Research with new positive plates

I have managed to finish an edition using my new plate technique and have learned quite a bit in the process. While it is more convenient to make a plate, I have found it is not as forgiving as my modified Deep Etch method I have been using.  I have found that the emulsion beneath the silicone is not hard enough to take abuse when one decides to make changes. I would like to get my hands on some dual cure screen emulsion so a second exposure would toughen it well enough to hold better to the aluminium plate.  It certainly works well if there are no changes and one prints the plate as it is developed with water.  This is common in the commercial offset printing industry as we would simply burn another plate if problems arose or changes required. Printmakers are the ones who want more flexibility like reversals, deletions and opening up the plate to add to the image. Actually deletions are simple by washing out the ink and applying silicone to blind the image.  So it is not much of a problem as these other techniques are still available to mix with the photo plates.

With my older process I would many times produce a Mylar with a number of images that were far enough apart so I could use the one exposed plate to print a number of different colors. As I finished printing a color, I would remove the ink and blind the image with a coat of silicone, then open up another with acetone and print. This saved me many exposures and processing of plates.  With the new process I have not found a method that did not damage the plate as I had to develop all the separate images on the plate, then protect the rest with a water soluble film under new silicone.  Maybe I can find a sure method, but on this edition I encountered problems for some reason.

I certainly will continue to use this simpler method as only water is needed for development, along with just a short exposure from a metal halide light.  I am sure as I print the next few editions, I should find steps to overcome any serious problems, since this is the most direct way one can produce positive plates and the method used by 3M and Toray.  Using common materials may not be the easiest concept for something rather complicated chemically, but things have worked out quite well so far.

More later

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