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Thread: Rotatrim

  1. #1

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    Rotatrim

    I did do some searching but of most posting were quite old and I figured something else might be available nowadays. I have quite a bit of 8"x10" x-ray film that I would like to cut down to 4x5. I don't mind spending the money on a Rotatrim whatsoever IF it will do the trick. Does anyone have any experience cutting down 8x10 to 4x5 with this machine. Are there stops on the machine so the cuts will be accurate and consistent? Do I need to make a jig for more accuracy? Any specific tricks I should know about? Any particular model that is better than another?

    Thanks

  2. #2

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    Dec 2018
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    Re: Rotatrim

    Mine has no stops.
    I have a roll of 3.5" RC paper that I cut down to 3.5 x 5" snapshots and 3.5 x 10" pano prints ...
    At the 5" and 10" marks on the ruler scale, I put down a couple of layers of painter's tape a couple of inches long to serve as stops.
    Hope this helps!

  3. #3
    Photographer
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    Re: Rotatrim

    I cut down 8x10 film to 4x10–only one cut. For that I have a small inexpensive rotary cutter from a stationery store to which I attached an aluminum bar at the right place to make the proper cut. For a less cash than a Rototrim, you could buy two of the stationery store cutters and have them permanently set up for the two cuts to make 4x5 size film.
    Keith Pitman

  4. #4

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    Re: Rotatrim

    My rotatrim has stops. It takes a bit of time to adjust them - I use a fixed out sheet of 4x5 film to get it right. Because the X-ray film has rounded corners, check carefully to be sure the sheet is aligned. Luckily, you can do all of this under a red safelight.

  5. #5
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Rotatrim

    I tape down matt board production stops using standard film as template using touch more than sight.

    I have a 24" Rotatrim and use it for cutting paper and making dust. It is very good. I found a used one.

    I dedicate 2 Guillotine Dahle Vantage Trimmers to chopping film, primarily 14X17 X-Ray. Film cutting makes less dust.

    All film scratches, but X-Ray is the easiest to scratch. A Dahle Guillotine has a soft rubber/plastic 'holder downer' that automatically clamps the film going back up with the blade. I find that a big advantage. Video demo here. http://www.dahle.com/Videos/Guillotines/12e_720.mp4

    If you shop for price, Dahle are a bargain.
    sin eater

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Jan 2019
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    83

    Re: Rotatrim

    I have two Rototrims and they both have stops. If you are going to cut a lot of film though, the best thing to get is a guillotine cutter, something like this-

    https://www.amazon.com/BestEquip-Pap...dp/B01ILWEF3Q/

    You can cut all your film in one shot so you don't have to worry about scratches.

    Hope that helps you.

  7. #7
    Drew Wiley
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    Sep 2008
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    Re: Rotatrim

    I have a couple of Rotatrims but don't consider them ideal for cutting down film in the dark. They can tug a bit. A good Dahle guillotine cutter works better provided you add precise squaring and sizing (a good stainless drafting triangle with precise holes in it and matching thread machine screw inserts in the platform of the cutter works nicely - but remember, 4x5 film is not fully 4x5 inches). You'll also need a few small paper safes or spare film boxes since you'll need to change the position of the triangle in between sizing adjustments. And of course, you need to add an effective finger stop if you plan on counting up to ten.

  8. #8

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    Re: Rotatrim

    I'm not getting notifications for some reason. Guess I'll have to look into why. Thanks for all the comments. Anyway, I did try researching (via Google and Youtube) for Guillotine cutting photographic film reviews without much success. Dahle make different 'models' and I wasn't sure if one model offered better features than another (better guides, end stop etc.). When I looked at the reviews on Amazon there were a lot of poor reviews (not cutting straight and so on). Heck, you never know nowadays if the reviews are trustworthy or not. One of my hobbies is intricate paper (https://squattingdog.smugmug.com/Private/n-J8dVNw/ cutting using a scalpel so I'm quite capable of cutting accurately. I'm not sure how easy it would be manually cutting the x-ray film without some sort of jig or fixture, plus how easily it would scratch, therefore the reason for asking about a machine (Rotatrim or Guillotine) instead. I simply thought a machine would be much easier IF it could be setup to make consistent accurate cuts.

  9. #9
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Rotatrim

    First of all, you don't get something for nothing. A suitable guillotine cutter is going to be one of the most expensive ones offered in a particular size. Otherwise it will be sloppy and perhaps even unsafe because if will tempt you to keep chopping at the film instead of quickly smoothly cutting it once. The cheap kinds they sell at office supply outlets are generally worthless for anything like film, or in my experience, even for office paper! I recommend looking at cutter in person at a high quality art supply store first (if you can even find a store like that anymore). And please reread what I already wrote about making your own stop and squaring system. Those plasticky stops that come with these cutters are only marginally useful for anything precise. Otherwise, you do not want to be cutting film in the dark with a scalpel, or even in the light. You need something that cuts straight and truly square every single time.

  10. #10

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    GA
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    Re: Rotatrim

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    First of all, you don't get something for nothing. A suitable guillotine cutter is going to be one of the most expensive ones offered in a particular size. Otherwise it will be sloppy and perhaps even unsafe because if will tempt you to keep chopping at the film instead of quickly smoothly cutting it once. The cheap kinds they sell at office supply outlets are generally worthless for anything like film, or in my experience, even for office paper! I recommend looking at cutter in person at a high quality art supply store first (if you can even find a store like that anymore). And please reread what I already wrote about making your own stop and squaring system. Those plasticky stops that come with these cutters are only marginally useful for anything precise. Otherwise, you do not want to be cutting film in the dark with a scalpel, or even in the light. You need something that cuts straight and truly square every single time.
    Iíve had a self clamping Dahle since 76 and there is nothing like them!

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