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9771Re: [PPLetterpress] Material to make large printing blocks

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  • Erik Desmyter
    May 3, 2008
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      I have also been experimenting with a CNC-router to make large size blocks
      or plates to print from on on my traditional iron handpresses. I can say
      that this computer to plate technology has some potential & limitations and
      there are many variables & tolerances in tools, software, material & machine
      which make everything rather complex. The X, Y, Z axis feed speeds, the
      router speed, the flatness of the material (no bowing allowed), the angle &
      sharpness of the routing bits and the 3-dimensional software working from 3D
      vectors isn't easy in combination with the specifics of letterpress type &
      inking.

      I experimented with different materials and had the best results with
      expensive materials like Corian (acrylic stone) but working in wood is fun
      but challenging as every kind of wood has different characteristics. Routing
      speeds should be lower to avoid heating up or burning the wood but avoiding
      a burr or damaged edges isn't always easy because high routing speeds just
      give the best sharp edges. Similar story on the X, Y & Z speeds, when you go
      too fast quality goes down and when you go to slow the wood gets dark and
      starts to heat up. And making a large plate with slow speeds takes hours...
      I have just made a small movie and some photos on an experiment in beech,
      see links below.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tk4QmaU4JIg

      http://www.flickr.com/photos/desmyter1856/sets/72157604867473339/

      For very large plates I guess a good quality MDF would be good but I haven't
      tested this yet. I am always interested in experiences from other folks
      working in this direction with CNC technology.

      Best regards,
      Erik Desmyter
      Gent, Belgium
      erik.desmyter@...

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "briannqueen" <BQueen@...>
      To: <PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Monday, April 28, 2008 3:35 PM
      Subject: [PPLetterpress] Material to make large printing blocks


      I own a CNC router (computer numerical control) which simply put is a
      router controlled by a computer. I plan on using my machine to make
      large wood blocks, as large as four feet by eight feet and smaller ones
      for my Vandercook SP15 press. We plan on printing the 4' x 8' prints
      using a steam roller at a public event. I'm looking for help in
      determining the best wood or printing surface for this purpose. I could
      use ordinary plywood of course, but it has a grain and leaves a burr.
      Can anyone recommend a plastic that may be suitable? Detail on the very
      largest blocks is less of a concern but I want fine detail on the
      smaller blocks. I'm aware of Resingrave which would be perfect except
      that it would be much too expensive for the size of quantity I will be
      using. I considered acrylic but it's kind of brittle and a pain to
      machine. I figure there must be some kind of polymer out there that
      will do the trick and not dissolve during cleanup. Any help would be
      appreciated!


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