How to spool 400 ft of film into canisters?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Stuggi, Dec 9, 2011.

  1. Stuggi

    Stuggi Member

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    I'm thinking of getting some movie film, and the best alternative available to me (price per roll- and total investment-wise), is a 400 ft roll. So, how to handle 400ft in the dark? My idea is to get a bulk film loader, and some empty 100ft spools, and respool my film onto them, and load that into my bulk loader. The problem is, nobody sells empty 100 ft spools. So, I thought, is there anybody on here that would let me have a couple 100 ft spools for the price of shipping? If you're looking to seel a bulk loader, I'm interested in that as well.

    Or is there a better way? I don't have a proper darkroom, only a small windowless bathroom, so anything that doesn't require a lot of space is appreciated.
     
  2. X. Phot.

    X. Phot. Guest

    One method, when a loader is not readily available, is to run off a certain length of film, and cut it there (in total darkness of course). Tape one end of the film to the cassette spool, load that into the cassette, cap the cassette ends, and spool the film in by hand. You can cut the leaders to shape at a later time, when the lights are turned on. It's a slower method. But, it works.

    Loading up long lengths of film onto plastic cores and/or metal/plastic spools specifically for the film loader is definitely feasible. Someone surely has some cores or spools. But, I have always tossed them.
     
  3. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    This is exactly what I do. I use a piece of board with two bolts sticking out of it. The larger roll lies on its side. The empty spool on the other. I fashioned a crank out of aluminum stock which has a small bolt which fits a depression in the spool. Work likes a charm and is quite fast.
     
  4. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    Ive done that in the past, take out the center spool of each reloadable cassette and place a strip of scotch tape in the middle, the stick on to a table edge or something. then open up your spool in the dark and stretch out a length (arms wide out to the sides = 36 exp plus leader for me) and cut and tape, and re-roll.

    I have done it with, 100ft, 400ft, and 1000ft reels. its mechanical after awhile, but it sure gets boring in the bathroom. I use a long pair of safe tweezers to re-roll film in quickly by the spool through a cleaned felt light trap. as my current method entails using drugstore discards and reloading them.
     
  5. Cruzingoose

    Cruzingoose Member

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    No need for 100' spools. Spools are a PIA to deal with, especially with long 1000 foot reels. Just unwind a good handfull and put into the loader as is. I use the Alden 74.
     
  6. Helinophoto

    Helinophoto Member

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    I made a new core-spool from a piece of a pen.

    I found a hollow pen which fitted over the bulk loader-axis, then i cut the pen length so that the loader would close ok with the pen-part fitted over the loader axis.

    Then I put my 90 meter source spool onto a empty writable cd-rom box (it fit pretty well onto the axis), so that the film could be un-spooled ok.

    Then I cut some wire and created an "U" shape, where I used the vertical parts to gouge the actual size of my finished spool in the dark, the length of the vertical parts of the "U", was measured from the film-loader axis to the film-loader edge.

    After that, put the wire trough the pen-core, and bent it into a "U" shape. Placed the 90 meter source spool between my feet, sat on chair in the dark and simply hand-wounded the film onto the pen-core (with the "U" wire attached) until i reached the top of the "U".

    The wire's secondary function, was to keep the film from sliding off or being wound crooked.

    After winding, I removed the wire and put the new spool with the pen-core in the loader and closed it.

    Worked well. =)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 10, 2011
  7. Jojje

    Jojje Member

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    I learned in a museum darkroom the fact that my fathom is just about 40 exposures and the leader...
     
  8. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

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    Stuggi,

    Do you think to purchase bw kodak film or color film ? Color film could create headache.

    Umut
     
  9. michaelbsc

    michaelbsc Member

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    If you can possibly stand it, then you can get hundreds of canisters from a 1 hour joint and have a marathon loading session.

    I couldn't stand it.
     
  10. Stuggi

    Stuggi Member

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    Okay, so it is possible to handle a 400 foot spool while loading cassettes manually. I envisioned a small hell trying to keep the film taught to keep the big spool from unwinding (does such a huge amount of film do that?) while trying to cut off a suitable amount for one roll. My plan for using the 100 ft spools was to limit the times I'd have to handle the 400 ft spool to 4 times, and then being able to use a normal bulk loader. It would even allow me to make several pre-rolled 100 ft spools, so with 4 100 ft spools and 4 containers I could actually get rid of the whole big spool in one sitting. But getting spools and containers is the catch, I don't want to have to use up 400 ft of some other film before I can start using the motion picture stock. :smile:

    BTW, does anybody have the dimensions for the "hole" in the middle of 400 ft and 100 ft spools? I'm planning on making a small "machine" in which I can load the 2 spools and then just crank on a handle to load the smaller spool.
    And are there any difference in the cores that bulkloaders take? Some seem to just take a cardboard tube with film wound on it.
     
  11. Stuggi

    Stuggi Member

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    Kodak Double-X or Kodak Plus-X motion picture stock, I know of the rem-jet backing on color films which is supposed to be impossible to get rid of in an easy manner at home.
     
  12. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    The trick is to keep the large spools of film in the bag, and in the open canister so it doesnt unwind.

    I roll like 40-80 rolls at a time in the bathroom, not fun, but I think of the rewards after.
     
  13. Maris

    Maris Member

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    How not to spool 400 ft of film into canisters!

    Years ago I worked as a junior darkroom assistant in the back of a camera store in Brisbane. The proprietor sold Leicas but most of his money came from selling film. He had a scheme of buying Ektachrome in 400 foot rolls and getting darkroom junior (me) to cut 5 foot 3 inch lengths and load empty 35mm cassettes. Everything was done manually in a darkroom with cassette bodies, cores, ends, film tape, scissors, and a bench top with a measuring nail all laid out exactly. Then I made a big mistake.

    About 20 minutes before closing time I dropped a naked 400 foot roll and it clock-springed into huge tangled festoon of film loops about a yard across. In pitch blackness I could not find the end to try to re-spool it. The stuff was worth hundreds of dollars , the store was closing, I had to open the darkroom door, I had to leave. I was dead. Or was there a way out?

    The garbage bags, of course! Gathering up armfuls of film loops I managed to stuff the whole lot into a huge black plastic garbage bag. That bag went into another bag, into another bag, and so on until the mess was light tight. At closing time the boss opened the darkroom and saw everything in order. He didn't look behind the door.

    The next day I got the film tangle out of the bags and just started cutting 36 exposure lengths from any loop I could grab. By lunch time it had all been loaded and labelled. The several short left over ends were easy to hide. I walked out of the darkroom sweating but smooth faced.

    That film had been kinked, stepped on, scratched, buckled, and abused. Hundreds of transparencies came out of that unfortunate roll, mainly from Leica users, but there was not one single complaint. Amazing!
     
  14. frobozz

    frobozz Subscriber

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    Just send me the plus-x and I'll put it on spools in cans for you. Of course you may find it's only 300' when you get it back ;-)

    The "proper" way to do it is with a pair of rewinds, and split reels to hold the film on the cores while you wind it. I'm all set up for that, and it's pretty easy that way, but if you're only ever looking to do a couple of 400' rolls it's not worth the investment. The ideas here will work ok but it's imperative you keep the 400' roll flat on its side on a stable surface (preferably on some sort of axle rod) so the film doesn't fall off the core and make an unfixable mess.

    Duncan
     
  15. frobozz

    frobozz Subscriber

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    Well I guess I have to take back my statement that the mess would be unfixable yikes! But if you like your film and want good results from it ...
    :smile:

    Duncan
     
  16. Helinophoto

    Helinophoto Member

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    Dude, I just gave you a way to do it with no hassle, get yourself a bulk loader and make your own spool-core, it's not even hard to do. :tongue:
     
  17. dances_w_clouds

    dances_w_clouds Subscriber

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    Fuji (Legacy Pro) 35mm film came with metal spools which I have been saving for such an adventure. When the spools are full I have + or - 100' I also only have 3 or them but I fill them up and what is left over goes on a smaller core and put in a loader.
    View attachment 42864
     
  18. Stuggi

    Stuggi Member

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    I saw that, and if I can't find some spools, that's how I'll do it.
     
  19. GeorgesGiralt

    GeorgesGiralt Member

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    Hello !
    I do not know from where you'll buy the film, but it must be near film making industry ?
    Why don't you ask if you can borrow a darkroom a couple of hours and ask them if you can re-spool the 400 ft into 4 100 ft spools ? They probably have a winding device just for doing that and will be more experienced than you in handling 400 ft of film in one single piece. find boxes and masking tape to put the 100 ft pieces into, have a bulk loader at hand to check what amount of film it can exactly handle, be gentle and friendly and prepared to pay a beer or two. That may do the trick...
     
  20. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Start the spiral by hand and spool it over in the dark on a smooth topped table. You don't need a core. If you get the bigger Alden loader you can get 200ft in there and only have to split the roll once.
     
  21. cramej

    cramej Subscriber

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    Everyone has a winder...

    If you have a manual (re)wind 35mm camera body, you have a cassette loader. Just tape the film to the spool, pop it in the cassette and put it in the camera. Start crankin' and you'll have 400ft spooled in no time.:D
     
  22. Stuggi

    Stuggi Member

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    Okay, so I finally got me some 5222, and after doing a couple of rolls by hand in the dark I see what you guys mean, I thought it would be a lot harder to handle that film in the dark than it was. I also got a Watson 66B really cheap online, so I'm gonna see how that pans out. The place that sold the film to me didn't have any tools for splitting the film into 4 100 ft reels. :sad:
     
  23. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    You technically dont need a center core but you should check the box that your bulk loader comes it, there may be a spare. Working without a center spool, you can roll up 100ft, or roughly a roll of film that is slightly smaller than your bulk loader's compartment. and Plop the film right into it without the center spool. There is a chance it may spool out and unwind inside, but it should work fine if you load them all in one shot and not let it sit.

    Or if you want to fashion a center spool you can do it with maybe a few plastic bottle caps such as the from some thing like gatorade or vitamin water, like 3 would seem the right thickness, and glue them together, make a hole in the center, and a small slot on the side to hold the film.