Thursday, January 13, 2011

First Print off the Test Polymer Plate

So this is my first print off our first polymer print. It's numbers one through five because we did a time exposure test, each number was for one minute.

The steps we used making the plate (prior to having a vacuum press):
  1. Print an inverse on a transparency (so the letters were white in a block of black)
  2. In a black room with a safe light, take out the photosensitive polymer paper
  3. We used clamps to make a sandwich of glass plate, the transparency, the polymer plates and then a cardboard backing. There are several problems with this: The glass isn't as good as Kreene and will slightly diffuse the light to make the type fuzzy. Plus we broke the glass with the clamps. It's hard to get consistent results with this type of setup, there's too many variables.
  4. Then we turned our lightbox on, holding it about 1 inch above the plates with wood blocks. Because we were doing a time exposure, we had paper covering all the other numbers and every twenty seconds we lifted the box and moved the paper over.
  5. Once we had exposed all the numbers we dunked the plate (still in the darkroom) and used a soft bristle toothbrush to clean off the plate. FYI- use gloves when you do this, I didn't and my hands burned after, but I have pretty sensitive skin.
  6. After we finished we let it dry and then we heard that we should put it back under the light to "bake" it. I'm not really sure if that did anything or not but we tried it.
  7. Boom! Our plate was done!

You can see the five is fuzzy because it was overexposed. After we expose the film it's washed and the unexposed part washes away, but the five was so exposed that not much of it washed away.

Then we took the plate and then just used the brayer to ink the plate instead of putting it on the press since it takes forever to wash the press off.

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