re-using 35mm cartridges for bulk loading

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by matthew_harrison|2, Feb 4, 2018.

  1. I bulk load my film onto the standard black plastic cartridges but I need to have a DX coded cartridge for one of the cameras I use.
    I've bought a couple of roles of HP5 but want to re-use the cartridges with my bulk loader in futuer.

    So my question is: how to open the cartridge (I usually use the Ilford tin opener thing but this tends to bend the lid quite a lot).
    Also - any general tips for this would be appreciated.
  2. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

  3. paul ron

    paul ron NYC

    I once saw a diy article on self stick labels for that. if you google it I'm sure you will find it.
  4. SCL


    Film manufacturers used to not crimp the cartridge ends so heavily. One could just whack the extended end on a hard surface and the other end would pop off. Worth a try on your current one/s.
  5. When I first started developing, I could pretty reliably pop most off by whacking the top of the spindle on the table. The last few years, I haven't been able to open one without mutilating it pretty badly.

    One option is to leave the leader out when rewinding, unload through the light trap, and then cut with enough "tail" remaining that you can splice the bulk film onto it. I don't trust the light trap once the leader has gone in as it can pick up crud and scratch the film, but it's generally okay as long as you leave the leader out.

    Finally, I've recoded factory cartridges using scotch tape to tape over the DX code and then an Xacto knife to cut it as appropriate. On a plastic cartridge, I suspect that you could stick on a piece of the aluminum tape used in HVAC work(not duct tape, but the stuff that's actually adhesive backed aluminum) then tape over it with scotch tape and cut the coding into it.
  6. paul ron

    paul ron NYC

    illford had plastic carts with twist off tops which allowed them to be reused.

    here is the diy labels....

    DIY Film DX Code Labels
  7. Interestingly Japan Camera Hunter re-loads HP5+ canisters which is where I got the idea. I did message him through IG but no response. I'm using a Canon ShureShot A1 which defaults to ISO 25.
  8. There were reloadable cartridges made with ISO 100 and ISO 400 DX coding. I hoarded some when I knew they were going to become unavailable. Hunt on eBay for them.
  9. I consider any of the crimped cartridges as 'one time use only.' The issue that I had was trying to remove the cap, without mangling it. And I have not had success with that. So I just gave up trying to save them. Because the next problem is trying to put the crimped cap back on when you load it. I had no reliable success with this either.

    I have not tried taping film to a tail on the unopened roll.
  10. Without an auto-winder and with self-processed black and white it's pretty easy: you don't open them. By sound and feel you wait until the film detaches from the takeup on rewinding and only roll it in a little bit more, leaving the leader of the film outside the can. Then, when you wind it onto the processing reel you cut off the film outside the can at the end with enough space to tape new film onto the leftover end. It's pretty easy with enough practice. If needed you could use one of those film extractor tools if you have an autowinder, but I never got the hang of those. Also if you've got access to a (increasingly rare) dip-and-dunk pro film lab you might convince them to do the same thing for color rolls (but it's probably a pain for the workflow).
  11. I just reload commercial cartridges (tape bulk film onto leader hanging out of cartridge), If you live near a lab that does 35mm processing they may even give you their empty cartridges. I use them a couple of times and toss em'.

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