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Magnetic Developers — Seeing the tracks

Filed under: magnetic record viewing,magnetic tape developing,tools — 2006-03-08 by Richard L. Hess — Last Edit 2015-11-29 by Richard L. Hess

This has been updated 2015-07 and now 2005-11. We ordered a new 1022 viewer from Arnold/Flexmag as the 2007 Sigma finally gave up the ghost and the 2011 Sigma that I had as a spare is not as good a performer for this application. As of the end of November, we are still awaiting a response from Sigma. Overall, I am quite pleased how well the “fresh” Arnold unit works and it appears more sensitive than the older 3M unit I had even when it was working well. This is now my top choice. It is not perfect, but fits the budget better and performs much better than the newer Sigma. It is also faster than the Sigma ever was.
Please look here, but there is still good information, below.
Two ways of seeing tracks on a tape are listed here. We’re collecting more in the comments.

The Arnold (ex 3M) 1022 Magnetic Viewer
Flexmag Industries
1000 Magnet Drive
Norfolk, NE 68701
PH: 402 371 6100 ext. 173
FX: 402 371 6124
As of mid-2015 these were $92.40 in quantities of one.

Kyread DIP-C-141B Magnetic Tape Developer
See this post: (Updated 2012-08-07)


From Chris Goosman Posted Mar 8, 2006 5:33 PM

Richard, something I\’ve never seen the answer to is do these chemicals damage the tape at all? My guess is no, but before I dumped something on the tape I’d like to know that I’m not hurting anything.

I replied Mar 8, 2006 5:50 PM

Hi, Chris,

Thanks for stopping by.

The Kyread is just iron powder in a quick-evaporating carrier. I think the carriers used to be Freon(tm), but now I don\’t know precisely what they are.

The beauty of the Plastiform viewer is that it’s a very thin aluminum foil that touches the tape surface (no sharp edges) and the slurry is on the other side. Nothing touches nor stays on the tape. I use that _much_ more than the Kyread. I think it’s a bit more sensitive, too.

FerroFluids also makes some very, very expensive materials that I’ve never looked into. Some people make their own.

Gibbs from Univ of Washington left this on Mar 13, 2006 5:01 PM:

Sprague Magnetics in Sylmar California also sells a magnetic developer \”Sprague-Mag\” SM-2 (liquid in bottle) and SM-1 (spray). No longer true 2012-08-07 see link re: Kyread, above.

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