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Re: [PPLetterpress] fine lines breaking up on press?!?

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  • Scott Rubel
    Could it be defective plate chemistry, where it just will not get hard enough? If the first impressions are pleasing and then it breaks down, then it just must
    Message 1 of 18 , Jun 9, 2010
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      Could it be defective plate chemistry, where it just will not get hard enough? If the first impressions are pleasing and then it breaks down, then it just must be the hardness of the plate.

      That's barring any other chemical situation, like if the plates are getting moist somehow, even from freakishly high humidity.

      The only way to know is have a set of plates made by someone else, or order new plate stock, I guess.

      How awful. Sorry this this happening.

      --Scott

      On Jun 9, 2010, at 5:54 PM, Katelynn Corrigan wrote:



      Hello,

      We were having a frustrating plate problem and ended up throwing in the towel for the day.

      It's a buisness stationary suite which uses some fairly, but not terribly, small sizes of Bodoni (or a similar, high contrast modern face.) Some characters- actually, it's worst on glyphs like "/" and "#", and lightly-less-than-worst on caps like "N"- are breaking down on press after a few dozen impressions.  It is happening most dramatically on the business card, which is being printed on 90 lb Crane's Crest cover.  (There were NO problems with this same size and style type on the letterhead, oddly.)

      The plates (Nyloprint, high relief) were initially burned ganged up, on two large scraps of plate material. When the "/" and a "N" on the business card went wavy, I reburnt it by itself, thinking that perhaps I hadn't dried the original one long enough, or forgot to post expose it, or something. I burnt it for an extra 30 seconds, was very careful that it was not overwashed, and thought everything would be fine. However, the same problem repeated itself. We burnt the plate a third time- this time with a five minute exposure and deliberate under-washing (a nice 'pool' of polymer around the type area) to be extra safe. On the first few proofs, it looked great. However, again, after a few dozen, the lines are breaking down.

      The plate maker is a Jet, about 10 years old. The bulbs and starters are only a few months old. The vinyl cover sheet is also new. The brushes were replaced last year.  The water was changed today. 

      I think part of the problem is (of course) the amount of impression I'm giving the type (oh, we've also tried soft packing vs hard packing too- problem d oesn't go away) but this is a big money job and it needs to scream letterpress from across the state line, apparently. Not my aesthetic, but it's how the bills get paid. Its sure going to look silly if I have to kiss this part of the card when the other 3 passes on it are punched through, that's for sure.

      I'm really hoping to be able to figure this out and not have to tell the designer that I can't print type that small, because I know I should be able to. I'm out of ideas at the moment. If anyone has any suggestions, I'd be happy to have something to start with tomorrow morning.

      Thank you,

      -Katey


    • Ed Inman
      When it s plastic vs. iron guess which one wins (LOL). -----Original Message----- From: Scott Rubel If the first impressions are pleasing and then it breaks
      Message 2 of 18 , Jun 9, 2010
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        When it's plastic vs. iron guess which one wins (LOL).


        -----Original Message-----
        From: Scott Rubel
        If the first impressions are pleasing and then it breaks down, then it just must be the hardness of the plate.

      • Gerald Lange
        Generally, when it is a photpolymer plate mounted on an appropriate base versus a photomechanical plate mounted on wood, it would be the former, hands down.
        Message 3 of 18 , Jun 10, 2010
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          Generally, when it is a photpolymer plate mounted on an appropriate base versus a photomechanical plate mounted on wood, it would be the former, hands down. Who makes iron plates? And what is it in the chemistry that would actually make one think photopolymer plate material is plastic?

          Gerald
          http://BielerPress.blogspot.com

          On 6/9/10 10:48 PM, Ed Inman wrote: When it's plastic vs. iron guess which one wins (LOL).


          -----Original Message-----
          From: Scott Rubel
          If the first impressions are pleasing and then it breaks down, then it just must be the hardness of the plate.


        • Peter Fraterdeus
          I assume Ed refers to the press... iron, steel, ya know... P ... Peter Fraterdeus Exquisite letterpress takes time™ http://slowprint.com/ IdeasWords : Idea
          Message 4 of 18 , Jun 10, 2010
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            I assume Ed refers to the press...  iron, steel, ya know...

            P

            On 10 Jun 2010, at 2:44 AM, Gerald Lange wrote:



            Generally, when it is a photpolymer plate mounted on an appropriate base versus a photomechanical plate mounted on wood, it would be the former, hands down. Who makes iron plates? And what is it in the chemistry that would actually make one think photopolymer plate material is plastic?

            Gerald
            http://BielerPress.blogspot.com

            On 6/9/10 10:48 PM, Ed Inman wrote:
            When it's plastic vs. iron guess which one wins (LOL).


            -----Original Message----- 
            From: Scott Rubel 
            If the first impressions are pleasing and then it breaks down, then it just must be the hardness of the plate.

            Peter Fraterdeus
            Exquisite letterpress takes time™ 

            IdeasWords : Idea Swords
            Communication Strategy
            Semiotx.com  @ideaswords

          • Studio On Fire
            The one thing that jumped out at me in your problem description for printing very fine details was two words: High Relief. We ve battled with high relief
            Message 5 of 18 , Jun 10, 2010
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              The one thing that jumped out at me in your problem description for printing very fine details was two words: High Relief. 

              We've battled with high relief material before only finding a solution in moving to a low relief material. You are battling trying to hold a fine detail high atop a thick subsurface. Decrease the height of that subsurface by moving to a thinner plate material and you gain some dimensional stability. You can still print low relief plate with your high relief base, just add a layer of press board behind your base to build up the height.

              Ben Levitz
              Studio On Fire

              beastpieces.com // studioonfire.com

            • Christian Morrison
              We had this problem occasionally too. We normally use PrintTight KF95 but have recently added EF95 to our plate stock. The EF material, while quite a bit
              Message 6 of 18 , Jun 10, 2010
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                We had this problem occasionally too. We normally use PrintTight KF95 but have recently added EF95 to our plate stock. The EF material, while quite a bit softer in "shore" than KF, renders fine lines and dots very well. We now run .25pt hairlines regularly with no washing out or shifting on the plate. Everything you're doing sounds right, but I think it's worth it to check out the exposure using a stouffer scale or whatever calibrating scale you use, and then try a sheet of EF.

                Good luck,

                Christian

                --- In PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com, Katelynn Corrigan <crazyprettybird@...> wrote:
                >
                >
                > Hello,
                >
                > We were having a frustrating plate problem and ended up throwing in the towel for the day.
                >
                > It's a buisness stationary suite which uses some fairly, but not terribly, small sizes of Bodoni (or a similar, high contrast modern face.) Some characters- actually, it's worst on glyphs like "/" and "#", and lightly-less-than-worst on caps like "N"- are breaking down on press after a few dozen impressions. It is happening most dramatically on the business card, which is being printed on 90 lb Crane's Crest cover. (There were NO problems with this same size and style type on the letterhead, oddly.)
                >
                > The plates (Nyloprint, high relief) were initially burned ganged up, on two large scraps of plate material. When the "/" and a "N" on the business card went wavy, I reburnt it by itself, thinking that perhaps I hadn't dried the original one long enough, or forgot to post expose it, or something. I burnt it for an extra 30 seconds, was very careful that it was not overwashed, and thought everything would be fine. However, the same problem repeated itself. We burnt the plate a third time- this time with a five minute exposure and deliberate under-washing (a nice 'pool' of polymer around the type area) to be extra safe. On the first few proofs, it looked great. However, again, after a few dozen, the lines are breaking down.
                >
                > The plate maker is a Jet, about 10 years old. The bulbs and starters are only a few months old. The vinyl cover sheet is also new. The brushes were replaced last year. The water was changed today.
                >
                > I think part of the problem is (of course) the amount of impression I'm giving the type (oh, we've also tried soft packing vs hard packing too- problem doesn't go away) but this is a big money job and it needs to scream letterpress from across the state line, apparently. Not my aesthetic, but it's how the bills get paid. Its sure going to look silly if I have to kiss this part of the card when the other 3 passes on it are punched through, that's for sure.
                >
                > I'm really hoping to be able to figure this out and not have to tell the designer that I can't print type that small, because I know I should be able to. I'm out of ideas at the moment. If anyone has any suggestions, I'd be happy to have something to start with tomorrow morning.
                >
                > Thank you,
                >
                > -Katey
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > _________________________________________________________________
                > Hotmail is redefining busy with tools for the New Busy. Get more from your inbox.
                > http://www.windowslive.com/campaign/thenewbusy?ocid=PID28326::T:WLMTAGL:ON:WL:en-US:WM_HMP:042010_2
                >
              • Ed Inman
                By iron I was simply referring the relative strength of a press vs. the strength of a plate (and the ability of the former to cause damage to the latter if
                Message 7 of 18 , Jun 10, 2010
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                  By "iron" I was simply referring the relative strength of a press vs. the strength of a plate (and the ability of the former to cause damage to the latter if too much pressure is used). 
                  Not trying to argue superiority of one type of plate over another. 
                  Ed


                  -----Original Message-----
                  From: Gerald Lange
                  Sent: Jun 10, 2010 2:44 AM
                  To: PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com
                  Subject: Re: [PPLetterpress] fine lines breaking up on press?!?



                  Generally, when it is a photpolymer plate mounted on an appropriate base versus a photomechanical plate mounted on wood, it would be the former, hands down. Who makes iron plates? And what is it in the chemistry that would actually make one think photopolymer plate material is plastic?

                  Gerald
                  http://BielerPress.blogspot.com

                  On 6/9/10 10:48 PM, Ed Inman wrote:
                  When it's plastic vs. iron guess which one wins (LOL).


                  -----Original Message-----
                  From: Scott Rubel
                  If the first impressions are pleasing and then it breaks down, then it just must be the hardness of the plate.




                • Katherine Bridges
                  I don t know who makes your film, but I ve found that certain jobs require slightly different exposure strengths on the imagesetter. In particular, one regular
                  Message 8 of 18 , Jun 10, 2010
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                    I don't know who makes your film, but I've found that certain jobs require slightly different exposure strengths on the imagesetter. In particular, one regular business card client at PKE used tiny Bauer Bodoni type and required a slightly lower exposure setting to make sure those tiny serifs showed up & had enough support to stay on the plate without warping. Nyloprint plates are typically great at holding small details, so perhaps this would help.


                    Kat Bridges
                  • Steve Robison
                    Maybe it was the famous reference to plastics in the movie The Graduate that has us all brainwashed,but as an FYI footnote to Gerald s previous comment, note
                    Message 9 of 18 , Jun 10, 2010
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                      Maybe it was the famous reference to "plastics" in the movie The Graduate that has us all brainwashed,but as an FYI footnote to Gerald's previous comment, note that some polymers are plastics, but certainly not all.

                      Polymer just refers to macromolecules that have long strings of repeating structural units.

                      For example, DNA, nucleic acid and proteins are all polymers and are some of the basic building blocks of life.

                      Some naturally occurring polymers are shellac, amber, rubber and cellulose, all formed as part of the process and interaction of DNA and certain proteins.

                      Some synthetic polymers are polyethylene, polystyrene, polypropylene, polyacrylonitrile, silicone, synthetic rubber, bakelite, neoprene, nylon, PVB, PVC, etc, many of them known commonly as "plastics"

                      Photopolymer is a particular polymer that hardens when exposed to ultraviolet light, which makes it a wonderful substance for relief printing using a photographic process.

                      But as previously mentioned, fine detail can only be held up by the atoms in the molecules underneath that fine detail, and sometimes the hardened photopolymer is not quite up to the task even if perfectly processed.

                      Low relief plates, crisper initial images, better exposure times, better washouts will all help.. But if after all of that fails, try stronger molecules under the fine detail, like copper plates mounted on a steel base,for example. Notice I didn't say copper mounted to a wood base, since the irregularities of wood do not always have the fine tolerances needed for ultra fine detail. But copper on a solid base cut to fine tolerance works well, and copper will hold fine detail better than zinc or magnesium.

                      So if photopolymer doesn't cut it after perfect processing, then think copper on a steel base as a possible alternative...giving you a sturdier molecular advantage. That's the way they used to do it for fine detail in the 1800's with great success, and those methods still work today...they're just less enviro friendly and sometimes a bit costlier...but not always. :-)

                      Anyway, good luck with your efforts and results, remembering that there's always more than one way to put an image on to or in to a piece of paper...

                      Best wishes,

                      --Steve

                      Steve Robison
                      The Robison Press
                      Belmont, CA
                      (about 25 miles south of San Francisco and 30 miles north of San Jose
                      robisonsteve@...

                      --- On Thu, 6/10/10, Gerald Lange <Bieler@...> wrote:

                      From: Gerald Lange <Bieler@...>
                      Subject: Re: [PPLetterpress] fine lines breaking up on press?!?
                      To: PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com
                      Date: Thursday, June 10, 2010, 12:44 AM























                      Generally, when it is a photpolymer plate mounted on an appropriate
                      base versus a photomechanical plate mounted on wood, it would be the
                      former, hands down. Who makes iron plates? And what is it in the
                      chemistry that would actually make one think photopolymer plate
                      material is plastic?



                      Gerald

                      http://BielerPress.blogspot.com



                      On 6/9/10 10:48 PM, Ed Inman wrote:




                      #yiv1557694848 {font-family:Geneva, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;font-size:10pt;font-family:arial, sans-serif;background-color:#ffffff;color:black;}#yiv1557694848 p{margin:0px;}
                      When it's plastic vs. iron guess which one wins (LOL).





                      -----Original
                      Message-----


                      From: Scott Rubel


                      If the first impressions are pleasing and then it breaks down, then it
                      just must be the hardness of the plate.
                    • Peter Fraterdeus
                      Thanks Steve, I always appreciate your calming and well informed influence ;-) Cheers! Peter ... Peter Fraterdeus Exquisite letterpress takes time™
                      Message 10 of 18 , Jun 10, 2010
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                        Thanks Steve, I always appreciate your calming and well informed influence ;-)

                        Cheers!

                        Peter

                        On 10 Jun 2010, at 3:14 PM, Steve Robison wrote:

                        > Maybe it was the famous reference to "plastics" in the movie The Graduate that has us all brainwashed,but as an FYI footnote to Gerald's previous comment, note that some polymers are plastics, but certainly not all.
                        >
                        > Polymer just refers to macromolecules that have long strings of repeating structural units.
                        > ...
                        > So if photopolymer doesn't cut it after perfect processing, then think copper on a steel base as a possible alternative...giving you a sturdier molecular advantage. That's the way they used to do it for fine detail in the 1800's with great success, and those methods still work today...they're just less enviro friendly and sometimes a bit costlier...but not always. :-)
                        >
                        > Anyway, good luck with your efforts and results, remembering that there's always more than one way to put an image on to or in to a piece of paper...
                        >
                        > Best wishes,
                        >
                        > --Steve
                        >

                        Peter Fraterdeus
                        Exquisite letterpress takes time™
                        http://slowprint.com/

                        IdeasWords : Idea Swords
                        Communication Strategy
                        Semiotx.com @ideaswords
                      • Ed Inman
                        For what it s worth: Encyclopedia Britannica describes photopolymer as a plastic precursor which polymerizes to an insoluble plastic when exposed to light.
                        Message 11 of 18 , Jun 10, 2010
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                          For what it's worth:
                          Encyclopedia Britannica describes photopolymer as a "plastic precursor" which "polymerizes to an insoluble plastic when exposed to light."
                          http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/458119/photopolymer-process

                          And dictionary.com defines photopolymer as "a polymer or plastic that undergoes a change in physical or chemical properties when exposed to light."
                          http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/photopolymer

                          Not that I suppose that really proves anything. But I do know if you hand a photopolymer plate to any 10 year old and ask them what it's made of they will tell you "plastic." So sue me (LOL).

                          Ed

                          -----Original Message-----
                          >From: Steve Robison <robisonsteve@...>
                          >Maybe it was the famous reference to "plastics" in the movie The Graduate that has us all brainwashed,but as an FYI footnote to Gerald's previous comment, note that some polymers are plastics, but certainly not all.
                        • bielerpr
                          I use steel-backed plates. In that case, I suspect that your ten year old would more likely say metal or iron or something similar since that is primarily what
                          Message 12 of 18 , Jun 11, 2010
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                            I use steel-backed plates. In that case, I suspect that your ten year old would more likely say metal or iron or something similar since that is primarily what they are, physically, visually, and thus the most obvious. Interestingly, a client brought her son in a couple of weeks ago and showed him around, his reply when asked what he thought this might be (a processed photopolymer plate) was, "something from a computer." Smart kid. He also correctly described metal type as "letters," and type cases as "drawers."

                            Gerald
                            http://BielerPress.blogspot.com


                            >
                            > Not that I suppose that really proves anything. But I do know if you hand a photopolymer plate to any 10 year old and ask them what it's made of they will tell you "plastic." So sue me (LOL).
                            >
                            > Ed
                            >
                            > -----Original Message-----
                            > >From: Steve Robison <robisonsteve@...>
                            > >Maybe it was the famous reference to "plastics" in the movie The Graduate that has us all brainwashed,but as an FYI footnote to Gerald's previous comment, note that some polymers are plastics, but certainly not all.
                            >
                          • Peter Fraterdeus
                            I d agree 100% with Ben here. I switched to the thinner K95(?) quite a while ago for the same reason! Peter Slowprint.com / Semiotx.com google voice 1 563 223
                            Message 13 of 18 , Jun 11, 2010
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                              I'd agree 100% with Ben here.
                              I switched to the thinner K95(?) quite a while ago for the same reason!

                              Peter

                              Slowprint.com / Semiotx.com
                              google voice 1 563 223 8231

                              From iPhone plz excuse brevity!

                              On Jun 10, 2010, at 6:44 AM, Studio On Fire <levitz@...> wrote:

                              The one thing that jumped out at me in your problem description for printing very fine details was two words: High Relief. 

                              We've battled with high relief material before only finding a solution in moving to a low relief material. You are battling trying to hold a fine detail high atop a thick subsurface. Decrease the height of that subsurface by moving to a thinner plate material and you gain some dimensional stability. You can still print low relief plate with your high relief base, just add a layer of press board behind your base to build up the height.

                              Ben Levitz
                              Studio On Fire
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