Feeding Problems - Paterson Film Developing Reels

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by tony_doucet, Oct 10, 1997.

  1. After only a few years of regular use my Paterson film reels have started to give me trouble. They bind up when loading film. The film will not advance into the reel. After some jiggling and fussing I can usually get things loosened up, but I have wrinkled some film while fooling around, so I want to fix this problem if I can. The problem is the little ball bearings that act as a clamp/release mechanism in the reel and allow the film to advance only inwards into the reel. My bearings have become sticky and no longer release properly. I have soaked the reels overnight in water, I have washed them in mild dish detergent and scrubbed the bearings and their tracks with a soft brush, but the problem persists. Any suggestions?
     
  2. I would try a stronger detergent and if that doesn't work then alcohol.
     
  3. If you got several years of service from plastic
    reels, you're WAY ahead of the game! I'm sorry, but
    I just don't understand why anybody wants to use
    plactic. Stainless steel tanks and
    reels are so much easier and better, especially
    the superb reels made in the UK by Hewes. The metal
    tanks conduct temperature from the water bath so
    much more efficiently than plastic.
     
  4. Yup, I know the problem. I've tried shaving a bit of plastic out of the ball bearing grooves, to make the bearings slide around more easily, with some success. Nonetheless, sometimes they still stick. Another trick is to free them up with a toothpick before you go into the changing bag, or else you'll be in their sweating on the reels and then you'll have a real problem -- they don't load well when wet.

    <p>

    Still, I prefer plastic for the following reasons:

    <p>

    1. When the bearings are free, the spools are easier FOR ME to load than metal.
    2. Because they don't conduct heat as much as metal, temperature remains constant despite my hot hands holding the tank for inversions, fixer shaking, the temperature of the room, etc.
    3. They're lighter than metal which is important for me, because I take my tank on the road and every little bit of weight saved helps.
    4. A hair dryer or a/c vent makes the wet loading problem moot.
    Bruce Feldman
    Bangkok
     
  5. Replace the reels. Blowing even one roll of film of an important subject(s) isn't worth it! Try SS reels for a change!
     
  6. The problem Tony describes is a surprising one to me, as I've been
    using Paterson reels and tanks since about 1970 and of the 3,400+
    rolls of B&W film I've developed so far, I cannot recall ever having a
    roll screwed up because of the little ball bearings sticking. I've
    acquired 27 of the reels over this period, and have been using most of
    the reels for at least 20 years (I pretty much retired my original 5
    old style two piece reels when I got some of the three piece (two
    spiral halves plus the rotating male post) reels) and have never done
    anything but be sure to rinse off the photo flo before letting them
    air dry. I've discovered other ways to get film crunched on loading
    (square corners on the leading edge of the film, any dampness in the
    reel, putting any side pressure on the reel when loading thin 120 film
    or any 220 film, etc.) but I've never experienced the problem
    described.

    <p>

    For me, the benefit of being able to fill an 8 reel Paterson tank with
    developer or stop in the time it would take to fill a 2 reel steel
    tank far outweighs the theoretical disadvantage of outside-in loading
    of the film reels. I also use regularly the plug-in hose for washing
    when there is more than one reel in a tank. In addition, on those few
    occasions when I use my steel tank, I usually end up with what I
    assume are undeveloped areas along the film edge (they're kind of
    pinkish and opaque and usually extend up to but not beyond the
    sprocket holes), a situation I never see with the Paterson equipment.
    (I admit my steel reels are generic, not Hewes.)

    <p>

    These comments may not apply if you're developing color film - I
    have no idea what that chemistry involves. Or, it may just be that
    you have a bad reel or two, in which case replacement may be simpler
    than repair. But if you like the Paterson system otherwise, I'd not
    give up on it just because you got a couple of bad reels.

    <p>

    Cheers,
    Kip
     
  7. I used to have some loading problems with my Ptterson Film Reels when
    I would us photoflo in the final rinse. I now soak them in dish
    washing soap, take them apart and scrub the groves, especially in the
    ball bearings, with a tooth brush. If in a hurry to do another batch,
    I blow-dry them. End of my difficulties.
     
  8. I read from somewhere that if your film gets stuck midroll while
    feeding to a reel, chances are your reel is not quite dry so the film
    sticks to the reel. Then the article suggested dunking the reel (with
    the film) into a bucket of water and continue winding. There was a
    time when the film i was winding stuck and won't go in. I tried the
    suggestion. It worked! Of course do the dunking in complete
    darkness.
     
  9. Make sure that you do not use a wetting agent with the film still on
    the reels. The stuff gums up plastic reels.

    <p>

    What I do is put the wetting agent (PhotoFlo or LFN) in another tank,
    then take the reel apart (separate the two halves) and dump the film
    into the wetting agent by itself.
     
  10. I have the same problem with my plastic Paterson reels and always
    assumed it was from my well water, which is on the hard side. I have
    found that if, when I cut my film from the spool I make sure not to
    cut it into the feeder holes. Make a clean cut, that helps. I also
    make sure the ball bearings are free before I start. I use photo flo
    in the tank, maybe I'll try rinsing out of the reels too.
     
  11. I've used the Patterson and Beseler plastic reels, and while I admit
    they are easier to learn to load than SS, it only took me one jammed
    roll, which crinkled my film, to convince me to give them away.

    <p>

    Another thing, once my film is developed and reaches the washing
    stage, I don't want to wait a minute before taking a peek at how the
    negatives look. I use PMK and other staining developers, which
    require 20+ minutes wash time. In recent years I've been testing
    developer formulations, and I don't like washing film for so long
    only to find it a waste of time. I found with plastic reels I could
    not peel off a few frames to give them a quick examination without a
    major struggle to get them wound back onto the spool. With SS I can
    unspool and re-spool the film at will.

    <p>

    For years I have been using Nikor, and more recently, Kindermann
    reels. Both are adequate and each has its advantages. Only last
    year, after examining a Hewes reel at B&H, I was so impressed by how
    sturdily it was made, I decided to buy one and try it.

    <p>

    My god, what a difference! First of all, these reels are incredibly
    solidly built and polished to a superbly smooth finish. Morever,
    there is a guide and pins which hold and align the film perfectly so
    that spooling these reels is nearly as foolproof and easy to learn as
    plastic reels. Most newcomers to SS get the film started wrong--
    cockeyed--and fight to overcome that initial misalignment. The Hewes
    reels eliminate that problem. In addition, the metal is so smooth,
    the film practically loads itself. After 30 years of loading SS
    reels, I was amazed at how much better these reels were than my
    Nikors and Kindermanns (which are good reels, not to be confused with
    the cheap Chinese reels).

    <p>

    Therefore, to anyone experiencing trouble with plastic tanks and
    reels, I highly recommend the Hewes reels. Couple them with
    Kindermann tanks, which have plastic tops that allow much faster
    filling than Nikors, and you'll have an easy to load system that will
    last a lifetime.
     

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