View Full Version : Film coating machine (homemade) on Flickr

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Steve Smith
11-08-2012, 04:40 PM
Laser cutter - probably fiddly to set up, but would be quite simple once you got going. (For hobbyist quantities, that is)

Except that it would fog the film!


11-08-2012, 05:09 PM
For myself, if I were coating I would likely be targeting 120 size. Then the issue becomes a stable backing paper which doesn't interact with the film instead of how to punch holes.

For what is likely not going to be as good as Plus-X or FP4, I suspect a homemade emulsion would benefit greatly from the larger negative size.

Stable, chemically inert backing paper isn't so easy, however. About the cheapest I ever saw was the stuff on the Shanghai GP3 Chinese film. It seemed almost like children's construction paper. Then you have to print numbers which are chemically inert.

None of this is impossible, but it sure isn't trivial.

I agree, but why would you NEED to print numbers? In any case, the film sleeving etc we have here for uncut film up to 120 and also bigger sleeving for rolled large prints is outsourced to a local plastics company, you could get such things (backing paper) by local industry, with frame numbers.

The issue I see there is cutting the paper in the right place and attaching the film. And if there would be a feasible way to have the process of 120 somewhat semi-automated instead of one roll at a time by hand.

Except that it would fog the film!


A laser is a collimated conherent beam, cutting would be done perpendicular. It would need a lot of particles to scatter off (such as steam or fog :cool:)

Steve Smith
11-08-2012, 05:33 PM
A laser is a collimated conherent beam, cutting would be done perpendicular. It would need a lot of particles to scatter off

I'm sure that if I tried to cut film on our laser (assuming I could put it in a dark room) it would fog it. There is a lot of light reflecting off of the substrate being cut and lots of flat panels to reflect it back.

such as steam or fog

Or smoke?!


Photo Engineer
11-08-2012, 06:34 PM
If you can see a laser from the side, it is being scattered. If you can see it, be sure to put your goggles on!

Even if it worked, such as by using a far IR laser, the melted support may be a problem.


Steve Smith
11-09-2012, 07:51 AM
Making a male female gear couples or laser are fantasy.

How can it be fantasy when such things exist?

An expert binder get ordered with a computer output cutting pattern. Every binder have a man who prepares cutting patterns with folding thin sheets of steel and nail one end of these folded steel on to wooden board and other end sharp and free.

When you put this board on to papers or plastics and press from the top , folded steel cuts the thick several hundreds of papers like an butter.

I think you are trying to describe a steel rule die. It's a bit more accurate than you are making out. The base is laser cut and the cutting die is inserted into it.

We use them to cut polyester and polycarbonate.



11-09-2012, 02:27 PM
People were mentioning backing paper numbers on 120. Surely 220 only has leader/footer paper at the ends - so why not for 120v2 as well, and using a camera without a red-window of course. This is all a bit of an academic exercise though, for general use at least.

Steve Smith
11-09-2012, 07:24 PM
The reality is that punching perforations in the film and finding suitable backing paper are fairly trivial things when compared with making and coating the emulsion.

I think the trick is to use people's skills. One person on his or her own might struggle to do it all but a few people with different skills might do it.

e.g. I am interested in emulsion making but will probably never do it myself. However, I'm sure that I could make a coating machine and a simple jig to cut perforations if someone else wants to coat the film.

EDIT: That wasn't an offer to do it, just a hypothetical scenario!


Steve Smith
11-09-2012, 07:30 PM
When you aim to things you can not afford , its fantasy. Do you know the cost of cutting four gear from steel , align at a base and rotate them when you are feeding the film with many other gear train. Its hell of money

Indeed. The owner of a company I used to work for would tell his customers "you can have anything you like, whenever you want it as long as you can afford it".

I wouldn't expect a small scale home emulsion coater to buy the parts for a rotary die cutter. I would do it with a miniature version of a paper hole punch with pins to register the cut to the previous cut holes. This would be very easy to set up.


11-09-2012, 11:25 PM
I agree, but why would you NEED to print numbers? ...

My RB67, P6 TL, and several TLRs do index the film without numbers.

But the folders and box cameras all have a window.

And I *LIKE* my Mother's Brownie Hawkeye.

I do agree that sheet film is a lot easier. And even at the width of 120 I have a bunch of 2.35x3.25 holders.

Plus i have a stash (No! It's not a hoard!) of glass window panes. So I too would probably try very little roll film.

When I think about the possibility of home manufacturer I invariably think small scale, dozens instead of thousands. The investment to make occasional new backing paper seems trivial compared to a perforating machine. Unless you can get or fabricate the perfing machine vey inexpensively.

For a small manufacturing operation, say 5K rolls of film, a usable perfing machine begins to make sense. And you could sell the film packed in a wrapper for the user to spool. Eschewing the cassettes.

I have some oddball FSU film in my freezer which is packed this way. It's just a strip of perforated 35mm film. The user had to load it in a cassette.

Some of the old Contax cameras had a refillable cassette.


11-09-2012, 11:46 PM
Indeed. The owner of a company I used to work for would tell his customers "you can have anything you like, whenever you want it as long as you can afford it".

I used to work for his metaphysical twin in a metrology laboratory. In metrology each extra zero at the right of the decimal costs geometrically more money.

Occasionally someone would complain if we calibrated something to one or two decimal places. Wes would tell them just bring it back and they could get as many zeros as they could pay for.


08-04-2013, 08:58 PM
This may be a far fetched question, but I am looking for a way to use my pretty much useless Kodak Colorburst 250 made in 1979. I am aware the film is unattainable and that Fujifilm had a similar film but is also unavailable due to scarcity. So, my question is there anyone out there who can possibly make film that can be used in my Kodak Colorburst 250?

Photo Engineer
08-04-2013, 09:05 PM
By hand coating, probably yes.

Radek Brzozowski
12-13-2013, 03:43 PM
you may be right about the return to the craftsperson-driven cottage industry. The problem is that means limited capacity and volume. This also means higher cost per unit and limitations as to what can be done. Will we have creafspeople turning out Kodak Gold 400 equivalents? I don't think so. Hand coated glass plate negatives? We already do

Photo Engineer
12-13-2013, 06:31 PM

There are a lot of coatings that are being made on glass, film and paper. Multilayers are possible. I have made full color multilayers by hand coating and they made rather good images.

The real problem is getting people willing to LEARN. It seems that few are interested in this, and the basic technology is slipping away bit by bit.


12-14-2013, 07:24 AM
Mirko of Adox visited the New Ferrania and he mentioned that they are trying to convert the R&D department into what will be the production machine for their coming film production.
IIRC, if they have a nice pilot machine with a big yet small enough capacity, it could be quite feasible.

PE, as of knowledge and a bit OT. Of those 40 people that were fired from the film production at Kodak, you mentioned the simple wage economics... Younger workers with lower costs replacing the older ones. But were they into the core production of film?
I think not, as the cost of training a young engineer mut be all but small! Sadly the tech is slowly slipping away...

Photo Engineer
12-14-2013, 01:42 PM
Kodak has 3 coating machines in R&D and one in production for pilot coatings. These could be used to make small quantities of films if they really wanted to slow down production. But, with little R&D the training of an engineer is pretty much rote and can be passed on. They are making the same things every day, not making something new.

But, if they shut down, it is truly lost and there are few out here in the world interested in learning.


12-15-2013, 12:42 AM
We here every last bit of news about Kodak's film group shrinking, but news from Fujifilm is silent (aside from which films are lost). I wonder how small Fujfilm's coating facilities and staff have gotten. I guess we'll never really know.

12-15-2013, 01:23 AM
Now that this thread has been brought back to life, whatever happened to the Australian coating machine? Did he ever get it running successfully?

Photo Engineer
12-15-2013, 12:54 PM
It has been stalled due to the severe weather in AU.

12-16-2013, 06:04 AM
It has been stalled due to the severe weather in AU.

If this weather is termed severe then bring it on I say !

SYDNEY AREA (http://www.bom.gov.au/nsw/observations/sydney.shtml)