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Re: [BKARTS] polymer plates

        Photopolymer plates are used in letterpress as follows:

1) A high contrast negative is made of the material you want to print.
This can be either (a) directly output from a digital original through a
computer attached to an imagesetter, or (b) photographed on a large stat
camera as was traditionally done for Photostats. (There are also a
number of less expensive ways to try to do this at home, but they don't
result in the kind of quality you'll get from real litho negatives.)

2) The negative is used to expose a sheet of base material which has
been coated with a light-sensitive coating, to a very bright light while
being held in tight contact through the use of a vacuum frame. This
exposure causes the image area of the plate to harden. The plate is then
washed out under water with a stiff brush, which removes all the
non-printing areas.

3) The [thin] plate is now mounted (using tape, magnets or hooks) onto a
solid base, which raises it to "type high", and is then locked into a
letterpress printing press using standard quoins and furniture.

4) From that point forward, printing from photopolymer plates is the
same as printing from metal type or photoengraved 'cuts', except that
photopolymer tends to be easier to print because there is less height
variation, higher resolution, and a lot less imposition (assuming you do
all your layout first on the computer.)

        Gerald Lange, author of the definitive book on letterpress
printing from photopolymer plates*, is the moderator of the Yahoo
Special Interest Group PPLetterpress
(http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PPLetterpress/). This is a clearinghouse
and forum for discussing studio letterpress, the photopolymer plate
process, and other investigative printing and typographic techniques,
and in addition to an active mailing list it includes many files and
links on the subject.

        If you are interested in making your own photopolymer plates for
letterpress printing, Harold Kyle at the Boxcar Press
(http://www.boxcarpres.com) sells a wide variety of plates and supplies
from a beautifully designed web site and will also make high quality
photopolymer plates from your computer files or art (with online credit
card payment available). Fritz Klinke at NA Graphics
(mailto:nagraph@xxxxxxxxxxxx) is another excellent source for high
quality photopolymer plates from your computer files. Gene Becker of
Photopolymer Plates (http://www.photopolymerplates.com/) sells a full
range of plates and bases, and also carries an array of platemakers,
exposure units, trimmers and other equipment.

        Good luck with your printing, and by all means join the
PPLetterpress Group on Yahoo and check out the extensive files in their
library, all of which are related to photopolymer printing. Also, the
quickest way to become "cluefull" about letterpress is to check out the
"Introduction to Letterpress Printing" at
http://www.fiveroses.org/intro.htm which will tell you just about
everything you might want to know about getting started.


-David S. Rose
 Five Roses Press
 New York, NY

* Printing Digital Type on the Hand-Operated Flatbed Cylinder Press by
Gerald Lange (Second Edition). California: Bieler Press, 2001 This is
one of the few letterpress manuals currently in print, and the only one
specifically addressing both Vandercook proof presses (the gold standard
for current fine letterpress printers) and photopolymer plates. This
book is the authority on the technologies of "modern" limited edition
letterpress printing. Subjects covered include digital type and computer
practices; letterpress configuration; photopolymer plates, flat-bases,
and processing equipment; photopolymer plate-making; plate registration
and travel; impression; cylinder packing and makeready; presswork; ink
and inking; press operation and maintenance, as well as an updated
listing of manufacturers and distributors. Newly included with this
edition are troubleshooting guides to problems encountered during the
processing and printing of photopolymer plates.

-----Original Message-----
From: Book Tony Renner
Sent: Tuesday, August 05, 2003 10:23 AM
 Subject: polymer plates

All --

Polymer plates for letterpresses: how do you make 'em? What special
equipment do you need to burn 'em? Can you job 'em out to someone else
with the equipment?

Tony // clearly clueless

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