THE POSITIVE PULLER
... will ultimately connect to the negative puller, and as its name suggests will be responsible for tugging the positive sub-assembly through the rollers when the time comes for processing. The positive puller attaches to the leading edge of the positive paper and the goo trap to the trailing edge. These parts must be cleanly removed from the face of the positive paper after processing, and so are attached with a special double-sided tape with one side having a low-tack adhesive. The positive puller and trap are produced together in a single die-cut that makes 12 parts simultaneously (enough for 6 units), however a great deal of preparation goes into simply producing the stock material for this part. It begins with this thin black parchment being cut into the right size en masse. Then individual sheets of paper are placed in a specially made jig to facilitate the very accurate placement of a special double-sided tape. The placement is critical, since 12 individual parts must be die-cut from this stock material. This tape has one side with a permanent adhesive, which is stuck to the black parchment, while the other side has a much lower tack to allow for easy removal later on the print surface. But for now, this low-tack side is protected under a release liner, which will allow the stock material to be prepared ahead of time, stacked, die-cut, shucked, and then stacked again for utilization during production of the individual positive sub-assemblies.
THE GOO TRAP
... 's purpose is to catch the excess processing chemistry after it is spread between the negative and the positive by the rollers. In order to do this, we need trap spacers, which are small pieces of thick paper attached to the trap, which at the end of its journey will spread the rollers and allow any excess chemistry to stay on the trap and not in the camera. Trap spacers are made on a laser cutter. Their preparation begins by taking a sheet of black board and covering it with a layer of double-sided adhesive, without a release liner. This is then laid face up into the laser cutter and a grid pattern is cut through both the adhesive and the board. The cut board is then carefully removed from the laser cutter and a release liner applied to the sticky surface. Once adequately adhered to the release liner, you are left with many small (~ 4mm x 10mm) rectangles nicely adhered to a release liner which can be easily picked up for use in production. One laser cutter run can produce about 1,000 trap spacers; enough for 500 units.
... are perhaps the most critical and difficult component to manufacture in the ONE INSTANT system. They are deceptively simple, but their thickness is absolutely critical to not only produce the right image characteristics, but also in producing even and complete coverage of the processing goo, without having so much excess that the goo trap is overwhelmed. This is made more difficult by the fact that the adhesive must be easily removable from the surface of the print after processing. There is a very limited selection of double-sided adhesive tapes with this property, and even fewer thickness options. Luckily, we have identified a tape and a film material that, in tandem, do the job. To make the rails, large strips of film are cut in-house from a very large master roll (1km2) of black PET film, which are then cut into smaller sheets, and then covered in double-sided adhesive tape (which also has a release liner on the low-tack side). Once these sheets are prepared, the thin rail strips (4mm x 126mm) can be cut on the laser cutter. This is achieved by a carefully controlled cutting power which penetrates the film and adhesive, but not the release liner.
THE NEGATIVE PULLER
... is made of the same black PET film that the rails are made of, and is the part which will ultimately pull the entire processing assembly through the rollers after taking a picture. The negative puller is also die-cut in house; which involves cutting down film roll stock stock into sheets, delivering to the print shop, and ultimately shucking/stacking. Another special assembly gig is used here. The negative puller is placed into the jig and the positive-sub assembly is attached with a strip of black adhesive tape. This black adhesive tape also requires its own preparatory steps of stock material cutting and die-cutting.
ADHERING THE POD
... once the positive sub-assembly is attached to the negative puller, the pod can now be adhered using a double-sided tape. The pods come to us in 20″ strips, with heat-sealed segments every 85mm. These must be trimmed down to individual pods by hand with scissors. Once the pod is attached, a colored pencil mark is made on it for quality control. The last step is to put one last piece of black tape on the negative puller. This tape is for the negative film, which will be attached later in the darkroom. A strip of release liner is placed over the adhesive to cover the adhesive until needed. Completed processing assemblies are hung on rods (thanks to a small hole in the negative puller), which allows easy transportation from the manufactory to the darkroom.
Before processing assemblies can be transferred to the darkroom, the paper cartridges must be prepared for loading. This requires the insertion of the all-important darkslide, which is a sheet of black PET film that protects the film from exposure during handling in the light. The darkslide requires preparation identical to the negative puller, but with an additional adhesion step, since the darkslide includes a tiny light protection clip, which will ultimately make the paper cartridge as light-proof as possible. Adhering this small clip requires another special assembly jig, an additional piece of black tape (and a different size at that, requiring an additional die-cut), and yet another assembly step. Once darkslides have had their clip attached, these can be inserted into the paper cartridges in preparation for the darkroom loading steps.
THE PAPER CARTRIDGE
... consists of 3 distinct parts: the positive envelope, the negative envelope, and the cap. The positive envelope is built from a 1mm thick black paper board and makes up the bulk of the cartridge design. The negative envelope and cap are made from a carefully selected 135g virgin-pulp black paper with excellent optical density relative to its thickness. The negative envelope is a carefully designed folded paper system which protects the film from light and houses the darkslide. It is attached to the positive envelope, and the cap holds the whole system together and provides the final seal against light after loading cartridges with film. Once these paper materials are in hand, the raw stock must be cut down into smaller sheets for die-cutting on the printing press. This is done with carefully designed steel-rule-dies, which cut out the parts and also introduce the necessary creases for folding. Additionally, the positive envelope die has a brass embossing plate for the One Instant (OI) logo. A special die is required for each part, although the negative envelope and cap are cut in tandem. Once these paper parts have been die-cut by the SUPERSENSE print shop, the cut parts must be individually separated from the waste material and the parts carefully stacked for future use. We call this processing 'shucking'.
Now that we have the parts necessary to produce the paper cartridge, we deliver these to our partners at the OPUS Werkstätte, which we chose for their experience and skill in producing a wide variety of paper products. They are helping us to complete the first phase Kickstarter fulfillment as quickly as possible, and their task is to fold the complicated parts into their necessary configuration and use adhesive tapes to properly assemble the components. They have the ability to produce over 600 cartridges per week, and it takes approximately 5 minutes to produce each. Parts delivered to and prepared by OPUS are picked up weekly by bike (6km round-trip).
WORKING IN THE DARKROOM
Now, cartridges and processing assemblies are taken into the darkroom, where workers must don infrared goggles and work in a room illuminated only by infrared light. The film is sensitive to all visible light and therefore extreme care is taken to avoid accidental exposure! The first step is to place the processing insert into an assembly jig, and take a sheet of Polaroid P7 negative film (cut by AGFA) and attach it to the piece of black tape previously prepared for this purpose. These assemblies are then hung again, and can be stored in a light-proof storage closet until time for loading. For final loading, workers must take the completed processing assemblies, fold them in the specialized manner required for the proper functioning of OI, and insert them into the cartridges. Once inserted, the paper caps are put on, and a black circular sticker is used to finally secure the cartridges. These are carefully stacked in boxes. OI cartridges are packed in light-proof bags, and wrapped in a sling to facilitate handling. Three cartridges are slung together and bagged.
Once bagged, the ONE INSTANT film can be boxed. The outer packaging is being die-cut and printed in our own letterpress workshop. This is no mean feat, and it requires quite a number of steps to complete. First the cardboard blanks must be stamped with dies, cutting out the shape, as well as introducing the scores along which the box can be folded. Next, the die-cut blanks are run through the printing-press a second time, and printed. Mind you, both the dies and the printing blocks are different for the top and bottom of the box. After the top and bottom are cut, scored and printed, they must be pre-folded into shape and then run through our corner-stapling machine. Once bagged, workers in the SUPERSENSE shop insert the bags into the boxes, wrap them in a decorative special-edition Kickstarter sleeve (also printed and folded in our print shot) and finally shipp them out. We utilize all of the excess material produced during our die-cutting to pack the boxes for shipping in an effort to reduce, reuse, and recycle our material wastes.