Re: [PPLetterpress] Letter ink traps in photopolymer
- Paul W. Romaine wrote:I'm not entirely clear if ink traps were commonly
> used in metal type (foundry or hot metal) or photofont.Paul
> So my question: in taking digital types without ink traps, have you
> experienced problems? The traps are more visible at larger sizes--has
> anyone had to compensate to hide them? Has anyone tried to add traps of
> their own to faces lacking them (in non-display sizes)? Has anyone had
> problems of another sort--a trap for the unwary, so to speak??
Something further on this...
Ink traps were used in metal, but probably not commonly(?) I doubt, but
am not certain, that they were rarely used in faces designed for machine
composition. Their somewhat opposite, thorns (tiny line protuberances at
the outside angles), were used in photofilm. These would disappear with
exposure but allow the angle point to be captured correctly. I believe a
combination of the two would work well in printing with photopolymer.
When I've redone finely detailed images in the past I would normally try
to include ink traps of some sort.
I think it is a problem with photopolymer; there is a different thing
going on with the ink coverage than there is when printing with metal,
especially with high exposed line images. One thing that is more obvious
to me than it might be to a digital type designer is that the cuttings
of a metal type face are more physical and do not show in the face
itself. Ink drains, so to speak. These are obviously not a feature of
photopolymer. At least not in the similar fashion. In fact, one problem
is the ability of photopolymer to hold the ink at near below the
surface. Useful for printmakers, not so good for fine letterpress.
As I mentioned, I am currently engaged in the conversion of a relatively unknown metal foundry face into digital and I am particularly concerned with these old-technology type design techniques and how they might be well applied to photopolymer reproduction. Since this is a display face and meant for use at larger sizes, any trapping has to be quite subtle, but perhaps in a different way than was done with metal type. Or at least, in a different way than in the stylistic appropriation of Christian's font. But, at least, he brought it to fro.
> In answer to Matt's thought about using mat foil: IJan,
> use Kreene foil (is that mat?) and no glass right now.
Apologies for my belated reply to this question: Yes, I think it's
called Kreene foil and is a vital part of the system, not only when
exposing the plates using a traditional setup with UV tubes but even
more so when using a UV point light source, like Theimers, NuArcs, Olecs
and the like. Harold Kyle @ Boxcar Press (on the list) sells it,
together with alot of other fine printing pressroom supplies, should you
run out of it.
Regarding halftones I agree with Katie's recent post. Extremely high
quality fine halftone work can be carried out using a letterpress
printing press but since the eclipse of specialty makeready systems,
like Permaton and chalk overlays, you probably wouldn't want to do it
anyway. If you aim for halftones a better investment would be an
entry-level offset press, like some of AB Dick's earlier models, which
can be bought for very modest prices.
Regarding the Windmill, you shouldn't be afraid, but merely keep a
healthy respect for it, and any other motorized presses. Even with all
the guards working fine, a platen press can hurt you very badly, and is
perhaps more dangerous than a cylinder press. Should you aim for a
Windmill - which indeed is a remarkable press of which I own two - never
work by it when you are out of shouting distance to someone until you
are very, very experienced.
All the best,