SPLITTING FILM


Since many film types were only available from the film manufacturers in 35mm stock, several submini camera manufacturers designed film splitters to allow cutting a smaller strip of film from 35mm stock. With a film slitter, you can get some amazing film into your submini, such as 2475 recording film, B&W or color infrared film, Tech pan, Agfapan 25 and Ektar 25.  Sometimes called film slitters -- and NOT to be confused with film SPLICERS -- these devices came in various styles to cut different size strips. Some cut a 35mm strip in half to produce two 17.5mm strips for cameras that used that size film. Others would cut 16mm strips, 9.5mm strips and even 8mm strips. Some of the companies that made these slitters were GaMi, Minolta, Yashica, Ricoh, Mikroma, Microtec, Acmel, and Varitype. There are undoubtedly more. They basically work the same way. Using razor blades, of some type, they cut out smaller strips of film from 35mm film. These items are no longer being made and are very difficult to find.

If you want a ready-made slitter, we suggest you check out:



If you prefer an older model, check out the SWAPMEET section of the SUBCLUB.  

If you are handy or determined, you might even want to built your own slitter. All you need are a few small pieces of wood, a couple of razor blades, some basic tools, a little ingenuity and time.  Here are some pictures of a completed splitter. With this slitter, you place a bulk roll of 35mm film on the part that looks like a black handle. The film is pressed down onto the cutting block and a removeable pressure plate is screwed on top. Then the film is pulled through the slitter and rolled up on the other side. Two pieces of felt on either side of the film keep it from getting scratched.




You can use various materials in the construction of your slitter.  The decision on material is up to you.  Wood is normally easier to work with if you just have standard tools, but other materials may offer advantages, if you are familiar with them and have the necessary tools.  In building your own slitter, one big problem you will come across is that the film is measured in millimeters, but American building materials are normally cut in inches. To complicate matters even more, when you add in the razor blades inbetween the wood blocks, the width is increased very slighly, but it can be enough to through off careful measurements. Here are some helpful measurements:


Here are a few diagrams to use depending on the type and size of film you plan to slit.  The diagrams are NOT to scale.

If you are using 35mm unperforated film.
If you are using standard 35mm perforated film.
If you are using 16mm film, regardless of the perforations.

You can see from these diagrams is that if you only use one size of film to slit from (ex. 35mm) and one size of film to slit to (ex. 16mm) your job will be easier.  If you plan on slitting from different film sizes (ex. 35mm AND 16mm), or slit to different film sizes (ex. 16mm AND 9.5mm) your work is more involved.  You will need to make different film slitters or make a slitter with different slitting block pieces.  It's up to you to decide which is the best route to take.


Before you get started, here are few points to ponder.  

Making a slitter takes time even if you are familiar with hand tools.  The measurements must be precise and the pieces of material are small, making cutting difficult.  It also makes it easy to cut yourself, so watch out!

The more planning you do up front the better your results will be and the easier the job will be.  The plans outlined here are generic plans and need to be modified depending on the type of film you plan to slit, the type of film you want to produce, the type of materials you plan to use and the features you want to built into the slitter.  You will first need to spend time designing your slitter using these diagrams as a starting point.  If you have trouble designing your slitter, it's best not to build one yourself.

The amount of wood used in the project is very small.  Becasue of this you can probably afford to move up from a soft wood, like pine, to a harder wood, like oak.  Your slitter will last longer, but your saws and drill bits won't.  Harder woods are trickier to work with.  

The SUBCLUB can assume no responsibility for the success of your splitter, nor for any damage you do to yourself or your camera during its construction or use.   In other words, you're on your own.  If you have the slightest doubt about building a slitter, you probably shouldn't built one.


If you are working with wood, the tools you will need are:

The materials you will need will vary depending on size of the slitter you make and the design and features you build into it.


If your are a Minox user, you can see some great plans on this site.

And here's another site with some super ideas for a slitter.

Whether or not you are a Minox user, here are some generic plans with instructions and diagrams for the slitter in the pictures at the top of this page.

This guy has figured out how to turn a cheap 35mm camera into a film slitter.


If you have any ideas, suggestions or comments about these pages, please contact the Sub Club at the FRONT DESK.

To return to the main index for the Sub Club click here.

COPYRIGHT @ 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 by Joe McGloin. All Rights Reserved.