I'm glad to see I'm not the only one trying this - you're even using the same punch that I am.
I've considered the microfilm route for B&W, but it does seem difficult to find. I can always slit 120 (which is another project on my list).
Old Kodak cartridges (like Kodachrome) seem too well built. I could not separate the halves without tearing the plastic where it was glued at the supply side of the cartridge. Of course, this was not a problem after applying a little electrical tape when closing it. Cheaper or off-brand cartridges seem to snap apart cleanly. I'm hoarding them right now.
Using the Kodachrome that was originally in the cartridge, I tried rolling it with the backing paper in the light, and had too much difficulty lining up the perfs in the film with those in the paper. Instead, I attached a piece of backing paper to the back of the cartridge with rubber cement (where the window is). I have to count the frames as it always shows "1."
My next experiment will be to cut a strip from the bottom edge of the backing paper, where the perfs are, so I don't have to worry about the holes. I don't think this will cause a light-leak problem, and when rolled by hand I can keep it aligned with the top edge of the film.
I purchase some of the non-perf "Portra" from www.ultrafineonline.com, and for a proof-of-concept, punched holes using a piece of balsa wood wedged in the jaws of the punch. The wood spaced the hole from the edge, and at the "proper" distance from the punch it had a small screw sticking up. After punching a hole, I pulled the film until the hole snagged the screw, then punched another hole.
It was an incredibly tedious session to do two cartridges this way in a dark bag. I was not worried about scratches or anything, as I just wanted to see if it would work. It did.
As this was a test, I used d-76. When I get this all worked out, I will have it processed as color.
As for future perforating, I will make a small jig. Instead of using a screw to get the frame spacing, it will be a spring-loaded pin on a base, and the punch will be mounted on the same base. Rollers will keep the film off the base, and guides will keep the film positioned. Nothing fancy, just some sheet metal, a 2x4, and some homemade rollers. I'll be able to wind onto a roll while perforating.
Yes, those older cartridges are a X*&> to get opened. If you do tho they seem to go back together better. The plastic is not as flexible. I have a couple I got open without breakage. The fuji's I have come apart pretty easily. That sounds doable btw. It's crucial to keep the distance between the hole and the edge of the film. If you can make guides that are rigid it should be ok? The Surveillance film works well apart from the toughness of the base. After each roll I punch a few times through several layers of tin foil to resharpen the punch. If I make the next one out of plexiglas I think I can finish the edges and stuff to make it pretty slick to prevent scratches. Keep us posted of your progress. BTW which camera are you using?
Normally I'm a fan of well-made products, but this is a situation where it's an annoyance :). The cartridges that came apart without problems were Focal and Triple Print brands. In all cases I am being extremely patient and careful.
I've two instamatics, my Father's Kodak 414 (with the clockwork autowind) and my maternal Grandmother's Minolta Autopak 600-X. They both died about a year ago, so this is a bit of a sentimental project. The Kodak broke while on vacation when I was a chidl, so my parents used my 110 for the remainder of the vacation. I was a kid, so was a bit angry at the time that I didn't get to use MY camera. I need to repair the camera, and think I've figured out what is wrong. The difficult part will be fixing it without breaking it more. A pin (probably plastic) is missing - it holds a spring that presses on a piece of metal that fires the shutter. As far as I can figure, it gives just enough pressure to get the process started. With the pin gone, the spring moves with the metal, preventing it from returning to the cocked position.
I don't remember my Grandmother using her camera, and I've a very good memory.
For my first test I used the Minolta since it works - and incorrectly figured I didn't need batteries. Everything was grossly underexposed (plus it was color film processed as B&W, which made it was worse). After a trip to Radio Shack for some over-priced batteries, the second cartridge came out much better.
A friend at work has a Minolta Autopak 800 that his girlfriend got him from an "antique" store because it was cool. He's never been able to use it, so I'll load a few cartridges for him to try as well.
I plan on having the punch and index pin on a movable piece of metal (or wood or something). That way I can do 110 as well. My best friend would like to use the 110 camera she had as a child. I gave her some of the new Fukkatsu and Lomo 110 for Christmas, but the do-it-yourself route will be more fun.
Curiously, the 110 backing paper (from the cartridges I've disassembled) does not have holes in it. So I tried running a piece of the old Kodachrome in the 126 cartridge with the paper upside down. The film perfs were on the correct side, but with no corresponding holes in the backing paper. It didn't work.
I cut open the Kodak cartridges very carefully with a single-edge razor blade. Patience pays, haven't cut myself yet. :)
I've been using a combo of a box cutter and an xacto #11. Patience and taking it real slow is key. Also flexing it periodically while you work the blade into the sides. I think the dimensions of the older cartridges is slightly different btw. I got a little stab. but nothing major yet. I have an oyster shucking glove somewhere I should dig out…
Truzi, the motor drive instamatics are a fun type. I have the model below yours without metering. I hope you're able to fix it/ Perhaps looking for a donor camera? can't be too expensive. I got mine for 3 bucks with a cartridge inside.
I bought a very cheap non-working 414 on ebay and ripped it apart to see what makes it work. I also bought a repair manual.
The plastic piece that broke is part of the molded body - it's just a "pin" or rod. I could get another body and swap, but then I get into the Ship of Theseus paradox :).
It is possible to drill a small hole and put in a small screw, but I could damage it further in the process. Some sort of epoxy could also cause issue or break again. For some reason, I want a reversible modification.
At the moment, I'm thinking of making an insert. It would fit over the base where the plastic piece was and extend upward. I think there is just enough room to do this. A small chunk of aluminum or hardened epoxy could be filed to slide in place.
I've been thinking about your perf idea and was thinking plexi would be ideal for this. Make it so you thread the film through a 'box'* get a tiny rollerball spring catch to use as a registration stop. Polish everything nice and smooth. Then a person could complete the process in a dark bag. Would limit handling the film too much. The tweaking would be in finding a stop that would work for registration.
* two parallel sheets separated by 1/32nd spacer guides.
I wonder if plexi is asking for static, though. Wood may too, but not as much.
I really like the idea about a rollerball spring catch, though making it may be outside of my skill level. I was thinking of cannibalizing the registration pin/lever from my "doner" 414.
From ebay I received an used Watson 100 bulk loader with a shipment of Kodak NOS snap-caps (I've been buying snap-caps as if they're discontinued... oh wait, they are). I've a new Bobbinquick loader, so the ebay acquisition is a bonus... and expendable. I've carefully removed certain spinning parts from it. They idea is to put the unperfed film in it and "attach" it to the jig I want to make. It would not be light-tight, so a bag or darkroom would be mandatory. It would simply be a convenient way to hold and "feed" the film.
My idea so far is a wooden base to screw everything on. At Home Deport I got a small sheet of aluminum that I will try cutting and bending. The first guide will (hopefully) somehow snap into the bulk-loader, in the hole and depression where the sprocket originally was. Film would be perfed emulsion-side up to reduce risk of scratches. The other end of the jig could have a 50-foot reel and crank attached to just do a long roll all at once.
I'm already envisioning a motor, some micro-switches, a die set, and solenoids. However, I'm very bad at fabrication, and really good at procrastination, so if I get an ugly manual system made it will be an huge achievement.
You may be able to pirate winders from a home movie editing set up. They turn up frequently at thrift stores and run pretty cheap. As long as it doesn't turn out looking like a Rube Goldberg machine you'll be good.
I spent a little while throwing together a prototype of the small plexi punch tonight and it seems like it's going to be a go. I need to clean up the edges a bit but it's working pretty precisely. Should be easy to use in the dark too. For a catch I used a styrene spring bar with a styrene pin with a rounded tip. I'll look for a ball catch small enough for a future revision.
Here are pics of it. To give you an idea of the thing.
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