- Hello Tom,
The orbital washout unit has been the only way I have been able to produce
consistently good plates efficiently. The time factor is very important.
About twenty years ago, when the photo polymer was just entering the
market, I was told by salesmen that the plate could be exposed in the sun
and washed out in a sink with any brush. I spent what seemed and endless
amount of time discovering only that there are many variables. I built
things, converted things, nothing I did seemed to have the same results
twice, or that the plates were just not good enough. I like process, but I
was always off task trying to find a solution.
While not quite a glorious epiphany, the machine allowed me to make
accurate plates, in a short time with not so much guess work. I only had to
pay attention to the orientation and density of the negative, the suction
of the vacuum table, cleanliness of the kreene, monitor the wash out, water
temperature, drying and final exposure to harden the material. The process
is simple and consistent (generally).
I like to examine the plate during washout to check that as much
material has washed away as possible but not so much as to weaken its
structural integrity , (small bits of the design, or letters that break off
during printing that you don't notice until you are finished).
Gerald has a good explanation of the washout process.
I think Monotype had much more exacting details built into their
production, and while success at times seems atmospheric the documentation
they provided would allow you some success. There are just so many pieces
to pull together and each one requires complete attention to detail.
If you contact me off list I can send you some plate processing
instructions for Miraclon/Rigilon, this is the MLD made by Toyoba. They
also recommend it for crash printing, hot stamping and for pantograph
masters. I have only used it for letterpress printing.