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  1. #1

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    plastic reels getting sticky help

    Got some fairly new plastic reels that won't load 35mm. Noticed the steel balls weren't moving freely in the
    reel. Is this cuz of hard water or the chems?
    Do you guys soak them in anything or bend the reel slightly or ?
    thx
    ez

  2. #2

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    This to me is usually a sign to get new reels. maybe give them a good wash and photo-flo dip --dry then try again.
    * Just because your eyes are closed, doesn't mean the lights in the darkroom are off. *
    * When the film you put in the camera is worth more than the camera you put the film in... *
    * When I started using 8x10, it amazed me how many shots were close to the car. *

  3. #3
    MattKing's Avatar
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    Try running them through a clean automatic dishwasher. If the dishwasher uses a rinse aid, you will need to wash the reels afterwards in plain hot water.

    The dishwasher detergents are fairly harsh (bleach!) and the temperatures are quite high, so be sure to use the top rack and a "delicate" setting if one is available.

    FWIW, each time I use a plastic reel I check beforehand that the ball bearings are moving freely. A wooden toothpick is an excellent tool for the purpose.

    EDIT: Use of a dishwasher should be fairly infrequent - they can be tough on the reels.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  4. #4
    hdeyong's Avatar
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    I don't know where you are, but where I live, there's a lot of minerals in the water. When the water dries, it leaves behind residue which is kind of chalky. It can jam up the works. There are readily available products that simply dissolve it away in a matter of a few minutes. They're called 'decalcifiers' or something.
    I can't imagine why else the balls would get stuck, unless the plastic reel warped, but that's unlikely.

  5. #5
    Double Negative's Avatar
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    I'd stop using Photo Flo for one. Try Edwal's "LFN Wetting Agent." Less hassle (one drop in final rinse - done) and less "goo."

    Try washing the reels in hot, soapy water. If they still act up, replace them. Consider also SS reels/tanks.

  6. #6
    Newt_on_Swings's Avatar
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    plastic reels getting sticky help

    I always take care and scrub my plastic reels right after developing and washing of film. Hot water and a toothbrush works well for me, they are also dried apart (separated top and base).

    I too also poke the steel bearing with my nail to check if they are free before loading.

    You can also run a pencil through the grooves a bit as well to get some graphite lubrication on them.

  7. #7
    hdeyong's Avatar
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    The pencil idea sounds like a good one.

  8. #8

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    Take a sharp lead pencil and run it round the groves in the reel, and the graphite in the lead greases the reel and the film just slips in. I have been doing this for over 20 years and it works a treat, I never have a problem loading film.
    Richard

  9. #9
    aleksmiesak's Avatar
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    I read somewhere that you should never use Photo Flo on plastic reels, I think that was actually here. Something about that solution gunking up the reels. I will definitely try the pencil method too.
    Aleksandra Miesak

    "One should really use the camera as though tomorrow you'd be stricken blind." - Dorothea Lange

  10. #10
    jp498's Avatar
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    Those little balls are completely unnecessary. Castrate the reel and it will work just fine.

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