PURPOSE:  We receive some really odd slides at times that require special handling since they are so thick they cannot go through the S2D automatic digitizer.  Most are permanently mounted and removal might ruin the slide itself.  

A good friend and associate of ours,  sent us some slides guessing from a commercial processor in Europe  as they were in very heavy plastic mounts, I had never seen them before and they presented a minor problem.  

After much research we found out they were for the do-it-yourself mount consumer circa 60-70’s. They would not fit nor drop into the Carousel trays.  This doesn’t happen too often, the most common problem we see on old slides is de-lamination and warping.  Medical glass sometimes straightens them out.

There are two solutions and most common is to take the slides apart and reinstall them into new paper mounts or and then try to remount them back into the old mount.  The second solution was to build a manual device.   Thus from an old Bowens Illumitron,   the Phoenix was born...

The product worked and we copied and digitized about 1000 slides and then the work began.  I wrote the owner of those slides a note explaining the length of time it took, not to make  capture but to make a picture.  we are working together on those as the shots are 35 to unknown years old and from Europe...

Thanks for the opportunity to work on those slides with my new slide machine for thick slides.  They were to say the least a challenge and a good learning curve as far as what can be wrong, will be wrong, and Mother, Nature, Father Time,  and Murphey-Lawes are not on our side.  But with ingenuity, older devices can be made into modern devices much of the memories can be retrieved, before they become useless.

Here is what the scope entailed. There are 11.5 Gigabits of data on a Sixteen gigabit thumb drive in the box, almost 1000 slides hand individually scanned by a technique formulae I worked out finding that on the 9-12 inch full dimension, I didn't push the envelope and made sure of the capture allowing the machine to make a full capture of the usable non-cropped image on the slide.

1-  First step is cropping, and that is simple enough in any of the programs on Mac or PC, Photoshop, Restore, or I Photo all work.
Second step is the color correction most of these older slides, color better in slides that that had color loss and many of the slides are missing the entire yellow layer and went a deep purple color, especially Agfa. Could have been bad processing.

3-  We then deal with COLOR LOSS, DENSITY LOSS, LAYER DISSOLVE and the the usual photographer errors, focus, depth of field, camera shake, and then Lab errors, and acts of mother nature.


This is costly and time consuming, in fact ridiculous if you have secured good digitals, the slides usually get pitched anyway.  I created the second solution being in the right place at the right time.

I took a  Bowens Illumitran which hadn’t been touched in twenty-five or thirty plus years, estimated date built 1979,  and the paperwork stamped indicated it had been built in the late seventies. My internal cranial lightbulb lit and I was  off to the shop in my home. I  took the machine gutted it and made it into a Digital device.  

About a ten hour conversion if you have the knowledge the parts, and small hands.   I installed new rails, took out the AC-240V power supply with typical exposed wiring of the 70’s, and carefully removed the 450 Volt DC Capacitor flash tube system.  It still worked so we knew it had a charge in it.   See below this is a really dangerous conversion.

I installed LED lighting identical to match what we use in the S2D model so as to keep consistency in the color range.   Thus we could do a mixed bag and retain color consistency without having to remount the slides.  It is a pure manual operation but easily “learnable” and after a while I was able to copy slides at a pretty fast rate of five to seven sec. per slide. 

It uses common parts we secured from used Carousels in the S2D model, same bulbs etc thus we claim consistency and compatibility on the rebuild.  Simple operation, turn on button, copy slide with remote, next. VOILA!

BIGGER WARNING: If you are a tinkerer and you think a 450 volt DC capacitor and power supply  is a toy, please remit the name of the funeral parlor closest to where you live and don’t worry if they do cremations. Tell them you’ll send over your partial ashes.   

This was built originally in England, really old, old technology that would fail OSHA today, big time.  It was well built and we did totally gut the unit, one of the toughest things I ever took apart and built it back from scratch.  It had rivets, blind screws and denied access if you wanted to get to “C” you had to remove “A and B” first and then rebuild.

After 38 years it actually still worked when we turned it on, but not what I wanted. Hotter than Hades, really went hot,  I tore it completely apart, bare bones, downloaded and safetied the capacitor with a loud bang, using a four foot stick with a nail and a ground wire and the four pound transformer it used for power. It sounded close to my .40 Glock.  It was impressive, and I would not like being a forgetful technician in those days.