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Thread: QIC Tape Cartridge Tension Band Replacement - Plastibands!

  1. #1

    Default QIC Tape Cartridge Tension Band Replacement - Plastibands!

    If anyone is interested, I just published a few videos showing my testing of PlastiBands for QIC Tape Cartridge replacement.

    https://youtu.be/irOrR-ZYwjw

    and

    https://youtu.be/GVsYHLvCvZY

    As always, I welcome feedback, and hope this is of value to some here.

    A special thank you to CuriousMarc, Al Kossow, and Chuck(G) for their help, leadership and inspiration in this area!

    Best always,
    -AJ

  2. #2

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    AJ,

    Cool videos - thanks for the suggestion of Plastibands.

    I just spent some time last weekend during repair of my Tektronix 4054 to rebuild a couple of 1970's and 2000 tapes with bands harvested from Imation 6250 cartridges.
    I did not boil the 6250 bands and the cartridges were recovered (although the Tektronix Interfacing tape from the 70's has lost the first six programs )

    I just ordered a box of Plastibands from Amazon - because I have more tapes to recover.

    I would ask that you add tags to your thread for Tektronix 4051, Tektronix 4052 and Tektronix 4054.

    I don't typically look at new posts - but found your thread by chance looking at all the "Other" posts.

    I just got my Tektronix 4054 working - and the tape drive still works too
    Tektronix 4054 Troubleshooting

    Monty

  3. #3
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    Was I the first to suggest the Plastibands?

    At any rate, I have two warnings:

    1. Old Plastibands deteriorate with age, so be sure you get them fresh
    2. Use these on older, slower drives, not on your hotshot high-speed SLT units--they won't hold up.

    I'd love to get a sheet of polyurethane and punch my own annuli. My problem is basically that I hate QIC carts.

  4. #4
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    It just so happens I'm dealing with broken QIC tape bands at the moment as well! I'm working with a US-based custom rubber parts manufacturer to see if they stock something that'll work as a replacement, they've got samples on the way. If not, we can look at doing a run of a custom band size, but it'll be minimum order 100,000!

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    As the engineer at Imation explained to me, the bands are a "special polyurethane formulation" with some additives and were punched from a sheet as annular rings, then "flipped" by custom machinery to make a torus. He tried to locate the lab (manual) machine for me, but it was gone.

    You might search the patent database for relevant material.

    One of the problems with Plastibands is that they are strips with the ends fused together to make a ring. This joint can have issues as the join isn't perfectly on-axis much of the time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck(G) View Post
    As the engineer at Imation explained to me, the bands are a "special polyurethane formulation" with some additives and were punched from a sheet as annular rings, then "flipped" by custom machinery to make a torus. He tried to locate the lab (manual) machine for me, but it was gone.

    You might search the patent database for relevant material.
    Will do, thanks! If I can't find the exact formulation, hopefully belts intended to be drive belts will fit the need for long life and not sticking to the tape. I also have no love for the QIC design, but it'd be nice to have tapes that are long(ish)-term reliable for use on e.g. 3B2 systems.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck(G) View Post
    One of the problems with Plastibands is that they are strips with the ends fused together to make a ring. This joint can have issues as the join isn't perfectly on-axis much of the time.
    Indeed, the samples I'm getting are supposed to be sliced from continuously extruded tubing, so there should be no joint. They should be able to take higher tape speeds, too.

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    Let me know how it goes--maybe I'll get around to the big box of QIC tapes that I've been avoiding. After all, I determined that the friction roller on some of these drives can be replaced with silicone tubing, so now I've got working drives and a bunch of non-working carts...

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    Will do! Fortunately the pair of Archive Viper drives I've got both have intact rollers and seem to work fine (can read tapes written by the other). I don't think my 3B2 drives are likely to be in such good condition, but at least I've got a pair that won't eat tapes for making images of the tapes I do have.

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    I have a CNC stencil cutting machine (Sillhouette Cameo) and have thought it ought to be able to produce QIC bands easily, after all it is good enough for synthesising punched paper tape. If I find a sheet of a suitable thin stretch polyurethane material I'll run off a few increasing concentric diameters and give it a go.

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    Will those bands work for floppy drives that use a rubber belt?
    What I collect: 68K/Early PPC Mac, DOS/Win 3.1 era machines, Amiga/ST, C64/128
    Nubus/ISA/VLB/MCA/EISA cards of all types
    Boxed apps and games for the above systems
    Analog video capture cards/software and complete systems

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