135-120 Hack

I have come to the realization I cannot buy 120 film locally which somehow led to this discovery…

Ever seen a photo of 35mm film fully exposed edge to edge and wondered how that was done? Well I did, I think that looks pretty damn cool. It’s essentially a 35mm film canister hack so you can fit it in a camera that usually only accepts 120 film. It requires little adapters on either side of the film canister to make it long enough to lock in to a medium format camera. There are other messier methods, but I’m looking for something a bit more professional. Let’s order some! Oh wait that’s no fun… let’s have some made locally!

When I first searched for these the most common way that these are made are on a 3D printer. I don’t have a 3D printer and that is quite unfortunate. So I posted in a local “Ask It” group on Facebook wondering if anyone has a 3D printer and would be offering services. I was given information on the whereabouts of two that are privately owned. One of them was just purchased by a recent client of mine (I fix computers and other things on the side) who knew! There are many communities online where people upload project files for 3D printers and share with others. I was able to find the project files on a website called YouMagine created by a user named coconnor55 at https://www.youmagine.com/designs/35mm-film-on-120-spool . If you look at the photo’s on that page there is an example of the 35mm film after being shot on a medium format camera. Now it’s not fully necessary but he also created a custom take-up spool at https://www.youmagine.com/designs/120-takeup-spool-for-35mm-film .

So today after work I went out to their house to check out this 3D printer. I have watched a ton of videos on 3D printing over the past few years but never actually seen one operating in person. This was a Lulzbot Mini capable of printing objects 6″x6″x6″ which isn’t massive but its still a great size to do a ton of work with. I had already loaded a USB stick with the .stl files needed to be read by the software to start creating the two canister adapters and the take up spool. I know I said the take up spool wasn’t necessary but it does seem like a good idea to help guide the film straighter and hopefully minimize any potential issues on that end. So the first file was loaded in one program then exported in to the main software running the Lulzbot, apparently its recommended to do this for some compatibility issue of some sort. Then the object can be placed anywhere on the heated platter with in the software, heat settings were based on the filiment used which in this case was black ABS plastic I am told…. there could of been a couple other settings that I missed. After that he tried to do the print but the extruder for the filament wasn’t extruding so that was cancelled. They are still getting the hang of this machine so a few glitches are to be expected. After watching it seemed like it the preheat may of not been completed. Then he tried to print again and everything went perfectly and I had a finished piece after about 25 minutes or so. It was fun to watch it create and object like that. Then he tested loading in the last two pieces on to the next print to be done at the same time. This takes quite a while to print an object and I didn’t want to sit there and hold them hostage in front of the printer for the next hour so I said I would stop by tomorrow and pick the last two pieces up tomorrow and let them eat their dinner 😉

I have to say…. I think I need a 3D printer now. It’s pretty cool to be mixing modern technology in to this project. I could of ordered these things but I thought it would be a fun idea if I could make this locally and hey, it actually worked out. I learned a bunch of new tricks and made some good connections.


Here are a couple photo’s of the finished product. Unfortunately the door on my 6×6 pinches at the bottom…. I’m trying to decide if I should modify the door which involves removing metal and that just sounds wrong on an antique.

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