Friday, July 29, 2016

Heat Sealing is an important part of instant film

In all instant films there are components that are heat sealed.  "Heat Sealing" is joining or sticking parts together so they form an assembly. A good example of a heat seal is the chemical pod that spreads the developer in all instant films. The quality of this heat-sealed seal affects how the chemicals spread, or not.

Other parts are heat sealed too. For instance, the air tight bad that the film is wrapped in is heat sealed. This is a simple operation compared to the pods, which is more complex.

The distribution of heat, how long it is applied, and pressure on the seal greatly affects how well the seal performs. In our case, we produce a frangible seal. This is a special type of seal designed to break open at just the right pressure, and requires very precise pressure and temperature.

Various industries are trying to make tools to measure sealing performance and sealing tool quality. Here is such a tool: It produces a color-coded map of pressure, which could be useful.  One thing that is shown here is an acoustic horn, which is part of the business end of an ultrasonic welder. Instead of just being hot, ultrasound waves are transmitted into the material to heat it up by just the right amount.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Log Slitting Film for New55 COLOR

So-called "log slitters" are used in the paper industry to cut wide rolls of paper, and tape, into thin rolls. That roll of gaffer's tape you have was once a big wide roll that was sliced up into smaller rolls and then sold.

We have to cut color negative stock, which comes in a wide roll, down to about a four inch width after which the roll goes into a dark chamber to be cut into individual sheets.  I had looked for a reasonably priced commercial slitter but all I could find were machines in the $10,000 and up range.

A trip to Home Depot yielded a little circular saw which was almost toylike. This was mounted on the South Bend Heavy 10 lathe we have in the lab (this is a special NASA owned lathe bought surplus from the Apollo Program).  A mandrel made of a broomstick and a "pool noodle" was used to spin the roll while it cut.

The impromptu "log slitter" on an old (but very fine) South Bend
lathe. The log rotates a big roll of color film. The yellow part
is a "pool noodle" used in swimming pools.

The strip of red tape was straight but now each
small roll can move independently. This
small roll goes into a sheet making tool
that operates in the IR dark chamber.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

The long and short of it (receiver sheet)

Our never-ending quest for efficiency led us to cut down the length of the receiver sheet, which reduces paper waste and nearly 30% of precious image layer fluids.   There is still a small margin (behind the shakuhachi) to write notes or place a refrigerator magnet over.

Now that we have your attention on receiver sheets, notice how good and smooth the coverage is and how much better the tonal scale is. It is an achievement.

It find it hard to believe that this very obscure but critical chemical process, which was so costly to develop and learn how to make, is finally something we have firmly in hand, and am amazed when the photograph is peeled. It is unique in all the world; We are the only company on earth who manufacture instant peelapart films, and it is now becoming apparent that we need to expand to color and other formats, too. I would expect we can use this in an instant 8x10 system, but we'd have to make a wider coating machine.  You can see the scanned negatives of these photographs on flickr at this link.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Chemical mixer for New55 COLOR

The stainless steel mixer (AKA "the reactor") is a pressurized and vacuum container that allows precise mixing of developers and thickeners, under controlled mixing speed, temperature, pressures and time. You could go out and buy one new, but we can't do that so a beer making fermenter is being pressed into service and it looks like it will do fine.
Prepared for brazing out on the loading dock

Additions are the extra filling port seen being prepared for silver brazing and the rather scorched looking aftermath. This is normal.

A special rotary feedthrough goes on the top and gets connected to a powerful motor, as the color reagent is thick and requires a lot of mixing.

New55 has to do a lot of its own machine building and some of it is improvised. These make good starting points and allow us to make valid predictions about cost and yield if and when high speed production machinery is ever available to us.
The rotary seal is upside down and has four
separate pressure and vacuum ports
You can buy beer making equipment that looks
like this and then drill holes and braze on more
fittings if you have the tools.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Beware of fake yellow dots on Aero Ektars

For no real reason,  an Aero Ektar with a yellow dot sells for more than one with no dot.

Here is a drilled, counterfeit dot!  Not only is the Testors yellow paint slopped over the edge unlike a real dot, but the depression is incorrectly shaped and poorly centered. A genuine dot is flat, perfectly centered, and shows shallow grooves of the ring engraving tool.

You've been warned.

Friday, July 15, 2016

The Pack Film Meeting with Doc Kaps AKA Type 100

A marathon session with Doc Kaps here at Ashland/New55 to talk about the future of analog instant photography.  One important topic is the status of the famous type 100 film, also known as "pack film" which makes a convenient frame for the last photo of the pack as shown here. 
Many ideas and possibilities were discussed and some formative discussions about the status of New55 PN, and New55 COLOR, which might be put in other formats that use peelapart instant film technology.