The Grafmatics need to have all six septums in place to work properly. The septums are prone to bending and other damage as they are made from very thin sheet steel. While often this can be repaired with a little careful rebending or hammering sometimes the only solution is to replace the damaged septum. It is therefore not unusual to find Grafmatics that are missing some or all of their septums.They are relatively easy to find at camera shows or on eBay but unfortunately there are two different types.
The use of septums started with the earlier “Bag Mags” and the septum for the 4×5 version is the same length and width as the 4×5 Grafmatic septum. Unfortunately, the bag mag septum is slightly thicker and would jam if used in a Grafmatic. They are easy to tell apart without the need for measuring due to a few cosmetic differences.
Bag Mag septum at left, Gramatic septum at right
This photo of the backs of the two types of septums really says it all. The Bag Mag septum has a shallow cut out in the centre of the septum while the Grafmatic septum has a deep cut out one one side. The cut out in the Grafmatic septum lines up with the film code notches and is a useful check when loading to make sure that there is film in each septum and that it is the right way around. The Bag Mag septums also had number embossed into them which were painted on the rear. The numbers were then visible through the ruby glass window on the rear of the magazine. Over the years the paint may have flaked off but as the numbers were stamped in they should still be visible
The stamped number is clearly visible from the other side