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new to photopolymer - help!

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  • hollowpress
    I m thinking about using (at least part of the time)photopolymer plates on my Vandercook 15-21 and have been looking at Boxcar bases. Purchased Printing
    Message 1 of 7 , Jun 25, 2004
      I'm thinking about using (at least part of the time)photopolymer
      plates on my Vandercook 15-21 and have been looking at Boxcar
      bases. Purchased "Printing digital type" by Gerald Lange which
      answers many questions, but a few remain:

      1) Boxcar bases - regular grid or deep relief (grid) base - I do
      like the idea of more 'bite'? As I would be brand new to this and
      have a limited amount of time to practice, how difficult is it to
      print photopolymer plates and which base would be easier to use on
      my press?

      2) I would be having Boxcar make plates and will be printing double-
      page spreads. Would it be cheaper to have negatives and plates made
      for a double-page or four-page spreads? How easy are the plates to
      cut apart?

      Would appreciate answers to the above and any other information you
      can impart.
      Many thanks,
      Caryl Peters - Frog Hollow Press
    • chuck sumner
      As far as which base is better, everyone has an opinion. I personally use both magnetic and boxcar bases. But I do like that boxcar plates are cheaper and very
      Message 2 of 7 , Jun 25, 2004
        As far as which base is better, everyone has an opinion. I personally
        use both magnetic and boxcar bases.
        But I do like that boxcar plates are cheaper and very easy to cut/trim
        post exposure.
        The main drawback for them, in my opinion, is that most polymer plate
        machines are set up to make steel base plates, and
        have to be retrofitted somehow to make plastic backed plates. Since I
        rent a machine that belongs to someone else, this makes
        a bit of difference to me. I have a thin steel plate I'm going to try
        and stick the plate to prior to washout next time.
        If boxcar is making your plates, this probably is irrelevant to you.

        As far as negatives, I calculated which size is cheapest from my
        service bureau, and them filled that space with as much as possible.
        Turns out to be something like 19x30 for me.
        Negatives are easily cut apart. As are boxcar plates either before or
        after exposure. Steel backed plates are more difficult and you lose
        1/4" or so from curling when you cut them, and you also need to cut
        them in a straight line, which changes how you layout things when
        exposing.

        I have not yet tried boxcars deep relief plates. But if you know that's
        what you want to do, then why not? You can always build up underneath
        the plate if you want to use thinner plates

        In regards to difficulty, it really depends on that you want to print.
        Multi color work is more difficult that single color... I find it Very
        Easy to print from plates on a Vandercook. It's as though they wee made
        for each other...

        This is just my experience. I'm sure others will speak up too.

        chuck

        On Jun 25, 2004, at 10:00 AM, hollowpress wrote:

        > I'm thinking about using (at least part of the time)photopolymer
        > plates on my Vandercook 15-21 and have been looking at Boxcar
        > bases. Purchased "Printing digital type" by Gerald Lange which
        > answers many questions, but a few remain:
        >
        > 1) Boxcar bases - regular grid or deep relief (grid) base - I do
        > like the idea of more 'bite'? As I would be brand new to this and
        > have a limited amount of time to practice, how difficult is it to
        > print photopolymer plates and which base would be easier to use on
        > my press?
        >
        > 2) I would be having Boxcar make plates and will be printing double-
        > page spreads. Would it be cheaper to have negatives and plates made
        > for a double-page or four-page spreads? How easy are the plates to
        > cut apart?
        >
        > Would appreciate answers to the above and any other information you
        > can impart.
        > Many thanks,
        > Caryl Peters - Frog Hollow Press
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > Yahoo! Groups Links
        >
        >
        >
        >
      • Gerald Lange
        Caryl In regard to your specific questions: I ve tried several of the various bases that are out there and I would suggest that it really comes down to a
        Message 3 of 7 , Jun 25, 2004
          Caryl

          In regard to your specific questions:

          I've tried several of the various bases that are out there and I would
          suggest that it really comes down to a matter of cost (how much are
          you willing to invest) and how much work you do (hobby or
          professional) and what kind of work you do (fine book printing, card
          printing, etc). The three most popular bases among the current
          letterpress crowd are the Boxcar, Bunting Cerface, and Patmag.

          I would recommend that you buy a base that allows you the flexibility
          to use a number of different thicknesses of plate. In other words, a
          shallower base. Both the Patmag and the Boxcar (in deep relief
          version) allow this. A shallower ground Bunting would as well but
          Bunting discourages the use of underlays with its bases. I use
          Buntings but, because of this concern, I have them ground in differing
          thicknesses.

          I'm not sure that you would realistically get any more bite from a
          deeper relief plate than you would from a shallower plate (even the
          shallowest of common letterpress plates has a relief depth of .026,
          which is quite significant), the main consideration is image fidelity
          (shallower is better) and subsurface relief structure (thicker is
          better). As far as I can tell, the main plus side of the thicker plate
          for most folks, other than the belief that they can pound deeper, is
          that if you don't pay a lot of attention to your roller adjustments,
          you will have less incident of plate edges picking up ink. Thinner
          plates tend to be more often used with Vandercooks, thicker plates
          with platen presses and motorized cylinder presses.

          Except for registration (which is not quite the bug a boo it has often
          been made out to be) photopolymer is much easier to print on than
          metal surfaces. There are significant and unique downsides to printing
          with photopolymer, but there are for metal as well.

          Solid aluminum bases, such as the Bunting or Boxcar, would be the
          easiest to print on. A rubber surfaced aluminum base has two major
          problems. One is the incidence of plate travel or drift, the other is
          altered impression (the result of the rubber's flexibility or
          sponginess). But, they are less expensive than other brands.

          In selecting a base it's a matter of balancing the initial cost of a
          base versus how much money it will cost you in additional labor
          monitoring plate creep or dealing with troublesome adhesives and even
          blowing the occasional job because of these problems.

          It is cheaper if you gang your imaging on film negatives as you are
          paying on a per size basis, with increasing reduction in cost as the
          film size gets larger. The same doesn't necessarily hold true for
          plates, as you are most often charged per square inch of image. I
          generally do not set up plates as double spreads simply because if I
          need to adjust the spread for any reason I would need to cut the plate
          anyway.

          Usually your plate processor will cut to plates to your configuration.
          But if you need further trimming, metal backed bases are easily cut
          with any kind of table paper shears. The kind with a clamp to hold the
          plate, such as a Kutrimmer, is best. Plastic backed bases can be cut
          with a hand shears or scissors.


          Gerald



          1) Boxcar bases - regular grid or deep relief (grid) base - I do
          like the idea of more 'bite'? As I would be brand new to this and
          have a limited amount of time to practice, how difficult is it to
          print photopolymer plates and which base would be easier to use on
          my press?

          2) I would be having Boxcar make plates and will be printing double-
          page spreads. Would it be cheaper to have negatives and plates made
          for a double-page or four-page spreads? How easy are the plates to
          cut apart?

          Would appreciate answers to the above and any other information you
          can impart.
          Many thanks,
          Caryl Peters - Frog Hollow Press
        • Bryan Hutcheson
          Lately, I have been having issues with air bubbles under my film, resulting in uneven line weights and poor image quality. It seems to have become an issue now
          Message 4 of 7 , Jul 7, 2004
            Lately, I have been having issues with air bubbles under my film,
            resulting in uneven line weights and poor image quality. It seems to
            have become an issue now that the humidity has increased in my shop. My
            fix has been to slowly rub down my negs to the plate to get out all
            bubbles.

            any ideas as to why this mat be happening? I am on an A&V Orbital 8


            Cheers,
            Bryan



            

            bryan hutcheson

            manifesto letterpress
            116 pleasant st. #2245
            easthampton, ma 01027

            p/f: 413.529.0009
            http://www.manifestopress.com

            Custom Letterpress Printing & Design

            Announcements � Stationery � Packaging...and just about anything else
            we can get through our presses





            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Regis Graden
            Bryan, You are correct about the humidity. Makes the polymer coating a little sticky. I have heard a light dusting with talcum powder helps though I have not
            Message 5 of 7 , Jul 7, 2004
              Bryan,

              You are correct about the humidity. Makes the polymer coating a little
              sticky. I have heard a light dusting with talcum powder helps though I have
              not had the problem with bubbles.

              Good Luck,

              Regis



              ----- Original Message -----
              From: "Bryan Hutcheson" <bryan@...>
              To: <PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com>
              Sent: Wednesday, July 07, 2004 4:23 PM
              Subject: [PPLetterpress] Problem with airbubbles under film


              Lately, I have been having issues with air bubbles under my film,
              resulting in uneven line weights and poor image quality. It seems to
              have become an issue now that the humidity has increased in my shop. My
              fix has been to slowly rub down my negs to the plate to get out all
              bubbles.

              any ideas as to why this mat be happening? I am on an A&V Orbital 8


              Cheers,
              Bryan



              

              bryan hutcheson

              manifesto letterpress
              116 pleasant st. #2245
              easthampton, ma 01027

              p/f: 413.529.0009
              http://www.manifestopress.com

              Custom Letterpress Printing & Design

              Announcements - Stationery - Packaging...and just about anything else
              we can get through our presses





              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





              Yahoo! Groups Links
            • Ed Inman
              I get best results by cutting the film smaller than the plate then cutting off the plate edges after processing. Also avoid using any sort of masking paper on
              Message 6 of 7 , Jul 7, 2004
                I get best results by cutting the film smaller than the plate then cutting
                off the plate edges after processing. Also avoid using any sort of masking
                paper on the negs as you would when making offset plates.
                Ed


                > [Original Message]
                > From: Bryan Hutcheson <bryan@...>
                > To: <PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com>
                > Date: 7/7/2004 6:22:28 PM
                > Subject: [PPLetterpress] Problem with airbubbles under film
                >
                > Lately, I have been having issues with air bubbles under my film,
                > resulting in uneven line weights and poor image quality. It seems to
                > have become an issue now that the humidity has increased in my shop. My
                > fix has been to slowly rub down my negs to the plate to get out all
                > bubbles.
                >
                > any ideas as to why this mat be happening? I am on an A&V Orbital 8
                >
                >
                > Cheers,
                > Bryan
                >
                >
                >
                > 
                >
                > bryan hutcheson
                >
                > manifesto letterpress
                > 116 pleasant st. #2245
                > easthampton, ma 01027
                >
                > p/f: 413.529.0009
                > http://www.manifestopress.com
                >
                > Custom Letterpress Printing & Design
                >
                > Announcements � Stationery � Packaging...and just about anything else
                > we can get through our presses
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > Yahoo! Groups Links
                >
                >
                >
                >
              • typetom@aol.com
                Hi Bryan, As suggested to me originally by Gene Becker, I dust the plate material with talc and then brush it clean with a very soft cosmetics make-up brush.
                Message 7 of 7 , Jul 7, 2004
                  Hi Bryan,
                  As suggested to me originally by Gene Becker, I dust the plate material with
                  talc and then brush it clean with a very soft cosmetics make-up brush. It
                  takes the tackiness out of the plate and does not seem to interfere with exposure
                  at all.

                  Earlier in making plates I was having the kind of problem you describe, with
                  unevenly thickened lines. I discovered it was from using a glass-topped vacuum
                  frame -- the vacuum actually was bending the glass slightly and allowing
                  irregular exposure (like an air bubble might). I solved the problem by cutting
                  strips of matboard and surrounding the plate material in the frame, so the glass
                  has support further out and does not bend. No such problems since I figured
                  that out. Probably not your problem with machine exposure and washout -- my
                  setup is all homemade and done by hand. Small-scale commercially viable plates,
                  though.

                  Baby powder seems like the answer.
                  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


                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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