Monday, May 4, 2009

Intaglio plate

This evening I decided to try and make a printing plate of the airship wings image. Because I wanted the final image, in this case the print, not the plate, to be a positive, I had to reverse a step.

When I printed out the image on the magazine page, it was a positive. This means that the blank spaces (which are supposed to be white) would be etched out, leaving a negative, once you put the ink on and press it into some paper, it becomes a positive image on the page.

I bought some ink in a bottle today with this in mind, as well as a roller. Both came from the art shop in Dickson. The roller is made of plastic, so somehow I had to protect it from the heat that remains in the copper plate during ironing. I found that I had a roll of aluminium tape in my workshop, so I put a couple of strips on the roller, et viola! A protected roller. After heating the toner, I rolled the copper and the paper with the roller, and then soaked the paper off. I was pleased to find that the roller helped in the quality of the transfer, more stuck down than usual. There were a couple of little spots that came off while I was removing the paper, but they were in non-critical spots so I didn't re-do it.

Unfortunately, while I was drilling the two holes in it, my drill slipped and I bent the plate. I straightened it out again, but I think I may have weakened the toner's grip on the copper.

I hooked the plate up to the new and improved power supply that I did yesterday (which works wonderfully, I might add), and etched for about twenty minutes, after which the toner had started falling off. I suspect this was because the plate was getting quite warm, softening the toner up, and also because of the bending I mentioned.

In spite of this it turned out reasonably well, and I cleaned it off, painted a thin layer of ink on to it, put some paper on it, and went over it with the roller a couple of times.

I think next time I need to etch deeper, and not bend the plate.

I once again apologise for the photos. The lines (particularly in attempts 1 and 4 are actually quite sharp.

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