Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Thank you Adana

Phew! What a steep learning curve this has been ... Regular readers will remember that we procured an Adana 8x5 not too long ago; but then promtly stopped blogging about it. Well, we have actually been using it, but its been a lot of trial and error over several days. And with college and life, those days have been non-concurrent.

But I am pleased to say now that I think we have it (mostly) down, and have done our first two print runs (they are of the same thing - our wedding thank you cards - we just ran out of cards and had to go and buy a second box of supplies). Anyways, here's a kind of 'photo story' of the process. It's made up of photos from a couple of goes - so there isn't necessarily continuity in what's going on. Here goes... :

We start with my original design - then traced into the two separate colours (at the end I ended up re-drawing the whole thing as one piece and scanned it into Photoshop, and did the separating into two layers that way - and printed the two layers out separately).

Next, printed the layers out on acetate - in negative (for making photopolymer flexoplates).

I'm lucky that in my college they have the fascilities for making photopolymer flexoplates - it's a bit like making a silkscreen screen. There is a thin steel plate with some photoemulsion on it. You place the negative acetate the wrong way round on the emulsion and then expose it to UV light. The exposed bits harden (what you're going to print with), and you wash away the unhardened bits. Here are my two plates for the two colour separations.

Imagine then I've mounted the plates on wood to get them 'type height' and used some quoins and furniture to clamp them in place in the chase. I got some of this fab Caligo Safe Wash ink - and here is me inking the ink disk.

Even before we could print we noticed that the plate was inking up too much. This was not going to do ...

Not only was it over-inking, it was not sticking properly to the wood base. We fiddled with this for LONG time... We tweeked the impression screws; we tried to lift the rollers by putting layers of tape on the edge of the roller bearer (the thing the chase sits in); and all sorts ...

To cut a long story short, Sunshine eventually took the whole thing apart, cut the plates down so the edges were closer to the printing bits, and remounted them on wood that he had put through a special machine that would sand it down to the exact height. We made sure the plates were stuck down well, and we even had to hammer down some of the corners that kept getting inked.

Eventually though we finally managed to get it all working ... first print run we did this plate (with the rings) first - then the one with the figures. The second print run the following week we did the other way round as can be seen here:

I'm not entirely sure why I'm speaking like a child o_O ... also, when changing between the two plates, I did the old screenprint registration trick of taping down some acetate to print on, and then putting a card with the first colour on, underneath the printed acetate to align it properly. The Adana has an adjustable 'lay gauge' that holds the bottom of the card where you want it, and we used a piece of thick acetate to mark off one of the edges. You can see me pushing the card up against it in the video.

Final card to be unveiled on Wedding Wednesday tomorrow ;)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This just looks too cool for words! Must arrange a meet up after Christmas and you can show me this brilliant machine!

Love the new logo btw!