How to Develop Film With Lego Mindstorms

Over the years we shared quite a few interesting ways to develop analog film. Coffee, Red Wine and Tylenol being some of the more uncommon developers, but we never actually took the time to show any of the mechanics of the development process tweaked.

How to Develop Film With Lego Mindstorms

Dutch photographer Jan van den Broek shared “an idea” that I think has the potential to inspire many folks who still love to develop their own film. He used Lego Mindstorms to create a semi-automatic developing machine.

For those who are unfamiliar with Minstorms, it is a Lego set that has some very interesting building blocks integrated into it.

Aside from the “usual” Lego building blocks, Mindstorms kits include sensors, motors, gears and a brain that allows quick programming of the components. Specifically, van der Broek used ROBOLAB – an online graphical programing environment – to create the coding sequence needed to run the developing process.

How to Develop Film With Lego Mindstorms

The development kit includes 5 tanks of liquids: a pre-soaking tank, a developer tank, a bleach tank, a fixed and a stabilizer. The temperature is regulated with a water pump and an electric heating fork.

The Mindstorms kit is used to traverse the film from one tank to another.

How to Develop Film With Lego Mindstorms

Results are still not perfect, and I can definitely see a community forming around this and sharing recipes and a common timing database.

Unfortunately, film loading is still done by hand….

[DIY Semi automatic film processor with Lego | Jan van den Broek]

  • ext237

    This is cool. And really nice way to use legos. But doesn’t this kinda ruin the fun and randomness that comes from manually developing film? If its automated development that you want, drop your rolls off at costco. :)

  • joe_average

    awesome! i love that it is the rcx 1.0 brick! now i’m curious what ui that was to program it…didn’t look like the official bundled software for pc from lego. (which is a pain to keep running on new pc’s, even in compatibility mode)