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Re: [PPLetterpress] hand or machine

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  • E Roustom
    Hello Tom, Point(s) well taken - I m impressed - my experience handwashing plates was anything but fun. I don t disagree with anything you ve written. But I
    Message 1 of 2 , Sep 8 7:14 AM
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      Hello Tom,

      Point(s) well taken - I'm impressed - my experience handwashing plates was
      anything but fun. I don't disagree with anything you've written. But I still
      don't see how one can say that the "only" advantage is size. While you wash
      out one 6x9 plate by hand in 20 to 30 minutes, the machine does two or three
      in the same time (two basic weddings in one cycle using an A3 plate). While
      plate is in the washer (or drier), you can be online posting to pplettpress,
      or writing an estimate, or ordering paper, or cleaning up a press. Better
      still, if you have help for a day, you can teach almost anyone to run that
      machine, and free yourself up to print, and that is an advantage beyond any.
      Would you say the only advantage an automated press has over a hand fed
      press is speed? One can get by with very little to make beautiful prints, or
      even to turn a profit printing. It is a matter of scale (and style) in all
      cases. The cost of a new platemaker is quite high ($6-$8K), but over a
      couple of years it is paid for, and unlike much of the equipment we use, it
      retains its value and has current application in contemporary industry, so
      the investment can be recovered (can't say that about any of my presses
      except maybe the Windmill).

      I'm glad you were moved to respond. I've been wanting to introduce
      handwashing in my workshops, and I think your description of the process is
      very good, and your faith in it is reasuring. Thank you.

      Yours truly,


      > From: typetom@...
      > Reply-To: PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com
      > Date: Sun, 7 Sep 2003 14:45:08 EDT
      > To: PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: [PPLetterpress] hand or machine
      > In a message dated 9/6/2003 ERoustom@... writes:
      > << The enthusiasm and ingenuity is aplauded, but the understatement calls for
      > a correction: The advantage of "the expensive exposure/washout machines" is
      > being able to make plate after plate in a predictable and reliable manner with
      > the least amount of effort in the least amount of time, wasting less material
      > in the process. If you print for profit (ha ha) there's no substitute.
      > If you print occasionally though, the big machines are overkill >>
      > Hi Elias,
      > I don't want to belabor this, but I sense that others avoid photopolymers
      > because of the expense of the machine, and reported difficulties with handmade
      > plates. My simple point is that I am able to make reliable plates by hand,
      > with
      > essentially no wasted material.
      > The time involved is 3 minutes exposure, 4 - 6 minutes washout, a few minutes
      > drying with a hand-held hair dryer, and re-exposure max about 8 minutes
      > overkill. That means a fresh plate ready to print in about 20 minutes. With
      > multiple plates, the exposure and re-exposure time is combined, so the average
      > time
      > drops.
      > I agree this hand labor is not as much fun as hand-setting type, but I doubt
      > the time or effort is much more than is required for using and maintaining the
      > machine. Since solving the contact problems caused by bending of glass in the
      > vacuum frame, and figuring out washout time limits, I essentially have no
      > waste of material. The biggest waste comes from software glitches, not
      > exposure
      > and washout.
      > Regarding profit and the quantity of work that can be done this way, I print
      > wedding invitations, bar mitzvah invites, birth announcements, etc, as well as
      > small press poetry publications for sale, plus miscellaneous hobby printing.
      > About 100 projects a year, at least the past 5 years (almost all involving
      > multiple plates and multiple press-runs). Most of the job printing, maybe 80%
      > of
      > these projects, are done with handmade photopolymer plates. For wedding
      > invitations hand-washed plates are a most efficient method. If I were making
      > plates
      > for bookwork on a sizeable scale, I might think an expensive machine well
      > worth the investment.
      > Best wishes, Tom
      > Tom Parson
      > Now It's Up To You Publications
      > 157 S. Logan, Denver CO 80209
      > (303) 777-8951
      > http://members.aol.com/typetom
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