Film coating machine (homemade) on Flickr

Discussion in 'Silver Gelatin Based Emulsion Making & Coating' started by Emulsion, Dec 21, 2007.

  1. Emulsion

    Emulsion Member

    Messages:
    127
    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2007
    Location:
    Australia
    Shooter:
    Med. Format RF
  2. AgX

    AgX Member

    Messages:
    11,921
    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2007
    Location:
    Germany
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Thanks!

    That really looks sound. I'd like to have such a maschine...

    I wonder how the four-layer coating is done. By four seperate runs or by using another type of coating head than that through?

    Sorry, I have to correct myself. I was misled by that `coatingĀ“ photo. It is not a through technique applied, but rather that `stream-over-bladeĀ“ technique.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 21, 2007
  3. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

    Messages:
    9,083
    Joined:
    May 3, 2006
    Location:
    Ryde, Isle o
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Excellent. And I love the use of wood in engineering products!

    If my memory of the Ilford factory tour is correct, that is a cascade coater. It is possible to inject several emulsions at the same time which flow over each other before coating the film with multi-layers. The one in the link looks like it is set up for a single emulsion at the moment though.

    The text does say that this is a prototype head so perhaps there are plans to make a multi-layer coating head.

    This looks similar in size to the pilot machine Ilford use to test batches of emulsion before running it on their full size machine - which is huge!


    Steve.
     
  4. rmazzullo

    rmazzullo Member

    Messages:
    263
    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2007
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    someone get in touch with the builder !!

    Well, since it is now clear that someone has created a coating machine (2 years ago!!), that miniaturized automated emulsion making can't be too far behind. Combine both of these ideas in your basement (automated emulsion making and film coating), and multiply that by however many you care to imagine, and you might start a new "mini-micro custom film maker" phenomenon.

    I would love to see some examples of the results. Especially considering the number of layers that were coated (see the 4th photo in the series).

    Better yet, I would love to see technical details of the machine, particualrly the multi-layer coater. And many close up photos, of course.

    After seeing this technological flight of fancy take to the air, why on earth should I stop at manual methods of emulsion making?

    Very, very nice indeed.

    Bob M.

    (edit) Actually, seeing the photos of the coating machine is giving me plenty of construction ideas. Too bad I threw away my erector set :smile: I guess I can always use Legos.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 21, 2007
  5. AgX

    AgX Member

    Messages:
    11,921
    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2007
    Location:
    Germany
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    That's why I did not call it cascade. It would make no sense with only one emulsion. However, if that DIY-coater would stack several throughs onto that blade...
     
  6. rmazzullo

    rmazzullo Member

    Messages:
    263
    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2007
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    What I would like to know is how do the separate emulsion layers stay separate during the coating phase?

    Are there additives in each particular emulsion layer that prevent mixing (different specific gravity)?

    Or is it that you can just layer one emulsion on top of another, providing you chill the emulsion stack very soon afterwards that the layers remain separate before mixing has a chance to occur?

    Did we cover this already in this forum in another thread perhaps?

    Thanks,

    Bob M.
     
  7. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

    Messages:
    9,083
    Joined:
    May 3, 2006
    Location:
    Ryde, Isle o
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    There are a few patents for this. This one: http://www.google.com/patents?id=i0MwAAAAEBAJ&dq=cascade+coater
    shows the coating head in cross section and shows the individual coatings staying in layers.

    The text on page four explains that the layers do not mixduring coating.

    Steve.
     
  8. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    17,940
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Honolulu, Ha
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    That's very impressive.
     
  9. Captain_joe6

    Captain_joe6 Member

    Messages:
    194
    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2007
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    I think PhotoEngineer needs one of these. Let's all pitch in $1 and get him one for christmas, so that he build his own film manufacturing empire and supply us all. :D
     
  10. rmazzullo

    rmazzullo Member

    Messages:
    263
    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2007
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Thanks Steve, this is very interesting...

    Bob M.
     
  11. tim_walls

    tim_walls Member

    Messages:
    1,044
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2006
    Location:
    Bucuresti, R
    Shooter:
    35mm
    My guess is it's all about getting the head design and flow rate right so that you achieve laminar flow (i.e. no turbulence.)
     
  12. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

    Messages:
    25,773
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    It is a very impressive machine, but is not a cascade (slide) coater. The hopper shown in the photo is indeed an extrusion hopper capable of only one layer at a time, unless two or 3 layers are fed to the hopper at one time. This cannot be determined from the photo, but it surely is not a classic slide hopper.

    The coating speed in this design would be limited to about 10 f/m - 100 f/m on average. Did you notice that he is coating on Titanox, and so is making the equivalent of paper negatives but on film support.

    PE
     
  13. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

    Messages:
    25,773
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I should add that from the patent shown above and the original Kodak patents, a slide or cascade coater has the emulsion exposed for quite a distance before it meets the film surface, but an X or extrusion hopper has the emulsion meet the film upon extrusion from the hopper itself. This is seen in the photo.

    Note also that it is about 4" wide. This is on the scale of a research machine capable of 4x5" sheets. It in no way is meant as a criticism but does point out the limitation to 4" wide coatings. The design of a 10" machine would be just the thing for LF, as is this can supply 35mm (if you can perf it), 120 if you can coat on 5 mil stock and 4x5 on 7 mil stock.

    PE
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. AgX

    AgX Member

    Messages:
    11,921
    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2007
    Location:
    Germany
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    PE,

    Before reading your post I was looking at the coating head again. It seems it consists out of two acrylic plates screwd onto each other, with one having been milled out, so that a small volume is made which at the same time forms the slit at one end. Thus the coating, except for base velocity, is mainly controlled by the pressure in that coating head chamber.
     
  16. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

    Messages:
    9,083
    Joined:
    May 3, 2006
    Location:
    Ryde, Isle o
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I think I see the difference now. A cascade coater has the exit slot on the top surface and the emulsion flows down to meet the film whereas with this one, the exit slot is at the point of (not quite) contact with the film. Presumably at the junction of the two perspex plates.


    Steve.
     
  17. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

    Messages:
    25,773
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    You are pretty much correct as is Steve. The cascade coater is the only one that can do multiple layers at the same time. It is called a 'slide hopper' at Kodak. The other hopper is called a 'curtain coater' and is entirely different from either a slide hopper or an extrusion hopper.

    What you see in the picture is commonly called an X-hopper or an extrusion hopper at Kodak and functions as you describe.

    PE
     
  18. Dark Orange

    Dark Orange Member

    Messages:
    21
    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2007
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Hello peoples. I am the guy who uploaded the photos to Flickr, and was contacted (I think) the original poster of this thread as a courtesy. While I am not the builder, I am close to him and can act as a go-between for any any questions you have.

    Let me fill in some details on the project...

    The builder is a retired chemist from Kodak here in Australia and was high up enough up the food chain so that when the plant finally shut down, he was able to acquire a few useful bits to assist the build.

    He is a tinkerer and this project essentially is a means to an end, the end being something I am not entirely not sure of, but no doubt involves researching exotic emulsions. The end result is definately not the sale of large format custom/exotic filmstock, but if there is a demand for the left-overs, I am sure it is an income stream he would consider to offset the cost of building it.

    I have been very busy going around the countryside for work over the last couple of months and have been unable to get new photos, but will be spending a lot of time over there the next couple of days so feel free to ask questions, and I will endeavour to get them answered and take more photos of any specific bits if required.

    As mentioned, this project has no commercial considerations. The film size chosen was based on price and availability.

    The film base is threaded and spliced into a single loop, so each coating run gives a standard length of product.

    With regards to multi-coating, the engineering involved for the gains made is not worth it in this case so the machine is set up to do a single layer at a time. Extra layers can be applied straight away, or the coated film can be stored until required.

    I have mentioned a TiO2 base, and this is currently just a bit of playing around. When the machine is up and going properly, the end product will be 'normal' negative film.


    From what I understand (IE: the original builder explained to me a long time ago) the cascade coaters are used for multi-layer coatings, to allow an even surface for the multiple layers to be laid on before application to the base. (I could be wrong on this) The method used for this machine is as described above.

    The last year or so has been mainly taken up with trying to remove the problem of uneven layering of the emulsion that shows up as regular 'banding' pattern on the finished product. The problem had been isolated to the drive roller, and was assumed to be gearbox chatter. A *lot* of time and expense was used to track this down, and eventually a high-res stepper motor and drive all but removed the problem. The banding that is left is due to the coating roller by the looks, being a high-speed unit running on low speed the bearings will need to be either replaced or maybe we could get away with repacking them with a light oil rather than grease.

    Thank you for the interest, I thought it was far too interesting to be left in the dark in a garage. While the builder uses the net for research rather than "social" uses, I will endeavour to get him into the forum, it looks like it will be one he will enjoy.
     
  19. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

    Messages:
    25,773
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I thought those undercut rollers looked familiar! :D

    All kidding aside, banding can also come from air pump pulsations in the drying cabinets, and pulsations in the emulsion feed pump. These all can cause banding in the final coating.

    I have coated Titanox in gelatin on film many times. It is what we at Kodak called a "White Rug". It is very hard to coat uniformly at the level needed to get a good reflection backing for film or paper. I have 2 or 3 1 foot snips from a roll of one of my coatings sitting here in an old box. They sure have streaks in them. Making the TiO2 in gelatin is also not easy. It is tough to do and can require a ball mill.

    This technology was used in Kodak Instant materials and in the Kodak Blood Test equipment now made by Johnson and Johnson at Kodak Park on their new updated equipment. They still have some old Kodak equipment running to make stuff for them too. So, the "White Rug" is still a coating staple at Kodak Park but made by J&J.

    PE
     
  20. Dark Orange

    Dark Orange Member

    Messages:
    21
    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2007
    Shooter:
    35mm
    OK, some more photos for you all. First off, let me apologise for the pretty ordinary photos. The Filminator has now been built into its own room, and there isn't much space to swing a camera.

    We'll start with a photo of the finished splicing cabinet. Note that when I said it used a 4" base, I should have said 5". For the record, each loop of finished product is 14m long.

    [​IMG]



    And this is the mission control centre.

    [​IMG]


    And now another view of the chiller unit. The builder is particularly impressed with his effort in designing this. Utilising a built-in container of ice-water, it pumps the water through a condensor from an automotive aircon unit (Ford, I believe) to chill the air.

    [​IMG]




    Now the intereting bit - the "Extrusion slide coating head". Sorry for the crap image, there wasn't much light or contrast.

    [​IMG]


    The Zenith emulsion pump.

    [​IMG]


    Some examples of the finished product.


    [​IMG]

    The builder, not satisfied with merely developing his own Kodachrome, is wanting to develop his OWN Kodchrome. :wink:

    BTW, Merry Christmas everybody. I hope Santa was generous.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 25, 2007
  21. Emulsion

    Emulsion Member

    Messages:
    127
    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2007
    Location:
    Australia
    Shooter:
    Med. Format RF
    Thanks Dark Orange,

    Excellent photos and information!

    Is it possible to obtain from the maker any suggested emulsion formulas?

    Merry Christmas from,
    Emulsion.
     
  22. rmazzullo

    rmazzullo Member

    Messages:
    263
    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2007
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    fantastic photos!

    Dark Orange,

    This is absolutely fantastic information. Do you know if the builder has considered joining the forum? I can imagine some folks will have "a few" questions for him :D.

    Would you be able to supply more information about the Filminator as we explore the possibilities?

    Merry Christmas, and thanks for the photos and notes!

    Bob M.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 25, 2007
  23. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

    Messages:
    25,773
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Excellent work.

    I might mention that this is a small scale version of a 12" coater at Kodak that was called P3. It resembles it even to the arched chill cabinet.

    Does the machine have a tensioner? I remembered after my last post here that lack of a tensioner or an improperly set tensioner can cause chatter as well as the other items I mentioned.

    PE
     
  24. ben-s

    ben-s Member

    Messages:
    443
    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2006
    Location:
    Nottingham,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Great Stuff, Dark Orange!
    Thanks for sharing your friend's work with us.
    Do you have a picture pf the whole machine loaded up? I can't quite work out where the web goes after the tensioner.
     
  25. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

    Messages:
    25,773
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I saw the tensioner in the picture, but IIRC we had one at each end. I don't know how well only one would work. Also, I see no apparent provision for a vacuum. This can help eliminate defects due to chatter, but if improperly controlled can introduce more chatter.

    PE
     
  26. AgX

    AgX Member

    Messages:
    11,921
    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2007
    Location:
    Germany
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    You mean a vacuum/suction from beneath the slit between the coating head and the base?