The original SP-445 wasn't even in production and people were asking for a higher capacity version! We had requests for systems that could process six, eight, ten and even a few asking for twelve sheets.
Anything past eight gets really complicated, really fast. Even an eight sheet version gets a bit bulky and would require a serious redesign of both the tank and the lid.
Over the years, the inquires have converged on six or eight sheets. Frankly, six sheets seems like the right number:
- It's a 50% capacity increase over the current version.
- Requires only 600 ml of chemistry (only a 20% increase).
- It can use the same lid and film holders (but new baffles/rack).
- Easy to handle, since it's basically just a fatter version of the SP-445.
The prototypes have been in testing for several months and we're planning to start production soon. Hopefully, it will be available by late spring. Pricing will be in the $120-$130 range.
As many of you know, it's tricky to photograph shiny black objects. Here's the best way we've found to compare the SP-645 to the SP-445:
The SP-8x20 is also moving along. We're currently testing rev 3 of the 3D printed prototype parts. Frankly, we complicated the situation by adding the option to process two sheets of 8x10 or four sheets of 5x7. And no, eight sheets of 4x5 isn't an option due to issues mounting the long divider.
If all goes well with testing the 8x10 and 5x7 options, it should be in the store in February. Note: these will be built to order with a 5-10 day lead time.
And people keep asking for trays even bigger than the SP-8x20! The next most logical size would probably be 16x20.
You can't even imagine how big the mold for an SP-16x20 would have to be! We don't have to imagine, we've calculated it out. It's several TONS of steel and the cost would make the project financially unviable.
The only really practical option would be to design a tray system built from smaller parts and then solvent glued together. These parts could be machined, reducing the tooling cost.
Even so, they'd be expensive. We're guessing in the $600-$800 range. (This might not seem too bad for guys that are spending $40 (or more) per sheet of film!) So it could happen, someday, but we have nothing planned for the immediate future.
Don't hesitate to send us your comments and suggestions: firstname.lastname@example.org