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Old 11-14-2010, 10:04 PM
Kittlegraphy Kittlegraphy is offline
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Default K-Lab Kodachrome Processing after Dec. 30, 2010

Perhaps the only possibility of Kodachrome processing after December 30, 2010 may lie with me. I purchased the one of the last K-Labs in existence from Rocky Mountain Film Laboratory. (I can’t comment on Rocky Mountain Film Laboratory’s processing or service, but they were very helpful to me.)
Unlike many people on a variety of photography forums, I researched the Kodachrome developing process to learn how it works. I found out about the K-lab for sale after it hadn’t sold on eBay. I literally saved the K-Lab. It was at a salvage yard in Denver and I picked it up the day before it was scheduled for destruction.
Kodachrome is a special black and white film. The K-Lab processes Kodachrome through at least 10 stages with at least 8 different photo-chemicals. (The K-Lab only processes 135 film. It can’t process movie film or 120 film.) The color is added to the film during development. Also, Kodachrome film is re-exposed to blue and red light during processing. The main proprietary chemicals are the cyan, magenta, and yellow dye-couplers. Those chemical formulas are know only to Kodak and are made by or for Kodak. Kodachrome developing chemicals are no more harmful to the environment or dangerous to work with than any other photo-chemicals.
All of the proprietary Kodachrome chemicals that Kodak has manufactured are designated for use by Dwayne’s. If there is any chemical surplus after Dec. 30th, then I may be able to acquire some of the Kodachrome chemicals for processing of film in my K-Lab. In the long run, I will have to synthesize Kodachrome chemicals myself to be able to develop Kodachrome.
The reason that I am trying to get the K-Lab operational is because of my silly love of Kodachrome. Yes, I hope to make K-Lab Kodachrome processing financially feasible, but I don’t expect to get rich. By what I see on eBay, I believe that there will be a lot of un-exposed Kodachrome still available after Dec. 30th. I also believe that there will be a lot of exposed Kodachrome that will miss the Dec. 30th deadline for development. Since Kodachrome is such a stable film, Kodachrome developed long after its expiration date will still look good.
Please, let me know what you think. I will need the help and support of all of you lovers of Kodachrome.
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Old 11-14-2010, 10:55 PM
chris00nj chris00nj is offline
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Cool. Have you ever worked K-14 process before?

If not, there may be a lot of trial and error.
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Old 11-15-2010, 12:00 AM
wlodekmj wlodekmj is offline
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It's wonderful that you have saved this machine - Rocky Mountain were trying to sell it for a long time.

But one of the reasons they had no takers could have been the problem you mention - getting the chemicals. Several people here and on other forums think that Kodak have been intent on killing Kodachrome to force its users to move to Ektachrome. Of course that might backfire, with unhapy Kodachrome users vowing to move to Fuji or Agfa rather than staying with Kodak.

Nevertheless, if that is Kodak's policy then they would be unlikely to sell you the chemicals and you would have to try to find another manufacturer for them. You might like to contact FotoStation in England who have also expressed an interest in sourcing the chemicals to keep K-14 processing going - perhaps you could find a way to co-operate with them. They have been mentioned on this forum before - their contact details are at http://www.oldfilmprocessing.com/ContactUs.asp

Good Luck - it would be wonderful if K-14 could be kept going for a while longer.
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Old 11-15-2010, 01:01 AM
Fredrik Fredrik is offline
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To use a K-Lab the chemicals need to be packaged in a specific way. Kodak discontinued this product many years ago, and since then K-Lab machines have been essentially useless. Leftover chemistry from Dwayne's will not be directly usable; you need to figure out a way to package them for use in the K-Lab.
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Old 11-15-2010, 07:32 AM
Fredrik Fredrik is offline
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Here's more info on the K-LAB: http://www.kodak.com/global/en/consu...bs/index.shtml

My understanding is that the K-LAB eliminated the need for an on-site chemist by using specially pre-mixed chemicals in bag-in-box containers (and a computer controlling the entire process). I would think the chemistry Dwayne's uses in traditional K-14 processing is entirely unsuitable for this machine.

I don't want to sound discouraging, but realistically I think what you're trying to do is going to be extremely difficult without full support from Kodak (which you're not going to get...)
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Old 11-15-2010, 01:56 PM
nickrapak nickrapak is offline
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Another contact that people haven't mentioned yet is Horiuchi Color in Japan. They were the last K-lab in the world, and they might have someone there that knows how to work the machine at least. Of course, the language barrier might be a problem.

As to sourcing the chemicals, there are several custom chemical manufacturers out there, so as long as you can get the exact formulas from Kodak, you might be in luck. The problem of course is that these manufacturers most likely will only produce in the tons of each chemical, and you'd have to pick up the cost of it all.
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Old 11-15-2010, 09:12 PM
Kittlegraphy Kittlegraphy is offline
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Default K-Lab

Thank you for the contact ideas of FotoStation in England and Horiuchi Color in Japan. They may be usable resources.
No, I haven’t worked K-14 process before or any other film-processors. I have the computer and the computer program for running the K-Lab. I also found a document archive on the internet in Europe that had all of the K-Lab manuals (including operation, repair, room setup, and parts) in PDF files. I now have copies of all of those manuals. The K-Lab computer control was quite basic compared to what we would expect of computer control in 2010. It was more of a computer monitoring system that tracked chemical temperature, concentration, and volume levels. The K-Lab machine is mostly a straight forward electro-mechanical running machine with many motors and servos to keep the film running at the right speeds. The magic of the K-Lab (allowing Kodachrome to be developed in a smaller machine than Dwayne’s) was the elliptical tubes that enhanced the agitation of the chemicals washing over the film at the right stage.
The bag-in-a-box chemicals are still the same as any K-14 chemicals. The chemicals were just packaged like wine-in-a-box to prevent oxidation and to lower the cost of the chemicals because they were now sold in smaller quantities. In traditional K-14 processing, a chemist is needed to prepare certain chemicals from bulk quantities, and then they are used right away to reduce “spoilage”. The K-Lab came with a separate rack for the bag-in-a-boxes. Tubes run from the boxes on the rack to the K-Lab. I will mount refillable containers in place of the pre-filled boxes. Yes, even after I have the K-14 formulas, the cost of manufacturing the chemicals (either in house or by third party chemical manufactures) will be substantial. However, remember that the original Kodachrome was invented by two musicians in their house.
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Old 11-16-2010, 12:08 PM
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dmr dmr is offline
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I think this is WAY COOL, Kittlegraphy! Congratulations! All the best of luck to you!

I'm sure you've heard the chit-chat on APUG about the patent info for Kodachrome being freely available. One of the patent holders (PE) was saying that the chemicals could be synthesized by any journeyman-level organic chemist. (Don't ask me, I did take Organic years ago in college, but forgot 99% of it!)

Anyway, I'll be following your progress and cheering you on!
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Old 11-17-2010, 07:24 PM
the Kodachrome Kidd the Kodachrome Kidd is offline
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Thumbs up K-14 Process,Post 12/31/2010???

WOW!!! Most exciting!!! I truly and sincerely hoppe you are able to find a way to make the K Lab a working marvel!!! Then i would know that there will be 2011 dated Kodachrome slides out there,and some of those may just be some of mine.Best of luck with this thing...Best Regards,Jim
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Old 11-23-2010, 11:27 AM
RichardE RichardE is offline
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Congratulations on saving the machine! Let's hope that Dwaynes equipment is not destroyed after 30th Dec.....at the very least these historic items should be preserved even if they cannot be used again.

It would be great if there were any chance of Kodachrome still being usuable after this year...it will not be easy, but nothing is impossible.

Please keep us informed of progress.
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