Build your own rapid roll-film dryer

This film dryer can be built for a few dollars (not including the hair dryer) and will dry up to 10 rolls of film including film in plastic reels. The pipe holds the reels and the drying source is a hair dryer nozzle stuck into the top. If you use it in a dusty enviroment you'll need an air filter over the hair dryer's air intake. Be careful as this dryer gets hot and although it can dry film very quickly it can also melt the film onto metal reels, it also doesn't have a timer unless you plug it into one.

Parts List

  • 3"x2" ABS Reducer Bushing (this will fit snugly into the end of the pipe, check at the store)
  • 20" of 4" diameter ABS plastic pipe
  • Epoxy Glue
  • Handheld hair dryer
  • Reel Holder parts (steel hanger, cable ties: see below)
  • Mounting parts (see below)

How to build

1. Hardware stores often won't sell you only 20" of 4" diameter ABS plastic pipe so just buy the longer piece and have them cut it into 20" pieces (you can build more film dryers with the extra pieces).

2. Use a drill and other tools (A RotoZip power tool would be nice, or a Dremel) to make the reel holder mounting holes and guides on the bottom of the pipe. See the detail in the photographs below.

Note that the single rear mounting hole is across from the final rounded groove that the reel holder will sit in and NOT across from the bottom cut in for that path.If you make a mistake, cut-off that part of the pipe and try again.

3. File/sandpaper smooth the guides you have cut into the bottom of the pipe. Then wash the pipe and dry it so there is no dust residue on any of the parts. Make sure you dry the top of the pipe where you are going to glue the bushing in the next step (you can use that hair dryer you bought to do this).

4. Make sure your 3"x2" bushing will fit into the pipe properly, ideally it will be a snug fit but if it's a little loose that's okay too.

5. Glue (use epoxy glue for its strength and ability to fill gaps) the reducer bushing into the top of the pipe with the smaller end facing down. Let dry and harden while you proceed on the next step.

6. Build the reel holder. I bought a steel clothes hanger from Wal-Mart that was strong but could be bent in a vise and/or a pair of pliers, it wasn't that easy but I did do it. Use two pieces and make sure the pieces are long enough to extend beyond the width of the ABS pipe. The reason you need to make an "X" with the reel holder is that stainless steel reels will fall out otherwise.

To join the two pieces I used two pieces of cable ties to lock the pieces together in an "X" design. Make sure there are no sharp edges on the cut ends of the stainless steel. If you're really desperate for parts you can take apart an old bent stainless steel film reel to be used but the skinny steel doesn't work as well.

7. Attach the reel holder to the rear mounting hole and test it out.

8. Almost done! Now you need to mount this to a wall. There are several ways to do this, one is to buy adjustable straps that are attached to the wall with a T-mount, the other is to fabricate a hanger attached to a strap near the top of the dryer pipe. Make sure whatever you do that it's solid enough to take the weight of all the rolls of film and the dryer. Remember to rotate the mounting onto the wall 45 degrees so the reel holder (in the rear hole) is able to move. If you're really at a loss to mount this film dryer email me and I'll put together more detailed parts/instructions on how it can be done.

That's it, use the pictures below to help you and if you have any questions and success stories email me. Also if you enjoy these kinds of tips let me know, I've also designed a way to make cheap deep tanks to develop film in and light barriers to use between a pair of countertop enlargers.

Baron Sekiya
baron at mediabaron dot com

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3"x2" ABS Reducer Bushing
The reducer bushing goes into the top of the ABS pipe.


Stainless steel reel holder
Made with two pieces of stainless steel and held together by a pair of cable ties.

Glue the Reducer Bushing in the top of 20" ABS pipe


Cutout in the bottom of pipe, note that final resting groove for the reel holder is across from the rear hole.


Cutouts in bottom of pipe, note straight cuts on left and right as guides for reel holder.

Cutouts in bottom of pipe (rotated 90 degrees from the above photo) side view that shows guides for reel holder.

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