Whats best way to clean plastic spirals?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Tom Stanworth, May 24, 2005.

  1. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    Hi,

    Just bought a load of new spirals and despite my efforts to clean the old ones, the new ones are sooOOOO much smoother and less prone to jamming.

    What is the best way to clean plastic spirals to remove deposits (presumably gelatine?). Even when I use a washing up brush and detergent I cannot remove all of it. Is there a trick to get them squeaky clean again?

    Tom
     
  2. argus

    argus Member

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    Water with soda does the trick for me. Even better: I've got 3 sets of Patterson reels, 2 older ones and a new. The older reels seem to load much easier.

    G
     
  3. NikoSperi

    NikoSperi Member

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    I've heard of people throwing them in the dishwasher, but I can't vouch for that. I've stopped dunking them in the wash-aid, and it certainly has curtailed the gunk. A light application of silicon spray has also been mentioned. Or do what I did and throw them away and get some AP reels - they're miles better if you're loading 120!
     
  4. mikeg

    mikeg Member

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    I rub a pencil on the little ball bearings to stop the reels from jamming. This lubricates them with graphite from the pencil lead.

    Mike
     
  5. TPPhotog

    TPPhotog Member

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    I just soak mine in hot water with washing powder for a couple of hours.
     
  6. John Cook

    John Cook Member

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    You don't say where you are.

    But if in the USA, there is a very old product, still available at most supermarket detergent aisles, called Bon Ami. It is a powder, like bathroom cleanser, but has no grit. The logo is a newborn chick, with the slogan: "Hasn't scratched yet".

    Bon Ami has many uses around the lab, where highly polished surfaces need to stay that way. I would give it a shot with a toothbrush. Remember the days before toothpaste, when we all used tooth powder? Same technique. Mix in a little baking soda to be sure.
     
  7. Mark H

    Mark H Member

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    "Or do what I did and throw them away and get some AP reels - they're miles better if you're loading 120!"

    What are AP reels? I seem to have difficulty loading 120.
     
  8. Fotohuis

    Fotohuis Member

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    Put your plastic reels in (old) c41 or RA-4 blix and after a while they look almost brand new.

    To much mechanical force will damage your plastic reels. So to much cleaning with a toothbrush or other scratching parts is not recommended.

    Best regards,

    Robert

    PS. Other tricks with potassiumdichromate and sulfuric acid is very dangerous and even not allowed to use for photographic purposes in the European Union anymore.
     
  9. Lee Shively

    Lee Shively Member

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    BonAmi and a soft toothbrush.
     
  10. Jim Chinn

    Jim Chinn Member

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    Someone already touched on this, but do not dunk to reels in any kind of photoflo type solution. This will greatly reduce any deposits or build up on the reels.
     
  11. TPPhotog

    TPPhotog Member

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    Mark we already have too much waste and pour chemicals down the drain, without filling large holes in the ground with plastic that can be re-used .... oooops that's the Totnesian in me coming out :smile:
     
  12. NikoSperi

    NikoSperi Member

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    Ok, I lied. I still have my Paterson reels. I use them when I need to fill the three reel tank with spacers if I'm developing only one or two films. My tree-hugging conscience is at peace (in that regard at least) :smile:
     
  13. NikoSperi

    NikoSperi Member

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    I haven't had too much success finding them at B&H or similar, but I don't know where you are... Here is what they look like. The really fat flange (a good 3/4 inch on either side) gives a good solid support for the 120 roll film to lie on without curling and popping out of the slots and ball bearings. :mad:

    The fit the Paterson tanks (which are better), so that's all you need to buy. If you can't find any, I could get you a few in Italy and ship if you like. They're Euro 8.10 plus shipping.
     

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  14. FrankB

    FrankB Member

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    I must admit, all I do is rinse and dry mine thoroughly immediately after I remove the film. Been doing it that way for about four or five years now. No problems yet...
     
  15. KenS

    KenS Member

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  16. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    AP is a Spanish brand. Many of their products look like clones of Paterson products, and are sometimes (often? always?) interchangeable. I've got an AP tank and reels, and I can use a Paterson reel with the AP tank. For me, the Paterson reel loads more smoothly than the AP reels, but I only shoot 35mm.

    As to where to get AP products, check Freestyle, at least in the US. I'm pretty sure that their Arista-brand hardware (tanks, reels, trays, etc.) are actually made by AP. I'm not 100% positive of this, though. You could also try Henrys, which is a Canadian-based outfit that ships to Canada and the US (at least). I know they've got AP products, but when I entered "reel" in their search field, it only turned up a complete tank and reel for AP products. If they've got the reels alone, you'll have to dig a bit harder to find them.
     
  17. VoidoidRamone

    VoidoidRamone Subscriber

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  18. bjorke

    bjorke Member

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    I wash mine with "PhotoFinish" using a toothbrush. I separate the halves before cleaning. Just did it again a few nights ago. A big challenge when using such a cleaner (less with this than BonAmi, but both have the same issue) is making sure you really, really, rinse-away 100% of the abrasive particulate cleaner.....
     
  19. Baxter Bradford

    Baxter Bradford Member

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    I had a build up on mine and also the rack from my Combi-tank which seem to accrue after using alkali fixer. I immersed in a dilute solution of Limescale cleaner which I had in the house. despite continuing to use the alkali fixer, the deposits have not rematerialised.

    Also use a brush with fresh water after each use, primarily to get rid of any photo-flo which might remain.
     
  20. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    All,

    Great tips, thanks! I am sure plenty of others will be glad of your answers.

    My old reels are nearly 7 years old, so getting on. I always rinsed well after processing before drying, but I always used wetting agent in the tank - perhaps this is the culprit.

    I will try a few of the solutions (prob starting with washing powder soaks) and see what happens.

    BTW all spirals give me no probs with 35mm, just 120 and as I have 30 rolls to do, I thought new reels would make sense. I have mainly Jessops ones which judging by the photos someone posted look like the AP stuff. I have a few paterson ones now and they are stupidly expensive @ 2.5 x cost of jessops ones, but they do seem to be made of a lower friction material. There appears to be no wear to the old reels, so once this deposits issue is cracked, it should be possible to keep them slick for decades....and therefore also save the planet from landfill doom:wink:

    Tom