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Buying a Platemaker, advice needed.

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  • 95a7357b73616968701f9ec864195ac7
    Hi everyone, I am just starting out with home processing of plates and am thinking of getting a platemaker. Ideally, I d get a quality one, but given space and
    Message 1 of 19 , Jan 21, 2014
      Hi everyone,


      I am just starting out with home processing of plates and am thinking of getting a platemaker. 

      Ideally, I'd get a quality one, but given space and budget constraints,  I am thinking of getting one of the China/India type platemakers (3 in one, exposure, drying, washout).
      These range from USD1k - 2.5k. Alternatively, doing something DIY might cost me a few hundred dollars.

      As far as I know, the china/india machines' exposure units have vacuum sheets and are timer controlled. Washout units are typical (automated brush + water).

      --Is there anything in particular I should be looking out for / asking the equipment sellers?
      --Is exposure typically controlled just by time factor? Or are there are other variables such as lamp intensity etc that I should be considering?
      --Is drying process really important? Apart from time factor is it important to control heat temperature etc as well?

      I was thinking of going a DIY route, but that would probably set me back a few hundred dollars + time required to build everything up. I am not sure if DIY will also give consistency (given lack of vacuum screen, hand washing, hand drying). As such, going for a cheaper machine (USD1k range) might be a more viable option.

      Appreciate any tips / advice :)

      Thanks!
    • Peter Nevins
      Most important for me has been really good opaque film transparencies, a wide, soft, flat brush ($2.99 painting brush on flat styrofoam handle) and using
      Message 2 of 19 , Jan 21, 2014
        Most important for me has been really good opaque film transparencies, a wide, soft, flat brush ($2.99 painting brush on flat styrofoam handle) and using warm/hot water to rinse!  I've just burned 10 in a row 12"x12" kf152 and kf95 photopolymer plates without losing one.  No vacuum, just dark foam weighted down on my uv fluorescent blacklight box.
        Have fun!
        P

        ________

        Message delivered by a sustainably-raised volunteer pigeon.

        On Jan 21, 2014, at 12:19 AM, <jp@...> wrote:

         

        Hi everyone,


        I am just starting out with home processing of plates and am thinking of getting a platemaker. 

        Ideally, I'd get a quality one, but given space and budget constraints,  I am thinking of getting one of the China/India type platemakers (3 in one, exposure, drying, washout).
        These range from USD1k - 2.5k. Alternatively, doing something DIY might cost me a few hundred dollars.

        As far as I know, the china/india machines' exposure units have vacuum sheets and are timer controlled. Washout units are typical (automated brush + water).

        --Is there anything in particular I should be looking out for / asking the equipment sellers?
        --Is exposure typically controlled just by time factor? Or are there are other variables such as lamp intensity etc that I should be considering?
        --Is drying process really important? Apart from time factor is it important to control heat temperature etc as well?

        I was thinking of going a DIY route, but that would probably set me back a few hundred dollars + time required to build everything up. I am not sure if DIY will also give consistency (given lack of vacuum screen, hand washing, hand drying). As such, going for a cheaper machine (USD1k range) might be a more viable option.

        Appreciate any tips / advice :)

        Thanks!

      • J. Pow
        Hi Peter, Thanks for the tips :) Starting off with a UV box sounds good. Do you have any pics of how you weight down your slides with the dark foam? Also, how
        Message 3 of 19 , Jan 21, 2014
          Hi Peter,

          Thanks for the tips :) Starting off with a UV box sounds good.

          Do you have any pics of how you weight down your slides with the dark foam?

          Also, how many lamps does your UV box have? I've read that 6 x 25 watt is a minimum?

          Thanks,
          JP


          On Wed, Jan 22, 2014 at 12:22 AM, Peter Nevins <nevins.peter@...> wrote:
           

          Most important for me has been really good opaque film transparencies, a wide, soft, flat brush ($2.99 painting brush on flat styrofoam handle) and using warm/hot water to rinse!  I've just burned 10 in a row 12"x12" kf152 and kf95 photopolymer plates without losing one.  No vacuum, just dark foam weighted down on my uv fluorescent blacklight box.
          Have fun!
          P

          ________

          Message delivered by a sustainably-raised volunteer pigeon.

          On Jan 21, 2014, at 12:19 AM, <jp@...> wrote:

           

          Hi everyone,


          I am just starting out with home processing of plates and am thinking of getting a platemaker. 

          Ideally, I'd get a quality one, but given space and budget constraints,  I am thinking of getting one of the China/India type platemakers (3 in one, exposure, drying, washout).
          These range from USD1k - 2.5k. Alternatively, doing something DIY might cost me a few hundred dollars.

          As far as I know, the china/india machines' exposure units have vacuum sheets and are timer controlled. Washout units are typical (automated brush + water).

          --Is there anything in particular I should be looking out for / asking the equipment sellers?
          --Is exposure typically controlled just by time factor? Or are there are other variables such as lamp intensity etc that I should be considering?
          --Is drying process really important? Apart from time factor is it important to control heat temperature etc as well?

          I was thinking of going a DIY route, but that would probably set me back a few hundred dollars + time required to build everything up. I am not sure if DIY will also give consistency (given lack of vacuum screen, hand washing, hand drying). As such, going for a cheaper machine (USD1k range) might be a more viable option.

          Appreciate any tips / advice :)

          Thanks!


        • Silber MaiKätzchen
          For a small machine, that will excuse the accidental abuse by an inexperienced user, yet perform memorably, goto:
          Message 4 of 19 , Jan 21, 2014
            For a small machine, that will excuse the accidental abuse by an inexperienced user,
            yet perform memorably,

            goto: http://www.rubberstampmaterials.com/photopolymerequipment.aspx

            I have had dealings for years with JMP and they have been honest and careful in
            filling orders. All errors have been corrected by free Fed-Ex overnight shipment.
            I have a good relationship with these people and recommend them highly.

            The machine I have is no longer offered. (It was replaced by the Polymer Plus Model 2005)
            But although designed for pouch liquid polymer it plays nicely with sheet polymer.

            I have been using the unit with Agfa's Myraid 2 film imaged on a Xante Platemaker 5
            to excellent results.

            Be aware the a successful system often is made up of other people's mistakes made
            in the right combination and order.

            UNDER NO CONDITION SHOULD YOU BUY ANYTHING OFFERED
            ON THE ALIBABA WEBSITE!!!!!!!! I have been the victim of their misrepresented
            merchandise on three occasions, once expensively;  -- and never again. I have
            eleven of their IP numbers blocked.

            MaiKätzchen

            Dum loquimur, fugerit invida Aetas:
            Carpe diem!
            quam minimum credula postero!

            Horace
            Odes Book I



            From: "jp@..." <jp@...>
            To: PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 2:19 AM
            Subject: [PPLetterpress] Buying a Platemaker, advice needed.



            Hi everyone,

            I am just starting out with home processing of plates and am thinking of getting a platemaker. 

            Ideally, I'd get a quality one, but given space and budget constraints,  I am thinking of getting one of the China/India type platemakers (3 in one, exposure, drying, washout).
            These range from USD1k - 2.5k. Alternatively, doing something DIY might cost me a few hundred dollars.

            As far as I know, the china/india machines' exposure units have vacuum sheets and are timer controlled. Washout units are typical (automated brush + water).

            --Is there anything in particular I should be looking out for / asking the equipment sellers?
            --Is exposure typically controlled just by time factor? Or are there are other variables such as lamp intensity etc that I should be considering?
            --Is drying process really important? Apart from time factor is it important to control heat temperature etc as well?

            I was thinking of going a DIY route, but that would probably set me back a few hundred dollars + time required to build everything up. I am not sure if DIY will also give consistency (given lack of vacuum screen, hand washing, hand drying). As such, going for a cheaper machine (USD1k range) might be a more viable option.

            Appreciate any tips / advice :)

            Thanks!




          • J. Pow
            Thanks Silber, I will check out JMP as well :) Separately, I ve noted that number of UV lamps is also important. The better machines have 6 or more lamps.
            Message 5 of 19 , Jan 21, 2014
              Thanks Silber,

              I will check out JMP as well :)

              Separately, I've noted that number of UV lamps is also important. The better machines have 6 or more lamps. Would using 4 or 5 lamps definitely mean poorer quality plates?


              On Wed, Jan 22, 2014 at 1:37 AM, Silber MaiKätzchen <maykitten1@...> wrote:
               

              For a small machine, that will excuse the accidental abuse by an inexperienced user,
              yet perform memorably,

              goto: http://www.rubberstampmaterials.com/photopolymerequipment.aspx

              I have had dealings for years with JMP and they have been honest and careful in
              filling orders. All errors have been corrected by free Fed-Ex overnight shipment.
              I have a good relationship with these people and recommend them highly.

              The machine I have is no longer offered. (It was replaced by the Polymer Plus Model 2005)
              But although designed for pouch liquid polymer it plays nicely with sheet polymer.

              I have been using the unit with Agfa's Myraid 2 film imaged on a Xante Platemaker 5
              to excellent results.

              Be aware the a successful system often is made up of other people's mistakes made
              in the right combination and order.

              UNDER NO CONDITION SHOULD YOU BUY ANYTHING OFFERED
              ON THE ALIBABA WEBSITE!!!!!!!! I have been the victim of their misrepresented
              merchandise on three occasions, once expensively;  -- and never again. I have
              eleven of their IP numbers blocked.

              MaiKätzchen

              Dum loquimur, fugerit invida Aetas:
              Carpe diem!
              quam minimum credula postero!

              Horace
              Odes Book I



              From: "jp@..." <jp@...>
              To: PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 2:19 AM
              Subject: [PPLetterpress] Buying a Platemaker, advice needed.



              Hi everyone,

              I am just starting out with home processing of plates and am thinking of getting a platemaker. 

              Ideally, I'd get a quality one, but given space and budget constraints,  I am thinking of getting one of the China/India type platemakers (3 in one, exposure, drying, washout).
              These range from USD1k - 2.5k. Alternatively, doing something DIY might cost me a few hundred dollars.

              As far as I know, the china/india machines' exposure units have vacuum sheets and are timer controlled. Washout units are typical (automated brush + water).

              --Is there anything in particular I should be looking out for / asking the equipment sellers?
              --Is exposure typically controlled just by time factor? Or are there are other variables such as lamp intensity etc that I should be considering?
              --Is drying process really important? Apart from time factor is it important to control heat temperature etc as well?

              I was thinking of going a DIY route, but that would probably set me back a few hundred dollars + time required to build everything up. I am not sure if DIY will also give consistency (given lack of vacuum screen, hand washing, hand drying). As such, going for a cheaper machine (USD1k range) might be a more viable option.

              Appreciate any tips / advice :)

              Thanks!





            • Peter Nevins
              Guess it depends on the size of film, but i ve sent you here pictures of the system that s been in place at the print collective i have joined. I just jumped
              Message 6 of 19 , Jan 21, 2014
              Guess it depends on the size of film, but i've sent you here pictures of the system that's been in place at the print collective i have joined.  I just jumped in and started using it and i've had no problems.

              Our setup:
              4 sets of 2 Damar F40 blacklights
              Heavy glass
              Various sized pieces of black foam
              Plywood enclosure
              A heavy weight, like 1/2 a cinder block, or in our case a litho grinding wheel.

              Best exposure time has been 10mins for kf152 and 8 min for the thinner kf 95.

              Don't forget importance of warm or hot water in rinsing

              S01500.jpg
              Shurline 'handipainter' foam handle paint brush works great for gently  washing out.

              Have fun!
              Peter

              Photos of exposure unit:
              1st picture: unit open with 2 pieces of foam. Plate and film under foam against glass.
              image.jpeg
              2nd photo: unit closed with weight.  The 2 pieces of foam have been chosen for thickness and even pressure.
              image.jpeg

              p.s. the unit has mainly been for silkscreen exposure but 3 or 4 more minutes and it's perfect for photopolymer.

              Ok!  ciao!


              ________

              Message delivered by a sustainably-raised volunteer pigeon.

              On Jan 21, 2014, at 9:33 AM, "J. Pow" <jp@...> wrote:

               

              Hi Peter,

              Thanks for the tips :) Starting off with a UV box sounds good.

              Do you have any pics of how you weight down your slides with the dark foam?

              Also, how many lamps does your UV box have? I've read that 6 x 25 watt is a minimum?

              Thanks,
              JP


              On Wed, Jan 22, 2014 at 12:22 AM, Peter Nevins <nevins.peter@...> wrote:
               

              Most important for me has been really good opaque film transparencies, a wide, soft, flat brush ($2.99 painting brush on flat styrofoam handle) and using warm/hot water to rinse!  I've just burned 10 in a row 12"x12" kf152 and kf95 photopolymer plates without losing one.  No vacuum, just dark foam weighted down on my uv fluorescent blacklight box.
              Have fun!
              P

              ________

              Message delivered by a sustainably-raised volunteer pigeon.

              On Jan 21, 2014, at 12:19 AM, <jp@...> wrote:

               

              Hi everyone,


              I am just starting out with home processing of plates and am thinking of getting a platemaker. 

              Ideally, I'd get a quality one, but given space and budget constraints,  I am thinking of getting one of the China/India type platemakers (3 in one, exposure, drying, washout).
              These range from USD1k - 2.5k. Alternatively, doing something DIY might cost me a few hundred dollars.

              As far as I know, the china/india machines' exposure units have vacuum sheets and are timer controlled. Washout units are typical (automated brush + water).

              --Is there anything in particular I should be looking out for / asking the equipment sellers?
              --Is exposure typically controlled just by time factor? Or are there are other variables such as lamp intensity etc that I should be considering?
              --Is drying process really important? Apart from time factor is it important to control heat temperature etc as well?

              I was thinking of going a DIY route, but that would probably set me back a few hundred dollars + time required to build everything up. I am not sure if DIY will also give consistency (given lack of vacuum screen, hand washing, hand drying). As such, going for a cheaper machine (USD1k range) might be a more viable option.

              Appreciate any tips / advice :)

              Thanks!


            • heavyimprint
              Agree with the other post. DO NOT BUY A PLATEMAKER FROM INDIA. The man s name was Alpesh Thakar. Located in Amedebhad. Landed cost after duties brokerage and
              Message 7 of 19 , Jan 21, 2014

                Agree with the other post.  DO NOT BUY A PLATEMAKER FROM INDIA.

                The man's name was Alpesh Thakar.  Located in Amedebhad.

                Landed cost after duties brokerage and driving to a bonded warehouse to pick it up and pay their extortion fee was about $3500.00.  Yes, its reasonable, but after plugging in the machine, it buzzed, then got louder, then popped, then didn't work.  I sent it to a plate maker / repair company and they laughed.  They said there were electrical components from a Sony Vaio laptop computer!  They could not fix it for a resonable price.  

                I complained to Alibaba and I called India (apparently his direct line) and the person did not speak english or try to transfer me to an english speaking person).  I spoke to an Indian friend and he said if he ever goes back to India, he will give him a piece of his mind.   


                ...........done............blood pressure just went up.


              • jpow
                Thanks for the heads up regarding this :)
                Message 8 of 19 , Jan 21, 2014
                  Thanks for the heads up regarding this :)


                  On Wed, Jan 22, 2014 at 10:03 AM, <elements100@...> wrote:
                   

                  Agree with the other post.  DO NOT BUY A PLATEMAKER FROM INDIA.

                  The man's name was Alpesh Thakar.  Located in Amedebhad.

                  Landed cost after duties brokerage and driving to a bonded warehouse to pick it up and pay their extortion fee was about $3500.00.  Yes, its reasonable, but after plugging in the machine, it buzzed, then got louder, then popped, then didn't work.  I sent it to a plate maker / repair company and they laughed.  They said there were electrical components from a Sony Vaio laptop computer!  They could not fix it for a resonable price.  

                  I complained to Alibaba and I called India (apparently his direct line) and the person did not speak english or try to transfer me to an english speaking person).  I spoke to an Indian friend and he said if he ever goes back to India, he will give him a piece of his mind.   


                  ...........done............blood pressure just went up.



                • J. Pow
                  Hi Peter, I ve done a bit more research and decided that it would be better to DIY a quality UV exposure unit, than to pay for a cheap All-in-one platemaker.
                  Message 9 of 19 , Jan 24, 2014
                    Hi Peter,

                    I've done a bit more research and decided that it would be better to DIY a quality UV exposure unit, than to pay for a cheap "All-in-one" platemaker.

                    In your experience, are the KF152/KF95 plates very sensitive to factors like drying and washing temperature/time? If not, doing washing / drying by hand seems like a good way for me to start! 


                    Some questions on your UV Exposure unit:
                    -When you mention 4 sets of 2 T12 Damar bulbs, this gives a total of 8 x 40W = 320 Watts? 
                    -How far apart are your bulbs from each other? I've read online that 2 inch (center to center) works well, but ideally I'd like to follow whatever works for you.
                    -How far above the bulbs is the glass surface?

                    Many thanks in advance :)




                    On Wed, Jan 22, 2014 at 3:41 AM, Peter Nevins <nevins.peter@...> wrote:
                    Guess it depends on the size of film, but i've sent you here pictures of the system that's been in place at the print collective i have joined.  I just jumped in and started using it and i've had no problems.

                    Our setup:
                    4 sets of 2 Damar F40 blacklights
                    Heavy glass
                    Various sized pieces of black foam
                    Plywood enclosure
                    A heavy weight, like 1/2 a cinder block, or in our case a litho grinding wheel.

                    Best exposure time has been 10mins for kf152 and 8 min for the thinner kf 95.

                    Don't forget importance of warm or hot water in rinsing

                    S01500.jpg
                    Shurline 'handipainter' foam handle paint brush works great for gently  washing out.

                    Have fun!
                    Peter

                    Photos of exposure unit:
                    1st picture: unit open with 2 pieces of foam. Plate and film under foam against glass.
                    image.jpeg
                    2nd photo: unit closed with weight.  The 2 pieces of foam have been chosen for thickness and even pressure.
                    image.jpeg

                    p.s. the unit has mainly been for silkscreen exposure but 3 or 4 more minutes and it's perfect for photopolymer.

                    Ok!  ciao!


                    ________

                    Message delivered by a sustainably-raised volunteer pigeon.

                    On Jan 21, 2014, at 9:33 AM, "J. Pow" <jp@...> wrote:

                     

                    Hi Peter,

                    Thanks for the tips :) Starting off with a UV box sounds good.

                    Do you have any pics of how you weight down your slides with the dark foam?

                    Also, how many lamps does your UV box have? I've read that 6 x 25 watt is a minimum?

                    Thanks,
                    JP


                    On Wed, Jan 22, 2014 at 12:22 AM, Peter Nevins <nevins.peter@...> wrote:
                     

                    Most important for me has been really good opaque film transparencies, a wide, soft, flat brush ($2.99 painting brush on flat styrofoam handle) and using warm/hot water to rinse!  I've just burned 10 in a row 12"x12" kf152 and kf95 photopolymer plates without losing one.  No vacuum, just dark foam weighted down on my uv fluorescent blacklight box.
                    Have fun!
                    P

                    ________

                    Message delivered by a sustainably-raised volunteer pigeon.

                    On Jan 21, 2014, at 12:19 AM, <jp@...> wrote:

                     

                    Hi everyone,


                    I am just starting out with home processing of plates and am thinking of getting a platemaker. 

                    Ideally, I'd get a quality one, but given space and budget constraints,  I am thinking of getting one of the China/India type platemakers (3 in one, exposure, drying, washout).
                    These range from USD1k - 2.5k. Alternatively, doing something DIY might cost me a few hundred dollars.

                    As far as I know, the china/india machines' exposure units have vacuum sheets and are timer controlled. Washout units are typical (automated brush + water).

                    --Is there anything in particular I should be looking out for / asking the equipment sellers?
                    --Is exposure typically controlled just by time factor? Or are there are other variables such as lamp intensity etc that I should be considering?
                    --Is drying process really important? Apart from time factor is it important to control heat temperature etc as well?

                    I was thinking of going a DIY route, but that would probably set me back a few hundred dollars + time required to build everything up. I am not sure if DIY will also give consistency (given lack of vacuum screen, hand washing, hand drying). As such, going for a cheaper machine (USD1k range) might be a more viable option.

                    Appreciate any tips / advice :)

                    Thanks!



                  • typetom2003
                    Hi JP, Exposure time and time in the washout are the two most critical factors. Washout temperature not so critical. I use water comfortably warm to the hands
                    Message 10 of 19 , Jan 24, 2014
                      Hi JP,
                      Exposure time and time in the washout are the two most critical factors. Washout temperature not so critical. I use water comfortably warm to the hands but not hot; I use a hand-held hair dryer, and dry steel-backed plates until they are too hot to hold and then somewhat longer.
                       
                      (If they haven't been dried long enough they may still hold moisture that will eventually dry further and curl the plate, not a critical problem except for storing and reusing plates but they can be flattened again in hot water for printing again later).
                       
                      I have a homemade lightbox with four 18" bulbs, something like 2" above the plate material in an old NewArc vacuum frame. My lights are placed face-down on top of the glass. I found the vacuum was bending the glass very slightly and allowing irregular contact and exposure between the negative and the plate - matboard pieces to support the glass around the material solved all that. Funky system perhaps but routinely excellent plates can be done by hand.
                       
                      Trials and understanding what is happening in the process can get you there - UV exposure and changing of the polymer happen from the surface down toward the base; the UV light spreads as it travels past the negative into the material; unexposed polymer is water-soluble.
                       
                      (I do plates easily up to the size of cards and invitations, 4x6, 5x8; larger plates take longer with hand washout because you can't brush the whole surface at once - about 4 minutes in the water by my experience, it's time to stop).
                       
                      Best wishes,
                      Tom
                      Tom Parson/ Now It's Up To You
                      157 S Logan, Denver CO 80209
                      (303) 777-8951 - home & letterpress printshop
                      (720) 480-5358 - cellphone
                      typetom@...
                      www.nowitsuptoyou.com
                       
                      In a message dated 1/24/2014 10:51:33 A.M. Mountain Standard Time, jp@... writes:
                      Hi Peter,

                      I've done a bit more research and decided that it would be better to DIY a quality UV exposure unit, than to pay for a cheap "All-in-one" platemaker.

                      In your experience, are the KF152/KF95 plates very sensitive to factors like drying and washing temperature/time? If not, doing washing / drying by hand seems like a good way for me to start! 


                      Some questions on your UV Exposure unit:
                      -When you mention 4 sets of 2 T12 Damar bulbs, this gives a total of 8 x 40W = 320 Watts? 
                      -How far apart are your bulbs from each other? I've read online that 2 inch (center to center) works well, but ideally I'd like to follow whatever works for you.
                      -How far above the bulbs is the glass surface?

                      Many thanks in advance :)




                      On Wed, Jan 22, 2014 at 3:41 AM, Peter Nevins <nevins.peter@...> wrote:
                      Guess it depends on the size of film, but i've sent you here pictures of the system that's been in place at the print collective i have joined.  I just jumped in and started using it and i've had no problems.

                      Our setup:
                      4 sets of 2 Damar F40 blacklights
                      Heavy glass
                      Various sized pieces of black foam
                      Plywood enclosure
                      A heavy weight, like 1/2 a cinder block, or in our case a litho grinding wheel.

                      Best exposure time has been 10mins for kf152 and 8 min for the thinner kf 95.

                      Don't forget importance of warm or hot water in rinsing

                      S01500.jpg
                      Shurline 'handipainter' foam handle paint brush works great for gently  washing out.

                      Have fun!
                      Peter

                      Photos of exposure unit:
                      1st picture: unit open with 2 pieces of foam. Plate and film under foam against glass.
                      image.jpeg
                      2nd photo: unit closed with weight.  The 2 pieces of foam have been chosen for thickness and even pressure.
                      image.jpeg

                      p.s. the unit has mainly been for silkscreen exposure but 3 or 4 more minutes and it's perfect for photopolymer.

                      Ok!  ciao!


                      ________

                      Message delivered by a sustainably-raised volunteer pigeon.

                      On Jan 21, 2014, at 9:33 AM, "J. Pow" <jp@...> wrote:

                       

                      Hi Peter,

                      Thanks for the tips :) Starting off with a UV box sounds good.

                      Do you have any pics of how you weight down your slides with the dark foam?

                      Also, how many lamps does your UV box have? I've read that 6 x 25 watt is a minimum?

                      Thanks,
                      JP


                      On Wed, Jan 22, 2014 at 12:22 AM, Peter Nevins <nevins.peter@...> wrote:

                      Most important for me has been really good opaque film transparencies, a wide, soft, flat brush ($2.99 painting brush on flat styrofoam handle) and using warm/hot water to rinse!  I've just burned 10 in a row 12"x12" kf152 and kf95 photopolymer plates without losing one.  No vacuum, just dark foam weighted down on my uv fluorescent blacklight box.
                      Have fun!
                      P

                      ________

                      Message delivered by a sustainably-raised volunteer pigeon.

                      On Jan 21, 2014, at 12:19 AM, <jp@...> wrote:

                       

                      Hi everyone,


                      I am just starting out with home processing of plates and am thinking of getting a platemaker. 

                      Ideally, I'd get a quality one, but given space and budget constraints,  I am thinking of getting one of the China/India type platemakers (3 in one, exposure, drying, washout).
                      These range from USD1k - 2.5k. Alternatively, doing something DIY might cost me a few hundred dollars.

                      As far as I know, the china/india machines' exposure units have vacuum sheets and are timer controlled. Washout units are typical (automated brush + water).

                      --Is there anything in particular I should be looking out for / asking the equipment sellers?
                      --Is exposure typically controlled just by time factor? Or are there are other variables such as lamp intensity etc that I should be considering?
                      --Is drying process really important? Apart from time factor is it important to control heat temperature etc as well?

                      I was thinking of going a DIY route, but that would probably set me back a few hundred dollars + time required to build everything up. I am not sure if DIY will also give consistency (given lack of vacuum screen, hand washing, hand drying). As such, going for a cheaper machine (USD1k range) might be a more viable option.

                      Appreciate any tips / advice :)

                      Thanks!





                       
                    • J. Pow
                      Dear Tom, Thanks for the tips :) Extremely helpful. I ll be sourcing DIY exposure equipment later today. Regarding Vacuum, I saw a video on youtube (
                      Message 11 of 19 , Jan 24, 2014
                        Dear Tom,

                        Thanks for the tips :) Extremely helpful. I'll be sourcing DIY exposure equipment later today. 

                        Regarding Vacuum, I saw  a video on youtube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WJn5YFANxU) of someone using a "spacesaver bag" to sandwich plate + negative. I'll try that to see if it works well.

                        Separate question:
                        I understand how Exposure time affects the plate curing, but how does washout timing affect things? 
                        Does some chemical reaction happen during washout, which makes timing very important?

                        Thanks again!
                        JP


                        On Sat, Jan 25, 2014 at 3:39 AM, <typetom@...> wrote:
                        Hi JP,
                        Exposure time and time in the washout are the two most critical factors. Washout temperature not so critical. I use water comfortably warm to the hands but not hot; I use a hand-held hair dryer, and dry steel-backed plates until they are too hot to hold and then somewhat longer.
                         
                        (If they haven't been dried long enough they may still hold moisture that will eventually dry further and curl the plate, not a critical problem except for storing and reusing plates but they can be flattened again in hot water for printing again later).
                         
                        I have a homemade lightbox with four 18" bulbs, something like 2" above the plate material in an old NewArc vacuum frame. My lights are placed face-down on top of the glass. I found the vacuum was bending the glass very slightly and allowing irregular contact and exposure between the negative and the plate - matboard pieces to support the glass around the material solved all that. Funky system perhaps but routinely excellent plates can be done by hand.
                         
                        Trials and understanding what is happening in the process can get you there - UV exposure and changing of the polymer happen from the surface down toward the base; the UV light spreads as it travels past the negative into the material; unexposed polymer is water-soluble.
                         
                        (I do plates easily up to the size of cards and invitations, 4x6, 5x8; larger plates take longer with hand washout because you can't brush the whole surface at once - about 4 minutes in the water by my experience, it's time to stop).
                         
                        Best wishes,
                        Tom
                        Tom Parson/ Now It's Up To You
                        157 S Logan, Denver CO 80209
                        (303) 777-8951 - home & letterpress printshop
                        (720) 480-5358 - cellphone
                        typetom@...
                        www.nowitsuptoyou.com
                         
                        In a message dated 1/24/2014 10:51:33 A.M. Mountain Standard Time, jp@... writes:
                        Hi Peter,

                        I've done a bit more research and decided that it would be better to DIY a quality UV exposure unit, than to pay for a cheap "All-in-one" platemaker.

                        In your experience, are the KF152/KF95 plates very sensitive to factors like drying and washing temperature/time? If not, doing washing / drying by hand seems like a good way for me to start! 


                        Some questions on your UV Exposure unit:
                        -When you mention 4 sets of 2 T12 Damar bulbs, this gives a total of 8 x 40W = 320 Watts? 
                        -How far apart are your bulbs from each other? I've read online that 2 inch (center to center) works well, but ideally I'd like to follow whatever works for you.
                        -How far above the bulbs is the glass surface?

                        Many thanks in advance :)




                        On Wed, Jan 22, 2014 at 3:41 AM, Peter Nevins <nevins.peter@...> wrote:
                        Guess it depends on the size of film, but i've sent you here pictures of the system that's been in place at the print collective i have joined.  I just jumped in and started using it and i've had no problems.

                        Our setup:
                        4 sets of 2 Damar F40 blacklights
                        Heavy glass
                        Various sized pieces of black foam
                        Plywood enclosure
                        A heavy weight, like 1/2 a cinder block, or in our case a litho grinding wheel.

                        Best exposure time has been 10mins for kf152 and 8 min for the thinner kf 95.

                        Don't forget importance of warm or hot water in rinsing

                        S01500.jpg
                        Shurline 'handipainter' foam handle paint brush works great for gently  washing out.

                        Have fun!
                        Peter

                        Photos of exposure unit:
                        1st picture: unit open with 2 pieces of foam. Plate and film under foam against glass.
                        image.jpeg
                        2nd photo: unit closed with weight.  The 2 pieces of foam have been chosen for thickness and even pressure.
                        image.jpeg

                        p.s. the unit has mainly been for silkscreen exposure but 3 or 4 more minutes and it's perfect for photopolymer.

                        Ok!  ciao!


                        ________

                        Message delivered by a sustainably-raised volunteer pigeon.

                        On Jan 21, 2014, at 9:33 AM, "J. Pow" <jp@...> wrote:

                         

                        Hi Peter,

                        Thanks for the tips :) Starting off with a UV box sounds good.

                        Do you have any pics of how you weight down your slides with the dark foam?

                        Also, how many lamps does your UV box have? I've read that 6 x 25 watt is a minimum?

                        Thanks,
                        JP


                        On Wed, Jan 22, 2014 at 12:22 AM, Peter Nevins <nevins.peter@...> wrote:

                        Most important for me has been really good opaque film transparencies, a wide, soft, flat brush ($2.99 painting brush on flat styrofoam handle) and using warm/hot water to rinse!  I've just burned 10 in a row 12"x12" kf152 and kf95 photopolymer plates without losing one.  No vacuum, just dark foam weighted down on my uv fluorescent blacklight box.
                        Have fun!
                        P

                        ________

                        Message delivered by a sustainably-raised volunteer pigeon.

                        On Jan 21, 2014, at 12:19 AM, <jp@...> wrote:

                         

                        Hi everyone,


                        I am just starting out with home processing of plates and am thinking of getting a platemaker. 

                        Ideally, I'd get a quality one, but given space and budget constraints,  I am thinking of getting one of the China/India type platemakers (3 in one, exposure, drying, washout).
                        These range from USD1k - 2.5k. Alternatively, doing something DIY might cost me a few hundred dollars.

                        As far as I know, the china/india machines' exposure units have vacuum sheets and are timer controlled. Washout units are typical (automated brush + water).

                        --Is there anything in particular I should be looking out for / asking the equipment sellers?
                        --Is exposure typically controlled just by time factor? Or are there are other variables such as lamp intensity etc that I should be considering?
                        --Is drying process really important? Apart from time factor is it important to control heat temperature etc as well?

                        I was thinking of going a DIY route, but that would probably set me back a few hundred dollars + time required to build everything up. I am not sure if DIY will also give consistency (given lack of vacuum screen, hand washing, hand drying). As such, going for a cheaper machine (USD1k range) might be a more viable option.

                        Appreciate any tips / advice :)

                        Thanks!





                         

                      • parallel_imp
                        Not untrue, but any newbie may completely misunderstand the underlying concepts.
                        Message 12 of 19 , Jan 25, 2014

                          <Exposure time and time in the washout are the two most critical factors>

                          Not untrue, but any newbie may completely misunderstand the underlying concepts.

                              Exposure time is also a factor of how close the lamps are and how much the light diffuses through the unexposed photopolymer. The krene cover sheet in open face vacuum frames is an additional aid in diffusion, not present in glass-and-foam contact systems. This is why commercial units use close banks of UV tubes and not point-light sources. Diffusion is necessary to build a strong body beneath the printing face.

                              Then there's the removal of unexposed photopolymer. It does not dissolve just because it is in water. There must be physical action: brush or pile bristles, forced jet of water, ultrasonic wave. The upper softened layers must be removed before the lower layers can be softened by exposure to water (and water temperature is a definite factor, varying with different plate materials). The longer that takes, the more the printing face is subject to damage. A large plate and a small brush will require very vigorous action to remove the non-image photopolymer, and image details will be damaged, especially around the edges of the image (nothing more frustrating than having to remake a plate because one #%@! period or serif washed off). After using many kinds of stencil, shoe, fabric and pad brushes against the plate, I settled on filling a photo tray with actual photopolymer brushes (4x6 units from Gene Becker) and then making a magnetic plate holder to move the plate against the brushes in a warm bath, copying machine action, and gaining far more control and repeatability

                          I stress this after 25 years of hand development of photopolymer plates in my shop, and 20 by machine at various other places. Only had a machine in my own shop in the last 6 years. Finer typographically-detailed plates are possible by machine-washout than anything done by hand, though I still do the odd small job by hand.

                          If your concern is coarse artwork or display type, do what you want. Linoleum cut detail is easily matched by any DIY photopolymer methods. Text typographic detail really requires better control.

                          --Eric Holub, SF



                          ---In PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com, <typetom@...> wrote:

                          Hi JP,
                          Exposure time and time in the washout are the two most critical factors. Washout temperature not so critical. I use water comfortably warm to the hands but not hot; I use a hand-held hair dryer, and dry steel-backed plates until they are too hot to hold and then somewhat longer.
                           
                          (If they haven't been dried long enough they may still hold moisture that will eventually dry further and curl the plate, not a critical problem except for storing and reusing plates but they can be flattened again in hot water for printing again later).
                           
                          I have a homemade lightbox with four 18" bulbs, something like 2" above the plate material in an old NewArc vacuum frame. My lights are placed face-down on top of the glass. I found the vacuum was bending the glass very slightly and allowing irregular contact and exposure between the negative and the plate - matboard pieces to support the glass around the material solved all that. Funky system perhaps but routinely excellent plates can be done by hand.
                           
                          Trials and understanding what is happening in the process can get you there - UV exposure and changing of the polymer happen from the surface down toward the base; the UV light spreads as it travels past the negative into the material; unexposed polymer is water-soluble.
                           
                          (I do plates easily up to the size of cards and invitations, 4x6, 5x8; larger plates take longer with hand washout because you can't brush the whole surface at once - about 4 minutes in the water by my experience, it's time to stop).
                           
                          Best wishes,
                          Tom
                          Tom Parson/ Now It's Up To You
                          157 S Logan, Denver CO 80209
                          (303) 777-8951 - home & letterpress printshop
                          (720) 480-5358 - cellphone
                          typetom@...
                          www.nowitsuptoyou.com
                           
                          In a message dated 1/24/2014 10:51:33 A.M. Mountain Standard Time, jp@... writes:
                          Hi Peter,

                          I've done a bit more research and decided that it would be better to DIY a quality UV exposure unit, than to pay for a cheap "All-in-one" platemaker.

                          In your experience, are the KF152/KF95 plates very sensitive to factors like drying and washing temperature/time? If not, doing washing / drying by hand seems like a good way for me to start! 


                          Some questions on your UV Exposure unit:
                          -When you mention 4 sets of 2 T12 Damar bulbs, this gives a total of 8 x 40W = 320 Watts? 
                          -How far apart are your bulbs from each other? I've read online that 2 inch (center to center) works well, but ideally I'd like to follow whatever works for you.
                          -How far above the bulbs is the glass surface?

                          Many thanks in advance :)




                          On Wed, Jan 22, 2014 at 3:41 AM, Peter Nevins <nevins.peter@...> wrote:
                          Guess it depends on the size of film, but i've sent you here pictures of the system that's been in place at the print collective i have joined.  I just jumped in and started using it and i've had no problems.

                          Our setup:
                          4 sets of 2 Damar F40 blacklights
                          Heavy glass
                          Various sized pieces of black foam
                          Plywood enclosure
                          A heavy weight, like 1/2 a cinder block, or in our case a litho grinding wheel.

                          Best exposure time has been 10mins for kf152 and 8 min for the thinner kf 95.

                          Don't forget importance of warm or hot water in rinsing

                          S01500.jpg
                          Shurline 'handipainter' foam handle paint brush works great for gently  washing out.

                          Have fun!
                          Peter

                          Photos of exposure unit:
                          1st picture: unit open with 2 pieces of foam. Plate and film under foam against glass.
                          image.jpeg
                          2nd photo: unit closed with weight.  The 2 pieces of foam have been chosen for thickness and even pressure.
                          image.jpeg

                          p.s. the unit has mainly been for silkscreen exposure but 3 or 4 more minutes and it's perfect for photopolymer.

                          Ok!  ciao!


                          ________

                          Message delivered by a sustainably-raised volunteer pigeon.

                          On Jan 21, 2014, at 9:33 AM, "J. Pow" <jp@...> wrote:

                           
                          Hi Peter,

                          Thanks for the tips :) Starting off with a UV box sounds good.

                          Do you have any pics of how you weight down your slides with the dark foam?

                          Also, how many lamps does your UV box have? I've read that 6 x 25 watt is a minimum?

                          Thanks,
                          JP


                          On Wed, Jan 22, 2014 at 12:22 AM, Peter Nevins <nevins.peter@...> wrote:
                          Most important for me has been really good opaque film transparencies, a wide, soft, flat brush ($2.99 painting brush on flat styrofoam handle) and using warm/hot water to rinse!  I've just burned 10 in a row 12"x12" kf152 and kf95 photopolymer plates without losing one.  No vacuum, just dark foam weighted down on my uv fluorescent blacklight box.
                          Have fun!
                          P

                          ________

                          Message delivered by a sustainably-raised volunteer pigeon.

                          On Jan 21, 2014, at 12:19 AM, <jp@...> wrote:

                           

                          Hi everyone,


                          I am just starting out with home processing of plates and am thinking of getting a platemaker. 

                          Ideally, I'd get a quality one, but given space and budget constraints,  I am thinking of getting one of the China/India type platemakers (3 in one, exposure, drying, washout).
                          These range from USD1k - 2.5k. Alternatively, doing something DIY might cost me a few hundred dollars.

                          As far as I know, the china/india machines' exposure units have vacuum sheets and are timer controlled. Washout units are typical (automated brush + water).

                          --Is there anything in particular I should be looking out for / asking the equipment sellers?
                          --Is exposure typically controlled just by time factor? Or are there are other variables such as lamp intensity etc that I should be considering?
                          --Is drying process really important? Apart from time factor is it important to control heat temperature etc as well?

                          I was thinking of going a DIY route, but that would probably set me back a few hundred dollars + time required to build everything up. I am not sure if DIY will also give consistency (given lack of vacuum screen, hand washing, hand drying). As such, going for a cheaper machine (USD1k range) might be a more viable option.

                          Appreciate any tips / advice :)

                          Thanks!





                           
                        • typetom2003
                          hi JP, Eric Holub s comments, as usual, are excellent and important for understanding the process, what works, what can go differently with different setups.
                          Message 13 of 19 , Jan 25, 2014
                            hi JP,
                            Eric Holub's comments, as usual, are excellent and important for understanding the process, what works, what can go differently with different setups.
                             
                            No there is not a chemical reaction during washout. (The only chemical change is when UV light hits photopolymer the polymers recombine differently. I don't know the chemistry but the material exposed to UV light hardens and becomes not soluble in water.)
                             
                            The timing limits I feel for washout are due in part as Eric describes to the length of time the surface is subject to damage by the brush, but that is also affected by the fact that the material has been exposed from the surface down toward the base - which I think makes the surface more completely exposed and the lower part of the material still susceptible to the effects of water and still not as hardened against the effects of the brush. So there becomes a limit, as you wash away the lower material that surrounds and supports the printing surface, when the brush will separate surface details from the softer material below. Thin lines can begin to move and get wobbly; serifs can come loose and break off; punctuation can vanish. You might find tiny scraps of these surface details in the wash - they have not been worn by brushing, but have been separated from the base material. Longer exposure time also can harden that base material more, but that also can swell the material around the surface lines and result in a bolder image in printing. So the solution to problems requires a compromise between exposure and washout, and those are the critical times to watch. That's my sense of what happens, anyhow, and the easy answer is to watch the second hand of the clock, resist the urge to clean the plate all the way to the metal everywhere, and stop - even the shallower plates are deep enough for printing even if not completely washed to the base.
                             
                            Best wishes,
                            Tom
                             
                             
                            In a message dated 1/25/2014 9:06:37 A.M. Mountain Standard Time, jp@... writes:


                            Dear Tom,

                            Thanks for the tips :) Extremely helpful. I'll be sourcing DIY exposure equipment later today. 

                            Regarding Vacuum, I saw  a video on youtube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WJn5YFANxU) of someone using a "spacesaver bag" to sandwich plate + negative. I'll try that to see if it works well.

                            Separate question:
                            I understand how Exposure time affects the plate curing, but how does washout timing affect things? 
                            Does some chemical reaction happen during washout, which makes timing very important?

                            Thanks again!
                            JP


                            On Sat, Jan 25, 2014 at 3:39 AM, <typetom@...> wrote:
                            Hi JP,
                            Exposure time and time in the washout are the two most critical factors. Washout temperature not so critical. I use water comfortably warm to the hands but not hot; I use a hand-held hair dryer, and dry steel-backed plates until they are too hot to hold and then somewhat longer.
                             
                            (If they haven't been dried long enough they may still hold moisture that will eventually dry further and curl the plate, not a critical problem except for storing and reusing plates but they can be flattened again in hot water for printing again later).
                             
                            I have a homemade lightbox with four 18" bulbs, something like 2" above the plate material in an old NewArc vacuum frame. My lights are placed face-down on top of the glass. I found the vacuum was bending the glass very slightly and allowing irregular contact and exposure between the negative and the plate - matboard pieces to support the glass around the material solved all that. Funky system perhaps but routinely excellent plates can be done by hand.
                             
                            Trials and understanding what is happening in the process can get you there - UV exposure and changing of the polymer happen from the surface down toward the base; the UV light spreads as it travels past the negative into the material; unexposed polymer is water-soluble.
                             
                            (I do plates easily up to the size of cards and invitations, 4x6, 5x8; larger plates take longer with hand washout because you can't brush the whole surface at once - about 4 minutes in the water by my experience, it's time to stop).
                             
                            Best wishes,
                            Tom
                            Tom Parson/ Now It's Up To You
                            157 S Logan, Denver CO 80209
                            (303) 777-8951 - home & letterpress printshop
                            (720) 480-5358 - cellphone
                            typetom@...
                            www.nowitsuptoyou.com
                             
                            In a message dated 1/24/2014 10:51:33 A.M. Mountain Standard Time, jp@... writes:
                            Hi Peter,

                            I've done a bit more research and decided that it would be better to DIY a quality UV exposure unit, than to pay for a cheap "All-in-one" platemaker.

                            In your experience, are the KF152/KF95 plates very sensitive to factors like drying and washing temperature/time? If not, doing washing / drying by hand seems like a good way for me to start! 


                            Some questions on your UV Exposure unit:
                            -When you mention 4 sets of 2 T12 Damar bulbs, this gives a total of 8 x 40W = 320 Watts? 
                            -How far apart are your bulbs from each other? I've read online that 2 inch (center to center) works well, but ideally I'd like to follow whatever works for you.
                            -How far above the bulbs is the glass surface?

                            Many thanks in advance :)




                            On Wed, Jan 22, 2014 at 3:41 AM, Peter Nevins <nevins.peter@...> wrote:
                            Guess it depends on the size of film, but i've sent you here pictures of the system that's been in place at the print collective i have joined.  I just jumped in and started using it and i've had no problems.

                            Our setup:
                            4 sets of 2 Damar F40 blacklights
                            Heavy glass
                            Various sized pieces of black foam
                            Plywood enclosure
                            A heavy weight, like 1/2 a cinder block, or in our case a litho grinding wheel.

                            Best exposure time has been 10mins for kf152 and 8 min for the thinner kf 95.

                            Don't forget importance of warm or hot water in rinsing

                             
                            Shurline 'handipainter' foam handle paint brush works great for gently  washing out.

                            Have fun!
                            Peter

                            Photos of exposure unit:
                            1st picture: unit open with 2 pieces of foam. Plate and film under foam against glass.

                             
                            2nd photo: unit closed with weight.  The 2 pieces of foam have been chosen for thickness and even pressure.

                             

                            p.s. the unit has mainly been for silkscreen exposure but 3 or 4 more minutes and it's perfect for photopolymer.

                            Ok!  ciao!


                            ________

                            Message delivered by a sustainably-raised volunteer pigeon.

                            On Jan 21, 2014, at 9:33 AM, "J. Pow" <jp@...> wrote:

                             

                            Hi Peter,

                            Thanks for the tips :) Starting off with a UV box sounds good.

                            Do you have any pics of how you weight down your slides with the dark foam?

                            Also, how many lamps does your UV box have? I've read that 6 x 25 watt is a minimum?

                            Thanks,
                            JP


                            On Wed, Jan 22, 2014 at 12:22 AM, Peter Nevins <nevins.peter@...> wrote:

                            Most important for me has been really good opaque film transparencies, a wide, soft, flat brush ($2.99 painting brush on flat styrofoam handle) and using warm/hot water to rinse!  I've just burned 10 in a row 12"x12" kf152 and kf95 photopolymer plates without losing one.  No vacuum, just dark foam weighted down on my uv fluorescent blacklight box.
                            Have fun!
                            P

                            ________

                            Message delivered by a sustainably-raised volunteer pigeon.

                            On Jan 21, 2014, at 12:19 AM, <jp@...> wrote:

                             

                            Hi everyone,


                            I am just starting out with home processing of plates and am thinking of getting a platemaker. 

                            Ideally, I'd get a quality one, but given space and budget constraints,  I am thinking of getting one of the China/India type platemakers (3 in one, exposure, drying, washout).
                            These range from USD1k - 2.5k. Alternatively, doing something DIY might cost me a few hundred dollars.

                            As far as I know, the china/india machines' exposure units have vacuum sheets and are timer controlled. Washout units are typical (automated brush + water).

                            --Is there anything in particular I should be looking out for / asking the equipment sellers?
                            --Is exposure typically controlled just by time factor? Or are there are other variables such as lamp intensity etc that I should be considering?
                            --Is drying process really important? Apart from time factor is it important to control heat temperature etc as well?

                            I was thinking of going a DIY route, but that would probably set me back a few hundred dollars + time required to build everything up. I am not sure if DIY will also give consistency (given lack of vacuum screen, hand washing, hand drying). As such, going for a cheaper machine (USD1k range) might be a more viable option.

                            Appreciate any tips / advice :)

                            Thanks!





                             

                          • jpow
                            Thanks so much Eric and Tom for the explanations. My understanding of the process has increased tremendously! This is what I have learned (please correct if I
                            Message 14 of 19 , Jan 25, 2014
                              Thanks so much Eric and Tom for the explanations. My understanding of the process has increased tremendously!

                              This is what I have learned (please correct if I am wrong):
                              Post exposure, the TOP layer of areas that have been exposed, is hardest (since it is closest to the light source). However, because the light has to diffuse through the photopolymer as it travels through it, the lower layers are less "cured" and hence hardness starts to decrease as we get to the bottom layers. The diffusion / scattering of the light (as it travels through the polymer) also results in what we call "shoulders", where a larger volume of photopolymer gets exposed to less intense UV light.

                              Because the bottom layers are less "cured", they are more susceptible to being "washed away", which may result in the harder, top layers "detaching" from the backing during a vigorous washout.

                              The post exposure, then is required to harden up everything!

                              Regards,
                              JP

                               


                              On Sun, Jan 26, 2014 at 1:01 AM, <typetom@...> wrote:
                               

                              hi JP,
                              Eric Holub's comments, as usual, are excellent and important for understanding the process, what works, what can go differently with different setups.
                               
                              No there is not a chemical reaction during washout. (The only chemical change is when UV light hits photopolymer the polymers recombine differently. I don't know the chemistry but the material exposed to UV light hardens and becomes not soluble in water.)
                               
                              The timing limits I feel for washout are due in part as Eric describes to the length of time the surface is subject to damage by the brush, but that is also affected by the fact that the material has been exposed from the surface down toward the base - which I think makes the surface more completely exposed and the lower part of the material still susceptible to the effects of water and still not as hardened against the effects of the brush. So there becomes a limit, as you wash away the lower material that surrounds and supports the printing surface, when the brush will separate surface details from the softer material below. Thin lines can begin to move and get wobbly; serifs can come loose and break off; punctuation can vanish. You might find tiny scraps of these surface details in the wash - they have not been worn by brushing, but have been separated from the base material. Longer exposure time also can harden that base material more, but that also can swell the material around the surface lines and result in a bolder image in printing. So the solution to problems requires a compromise between exposure and washout, and those are the critical times to watch. That's my sense of what happens, anyhow, and the easy answer is to watch the second hand of the clock, resist the urge to clean the plate all the way to the metal everywhere, and stop - even the shallower plates are deep enough for printing even if not completely washed to the base.
                               
                              Best wishes,
                              Tom
                               
                               
                              In a message dated 1/25/2014 9:06:37 A.M. Mountain Standard Time, jp@... writes:


                              Dear Tom,

                              Thanks for the tips :) Extremely helpful. I'll be sourcing DIY exposure equipment later today. 

                              Regarding Vacuum, I saw  a video on youtube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WJn5YFANxU) of someone using a "spacesaver bag" to sandwich plate + negative. I'll try that to see if it works well.

                              Separate question:
                              I understand how Exposure time affects the plate curing, but how does washout timing affect things? 
                              Does some chemical reaction happen during washout, which makes timing very important?

                              Thanks again!
                              JP


                              On Sat, Jan 25, 2014 at 3:39 AM, <typetom@...> wrote:
                              Hi JP,
                              Exposure time and time in the washout are the two most critical factors. Washout temperature not so critical. I use water comfortably warm to the hands but not hot; I use a hand-held hair dryer, and dry steel-backed plates until they are too hot to hold and then somewhat longer.
                               
                              (If they haven't been dried long enough they may still hold moisture that will eventually dry further and curl the plate, not a critical problem except for storing and reusing plates but they can be flattened again in hot water for printing again later).
                               
                              I have a homemade lightbox with four 18" bulbs, something like 2" above the plate material in an old NewArc vacuum frame. My lights are placed face-down on top of the glass. I found the vacuum was bending the glass very slightly and allowing irregular contact and exposure between the negative and the plate - matboard pieces to support the glass around the material solved all that. Funky system perhaps but routinely excellent plates can be done by hand.
                               
                              Trials and understanding what is happening in the process can get you there - UV exposure and changing of the polymer happen from the surface down toward the base; the UV light spreads as it travels past the negative into the material; unexposed polymer is water-soluble.
                               
                              (I do plates easily up to the size of cards and invitations, 4x6, 5x8; larger plates take longer with hand washout because you can't brush the whole surface at once - about 4 minutes in the water by my experience, it's time to stop).
                               
                              Best wishes,
                              Tom
                              Tom Parson/ Now It's Up To You
                              157 S Logan, Denver CO 80209
                              (303) 777-8951 - home & letterpress printshop
                              (720) 480-5358 - cellphone
                              typetom@...
                              www.nowitsuptoyou.com
                               
                              In a message dated 1/24/2014 10:51:33 A.M. Mountain Standard Time, jp@... writes:
                              Hi Peter,

                              I've done a bit more research and decided that it would be better to DIY a quality UV exposure unit, than to pay for a cheap "All-in-one" platemaker.

                              In your experience, are the KF152/KF95 plates very sensitive to factors like drying and washing temperature/time? If not, doing washing / drying by hand seems like a good way for me to start! 


                              Some questions on your UV Exposure unit:
                              -When you mention 4 sets of 2 T12 Damar bulbs, this gives a total of 8 x 40W = 320 Watts? 
                              -How far apart are your bulbs from each other? I've read online that 2 inch (center to center) works well, but ideally I'd like to follow whatever works for you.
                              -How far above the bulbs is the glass surface?

                              Many thanks in advance :)




                              On Wed, Jan 22, 2014 at 3:41 AM, Peter Nevins <nevins.peter@...> wrote:
                              Guess it depends on the size of film, but i've sent you here pictures of the system that's been in place at the print collective i have joined.  I just jumped in and started using it and i've had no problems.

                              Our setup:
                              4 sets of 2 Damar F40 blacklights
                              Heavy glass
                              Various sized pieces of black foam
                              Plywood enclosure
                              A heavy weight, like 1/2 a cinder block, or in our case a litho grinding wheel.

                              Best exposure time has been 10mins for kf152 and 8 min for the thinner kf 95.

                              Don't forget importance of warm or hot water in rinsing

                               
                              Shurline 'handipainter' foam handle paint brush works great for gently  washing out.

                              Have fun!
                              Peter

                              Photos of exposure unit:
                              1st picture: unit open with 2 pieces of foam. Plate and film under foam against glass.

                               
                              2nd photo: unit closed with weight.  The 2 pieces of foam have been chosen for thickness and even pressure.

                               

                              p.s. the unit has mainly been for silkscreen exposure but 3 or 4 more minutes and it's perfect for photopolymer.

                              Ok!  ciao!


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                              On Jan 21, 2014, at 9:33 AM, "J. Pow" <jp@...> wrote:

                               

                              Hi Peter,

                              Thanks for the tips :) Starting off with a UV box sounds good.

                              Do you have any pics of how you weight down your slides with the dark foam?

                              Also, how many lamps does your UV box have? I've read that 6 x 25 watt is a minimum?

                              Thanks,
                              JP


                              On Wed, Jan 22, 2014 at 12:22 AM, Peter Nevins <nevins.peter@...> wrote:

                              Most important for me has been really good opaque film transparencies, a wide, soft, flat brush ($2.99 painting brush on flat styrofoam handle) and using warm/hot water to rinse!  I've just burned 10 in a row 12"x12" kf152 and kf95 photopolymer plates without losing one.  No vacuum, just dark foam weighted down on my uv fluorescent blacklight box.
                              Have fun!
                              P

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                              On Jan 21, 2014, at 12:19 AM, <jp@...> wrote:

                               

                              Hi everyone,


                              I am just starting out with home processing of plates and am thinking of getting a platemaker. 

                              Ideally, I'd get a quality one, but given space and budget constraints,  I am thinking of getting one of the China/India type platemakers (3 in one, exposure, drying, washout).
                              These range from USD1k - 2.5k. Alternatively, doing something DIY might cost me a few hundred dollars.

                              As far as I know, the china/india machines' exposure units have vacuum sheets and are timer controlled. Washout units are typical (automated brush + water).

                              --Is there anything in particular I should be looking out for / asking the equipment sellers?
                              --Is exposure typically controlled just by time factor? Or are there are other variables such as lamp intensity etc that I should be considering?
                              --Is drying process really important? Apart from time factor is it important to control heat temperature etc as well?

                              I was thinking of going a DIY route, but that would probably set me back a few hundred dollars + time required to build everything up. I am not sure if DIY will also give consistency (given lack of vacuum screen, hand washing, hand drying). As such, going for a cheaper machine (USD1k range) might be a more viable option.

                              Appreciate any tips / advice :)

                              Thanks!





                               


                            • Scott Rubel
                              Very nice account. Thank you for sharing this. As long as I ve been doing this, you explain a couple of points I didn t really contemplate before. --Scott On
                              Message 15 of 19 , Jan 25, 2014
                                Very nice account. Thank you for sharing this. As long as I've been doing this, you explain a couple of points I didn't really contemplate before.

                                --Scott

                                On Jan 25, 2014, at 6:29 AM, <Megalonyx@...> <Megalonyx@...> wrote:

                                <Exposure time and time in the washout are the two most critical factors>

                                Not untrue, but any newbie may completely misunderstand the underlying concepts.

                                    Exposure time is also a factor of how close the lamps are and how much the light diffuses through the unexposed photopolymer. The krene cover sheet in open face vacuum frames is an additional aid in diffusion, not present in glass-and-foam contact systems. This is why commercial units use close banks of UV tubes and not point-light sources. Diffusion is necessary to build a strong body beneath the printing face.

                                    Then there's the removal of unexposed photopolymer. It does not dissolve just because it is in water. There must be physical action: brush or pile bristles, forced jet of water, ultrasonic wave. The upper softened layers must be removed before the lower layers can be softened by exposure to water (and water temperature is a definite factor, varying with different plate materials). The longer that takes, the more the printing face is subject to damage. A large plate and a small brush will require very vigorous action to remove the non-image photopolymer, and image details will be damaged, especially around the edges of the image (nothing more frustrating than having to remake a plate because one #%@! period or serif washed off). After using many kinds of stencil, shoe, fabric and pad brushes against the plate, I settled on filling a photo tray with actual photopolymer brushes (4x6 units from Gene Becker) and then making a magnetic plate holder to move the plate against the brushes in a warm bath, copying machine action, and gaining far more control and repeatability

                                I stress this after 25 years of hand development of photopolymer plates in my shop, and 20 by machine at various other places. Only had a machine in my own shop in the last 6 years. Finer typographically-detailed plates are possible by machine-washout than anything done by hand, though I still do the odd small job by hand.

                                If your concern is coarse artwork or display type, do what you want. Linoleum cut detail is easily matched by any DIY photopolymer methods. Text typographic detail really requires better control.

                                --Eric Holub, SF





                                 



                              • parallel_imp
                                Let me step back, and add that my experience is all with steel-back plates. I keep forgetting about liquid and film-back photopolymer, which have different
                                Message 16 of 19 , Jan 26, 2014
                                  Let me step back, and add that my experience is all with steel-back plates. I keep forgetting about liquid and film-back photopolymer, which have different exposure requirements. All liquid photopolymer, and some film-back, uses an additional exposure through the back, rather than relying completely on a diffused exposure from the front.

                                  The main difference in development is that the liquids may use a detergent bath.

                                  --Eric Holub, SF

                                • Peter Fraterdeus
                                  The back exposure on the steel plates is with high-energy gamma rays ;-) •=^=•=^=•=^=•=^=•=^=•=^=•=^=•=^= Peter Fraterdeus Slowprint.com /
                                  Message 17 of 19 , Jan 26, 2014
                                    The back exposure on the steel plates is with high-energy gamma rays ;-)

                                    •=^=•=^=•=^=•=^=•=^=•=^=•=^=•=^=
                                    Peter Fraterdeus
                                    Voice Mail & Text 563-223-8231

                                    On Jan 26, 2014, at 8:41 AM, Megalonyx@... wrote:

                                    Let me step back, and add that my experience is all with steel-back plates. I keep forgetting about liquid and film-back photopolymer, which have different exposure requirements. All liquid photopolymer, and some film-back, uses an additional exposure through the back, rather than relying completely on a diffused exposure from the front.

                                    The main difference in development is that the liquids may use a detergent bath.

                                    --Eric Holub, SF

                                  • Neil Salkind
                                    From a rookie, but isn;t this why some people suggest expsoing the non-sesitive side of the plate for about 15 seconds to help build up that farthest layer of
                                    Message 18 of 19 , Jan 26, 2014
                                      From a rookie, but isn;t this why some people suggest expsoing the non-sesitive side of the plate for about 15 seconds to help build up that farthest layer of polymer, thenmove to the regular expsoure process? Thanks, Neil

                                      On Jan 26, 2014, at 9:12 AM, Peter Fraterdeus <peterf@...> wrote:

                                       

                                      The back exposure on the steel plates is with high-energy gamma rays ;-)

                                      •=^=•=^=•=^=•=^=•=^=•=^=•=^=•=^=
                                      Peter Fraterdeus
                                      Voice Mail & Text 563-223-8231

                                      On Jan 26, 2014, at 8:41 AM, Megalonyx@... wrote:

                                      Let me step back, and add that my experience is all with steel-back plates. I keep forgetting about liquid and film-back photopolymer, which have different exposure requirements. All liquid photopolymer, and some film-back, uses an additional exposure through the back, rather than relying completely on a diffused exposure from the front.

                                      The main difference in development is that the liquids may use a detergent bath.

                                      --Eric Holub, SF



                                      *******************************************************
                                      Neil J. Salkind
                                      (785) 841-0947
                                      neiljsalkind@...

                                      Neil J. Salkind
                                      big boy press
                                      APA 880
                                      (785) 331-5639

                                    • parallel_imp
                                      What should be considered first is the exact type of plate material (hasn t come up in this thread yet), and what its manufacturer gives as correct procedure.
                                      Message 19 of 19 , Jan 28, 2014

                                        What should be considered first is the exact type of plate material (hasn't come up in this thread yet), and what its manufacturer gives as correct procedure. There are differences between the various types of plate material, even from one manufacturer. What people say about this should be secondary, and people should understand what works with one plate may not be best for another. 

                                        As I recall, it has been stated here in the past, some film-back plates need a back exposure, some already had it.

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