“The Developist” Is a DIY Semi Automated Assistant for Home Developing

Developing your own films at home could be easier if you have an “assistant” like “The Developist.”

Home developing is a relatively easy task that gets easier once you get the hang of it. But of course, if there’s something that can make it easier right off the bat, we’d all take it. We always tip our hat for anyone brave enough to put together their own tools, processes, and even machines to make home developing easier and more sophisticated. Today, we’re sharing an interesting prototype for a home developing assistant called “The Developist” with our film photographer readers.

But first, a little something about this contraption. As with many film photographers, Mark Webb enjoys developing his own films, but found it difficult to keep track of agitation times and temperatures. The fully automatic Filmomat tabletop film processor seemed to be a great choice for a developing machine, but he understandably balked at the €3,500 price tag. Inspired by it anyway, Mark decided to have a go at making his own “assistant”. The result is the “Frankenstein-looking” prototype of “The Developist,” which you’ll see at work in the trial run video below.

While essentially just a timer and temperature “helper” for home developing, it’s a machine that does its job well. In Mark’s own words, “The semi-automated one can be thought of as a developing ‘microwave’; it helps with times, pings when ready, and keeps an eye on temperatures. The beauty is it can be used with any waterbath, chemical bottles, and with simple mods and any stick-based agitation tank.”

But the most important question is perhaps, does it really work? In case you’re curious, here are some photos from the rolls Mark has already run through his cool machine:

“The Developist” may already be serving Mark as is, but it’s also interesting to know that he also has a fully automatic version in the pipeline.

“This was a stepping stone to get the skills needed to make a fully automated one, which I hope to start in the autumn (fall). The machine may seem a bit too simple for limited speeds/developing chemicals, but times and temperatures are easily changed by changing simple time and temperature values in the code.”

The Valve Panel for the fully automated version Mark is working on.

Follow Mark’s build diary and YouTube channel if you’re interested in finding out how he put “The Developist” together. And you’ll want to be checking his website, because soon have a complete how-to guide if you want to create your own!

All images used with permission and submitted to The Phoblographer