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  #1  
06-20-2022, 10:49 AM
nilson nilson is offline
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Hi all -

I am looking for any thoughts or suggestions on creating a DIY set of rewinds to put Umatic reels on in order to clean them (reels taken out of the cassette).

I would prefer to do this without cannibalizing an even semi-working VTR and have no way to purchase a cleaning machine. I bake all problematic tapes, but I have found that sets of Umatic tapes need to be cleaned.

I have tried in the past to wind reels with a drill with a umatic reel drill bit, but this process is too unwieldy and potentially puts the tapes in danger.

I came upon this image the other day, which is inspiring: https://www.filmfix.com/images/blog_.../IMG_4442s.jpg

I have years of experience with both film reels and 1/2" open reel tape, so I know my way around open reel media, but am wondering what direction to go in. I am looking up arduino stepper motors, but not sure if this is the way to go. I'm also wondering what RPM I would want (fast-forward speed).

I also have access to 16mm film rewinds (which I used to use with the 1/2" tapes), but don't see a way forward with them. The Umatic tape presents a unique problem for me, especially as most of the tape reels have one-sided guards.

I appreciate any thoughts from you wonderful folks! I know this project might sound crazy to some of you...
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  #2  
06-21-2022, 06:36 AM
enois enois is offline
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Something already exist, like this:

https://www.indelt.it/Eng/TC-Matic.html
video

but I have no idea about price and possibility of international (or intercontinental) shipping.
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  #3  
06-21-2022, 10:57 AM
nilson nilson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enois View Post
Something already exist, like this:

https://www.indelt.it/Eng/TC-Matic.html
video

but I have no idea about price and possibility of international (or intercontinental) shipping.
Oh wow, this looks great, but I am positive it is outside my budget haha
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  #4  
06-21-2022, 07:36 PM
timtape timtape is offline
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Yes not cheap, and it appears only to use a dry fabric for cleaning. Videocassette tapes tend to be thin and fragile. Removed from the shell they are easily damaged, more so than film, but care is still needed with film. A videocassette well stored in its case doesn't normally attract dirt. What leads you to believe these need cleaning?
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06-21-2022, 07:39 PM
timtape timtape is offline
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Double post sorry

Last edited by timtape; 06-21-2022 at 07:52 PM.
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  #6  
06-22-2022, 10:41 AM
nilson nilson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timtape View Post
Yes not cheap, and it appears only to use a dry fabric for cleaning. Videocassette tapes tend to be thin and fragile. Removed from the shell they are easily damaged, more so than film, but care is still needed with film. A videocassette well stored in its case doesn't normally attract dirt. What leads you to believe these need cleaning?
That is a good point. I've been cleaning by hand 1/2" tapes, and it absolutely helps stabilize playback. A lot of the tapes I deal with are in pretty bad shape (stored improperly for decades), and baking helps with the binder deterioration, but often baking alone doesn't resolve the high level of dropouts. I know Umatic cleaning machines exist, but I won't be able to afford one anytime soon. I'm comfortable opening and putting back together cassettes.
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  #7  
06-22-2022, 01:20 PM
latreche34 latreche34 is online now
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Unlike film which is visual, you don't really need to clean a tape unless it has a strange substance on it, such as mold. Cleaning a tape without a reason can weakens the lubricant compound in the magnetic layer and makes the tape harder to travel across the tape path therefore increasing the chance of head wear. Cleaning the tape surface does not improve the magnetic signal strength unless there is something on the tape that pulls the magnetic head away from the magnetic layer, Again it is not like film where cleaning has a direct effect on the picture since it's visual, So if the tape looks shiny leave it alone.

For the justified cleaning you can just get an old uMatic machine and modify it, Building one from scratches takes a lot of knowledge and dedication. but if you know how use AutoCAD or SolidWorks, have access to a 3D printer, a small lathe a desktop CNC machine you could build one, Having to pay someone for all this would cost you a significant amount of money and time.

https://www.youtube.com/user/latoak34/videos
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  #8  
06-22-2022, 06:06 PM
timtape timtape is offline
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Ideally every tape would be expertly cleaned before transfer but it's easier said than done. It's easy to do more harm to the tape than good. It seems Specs Bros clean every tape they transfer, or at least recommend it, but they have the skills and tools. I feel it's important to identify the cause of dropouts on the particular tape. Sometimes on a dub dropouts are " printed in". Sometimes the tape is physically damaged such as stretched or creased. Creased tapes can easily clog the video heads making it seem like the tape merely needs cleaning. I saw one horrendous YT video where the tape was wet cleaned in fast wind while travelling across the spinning video drum. Needless to say they failed to then play the tape to demonstrate the process worked! I would love to see how Specs Bros successfully clean tapes of common flood contaminants like sewage, sugar, Chlorine etc.
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