Baby Printer





January 2015 

Pathé produced a printer, based on the Baby, designed I guess for people to make a spare copy of their home movies. It was quite an elaborate affair for such a modest purpose - how many copies did you have to make to save the cost of having one done? - with what appears to be a camera mech in place of the standard mech, with the the two films running in contact on the same claw. 

Willem Hackmann kindly loaned me his Baby printer so I could see all the bits that are missing from the one I got in Argenteuil. Some idiot had stripped it down and re-painted it (quite well, as it happens) but all the twiddly bits never made it back again - all the labels like Motor, Lamp, Min and Max on the resistances (which themselves were missing). Anyway, the resistances are held in place by little angle brackets of thin metal, secured by two screws. And the thread on those screws? Not the standard M3 x 0.5, oh no, but M3 x 0.6 which is of course not something you can get off the shelf. I thought for a bit I was going to have to actually make them (8!), but a considerable amount of rummaging thru my pile of odd screws ("Never throw anything away, ESPECIALLY not screws") I found enough which, if not exactly the right thread, would do the very light duty that is all that is required of them. Pathé strikes again.

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Here are some pix for you. You can see in pix 2 & 8 in particular the label problem which I have, at the moment, very little idea about how to solve. I suspect this machine has been much amended - I don't think there should be quite so many resistances, or two power inputs on the top of the base. Mine is also missing the film chamber cover (pic 7), but that should be simple enough to make. The bracket for the resistances that I have been complaining about can be seen in pic 6. Pic 8 shows the neat clutch device fitted on top of the motor. Mine did not have the right motor, so I have a lot to do adapting a motor and giving it a clutch. It's a great life if you don't weaken. Wherein, of course, lies the problem. However, as I had to take the clutch apart to measure and record it so I could make one, I cleaned it at the same time to show what can be done (pic 9) and to shame Willem into cleaning up the rest. I have made some brackets for the resistances (pic 10).

Here are some pix of mine.

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I mentioned that mine came with a quite unsuitable motor, (see pic 7 above) not Pathé at all. I didn't have a motor with an over-the-top pulley arrangement except for an old Type "S", which is at least Pathé if not the same as the one on Willem's machine, so I used this one. I think, in fact, that the over-the-top mechanism could probably be added to any motor, but I'd started so I finished. It works fine, clutch and all. 

However, you can see from the pix just how far down the machine got stripped, tho' thankfully the basic mech was left alone. I sat down and wondered whether I really wanted to do the rest (which is more cosmetic than the mechanical which is what I really like). I took the detail in pic 8 from one of my shots of Willem's machine, and tarted it up on the computer. My thinking was, narrow brass strips with holes in the right places, glue this on then a quick coat or two of lacquer and Bob is your relative. This became a trifle daunting ( I suspect I am far too perfectionist) and there are numerous 17.5 projectors waiting reproachfully at me, to name just one of the many areas I neglect when something new, interesting and preferably shiny (or shineable) like a Baby Printer comes along. Even in the last day or two, I have been working on schemes to improve sound on the converted-to-17.5 Gebescope Model A. Spring is not, one hopes, too far away, so my thoughts lightly turned to "Baby" Dave, he of the collection of every single Baby attachment etc ever produced (except the Baby Printer!) which has often featured in these pages. I still have bite marks on my hand where I did not move fast enuff when I tentatively mentioned the vague idea that maybe, in principle, I might conceivably be brought to contemplate the possibility of perhaps passing it on to him. 

A little more seriously, I am increasingly thinking that I must be realistic and try, however feebly, to reduce the number of machines I have and projects that I shall never be able to complete. So I shall grit my teeth and let the Baby Printer go - at least there is overwhelming evidence it is going to a good home.