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  1. #1
    zanxion72's Avatar
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    Metal film reels and loading

    After using plastic reels for developing my films for a few years, I have decided to give the steel spirals a try. I have bought one on the cheap on ebay and the problem is that whenever I try loading film on it it always gets caught somewhere in a way so that the next layer touches the previous one.
    Could it be that the reel has some sort of damage that prevents the smooth loading of the film on it? I have also tried an LPL film loader with it but I get the same problem.

  2. #2

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    Started with plastic 40 years back shortly after went to metal. It requires the film to be evenly spaced between the spirals at the core or clip, this is the trick and takes a little practice. Just take a bad roll of film and practice will watching TV. Never used a loader and always felt doing it by hand gave a better feel if something is going wrong. Now a word of advise, do not buy used reels, a metal reels life span is right up to the point when you drop it. I test reels by rolling them across a table, if it wobbles, or the ends of the spiral do not touch the table at the same time the reel is not square and the film will jump the tracks. Best metal reels are made by Hewes, I feel they are little heavier and better built.
    Good Luck

  3. #3
    Guillaume Zuili's Avatar
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    Hewes. Loading is very easy and they are sturdy. From bad experience, used cheap ss reels are a waste of money.

  4. #4
    Rick A's Avatar
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    If you are having the problem in the same place no matter which method you use for loading, then it's a dinged reel.
    Rick Allen
    Argentum aevum

  5. #5

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    Just to restate the obvious: Hewes are the only SS reels worth buying at this point. The two biggest problems with SS reels are: bent spiral wires causing loading problems; the film not being square and centered to start, causing loading problems farther along.

    Hewes brilliantly has little tangs in the center to hook the 35mm perforations, absolutely guaranteeing the film starts off perfectly square and centered. And their spiral wires are about thick enough to drive a car over and not get bent, all but eliminating that as a problem.

    Duncan

  6. #6
    winger's Avatar
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    I echo the "use Hewes" sentiment. Some things are not worth buying on the cheap. Somewhere on the web, there was/is a video by APUGer jbrunner on how to load a SS reel - most useful video for me.

  7. #7

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    Have you tried loading the reel with a sacrificial roll so that you can monitor what's going on in the light?
    Metal reels, especially the 35mm ones look sturdy, but are actually fairly fragile, one drop on a concrete floor is all it takes to tweak it enough to be unusable, even though it will look just fine.

    Hewes reels aren't the only ones that work well, but their design and construction is superior.

    As stated, it sounds like your reel may be bent, if the film kinks no matter what you do, it probably is, and the best solution is to ditch it and find a known good one. The easiest way to do that is to buy a brand-new Hewes.

  8. #8

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    The biggest trick to loading SS reels is to twist the reel to load the film, not move the film across it.

    If the reel is in your left hand and the film in your right, your right hand stays still and you rotate/move the reel.
    I hate when people ask me what I see myself doing in 5 years...... I don't have 2020 vision!

  9. #9
    Jim Jones's Avatar
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    I've used cheap SS reels for many hundred rolls of film with little trouble. The flanges on reels that have been dropped can be straightened. Occasionally the flanges are straight and parallel, but not concentric. This, too, can be corrected with enough effort. The spring clip that holds the film on the core of some reels was a bad idea. It works well if the film is perfectly centered between the flanges, and causes problems if the film is slightly off-center. I remove the clip, double the end of the film over, and insert it between the wires of the core. Then the film automatically centers itself between the flanges. The discarded spring clip can be used to block off all but the proper core slot. When film becomes crimped on SS reels, we can usually feel it jammed flush against the outside surface of the spiral. It also makes a faint sound when it crimps. If one still has problems loading SS reels, load a full length of scrap film and see where the problem is.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick A View Post
    If you are having the problem in the same place no matter which method you use for loading, then it's a dinged reel.
    +1

    Never buy used reels without trying them out with scrap film. They may look fine but have been bent enough not to work. Also don't buy very cheap reels. They are often too flimsy and easily damaged. 120 reels are usually made with thicker wire and hold up better.
    A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.

    ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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