and a sealing member providing a seal between the periphery of said fence means and the inner surface of said trough.
5. Apparatus as claimed in claim 3, further including a film holder removably confined within said cylindrical sleeve, the surface of said sleeve being perforated.
6. Apparatus as claimed in claim 3, further including a tank having said trough mounted therewithin, said tank being adapted to hold a body of liquid about the outside of said trough.
7. Film processing apparatus comprising an elongate developing trough having sides and opposed ends adapted to hold fluid,
a perforate container member disposed in said trough adapted to support therewithin film to be processed,
mechanism supporting such container member within said trough for rotation of the container member about an axis extending generally between said ends of the trough,
said mechanism including means eccentrically mounting at least one end of the container member whereby said end moves eccentrically on rotation of the container member, and
motive means for rotating said containermember.
8. The apparatus of claim 7, wherein said mechanism comprises opposed hubs for supporting the ends of the container member, at least one hub being movably mounted within said trough for adjustable movement along the length of the trough.
9. The apparatus of claim 7, which further includes a movable partition extending into the trough between its ends, said partition being sealed along its periphery to the inner surface of the trough and being effective to divide the trough into multiple compartments, said container and the mechanism supporting said container being within one of said compartments.
10. Film processing apparatus comprising an elongate developing trough having sides and opposed ends adapted to hold fluid, said trough having means for draining fluid from one end thereof,
a movable partition extending into the trough disposed between the ends thereof, said partition being sealed along its periphery to the inner surface of the trough and being effective to divide the trough into multiple compartments including one having said means for draining fluid and one bounded by the other end of said trough,
a container member mounted within said other compartment for holding film to be processed, and
mechanism supporting said container member within