Reusing film cassettes
Is there a way to remove the cap on 35mm film cassettes so they can be reused? I bought several rolls of Silvermax and would like to reuse the cassettes; however, the caps are glued onto the cassettes. I've tried isopropanol but that doesn't seem to work.
If you cut the end of the film across when you remove it from the cassette for processing, leaving an inch or so of the old trailer protruding from the mouth of the cassette, you can then, when reloading, fix the end of the new film with a bit of tape and wind it into the cassette, without needing to remove the cap. Obviously watch out for anything to cause dust or scratches, as with any reloading.
short answer, no. The tape it to the leader thing railwayman suggests strikes me as a rather involved work-around, at best.
Longer answer -- buy reusable carts -- Freestyle still sells them
and keep the felt clean between uses. They are cheap and last a very long time. You can also find Kodak Snap-caps on fleabay at times.
Your third option is to buy an older M Leica and use the amazing Leica cartridges - they're brass with a gate the camera opens and shuts, guaranteed never to scratch and last forever, so far.
I have 25 or so reusable cassettes, but if I can reuse the prespooled cassettes it would be more cost effective and ecologically sound.
You've already purchased the reusables so that throws out part of your green argument. The factory spools are steel and plastic; both very recycle-able, so don't worry about the 'waste' on those. They are not made to come apart so it's hard to blow off the felt. That is your primary concern. I've had five feet of Plus-X that carried a single five foot scratch from something in the felt. Use the reloadables and buy a can of green air and blow the felt off with every reload. I use five of the black plastic ones with the twist off end and they've been fine for three cycles so far. Have even dropped one on a wood floor and the end didn't pop off. Just checked out the Leica cassettes; none at KEH and $35 a pop on that auction site. As nice as they look five of those would still buy a lot of film.
Originally Posted by Tony-S
And cut yourself some slack. If you're worried about waste just make sure every frame you expose is a keeper. Bresson loaded from bulk and even he couldn't manage to do that. :laugh:
Bullshit. Just because I have already bought cassettes doesn't mean I can't lessen the future impact. I want to spool as many rolls of film as I can so I can empty my bulk loader. Is that ok with you?
Originally Posted by semi-ambivalent
I think the greatest problem from reusing regular film cassettes (reloading the ones that you get with film in them already) is that once the end cap (the one without the longer end of the spool sticking through it) is that it's really difficult to get a good re-seal on it so that it doesn't pop off. If I was lucky I'd get a single reuse out of a cassette before the end cap wouldn't seal.
For some reason the reusable ones you could buy worked better at that. Their end caps fit better and seemed made to pop loose without using half your tool box to get the thing separated so you could pull the entire spool free at once.
I think the answer to the Green issue is to just buy reusable cassettes, use them as many times as you can and then send them to the metal recyclers to keep them out of landfills, etc. Besides, every time someone buys a digital whatever, before it's even out of the box it's headed for the scrap heap because the manufacturers are already in the process of outdating it with a newer (and not necessarily better) model. ;)
Cutting a long tail and retaping isn't particularly involved and takes a bit less time for me than the faff involved in taping up a centre spool, threading on the cassette and fiddling to get the cap on.
(Nevertheless I prefer to use "proper" re-usable cassettes :))
You will always get people who have had bad experiences with factory cassettes onto which they have taped fresh film but my experience has been like railwayman3. It has always worked OK. If the factory cassette has only been used once and the film from that was OK i.e. no scratches, then why should the felt suddenly give problems?
I wouldn't use the factory cassettes more than say 3-4 times before dumping but if you live near a mini-lab then at least you are making use of cassettes that otherwise end up in landfill sites after single use.
I've reused film cassettes off and on since the 1980s. Back in the day, Ilford's cassette's could be easily disassembled to be reused.
The best tool you can have is a film-leader retriever. That way, if you rewind your film all the way into the cassette (either by accident or that's how your camera rewinds film), you can retrieve it without having to pry open the cassette.
What you want to do is to cut the film, leaving the last and a half protruding from the film cassette. That will give you enough film to tape the new film to the old film when you're bulk loading.
I also prefer reloadable cassettes, but I've used this method many, many times when I wasn't able to get reloadable ones.
Also, get yourself either a Sharpie to mark your film or a label maker, so you know what film you've put into the cassette.
Check the felt seal on the film cassette for debris or film chips before bulk loading.