DIY(?) roll paper safe/dispenser
I'm pondering buying Ilford FB on rolls instead of sheets, which requires that I have some means of storing and dispensing the roll. Has anyone built a paper-safe and dispenser? Are there "best practises" for constructing and/or using this sort of thing? I was considering integrating a guillotine or rolling cutter with the papersafe, but am concerned that (with a rolling cutter anyway) dragging the paper under the clamp-bar could scratch the emulsion. Do you cut roughly off the edge of the dispenser and then trim completed prints?
A dimensioned drawing of a roll papersafe would be awesome; at this stage I don't even have dimensions for the cores that it will need to support.
Do people cut a bunch of sheets from the roll and store them in a box/papersafe, or cut them for use directly off the roll?
I'd like to buy a 20" and (maybe once my not-insubstantial stock of 8x10" runs low) an 8" roll; Ilford makes both. B&H only seems to stock the 50"+ rolls of FB though (narrower ones are all RC), so where could one hypothetically be had? The local (AU) distributors are disorganised thieves so it's generally (much) cheaper to pay for 5-day international air courier from a foreign retailer than to get something through the local supply chain.
Any suggestions and/or hard-won experiences welcome...
I see random rolls pop up quite cheap from time to time online. I've thought about this as well and tried it out on a 5inch roll of paper. The smaller roll is pretty easy to handle, and I just cut it using a rotary trimmer and stop guide at 7 inches. This was rc paper so it was easy to handle and cut, and I didn't notice any scratches from sliding it under the guide. Sometimes I would get an uneven cut but that could be trimmed later. One problem is that there is a curl to the rc paper, due to it being on a roll. I just store it in its original black plastic and cardboard outter box, and put that in a plastic storage bin.
Polyglot - do you have a means of processing lengths of paper on the roll (not necessarily the whole roll at once) or do you expect the built device to output individual cut sheets, which needs a much more complicated mechanism. If you want individual sheets to size, it would be easier to cut them to length and store them in batches, perhaps using a stepper motor or digital counter and DC motor. Incorporating a mask and a guillotine means winding a bit forward after exposure to clear the mask, then cutting, then winding back to position the paper back beneath the mask, otherwise each print would have a margin of wasted white paper.
In a previous career I designed paper handling devices. The trickiest bit was interfacing every possible enlarger to the rolleasel. I ended up using a photocell and plastic fibre optic to link the lamphouse to the control. This sensed the end of the exposure and advanced the paper.
I used to get 5" rolls when I did a ton of small prints in high school. I'd just chop a bunch of sheets for the next couple days work and put the roll back in the bag/box.
Well I only have normal 2- and 4-blade easels, i.e. not a roll easel. So I'll definitely be cutting before exposing, and then processing sheets in a Jobo (my 3063 arrived today!). I'm also not doing production of bulk copies of prints, so don't need automation here.
Originally Posted by JOR
Cutting in batches seems a reasonable approach because it means I don't need a papersafe that holds the roll and I'm sure that's what I'll do initially. But if I could have a little papersafe bolted to the wall by the enlarger where I lift a lid, pull out the right length, snip it off and immediately expose, that sounds like a nice idea. Whether it's so nice in practise I don't know.
For anyone who has used the Ilford rolls, what is the inner diameter of the core? Can you run a rod all the way through it or does it need to be supported by two short pegs?
Has anyone tried one of those "craft paper dispenser" things with a sprung bar? Seems to me that the bar would act to prevent the roll unrolling, act as a nice cutting guide, and also provide an edge you can reverse the curl on somewhat as you draw the paper out.
Last edited by polyglot; 08-04-2014 at 06:54 AM. Click to view previous post history.
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I have two Rota-Trim units in my darkroom for cutting roll paper. One is set-up for colour paper with a quite impressive cardboard guide system using genuine duct tape, this was for 40cm wide roll paper manufactured in Australia by Kodak. I also acquired some Fuji roll paper, it was 30cm in one box and 8" in another box. The metric paper was Japanese and Australian stock, the imperial paper was presumably for the USA market.
The other unit was set-up for B&W 50cm (I think) roll paper from Agfa Australia, this was RC and a great success. I had a series of cuts set-up allowing me to make three sizes of cut sheet paper.
I believe you will find paper emulsion is quite tough, really tough. One can of course damage it, but my experience is that it takes a hiding.
One just lifts the plastic guide on the Rota-Trim unit, slides the paper in to a pre-arranged stop, places the plastic guide down, then runs the trimming wheel back and forth. Got so good, I could do it with my eyes closed.
I must confess though, I haven't used either for some years as my stock of roll paper eventually finished and I obtained some mountainous supplies of paper from closing shops. One haul was 30x24" paper in 50 sheet boxes by 18 boxes, that was the RA4 colour, you don't wish to know how many B&W boxes I obtained.
Last edited by Mick Fagan; 08-04-2014 at 06:53 AM. Click to view previous post history.
I have one of those automatic roll paper dispenser/cutters. It uses a rotary cutter built in rather than a guillotine style blade.
I've never used roll paper, and I'm not sure what size you usually print, but if it were me, I'd cut the entire roll in one session to the various size(s) just to be done with it, and put it all right into paper safes. That should help w/ the curl issue too.
I've cut quite a few sheets (thousand or so) from Ilford Express and Ilford MGIV 4 inch and 5 inch wide rolls (500ft) over the years. You may be able to apply the same method to larger rolls. I took a cardboard box and placed a slot the width of the paper on one side. The slot is lined with felt as to not scratch the paper as it passes through. On the other adjacent sides I made a hole in the middle of the box as to support a rod (pvc pipe) that will pass completely thorough the box and roll of paper. It's basically a homemade paper dispenser. I set it near the guillotine cutter and pull the paper out to the stop on the cutter board. I cut off the sheet and continue. This I do under a safelight.
5x4, 4x5, Half-Plate, 5x7, 8x10, 6x9cm, 6x7cm, 6x6cm, 6X4.5cm
Rotatrim Technical ("T") trimmers have an excellent clamp with a strip of rubber that grips the paper properly. This type of cutter won't scratch the emulsion at all and is very, very well conceived and made. I have a T1250 model that cost me surprisingly little in money, but a lot in time it took to clean the rust. Fabulous build quality. No papersafe, just cutting rolls on a long metal spindle suspended on two holders, all in pitch black dark, of course. So far I've cut 40"-43" rolls of Efke Emaks FB, Efke RC, Ilford Warmtone FB, Kodak Ultra Endura F and N as well as various smaller Fuji Crystal Archive rolls. EO ("emulsion out") is what's difficult to do, almost as hard as Emaks and its mega-curl.
Originally Posted by polyglot
But trust me on the Rotatrim T.