Thursday, March 26, 2015

R3 Monobath Developer Resource Page

This is the page for information, tips, links and results of New55's R3 Monobath Developer.

Click here to buy R3 Monobath Developer in a ready-to-use bottle.

Click here for the formula which was invented by Donald Qualls and tested on quite a few different black and white films.

Q: What is R3 Monobath?
A: R3 is a ready-to-use black and white film developer that allows anyone to process their own black and white film in about 6 minutes, using just one solution.

Q: What is a monobath?
A: A monobath is a developer that does the developing and fixing process in one step.  R3 works well when NOT agitated much. A little bit is OK but not necessary.

Q: Why use a monobath?
A: Because it is easy! It is also fast. And, R3 produces a unique look that can be very appealing.

Q: What precautions should I take?
A: We recommend you wear ordinary rubber gloves if you think you might want to handle films or containers wet with R3. Otherwise you should not get your nose close to the ammonia, which is irritating. Obviously, do not ingest R3, and if you do, call a doctor.

Q: At what temperature should R3 be used?
A: 80F is the standard temperature. R3 must be warm. That's 27 degrees Celsius.

Q: What films can I process?
A: Any black and white film, probably. We have tested it with Efke, Ilford, Kodak and New55's Atomic X films, and achieved good to excellent results with all.

Q: I read in Haist that each monobath has to be tailored for the specific film?
A: Grant Haist wrote a good book from the point of view of Kodak films. It is an excellent book but generally avoids the solution that Qualls invented, which goes against some of "the rules".  Hooray Donald!

Q: Why does R3 use ammonia? Doesn't it smell horrible?
A: No not really. The ammonia is less concentrated than household ammonia but you still don't want to stick your nose in it.  The ammonia controls the pH of the solution and that makes it work fast and controls the balance between the developer and the fixer.  The use of ammonia compounds to develop films was not accepted until several years of successful R3 use proved it worked.

Q: Will R3 produce an archival negative?
A: As long as the negative is washed well then it should last a long time.

Q: My Tri-X processed in R3 was a funny color. It scanned well though.
A: Yes, Tri-X at first has a brownish tint, but this goes away after a while.

Q: I see base fog in some of my negatives
A: The presence of a small amount of base fog is a characteristic of monobaths and instant films, too. Scanners have little trouble with this, by the way.

Q: Can I use R3 again?
A: Yes, depending on how much film you process, you can reuse R3. Stop reuse when you start to see degradation of the negative. It comes on slowly.

Q: Why can't I process the film at room temperature?
A: R3 requires that it be warm! This allows the develop and fix process to produce a properly developed negative. If the solution is colder than recommended, you will pull the development and lose speed. If the temperature is hotter than recommended, it can be used to push process and increase speed. This can be very handy at times!

Q: Do I have to hold the temperature exactly?
A: No. It isn't very critical, but do try to keep it warm while you use it.

Q: Can I process sheet films in a tray?
A: Yes, use a cover to hold the temperature, and keep the ammonia smell to a minimum. Plastic sandwich containers work exceptionally well and need very little R3 to cover sheet film.

Q: Can I process in a dark bag/changing bag?
A: Definitely! This is what I do all the time. The sandwich container and my sheet film holder take up little space, the the sandwich container is left a bit loose until the film is put in. Then I snap it shut.

Q:What about rollfilm?
A: You can use a daylight processing tank with a reel. Don't agitate too much but be sure to use enough solution to cover the negative.

Q: Should I agitate the film?
A: Except to wet the film, agitation is not necessary and too much can cause streaks. A little bit is OK.

Q: I use a roller tank. How about that?
A: Sure, go for it. You should be fine, but remember to keep the solution warm, and the film covered.

Q: How long will R3 keep?
A: Unopened R3 should keep for at least a year, which is a long time. It may even keep longer than that.

Q: I saw the fantastic and superb photography you and your crew did with R3. What scanner did you use?
A: This is the kind of question I wish I actually would get, but is just a self serving fantasy.  It is an Epson V750 Pro. I think the results are actually quite nice.

Q: I read that if monobath were any good, everybody would already be using them.
A: They have been, since instant photography began. Instant photographs all depend on a monobath.

Q: Why can't you ship outside the US?
A: It is too expensive to ship this outside the US, at present. But, you can mix your own very easily. Here is the formula.

Q: I see a layer at the bottom of used R3. Is that "sludge"?
A: That is metallic silver and is normal, and does not affect development. When you dispose used R3, you can save it if you like. A silversmith knows how to heat it to make a little bead of silver if you want.






Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Reagent Mixer arrives at 20X24 in Ashland

Our neighbors at New55 are 20x24 Studio which is an amazing thing because together we have concentrated all US instant film development under one roof.  Ted McLelland runs their engineering and contributes to New55, and one of his key areas of responsibility involves the making of reagents - also known as processing developer, goo, jelly or paste - for both black and white and color products.  Yesterday, one of 20X24's large units arrived in Ashland and was quickly set up by the experienced ex-Polaroid riggers who still move large things around New England.

In this series, Ted inspects the newly-arrived Big Mixer that uses heat, pressure, vacuum, large stirring vanes and lots of valves and gages interconnected in such a way as to produce about 30 litres of reagent a day.  That translates into enough reagent to fill a few thousand pods. This mixer was installed and run in Connecticut for the past several years, but now is under the same roof as the Pod Machine, which it feeds.

Ted McLelland and the equipment used to make reagents
newly arrived at 20x24

Inspection of the heat exchanger, which
controls the process temperature

The vessel in which the reagent is mixed
under heat and pressure

A large motor and gearbox turn the mixer.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Gallery of photographs processed in R3 Monobath

Here is a gallery with just a few of the excellent examples we have by using R3 Monobath.  All were scanned on an Epson V750 in automatic mode. Large files have been uploaded and you really should click on them once or twice to view them full size. Enjoy. And here is a link to an R3 Resource Page.

Want to try R3 but can't be bothered to measure and mix? New55 is now offering R3 at a reasonable price to help raise funds and promote the cause of easy large format photography. Please join in supporting New55 here.

Efke 25 4x5. Ted McLelland

Ilford Pan F Plus  D Fyler

Ilford Pan F Plus R Crowley

TMX 120 D Fyler

TMX 120 D Fyler

TMX 120 D Fyler

TMX 120 D Fyler

TMX 120 D Fyler

TMX 120 (crop) D Fyler

TMX 120 D Fyler

TMY 135 R Crowley This was a lost roll, unprocessed for 20 years.

Tri X 6x7 R Crowley

A very old roll of Pan X 120 found in a flea market TLR and processed in R3

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Good example of how the spread has improved, and what still needs to be done.

The spread, or how the reagent - that thick, viscous processing semi-fluid paste - travels in between the negative and the positive sheet, is not an easy thing to control.

Several factors contribute to the success or failure of the spread.


  1. The stack up of the layers. How thick each part is.
  2. The flexibility of each part. Negatives are stiff, paper can be stiff, the outer sleeve and the tongue have different, designed-in stiffnesses. Nothing about them is an accident which is what makes it difficult to source the materials.
  3. How that stack up sits evenly or not under the high sides of the rollers. The rollers aren't flat. Look next time you open a 545 and you will see that one of the rollers has higher areas. This was intentional and done precisely to accomodate the Polaroid process. New55 is different and yet still has to work in these same rollers.
  4. The rate of pull. A user can ruin the spread by pulling too quickly.
  5. Temperature. If it is cold, the reagent is stiffer, and spreads poorly. Better to go indoors and warm up.
  6. Condition of the holder. Rarely, these are damaged or worn.
  7. The pod contents. Is it filled with exactly the right amount of reagent?
  8. The pod seal. Does the seal burst in just the right way?
All of these have to be just right or the system won't work. Here are some effects and causes when things aren't right:


Spread too thick: The reagent won't cover the entire surface. This is caused by improper stack up distances, but an incomplete spread can also be caused by a bad pod. A too-thick spread can be identified on the positive print because the image will have poor sharpness.

Spread too thin: Usually perfect coverage, but the negative won't fully process and will be mottled. The positive print will be extra sharp, but a too sharp positive means a very tight gap which does not allow the full cycle of developing and fixing to occur on the negative side.

Below are examples of a spread that was almost right, but too tight for a perfect negative. Note the mottling in the mid tones of the chart. The positive print looks OK. This is considered close but not good enough. A wider gap might cause the spread to be incomplete, which would affect the pod fill. 

 Positive print. Looks OK, decent spread, and
 excellent sharpness. Very slight mottling can be seen
in the mid tones. Coated Jan. 15. '15 and shot Mar. 20, '15.





The negative. Despite good coverage, the mids
are seriously mottled. Not enough goop. Mar. 20, 2015.



Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Link to the Donate Button

http://www.new55.net/donate/


This is the link to the donate button.  A sincere thanks to all who have used it! Every little bit counts.


Bob

Friday, March 13, 2015

New55: Progress update March 13 2015

Most New55 supporters already know of the program's continuing need for time and money.  The Kickstarter funds were crucial to doing so much of the work to establish an industrial capacity for New55 FILM and so other new film-related products could be manufactured in the future. Here are some key areas:

The Receiver Sheet

Like any project with unknown variables, New55 has had its share of false starts, delays, design changes, flops and successes. One big flop was the old receiver sheet coating that was found to be too complex, too environmentally unsound, and too expensive - if made the way Polaroid made it in the past. It was a hard and expensive lesson, and even though it was anticipated that a start-from-scratch situation could occur if that development failed at first, it wasn't planned to go that way. But it did go that way,  and an all-new, water based receiver sheet coating had to be invented. The new receiver has now recently shown to have a reasonable chance of being cost effective and a good performer. The team has its fingers crossed because even though it is a relatively simplified design, it is still new and risky and has never been made before in production quantities.

Coating Development

New55 pays $2000 per hour at the commercial coater to test run and do final runs. It is the sincere hope of the team that the commercial coating will go smoothly and take two to three days to complete. There is no guarantee that will be the case, and you will be among the first to know if there are problems with this important step.  Today the team is trying to solidify the exact date of this coating event and the thought is that it is only a couple of weeks away.

Sleeve Assembly, and Cost Opportunities

In other areas, decent progress continues to be made. The sleeve assembly has undergone substantial changes so it may, one day, be produced on high speed machinery at a lower cost.  Everyone familiar with the project realizes that at first, the product will be very expensive to produce and that by iteration supported by sales the manufacturing costs should decrease over time. One nice thing about this improved sleeve is that it looks more like the "readyload" system and therefore could be used to make a single sheet reloaded 4x5 convenience product, if there is support for it.

The Pod

Another lagging item is the pod machine. This is owned by 20X24 and we are grateful it is in the building, but work to reconfigure it to make the right pods for New55 has lagged and is now also behind schedule.  Work is being done to try to catch up and although it is an unanticipated expense, various supplemental fundraising ideas and initiatives are being pursued to support that and the other things that still need to be done.

The Clip

If you recall there was quite a lot of talk about the clip in the past.  The design team took a chance with a very much improved clip made of stainless steel rather than just copy the soft steel that was used in the past. It turned out to be a good decision - the clip works well and has been so trouble free it now gets taken for granted. The initial cost per clip is 25 cents which is high. Working toward a less expensive clip is a future task.

The Shop, and Administration

It takes a lot of coordination and organization to set up an online store and a fulfillment system. New55 can't just "ship out" boxes of anything as that would be very expensive to do. A fulfillment center that happens to be run by an ex-Polaroid person will act as warehouse and order taker assuming there is a product.  We must have this system and the accounting and manufacturing planning resources in place for production. These areas tend to be out of the sight and comprehension of consumers.  To date, the shop has one item, a T shirt (in various sizes) and has sold about $3000 worth. This helps the team learn how to run the shop and the fulfillment center with something less critical than film, and makes a small but very important amount of additional cash available for the rest of the project. The response to the T shirt is so good that there is an eagerness to put up several of the supporter-suggested products like the "readyload" and monobath to help raise more funds. Watch for these items in the store.

Four Channels

New55 has four important information channels that include the Kickstarter list, this blog, the Facebook page, and the mailing list. Many people who supported the Kickstarter do not use Facebook, so they need to have regular updates. Many new people have come into New55 through Facebook but never look at the blog or Facebook. Then there are those who signed up to the mailing list.  There is also a minor presence on Twitter and a growing one on Instagram.  With all these channels it is sometimes hard to get the word out consistently, so we ask you to help chime in to assist those with questions and continue to share in the overall effort.

Summary

New55 FILM is late and the cost over run has been discussed and also the possibility that work could be slowed or stopped if the money runs out.  That lead to various fundraising ideas and a push for fundraise-friendly products. Meanwhile important progress has been made and results look good. There is still risk and the team is working diligently on all aspects of the mission of creating a new industrial capacity for the manufacture of an instant film product.



Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Supplemental funding sought for New55 FILM project

"Start from scratch".

Those are the words you didn't want to hear with regard to the Receiver Sheet development, because you knew that would 1. take more time and 2. cost more than anticipated.  But the coating team did it! The results are good, and there is an environmental benefit too - one that was necessary in light of new restrictions on certain chemicals and processes.

Solving that technical and environmental risk still leaves a considerable financial risk that, to be frank, could be a show-stopper. We must raise a modest additional amount of money to see this through, and there are several ways to go about that, below.  And for those who have and continue to donate to the cause, as we have with our time and personal funds (Sam and Bob are not salaried, but we do have to pay other people to work) again a gigantic Thank-you.

Since we are not very late and "only" short of funds, you have been giving us many helpful fundraising ideas. The first is to get The Shop open on New55.net.  Even a trickle will help there and that leads to the question of what other products might be offered.  Currently you have sent renewed calls (that have not abated since the early days) of getting to you, a version of Readyload or Quickload products.  If so, they will be as fundraising tools - not primary products. No distractions from the demanding work of getting New55 FILM into a produceable state.

All products in The Store should have something to do with the mission of making large format film photography accessible and fulfilling. Though tee shirts do qualify, barely, more substantial products such as other analog films and developers are better. For that reason you are going to be asked to be part of an experiment with some offerings that should appeal to the broader audience and provide a way to start early, needed sales. These items have to be carefully selected.

Requirements for items in The Shop.

An item must be:

1. Compatible with the mission. Either directly related to the cause of film photography, or its supporters and fans.

2. Available in modest quantities. This is often overlooked. Some items like injection-molded tanks, for instance, require large runs and expensive tooling.

3. Profitable. These "other" products exist only to support the much more important industrial development of Instant Film manufacture.

4. Shippable.

5. Environmentally acceptable.

6. Something you, as a serious photographer, can appreciate from a practical, esthetic or simply entertaining viewpoint.


What do you think of these things?


  • Books
  • Apparel
  • Film holders
  • "Readyload or Quickload" type preloaded film.
  • 4x5 branded sheet film similar to discontinued Panatomic X. We'd have to come up with a name for that - Maybe we can have a naming contest.
  • Monobath developers
  • Branded cases and gear
  • Developing trays
  • Modified film-safe IR cameras for those who wish to make their own Visible Darkrooms like we have.
  • Custom film loading service - for instance, someone might order five "loads" with Tri-x, three with Ektachrome (from the freezer) and seven with the as-yet named Pan-X replacement.
  • Original prints from The Gallery, signed and dated.


This is just a start - what else comes to your mind?

ps. Comments are most welcome - you can comment as "anonymous" and if you can, please give your first name.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

New55 Positive Print Scale Matches Negative




New55 FILM Positive Print - Copyright 2015
Robert J Crowley. All rights reserved

New55 FILM Negative - Copyright 2015
Robert J Crowley. All rights reserved


New55 Positive Print Tonal Scale Matches Negative


Ashland MA February 4, 2015   

New55 FILM examples were published today to show the progress underway at the New55 FILM project.  The New55 team is pleased that its newly-invented receiver formula matches the tonal scale and speed of the negative as closely as it does.  The formula, which was developed to conform to mandatory rules regarding the use of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), is the first of its kind and represents a major technical accomplishment.  The New55 Receiver Engineering team consisting of Ted McLelland, Charles Fendrock and Jake Kellett had to abandon their first formula after months of trials and then start again from scratch.   

The old method similar to that previously used by Polaroid was found to be impractical and environmentally risky.  A new formula had to be invented from scratch, and the team performed hundreds of test coats and exposures over the last several months.

“The surface of the positive print consists of millions of nano structured cells where the chemical reaction takes place during processing. The structure is an example of photonic nanoengineering that began in the early days of photography. This newly-developed version has potential biomedical applications outside of the photographic field”,   explained Bob Crowley, who has been working on the project.

“The unexpected development time and difficulties sourcing materials that went out of production years ago have hampered our speed, and delayed the project” said Sam Hiser, Project CEO.  “We plan various fundraising activities to continue the effort” he said.

New55 was started and partially funded by Crowley in 2011. In 2014, Crowley then joined forces with Hiser which raised an additional $365,000 in a Kickstarter effort. Crowley estimates that a total equivalent expenditure of just under $1M might be the to-date “burn", which he believes is a normal amount for such a high-risk product development exercise.


Photo details: Shot with an old Speed Graphic 4x5 press camera fitted with a 150mm f2.8 Xenotar. Full assembly of New55 PN film exposed and processed in a metal Polaroid 545 sheet film holder. Both positive and negative scanned on an Epson V750 and are uncorrected and unedited, except for slight edge cropping. Film speed ISO 100.  Exposure: 1 second at f32. Processing time: 180 seconds, negative cleared in Ilford Rapid Fixer.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

New55 website is up, and other things

Sam has put up a very functional and artistically minimal site at http://new55.net which has what I think is a very appropriate look.  You might notice "The Tomato" logo.  I imagine that thing spinning as the film loads.

A new addition is the convenient paypal button that quite a few supporters have used recently!  A gigantic Thank you.

We're definitely not all the way there, and though risks remain - and I feel reasonably optimistic - I am temporarily (mentally) exhausted.  It's a good thing we have a versatile team - one that is running to beat the time and money clock.

In a couple of weeks we'll be showing our balanced receiver and negative which is a big accomplishment.  Yesterday we found pinholes in some of our long awaited substrate. There's always something to deal with.

BC

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Spending Summary: 2014 starting cash, and remaining cash at the beginning of 2015





















Those who have been following know that the actual amount we got from Kickstarter was reduced from the "pledge" of $415,025 - caused by failed payments, and fees - to $365,256.

1. Beginning Cash. Kickstarter yielded $365,256. 
2. We also put in $2000 to open the bank account, and then people donated $858 through paypal.
3. The starting amount was $368,114.

In early May we opened the New55 checking account with $2000 to cover expenses needed right then, and by May 29 the Kickstarter proceeds were finally in the account, referred to as "beginning cash". We also got some donations totaling $858 at that time. Together, these have been applied to fund the development of New55 and the industrial capacity to manufacture a product, according to the descriptions and risks on Kickstarter.

Spending

1. These are the things we spent money on
2. Each category is a summary of what was spent in that area
3. We might adjust these numbers as we go through the end of year accounting.

Nine different expense (spending) categories are listed here. The word "expense" means money spent. We have records of spending that occupies many pages, so this is just a summary according to the main categories.

Rent, Heat and Lights.  New55 occupies substantial dedicated assembly and lab areas, and shared office space, and pays a portion of the rent and utilities at 72 Nickerson Rd. in Ashland, MA. The charge New55 pays is allocated on a square footage basis.

Payroll is what New55 reimbursed, at cost, the hired hourly help. To save time and money, New55 used the existing system at Soundwave Research  (Soundwave Research started New55 several years ago and funded the initial R&D, and other things) which provides administrative, insurance, regulatory, bookkeeping, payroll services, accounting and other things that New55 did not have to go out and find separately.

Equipment consists of machines, tools, tooling (including hard tooling at a vendor location), test equipment, and lab equipment. The sleeve machine, coaters, big microscope, ovens and dies come to mind, and there are others.

Materials are films, papers, emulsions, metals, formed metals, chemicals, reagents, substrates, tapes, adhesives, labels, boxes and more.

R&D is the charge for services from Soundwave Research that are not on payroll, but take professional time, software, or equipment not owned by New55.  For instance, New55 gets full access to CAD such as Solidworks, and Quickbooks Manufacturing as well as other engineering tools used to perform product development and create bills of materials, component drawings, process charts, and necessary manufacturing documentation.  If New55 had to get these by itself it would have been very costly and time consuming.

Shipping and freight is what was spent on UPS, postage, overland freight, TNT international, and other charges relating to getting materials, supplies and machines shipped.

Marketing relates to websites, promotions, email support lists, logo designs, etc.

Travel is mainly airfare and hotels, and fuel and mileage. Both US and international travel was done to obtain services and key materials for the project.

Miscellaneous consists of things that are not in another category.

Total spending is the sum of the above. The total, and this report, is unaudited, which means that adjustments might still be made, additional bills could still come in, and checks for errors are still to be done.

Remaining Cash as of January 6, 2015

Remaining cash is what was in the bank on January 6.  New55 has to pay state and federal taxes, and that could be anywhere from 20 to 50% of that remaining amount, or more, which means we cannot spend all of it until we know.

It is apparent that we will need to raise additional cash. 

1. Most of the biggest expenses have been made, and we believe we are close to being able to begin scale up of the New55 product.
2. The project is very near its biggest ramp up event which is to run actual receiver sheet in a large coating facility, and we believe we have the budget already in place to cover that.
3. We have not yet achieved "first lot to stock" which is the formal placing of completed product into a stock location.
4. In addition, we are readying "the store" so we can sell accessories and other items to raise more cash and fund operations.
5. Remaining cash on January 6, 2015 is $111,575, subject to tax.

New55 Holdings, LLC

Friday, December 12, 2014

NEW55 FILM ANNOUNCES SCHEDULE DELAY, REPORTS GOOD PROGRESS

NEW55 FILM ANNOUNCES SCHEDULE DELAY, REPORTS GOOD PROGRESS

Ashland, Massachusetts -- December 17, 2014 -- New55 Holdings, LLC, announced today that there will be necessary schedule changes to its New55 FILM project due to delays in materials.  New55 CEO Samuel W. Hiser said "While we are not late - yet - it does look like the team will be delayed by longer-than-expected lead times from key suppliers. Certain industries move slowly, and we have to wait for them to supply us with custom materials, some which have not been manufactured for over a decade.”

Co-founder Bob Crowley remarked, "The New55 project has been unlike any conventional business and as a result we have the freedom to talk about our problems publicly. The last six months have been very productive with several discoveries and many problems, some which have been solved." Crowley added, “Key problems facing the team, and the release of New55 FILM, also involve long supply waiting times for critical materials.”

The project reported that manufacturing has started with certain subassemblies and film supplies. Many components are now in stock, but there are some remaining materials that are being developed. Progress with the all-important receiver sheet has been steady but difficult, and will take more time and possibly more money than expected. 

The goal still is to begin the full production ramp and continue it through Q1 2015, but it will likely get off to a later than expected start. The team thanked supporters for their generosity and encouragement, as well as many interesting and useful suggestions. “Nearly all of the important assembly processes and tools that will be used in Ashland are in place and working, staff are trained, and important local services are in place.  The assembly areas have been nicely outfitted, and we have recently built an additional assembly station that will be used to accelerate the production ramp. Good progress has been made.” said Hiser.

20x24 Studio's recent move to Ashland, which is a key part of the plan, has progressed. "We are pleased they are now neighbors and we work together every day," said Hiser. "We are attempting to build a small, sustainable industry, so our mutual goals are long-term.”

Reports on Financial Matters and Fundraising

New55's store will "go live" on schedule and offer minor products to first learn how to operate the store efficiently and to help pay for additional work that will need to be continued through 2015.

"New55 has a significant tax liability. Crowd-funding has advanced, but tax methods have not, so we are in the position of having to pay ordinary income tax on the Kickstarter proceeds.  Fundraising in 2015 will also be income." explained Crowley.

Hiser and Crowley currently contribute as non-salaried volunteers.  Pre-tax withholding for Crowley has been accomplished by charging the project and withholding an amount to partially cover required taxes. New55 facility owner Soundwave Research is paid a variable monthly fee for rent, utilities, heat, accounting and bookkeeping services, access to tools and machines, consulting fees, and transferred labor. Soundwave has charged New55 “at cost” as a temporary measure to assist the project. Transferred labor consists of technical and engineering time from Soundwave, consisting of three regular employees and two additional paid consultants. 

Contact:

Samuel W. Hiser
SamuelWHiser@new55.net

http://New55.Net