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Photopolymers – a brief description

Writer / Jurek Karwowski

A Photopolymer plate is a metal plate coated with a light sensitive film and is ordinary made to use in graphic industry. This is a non-toxic process.

Always be careful when handling chemicals. Read the health and safety instructions.


photopolymer gravure

Image right: Fisk Image by Jurek Karwowski

In my work I used KM 73 plates from Printight. This is a metal plate coated with a light sensitive film.

Process

1Prepare positive film. Drawings, photocopies and laser or inkjet prints on transparent film may all be used. I work with Canon transparent to use with ink jet bubble printer. Canon BJC 8200 does a great job.

2Expose the plate in with this positive film in UV light for a couple of minutes. Then expose a positive stochastic raster in the plate for about half time of the positive film. Philips HPR 125 is a good start for the beginners but for the best results is to use a vacuum frame with UV light.

polymer gravure3Put the plate in water (20 Celsius) for 30 seconds, and then careful rub the plate with a sponge. Place the plate on a towel and examine the depth of the washout. When you can see a relief from the positive, the plate is finish. Then wash the plate in could water for about 15 sec.
 
Image right: Garn by Jurek Karwowski

4Dry the surface of the plate with a fan heater or hair dryer for 5 minutes on a warm setting.

5Before inking the plate you must harden the polymer. Put the plate back again in the UV light in about 10 minutes without the positive and raster. Now, the plate is finished and ready for inking.

6In my work I use ink made for graphic art called Charbonel NOIR RSR. This is black ink and gives very good results. Mix the ink with Easy Wipe compound and a little bit of light oil. In my work I ink the plates with a roller made for graphic art. Then wipe the plate using tarlatan. Tarlatan is an open-meshed woven material also used for bookbinding. Fold it to form a ball and used it to wipe off the plate with a quick circular movements.

Photopolymer by Jurek Karwowski7Print through an etching press on lightly dampened paper with slight pressure.

Photoplymer by Jurek Karwowski

Images above: Ida and Sommermote by Jurek Karwowski

 

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