Cut 120 film to 127 film with FCK127: make your own 127 film
NOTE: photos in galleries show all the components in various positions for optimal evaluation. Films, spools and cameras are not included in the kit, but are represented solely to show the final result.
FCK127 is a complete kit that cuts 120 film to the sizo of 127, and rolls it onto a 127 film spool. FCK127 is light-sealed, so you can (with some precautions) go through the entire process in light. As a result of cutting 120 to 127 format, you will also get a leftover film that is 16mm unperforated film.
- the box used with different components in both cutting and respooling
- the shaped ruler to cut the initial part of the paper with the two ends that will hook the two spools
- the cutting module (which slits the 120 film into two strips, one of 127 and one of 110 *)
- the knob (to rotate the 120 take-up spool while cutting)
- the winding module (which wraps the two parts in two separate spools, the 127 and one of 16mm)
- 2 feeders for 120 spools (insert it into the 120 spool’s shaft slot to engage the two film’s tails)
- 2 clips for the 120 roll (keeps the film wrapped while you prepare it and insert it in the box)
The kit does not include empty 127 spools. You will need two 127 spools: one for loading in the kit and the other is the take-up spool in the camera. The kit works with metal 127 spools: plastic ones may break. You’ll aslo need an empty 120 spool for the initial cutting process.
slit, respool, shoot
Cutting and Spooling happen in two different phases. The box will be fitted with the slitting modules for the first round. When the cutting is done, other components will be used in the box to respool the film onto the 127 spool. You will also need a sharp pencil or pen, scissors, adhesive tape.
- Cut the 120 film in two strips: 127 + 110.
- Respool the 127 film on a 127 spool
- Finish, and load it into the camera
Any of these steps will be explained in details in the following section of the page. Or just watch the video below… The voice is in Italian but you get English subtitles.
PHASE 1: Prepare the film and cut it in two.
Insert the 120 film feeder into the middle slot of an empty 120 spool: this is the receiving spool and will be winded with the big knob. Let the feeder’s larger slot in the upper side. The smaller slot will receive the 16mm film part.
Unwind the 120 film’s backing paper for about 10cm/4in and lock the film on the roll with the clip to prevent the film from unraveling. Turn the film so that the black part (the internal side) is facing upwards. Use the shaped ruler as a guide to cut the two film tails that will be insert into the cutter.
NOTE : Place the shaped ruler on the BLACK SIDE (the internal side) of backing paper, with the arrow poiting left to right, and keeping the 127 film part up.
Insert the two tails in the cutting module and pull them gently together to cut 2-3 inches (5-7cm). Then insert the two film tails into the two spool’s slot and start rolling until they are well engaged.
At this point you have to insert vertically the three parts in their compartments: the 120 film roll, the cutting module, the take-up spool. Insert the three elements in the box respecting the correct positions and joints. At this point remove the clip from the roll to let the three components sit inside the box in their final positions.
Close the box with the lid and engage the big knob to the take-up spool.
Start rolling clockwise (an arrow on the top showh the correct rotation). Soon you’ll feel some resistance: that’s because the blade has reached the tape that sticks the film to the backing paper. After the blade has cut the tape, rolling will become a easier until the whole film is cut to the end. Keep on rolling until you feel that the paper is finished. Open the box and slowly extract the take-up spool. Use the clips to lock the two film strips on the spool. You’ll, fix the 16mm strip with a some tape later.
PHASE 2: Respool the 127 film onto a 127 spool (not included in the kit)
Take everything out of the box and prepare the spool with slitted film, the winding module and an empty 127 spool.
PUT THE FILM GUIDE IN THE BOX
Insert the film guide in the same slot where you previously had the cutter.
PREPARE THE WINDING MODULE
Insert the 127 spool in the frame, making sure that the spool’s ridge engages with the knob, then lock it on the bottom side with the little block (the larger rounded part connects with the spool). To make it even more solid you can fix the brackets to the block with a little of tape.
ENGAGE THE FILM TO THE SPOOL
With the clip still on the spool, gently pull the film’s backing paper and unroll it until you meet the film. Stick it to the backing paper with a little piece of tape. This is important to avoid the film from unraveling in to the box causing it to jam. Then rewind the film, leaving a small tail out. Cut the paper’s corners into tip shape and insert it into the 127 take-up spool. Turn the winding knob to make the backing paper engage firmly with the spool. The film will be rolled to the 127 spool by rotaing it counter-clockwise (follow the arrow on the top of the knob).
Insert the two spools in the Box. Insert the winding frame in the same slot where the take-up spool was during the previous phase. Push a little bit the film in the middle to let it go aroud the curved-shaped guide.
Respool THE FILM
Close the box and start rolling the knob in the direction indicated by the top arrow. The winding is very easy and fluid, but will become a little harder at the end because the film roll will fill the space inside the winding frame. Keep the tension on the knob by continuing to rotate without letting it go. When the film is all on the 127 spool, open the box and extract the winding frame: remove the film and use tape to keep it tightly rolled.
Normally the 127 cameras frame formats can be square (4x4cm) or rectangular (4x6cm). This last format is more practical because the numbers visible in the red window are those corresponding to the 6×6 format, so if you respect this numbering you will shoot 6/7 photos per film, with a gap of 2,5cm (1 inch) between the shots. The number in the red window may be only partially visible, depending on the film’s brand and the size of the red window.
very important notes
SPOOLS The kit does not include any empty 127 spool. You need at least 2 spools to shoot in your camera: one with your freshly cut 127 film, and one as the take-up spool. The FCK127 also accepts the 127 spools that have a single ridged slot on one side, like the spool that come with ReraPan films and some Kodak spools have a normal solid pin on one side, with no ridges. Nevertheless, it’s better to use full metal spools if you have them.
BLADE Pay attention: the kit contains a very sharp blade. The blade used in the cutting module is a section of a normal 18mm cutter blade: it’ll be easy to find new spare blades when you’ll need. The cutter includes Tajima blades made in Japan: probably the best and sharpest on the market. To replace the blade unscrew the top bolt and carefully take the blade out. Insert a new one in the same position and fix it again with the screw. Be very careful not to cut yourself!
127 ROLL’S DIAMETER ISSUE Some cameras that have a very small film slot, like the Kodak Vest Pocket, will hardly accept the 127 film cut from 120. In fact, 120 film emulsion is ~23cm (9 inches) longer than 127, so the resulting roll will be thicker than originals. You can minimize the amount of backing paper on both sides, just to make its final size a little thinner. Also, pulling the tail of the backing paper will tighten the strip around the spool, but be careful not to tear the paper apart.