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New 620 spools by 3D printing

Gary Ketner , Mar 30, 2013; 10:46 a.m.

With old 620 spool prices hovering around $10 on the auction site, it may be worth exploring a slightly more economical alternative: new plastic spools made by 3D printing. Three files that can be used to 3D print 620 spools are available on Thingiverse:
The first two files generate, respectively, one or 6 single-piece 620 spools. They can be printed by SLS (selective laser sintering). The spools have been tested in a Kodak Medalist II and a Brownie Hawkeye. I order them in 'Black, strong and flexible' plastic (painted nylon, I think) from Shapeways on the internet. There are several other companies that will do it. Because shipping is comparatively expensive, ordering the set of 6 (the second URL) saves money per spool. Current cost is about $28 for the 6 spools and $6.50 for shipping. The files can be freely downloaded for noncommercial use under a Creative Commons non-commercial share-alike license.
The third URL is for a file by that produces a two-piece spool that can be printed by MakerBot-type machines. I've had no experience with that one.


620 film spool


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Matt Laur , Mar 30, 2013; 11:15 a.m.

So all you need to avoid paying $10 for something you only need a few of is the purchase of a multi-thousand-dollar 3D printer?

Gary Ketner , Mar 30, 2013; 11:24 a.m.

Well, I let somebody else make the capital investment…

JDM von Weinberg , Mar 30, 2013; 12:40 p.m.

So all you need to avoid paying $10 for something you only need a few of is the purchase of a multi-thousand-dollar 3D printer?

Matt, Matt,
Do you really need to ask this?
Especially those of us who own "multi-thousand-dollar" camera kits?

Besides, you can also 'print out' filter cases, so you get multiple return for your investment. :)

Matt Laur , Mar 30, 2013; 12:50 p.m.

Hey just because I've been known to buy and raise bird dogs, buy and practice with an expensive shotgun, buy and drive a vehicle that can haul it all around, and then buy and use a permit so I can spend all day in a field hundreds of miles from where I live ... so that we can eat a few lean pieces of pheasant meat (with birdshot in it!) doesn't mean I think other people should buy expensive tools to make film spools. People just have no sense.

JDM von Weinberg , Mar 30, 2013; 04:22 p.m.

Oh, by the way, it is possible to order 3D printed objects at places like http://www.shapeways.com/about/how_does_it_work?li=home-learnmore

Glen H , Mar 30, 2013; 05:22 p.m.

I have noticed that 116 spools on eBay have an asking price more than I have paid for rolls of 116 film. I haven't followed 620 as closely, though, but I think you can get some rolls of film for less than $10 each.
I now have a 620 spool that came along with some rolls of 120 film, and a 127 spool and backing paper, for about $10.
Still, it is nice to know that it can be done. The price will probably come down as the machines get more common. (And local services would avoid the shipping charge.)

Jeff Adler , Apr 03, 2013; 02:27 p.m.

If you took careful measurements you could make all three parts and epoxy them together. The center slit for the leader could be made with a dremel tool. It wouldn't have to look as neat as the one pictured.

steve mareno , Apr 03, 2013; 10:23 p.m.

It's a pretty spool, if it IS a spool. Looks like a computer generated image. Personally, the whole idea of these 3D printers is amazing. I'm pretty sure that once people get used to them and the prices go down (remember the thousand dollar 2.0 MP digicams in the early days?) we'll be seeing them in most people's homes, just like computers. Imagine, a friend could send your machine the proper file, and have it build a birthday gift for you right in your living room.

Glen H , Apr 04, 2013; 01:43 a.m.

I think the picture is computer generated, but if you click the link you see a real one.
Reminds me, 44 years ago I thought about respooling 620 film onto 120 spools, but never did it. There was a company selling "free film" (you pay shipping, I suppose) but in 620 not 120. About that time I went to mostly 35mm and so never tried.

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