How to Best Cut Roll Color Paper?

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by RedSun, Nov 5, 2012.

  1. RedSun

    RedSun Member

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    I plan to cut Fuji 8" and 20" color papers. I plan to do it in a light tight walk-in closet. It has carpet and I plan to duct tape the door. Was thinking of doing in the basement, but then I'll have to seal all 4 windows.

    I have available 2 51" Dahle 558 rotary cutters. Also an old Nikkor rotary trimmer that I can use for the 8" paper. My main question is on how to use the cutter. Plan A is to feed the paper from the right side, emulsion side up, goes below the plastic paper clamp, and gets precise measurements at the backstop and the top edge. My concern is on the emulsion side going under the plastic clamp. Should I just skip the paper clamp and protect the emulsion?

    Plan B is to feed the paper from the left. Second Dahle would be at right to catch the paper. Then the paper stops at the backstop at the right on the second cutter. Again I can decide if I should let the paper run through the plastic paper clamp. Plan B would be for the large 20" paper since I may cut it to 30" long and the surface of one cutter is not that wide.

    Some more questions:
    1. In bedroom closet, the cutting would be done above the carpet. Would the dust be a big problem?
    2. Would the emulsion be damaged if I run the paper through the plastic paper clamp?
    3. The basement is large with 4 small windows. Do I need to seal all the windows at night? Or I can get away with two of them (far away ones) open?

    For the 20" large ones, I still need to find good paper bag for it. No problem with the 8" since I have some used bags from the used papers....
     
  2. akaa

    akaa Subscriber

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    Wear gloves! my first few batches of cut paper had very nice finger prints on them.
     
  3. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    If you want to work in the basement, sealing the windows isn't really that hard.

    Get a sheet of blue Styrofoam insulation board and cut it to fit into the window frame(s).
    Use a putty knife to tuck some black (or dark color) cloth into the crack between the foam and the window.
    Put some duct tape around the edges just for safety.

    Windows sealed. Not a lot of work. Not too expensive.
    And, it can be removed and replaced fairly easily.

    That's how the window in my basement darkroom is sealed off.
    You'd never even know the window is there if you didn't look for it.
     
  4. wogster

    wogster Member

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    Not to mention in the winter time, it's warmer down there....
     
  5. RedSun

    RedSun Member

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    Actually, I was going to use either cardboard or particle boards and put on duct tape on it. But it is good to know what others have done.
    I'm mainly concerned as to how to cut the papers. The key is how to measure it precisely since I'll put the papers in print drums and the sizes have to be right.
     
  6. movin

    movin Member

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    A few days ago I did cut down an 8"-roll into 8x10s using what you describe as "Plan A". Dahle rotary cutter, feeding the paper roll from the cutting edge side and using the adjustable stop on the table set to the desired length. I too had the fear of scratching the emulsion with the paper clamp. It turned out that with the cutting head in the rest position you can lift the paper clamp and feed the paper without touching it. I have already used fifty to sixty sheets of that batch, none showing signs of emulsion damage.

    I also taped down the adjustable stop to avoid the paper slipping under it.

    Movin
     
  7. RedSun

    RedSun Member

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    This is great to know. I think I'm going to use the single cutter to cut narrow paper and use two cutters together to cut the wide paper. Also, I think the dust from the carpet may ruin the paper. So I plan to seal the basement and cut the paper on top of either an old dinning room table, or on a pool table.

    The roll paper is so cheap. The rolls are going to last for a while....
     
  8. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    Its always easier to cut along a table. I haven't had the luck of having to cut color paper, but with black and white its a breeze with any old rotary trimmer with safelight in dimmest setting. I imagine maybe using IR goggles would be awesome for this as well.
     
  9. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    I have made a 'hopper' - a u shaped support that has a dowel though it to hold the roll of paper. My rolls to date have never been larger than 12". Bob Carnie has put posts out on how he has cut down large rolls by wheeling a table saw into one of his large darkrooms.

    I use a guillotine cutter, with no guard in place to risk scratching the surface of the paper. Yes, cloth gloves. Length guide was a piece of scrap 4 ply matt board taped to the base board.

    Have a plan in place on how to re seal the bag once you opnened it, and make sure all tools needed to do this are carefully positioned before the lights go out, and the bag is openned.

    Even in a non carpetted space, vaccuum the day before. If you have a humidifier, use it to keep the static down as you drag the RC paper back along the cutting platten.

    Oh, and blow your nose and go to the bathroom before you begin. It can be a long session ,a nd you don't want to have to leave part wary though.
     
  10. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    If you were going to do a lot of RA4 prints then cutting rolls makes a lot of sense. You would think that there must be roll cutting machines into which you place the roll and replace the top so that once the cut length has been set only each cut sheet on exit from the machine would be exposed.

    It would then be fairly simple to place the cut sheets into a bag and then a paper box in the total darkness.

    Do such machines exist and if so what might they cost?


    Thanks

    pentaxuser
     
  11. RedSun

    RedSun Member

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    Do you guys know the diameters of the Fuji roller core? I have both 8" and 20" paper. I can go to Lowes and cut a piece of PVC pipe to hold the paper. Then hang the roller up somewhere, probably from the ceiling of the basement.
     
  12. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    I just use a broom stick. It does not matter if the core of the tube is filled by the shaft. If it is smaller it will not unroll as easily, and in this appplication that is what you want.

    In the past there were things called roller easels, that basically had a feed of paper on one side, and a take up on the other side. You printed the size of the mask, and set the paper advance setting to match that mask size. mask size was variable. Some masks were rotatable, and the easel slid on ball bearing into grooves with detents, so you could say print 2-5x7's most efficiently on a 12" wide roll. Motor advance and paper gate open and close coordinated with the advance buttom when you were done exposing that part of the paper.

    Most custom print shops pitched these devices a half decade ago. They are kind of big for home use. They take the roll of exposed paper and feed it into a roller procesor and prints were pulled at the end after the roll was cut up. You can see how having an analyser, having it calibrated to your process, and an operator to know how to position the probe and set the channels was kind of important to the use of such a device if you have ever printed color.
     
  13. RedSun

    RedSun Member

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    What you said is the predecessor of the roller color photo printer. That is what the roll of paper is made for originally.
     
  14. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    Yes, an optical printer was just one of these roller easel things with a fixed enlargement enlarger, basically, that printed the full negative frame. There was a lady in my home town who printed with one of these things, and she had an eye better the analyser. Of course she had been doing it full time for more than 10 years, so you would hope she had her process nailed down.
     
  15. RedSun

    RedSun Member

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    I just cut down some 8" color paper. I did not want to test the "darkness" of my darkroom, so I cut it inside a Harrison change tent. I think I had adequate room, and just need to get used to it.

    I fed the paper from the right side, on top of a table with soft top. The cutter is an very old Nikkor rotary trimmer, about 12x12 size. I remove a backstop from a Dahle cutter and tape it onto the cutting base. I did not know exactly where the emulsion side was and I fed the paper with emulsion side down. I think next time I'm going to do the emulsion side up. There was no emulsion scratches and no fingerprints. I think this is winter and we do not sweat much at all.

    The size is 8x5 and I cut 20 sheets in no time. With the change tent, I can certainly cut down more, even during the day time. I was just eager to test the new paper.

    I've not decided on what to do when I'm going to cut 8x10 size. I may use the same setup, or may get out of the tent and cut it with the larger cutter in open darkroom. Then I'll have to make sure the darkroom is light tight.

    Roll papers are definitely cheaper than the sheet papers. The paper was almost free, costs little.