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  1. #1

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    Need better tape to secure film.

    Another failure in the field when my bulk loaded film became detached from the cartridge spool.I use cassettes from my local lab and tape the end of the factory one to my bulk film with scotch tape (on both sides).
    I've used masking tape with the same frustrating results.Doesn't ruin the film but renders your camera unusable until it can be opened in totally dark place.Is there a better tape? Where can I get it?

    Thanks

  2. #2

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    Oct 2006
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    Tape

    Hi, Mike,

    I've always used masking tape, and never had any problems. The trick seems to be to stick the tape on to the base side of the film, over the spool and back on to the emulsion side.

    When I was still bulk loading, I used to bulk load my film in my basement, in total darkness. I had measured the distance from a heavy duty, spring type paper clip, which was securely screwed into one of the overhead floor joists, to another clip, which I had attached to the counter. That distance was correct to get a 35-exposure roll of film, with just enough film allowed for a proper leader and trailer. As I recall, I used to get 19 35-exposure rolls, and a "shorty," which was about 10 to 15 exposures. Or, I could get 18 35-exposure rolls, and two approximately 20-exposure rolls.

    I would start by popping open all of my cassettes, and placing the shells, spools and tops in three different utility containers, the kind you can buy at any hardware store for tools, parts, et cetera. A fourth container stood ready for the loaded cassettes. I would then measure 20 or even 25 pieces of masking tape, the exact length to cover the distance I required, and they were stuck along the counter, for easy removal in total darkness. My scissors were placed, business end down, in one of my rear pockets. Lights out; then, I would open the 100-foot roll of film, remove the tape the manufacturer as placed to secure the end of the film, and I would stick this piece of tape on my trouser leg.

    I would attach the end of the film to the overhead clip, and un-spool it until I reached the clip on the counter. I would then cut it as evenly as I could, and let the film dangle. I would place the spool of bulk film back into the can, and I would grab a spool from my utility bin, stick the tape to the base side of the film, attach the spool, stick the tape to the emulsion side, and VERY carefully roll it up, place it in the shell, secure the lid, and put it in the fourth utility container. The reason for attaching the film to the overhead clip is that when you have exposed and developed the film, you will find that the frame numbers will be where they are when you use factory loads. I have used this method with Kodak, Agfa and Ilford film, and it works.

    The reason you should stick that original piece of tape to your trouser leg, or arm, is that it won't find its way to where you don't want it, like on to the emulsion of one of your rolls. It was 27 years ago, when I was working for a large photofinisher in Toronto, I had to make an adjustment to the paper track in one of the high-speed printers. A piece of tape, which I had removed from a roll of 3-1/2 paper, and stuck lightly to the face of my wristwatch, became detatched, and ended up stuck in the printing gate. That caused the next hour's production, something like 2000-feet of colour paper to end up in the waste bin. I was reprimanded, and warned never to let it happen again. I hasn't, and whenever I work in my darkroom, everything has its place, and is in its place; nothing is left lying around.

    The trick with the tape seems to be to get just the correct length to hold the film to the spool, without having too much; twice as much is not twice as good. It must be attached squarely, without wrinkles. That can be done with a bit of practice. Use a bit of scrap film to practice in daylight, and then close your eyes and try until you can do it first time, every time. Drop me a PM if you have any questions.

  3. #3
    Mike Wilde's Avatar
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    Blue Max Film Splicing tape

    I use it on my bulk loads, and also to join two 120's together end to end to load onto a single paterson style plastic reel. It is not all that sticky on anything other than film base, and it really sticks to itself. It does not loosen while in contact with processing chemicals.

    On my 35mm bulk loads, I cut the film off the spool, rather tha try to get this tape off the end of the film in the dark.

    My roll was found at Burlington Camera for $20. For that price f one 1" wide roll I have what I would estimate to be three lifetimes supply of the stuff, at the rate that I use it.

  4. #4

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    Dec 2004
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    Dear Mike,

    Scotch Magic tape should work without problems. I've used it for many years. I would remove any vestige of tape from the spools you get and using one piece of tape, start on one side of your new film, continue around the spool and finish on the other side of the film. I have used this for literally hundreds of rolls and never had one come loose.

    Good luck with your future rolls, whatever method you choose.

    Neal Wydra

  5. #5

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    There is masking tape and then there is masking tape. The better brands (more $) will do the job better than the cheap, house-brand variety. You're doing it the right way, tape on both sides, but the good tape will hold.

  6. #6
    patrickjames's Avatar
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    I use gaffers tape when I bulk load. It won't fail and it is reusable as well since it has a special adhesive on it. Masking tape is a waste of time in my opinion, but that is just my opinion.

  7. #7

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    May 2005
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    My sympathies. There must be few thing that are more frustrating, especially if your in the field and there's no darkroom handy. I use re-useable cassettes such as Jessops sell, which can be unscrewed and re-assembled and masking tape has worked fine here but I have tried to dissasemble factory cassettes(Ilford) and found that every time it was almost impossible to take apart without at least slight damage and was then very dificult to re-assemble so how do you guys manage it?

    An alternative which I think I have seen posted involves simply sticking the bulk film to the end of the factory film. That way the cassette is undamaged and the factory spool is intact and is built in such a way that the original piece film will never break free. The other advantage is that factory cassette seem to allow the film to wind on and back more freely. Sounds great but my worry would be this.

    1. What tape is both strong enough and thin enough to pull the bulk film into the cassette, given that there is a two film overlap( how much?) and thus double thickness and to ensure that there is no breakage as happened to the OP?

    pentaxuser

  8. #8
    gainer's Avatar
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    Electrician's tape is hard to get off when you're trying. The only time I have had it fail on 35 mm was when there was not enough tape to allow at least 1/2 inch on each side of the film.
    Gadget Gainer

  9. #9

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    I've been using that green masking tape from 3M wrapped once around the spool, the applied only to the base side of the film. Haven't had a failure yet.
    Frank Schifano

  10. #10

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    I think the problem is he is reusing factory loads. So he can't wrap the tape around the spool.

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