This Film Cutter Kit slits 135 Film in Minox Sub-miniature 9mm Film Strips.
This “spy camera” format, also known as Minox sub-miniature spy film is used in super small Minox cameras, as seen in many spy-story movies from the XX century.
The frame size is 8×11 mm and the film itself is 9mm wide and was rolled in very small cartridges. The lenght of the film was about 50cm so you would take almost 50 pictures in a single cartridge! The 135 film in the 36 exposures format is about 160cm long so you will be able to obtain up to 6 strips of film to be loaded in the Minox cartridge and more than 250 pictures from a single 135 film.
The 8×11 mm Minox format dates way back to 1936 when the first prototype model ur-Minox was presented. The last model was introduced in 1998, making the 8x11mm one of the most long-lived photographic format. Here’s the list of subminiature Minox Cameras:
- Riga MINOX (1938-1943)
- MINOX A (1948)
- MINOX B (1958)
- MINOX C (1969)
- MINOX LX (1978)
- MINOX TLX (1995)
- MINOX CLX (1998)
- the box
- the cutting module (which slits the 135 film into two strips, 9mm wide)
- the knob
The kit does not include Minox cartridges or 135 canisters.
How does it work?
Join the leading part of the film to the take-up cartridge where the cut film strips will end up (get a reusable 135 canister if you can). The two rollers must face each other specularly. Insert the knob in the take-up roller and insert the two rollers in the appropriate spaces, WITHOUT PRESSING IN THE CENTRAL PART, where there are the three blades. The lid is made in such a way that by closing it, the central part of the film will be pressed against the blades, causing the first cut.
At this point, start turning the knob clockwise, holding the lid tightly closed and pressed with the other hand: this ensures that the film remains taut and flat as it slides between the felt pads.
Continue turning the knob until the movie ends. Then lift the lid and take out the take-up roller by gently pulling it upwards to free it from the blades. BE CAREFUL not to put your fingers on the central part: the blades are very sharp!
The two strips of 9mm film are protected from light inside the canister. Cut the final part of the film that is left in the starting roll: you can reuse it as a take-up next time.
To load the Minox cartridges you will have to work completely in the dark, or with a dark changing bag: try to cut one of the central strips to a third of the length and wrap them to make the roller that you will insert in the cartridge. You will need duct tape and a little patience.
Know the danger
The cutting module is a block that is inserted into the slot between the two caristers. Be careful to align the arrows that are positioned along the edges between the cutter and the box. If you put the module backwards the blades will not cut and you’ll ruin a precious roll of film.
The three blades are held in place by a vice which is closed by screwing the screw on the side. If you need to change or clean the blades, simply loosen the screw to open the clamp and extract the blades. The blades are in the standard size of normal cutters, when they are worn out you can easily find spare parts in any stationery shop.
Again and again: be careful not to put your fingers on the blades. The cutter works without having to touch the central part: it is the lid that keeps the film pressed on the cutting surface.
Here are acouple of good tutorials about the correct use of the camera. You will learn hot to shoot, how to load the camera, advance the film, change the cartridge, and hide from highly skilled spies and thieves.