View Full Version : One-pass cleaning rollers

Don Hall
31-Dec-1999, 19:31
Has anyone had any experience with the one-pass cleaning rollers sold by The F S tops Here and other vendors ? I purchased one in hopes of eliminating specs on Ilfochrome prints, especially in sky areas by rolling it over the tranparencies and the masks. So far I have not had much luck with it. Any suggestions from a nyone ? Don Hall

neil poulsen
31-Dec-1999, 23:27
I'm the Photo Engineer in a circuit board company, and we use these things all the time to clean 20"x26" (7 mil) graphic film. You need the following materials:

o A clean hard surface on which to clean the film. Could be a piece of glass reserved only for this purpose. Make sure it's not scratched or that it doesn't have irregular surfaces.

o The tacky roller and tacky pad. The tacky pad is a pad of about 15 to 20 paper sheets, each of which has a sticky surface. Prior to using each sheet, you peel off a cover sheet that exposes the sticky surface underneath. When it's time to change the sheet, you rip it off and proceed to the next sheet in the pad. Every time you use the tacky roller to clean either the film or the hard surface, you must tacky roll the pad to remove any contamination that has collected on the roller. The tacky roller can be purchased in different sizes. Try to get one that's at least an inch larger than the width of the film that you plan to clean.

o A low-static film cleaner. I don't recall the chemical name; it's commonly available, though. Like alcohol, etc., this chemical is flammable. (That's why it's low-static.)

o Non-abrasive soft-cloths for cleaning the film. They're about 9"x9" in dimension and can be purchased commercially. I would advise against using anything that is not specifically designed for this purpose, or you could abrade the film.

Given these materials, you can use the following process for both tacky rolling and cleaning the film:

1] Run the tacky roller over the tacky pad and then over the hard surface. (Follow by tacky rolling the pad.)

2] Thoroughly clean the hard surface with the film cleaner using a soft-cloth.

3] Placing the film on the hard surface with the emulsion up, tacky roll the emulsion side of the film first. You can hold one edge of the film with two fingers as you do this. (Follow by rolling the tacky pad.)

4] Inspect the film in a strong light to make sure that all dust, debris has been removed. If not, you may need to resort to additional measures to remove something that's stuck to the film. (You could soak/wash the film in water.) Don't continue this process until all dust/debris has been removed. Or, you could scratch the film.

5] Remove the film and again tacky roll and clean (using the film cleaner) the hard surface, in case contamination has been transferred to the surface from the back of the film. (Follow by rolling the tacky pad.)

6] Place the emulsion down on the hard surface and CAREFULLY tacky roll the back of the film. Don't let the film slide as you do this, for the obvious reason. (Follow by rolling the pad.)

7] Inspect the back of the film in a strong light to make sure all dust/debris has been removed. Again, don't continue until you know that all dust/debris has been removed.

8] Tacky roll and clean the hard surface. (Follow by rolling the tacky pad.)

9] Place the film with emulsion side up and clean the emulsion. First put enough film cleaner on a fresh soft-cloth so that it's definitely moist, but not dripping. Be careful not to let your fingernails scrape the emulsion! Apply only enough pressure to enable you to clean the film.

10] Tacky roll and clean the hard surface. (Follow by rolling the tacky pad.)

11] Place the emulsion of the film down on the hard surface and CAREFULLY clean the back of the film with another fresh soft-cloth. Again, you don't want the film to slide.

12] Tacky roll and clean the hard surface. (Follow by rolling the tacky pad.)

With respect to this process, I would offer the following advice: When you either tacky roll or clean film, you are placing your one-of-a-kind images at risk. I would clean film only when I knew it needed cleaning, and I would tacky roll film (following steps 1 through 8) only when I could not remove dust/debris using an air hose.

In the above, I've tried to outline the safest possible process. In circuit boards, we can always replot the film. This is not the case in general photography.

Hope this helps.

Don Hall
2-Jan-2000, 18:54
Neil, Thanks for the very informative answer, I will try your suggestions.