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DIY: A Retired Kodak Chemist's Dream Machine

The Filminator

You're looking at a homemade film coating machine created by a retired Kodak Australia employee. Plastic goes in one end, and finished film comes out the other. It sounds simple, but it's the technical equivalent of a JPL engineer deciding to build a rocket ship in his garage.

When Kodak's Australian Kodachrome lab operation shut down, the Unnamed Chemist was able to get his hands on some vital bits and pieces to help build his dream machine. Still, many additional parts and thousands of hours of fabrication were required.

A scan of the developed emulsion (inverted from the original negative)

Nevertheless, imagine the freedom of being able to manufacture your own version of the classic Kodachrome film emulsion. Just remember that processing your new film will be every bit as convoluted.

The fellow who took these photos reports, "The last year or so [2007] has been mainly taken up with trying to remove the problem of uneven layering of the emulsion that shows up as regular 'banding' pattern on the finished product. The problem had been isolated to the drive roller, and was assumed to be gearbox chatter. A *lot* of time and expense was used to track this down, and eventually a high-res stepper motor and drive all but removed the problem. The banding that is left is due to the coating roller by the looks, being a high-speed unit running on low speed the bearings will need to be either replaced or maybe we could get away with repacking them with a light oil rather than grease.

Thank you for the interest, I thought it was far too interesting to be left in the dark in a garage. While the builder uses the net for research rather than "social" uses, I will endeavour to get him into the forum, it looks like it will be one he will enjoy."

As of November, 2009, the machine remains under development.

Flickr: DIY Film Coating Machine


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