Printing Transparencies/ Laser printer

Hello. I am just starting to develop my own photopolymer plates and have been using transparencies from Office Max. Right now, I have a HP C6280 inkjet printer. I’ve been looking into purchasing my own laser printer to print my own transparencies, but want to make sure I buy one that will do the job. Does anyone recommend a certain model/brand that will print dark/clear enough? Suggestions?

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Laser printers will not print dense enough for work with photopolymer.

I’ve used my little HP LaserJet printers to create solarplates, as well as plates for gum bichromate, screen prints, etc. Seems like it should be pretty similar.

Give it a shot, but I’ve tried my hardest. You need to shoot a lot more light at a photopolymer plate than a silkscreen (I run a silkscreen and letterpress business) and silkscreen positive output systems have never really worked for photopolymer for me. Real dense inkjet prints have been the best for me, but still not quite good enough. My best luck has been with Upson Stylus Pro printers.

I make my own PPP on a homemade exposure box using an Epson Inkjet printer and have had no problem getting 10 point text on my plates. Everything to make my exposure box was bought off the shelf from Home Depot and the Epson printer I use was 110.00 at Staples office supply store. If anyone tells you that it cannot be done they are wrong. I have attached two photos of my exposure unit and if you are interested I would be more than willing to share with you more specific information on how I make my plates. The plate and negative in the attached photo are about 10” by 14” and everything was done on my homemade unit and washed out by hand.


image: Exposure Unit 1.jpg

Exposure Unit 1.jpg

image: Exposure Unit 2.jpg

Exposure Unit 2.jpg

rwanoldjr, can you elaborate on settings for your epson
platforms etc. james

Really, this looks awesome. I’d love as much detail as possible!

Me too, rwarnoldjr. Could you provide the plans you built this from? I’d love to try to build one & copy your success.
Thanks, Emthree

The box was not built from any plans, I just did a bunch of research and built it. A favorite quote of mine is “I am always doing things I can’t do. That is how I get to do them”. Anyway here is the information on the box, if anyone has more questions then fire away. The box is plywood 25” x 17” x 5.25”. The light fixtures are typical 18” flourescent fixtures with blacklights from Home Depot, the bulbs are F15T8/BLB and are the ones that come with the fixture when you buy it. The fixtures are mounted to the bottom of the box and are mounted tight to each other so that the spacing from the center to center of each buld is 1.875”. The fixtures each have their own switch and cord. I cut the plug off of each of the cords and wire them together in the switchbox you see on the front so all I had to do was turn on the switch on the fixture and I can control all 7 lamps with the switch mounted outside the box.When the lid is closed the plate and negative are 2.25” away from the lamps. On the inside of the lid I used epoxy and attached a piece of 20ga sheetmetal. I place the ppp on the metal plate then I place my negative on the ppp. I then place a piece of .125” thick glass on top of this. I then use rare earth magnets to hold everything tight together. I have .5’ and 1” diameter by .125” thick magnets that I can place all over the the glass to help keep the negative tight to the PPP. I have made my own plates up to about 11” by 17” and the magnets hold it tight to the metal plate. I will typically use anywhere from 6 to 12 magnets depending on the plate size. I then close the lid and the PPP is suspended above the lights. I use a stopwatch for my exposure times and I flip the switch on the outside and expose the plates. The time will vary slightly depending on the brand of plates you are using. Right now with the ones I am using my exposure time is 3 minutes 45 seconds. The washout time usually ranges from about 4 minutes to 7 minutes depending on the plate size. I have a paint pad from Home Depot and also the hand washout brush from Boxcar press that I use to washout the plates in my sink. I then blot them dry and use my air compressor to blow off any water. I then post-expose the plate for the same amount of time as the initial exposure. I usually will let the plates sit out for about 24 hours before I use them to give them a chance to harden a little more but I have on occasion used them right away. To make my negatives I use an Epson Workforce 1100 printer and Royal Windsor Inkjet fillm that I purchase from Stuff4Print online. I use Adobe Illustrator for my artwork. If anyone has any specific questions let me know and I will do my best to answer them. If my description is not clear I can take some more photos of the stages if anyone is interested. The print and posters attached below were all printed with the homemade plates on my C&P 14” x 22” Craftsman using a homemade magnetic base locked up in the press.


image: WPA #4 Household Arts.jpg

WPA #4 Household Arts.jpg

image: WPA #3 The DaVinci Code.jpg

WPA #3 The DaVinci Code.jpg

Image file names can’t have spaces or special characters here. Could you try loading them again, please.

Got the file names right this time. Each poster had two color plates.


image: WPA Number 4 Household Arts.jpg

WPA Number 4 Household Arts.jpg

image: WPA Number 3 The DaVinci Code.jpg

WPA Number 3 The DaVinci Code.jpg


Thank you for sharing your posts. My unit is nearly identical to yours. Your description was excellent. The photos were superb. My model has a few differences that may interest you and others who want to build a platemaker box:

* The epoxy didn’t hold the metal plate to the lid which was made of scrap fiberboard rather than plywood. Small wood screws in the corners of the metal plate solved that problem. They were super small, too. Longer screws would have popped out on the other side which is the top of the platemaker lid.
* My box has mitered corners held with glue and brads. This was a personal preference, not necessarily an improvement on your design.
* The power cords feed through a 1” wide by 2” tall hole near an inside corner of the box. After feeding the cords, fill the hole with silicon. The cords all plug into a single-unit power strip bought at Home Depot. The bulb and holder units came from Lowe’s. The power strip is mounted to the side of the unit. The on-off switch that comes with the power strip is used to time exposures in the platemaker.
* The rare earth magnets work fine. However, a random sheet of plate glass (10”x6”) proved to be too big. Being no expert at cutting glass, a test was done to use a smaller piece of Plexiglas. The results with Plexiglas are excellent, and without the risk of nicked or cut fingers from glass.
* The box is 18” wide. Two pieces of 1”x1.5”x18” wood stock were cut and installed as cleats on the bottom of the box. Set them each about 3” from the outside, bottom edge of the box. Space is at a premium here. Objects get moved often. It is easier to grab the bottom of a unit with cleats when it comes time to move the platemaker.
* A gap in the space between one edge of the box top and the platemaker lid was closed by laying down a length of thick, double-sided sticky tape. A printer probably could do just as well to build up a space with other methods.
… Any printer would do well to reproduce Robert’s model as he described it here, even without my modifications.
I have washed out some plates for graphics in as short as 1 minute. I attribute this to the fine design of his platemaker, which allows for the source material to get close to the bulbs.

FYI, talked with an Agfa rep who said they have been working with generating negatives from HP printers with a 3.5 DMax.

I think it’s this product.

fundamentally-inkjet dry film(coated with adsorbent films) not lazer, there have been earlier threads on dry film methods, Illustrator has settings to produce sufficiently opaque negatives, pure black in colour picker, -30 settings colour settings brightness etc etc , print as monochrome black etc etc