Mixing Inks Accurately

After mixing inks by hand and guesswork for a few years, I figured there had to be a better way. Turns out that VanSon has an excel spreadsheet which gives the proportions (by weight) of each ink in a mix. I bought an inexpensive scale accurate to .01 grams and mixed a batch of ink according to the specs. It matched the custom color ordered from VanSon exactly. If there is an interest, I will ask the guy at VanSon minds if this secret weapon is disseminated to his customers.

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There have been mixing swatches around for years we use the pantone matching system over here but they are much the same ,yes some variations can occur . but pantone guide x pantone mixing ink gives accurate pantone colours .
There is no trade secret just cost of the guides they are remarkably expensive .

I was more pointing out that you could mix accurately by weight, not by parts. As each primary color has a specific density, converting parts to weights won’t yield accurate color.

I purchased a Triple Beam Balance Scale on eBay (http://bit.ly/tYbIdH) and follow the Pantone recipes for color matching.

This can be an expensive option for hobbyists though. The cost of the Pantone books and the full array of Pantone inks from VanSon (14?) is an expensive purchase - although, it will last for a long time.

The Pantone books I have specify both parts and percentages. The whole system is based on weight and not on volume. That is why scales are used professionally, and have always been part of the Pantome system.

Ok, I was attempting to offer some information about VanSon’s Rubber Based Ink mixing formulas by weight. In no place on my Pantone Formula Guide Uncoated does it mention weights. It gives parts and percentages. Do with the info what you will. Sorry I even brought it up.

I found the whole process pointless. I have no time for trans white. Im as anal and scientific as the best of em, but don’t bother whith the guide anymore and mix by eye, although it can be handy as a reference.

The percentages are the weights Pantone is european and therefore metric cans are 1000grams any colour mixes thus 10% (grams ) +20% (grams) +70% (grams) = 100% or 100 grams ,Or one tenth of one kilo

This is a very dis-jointed discussion. The Pantone Matching System now owned by X-Rite is based in New Jersey. It was invented in 1963 (Wikipedia). It is based on parts or percentages of ink. The problem for small printers is estimating the amount they will need of each color, 50% of a pound, ounce or 1/4 of an ounce. If you mix too much it usually gets wasted.

Commercial printers use much larger amounts and therefore need an accurate means of estimating how much of each color. It is all in the math. Some PMS color books show both percentage and parts, other do not. But whatever color you mix, the amount is based on the volume you need and a percentage or number of parts of each ink colors needed to make that volume in pounds, ounces or grams.

I like the metric system for its simplicity and the figuring as i wrote earlier works with it well . using a metricised triple beam balance everything works in tens a tbb measures in 1/10th gram increments . 100 grams of ink is about 4oz in old english . Now i couldnt ink up some of the machines i run with that little so i guess it would suit the tabletop brigade !!
Will add that the name is not meant to be some sort of denigrating term , i have a couple of baby one myself and even the commercial printers around here owe them a few drinks ..

Well, whatever color you mix in Pantone, and however you choose to mix it (BTW Harbor Freight has a cheap digital scale that goes grams up to 1 kg—or more?). The most important thing to remember is that if you mix to the book, and the draw down agrees with the book, you will still be printing DARK!

I would recommend mixing to the Pantone guide, but then note you will have to cut the color with printing (not transparent) white to get the color to match. This is where the technique of “tapping” the ink out with your finger is more representative of the heavier ink lay down that one gets with letterpress. I think transparent white would yield a runnier ink that would be hard to color control during a run.

One place that transparent white is good for (aside from creating pastel hues) is for overprinting or halftone work, where one needs to cut traditional CMYK inks so they are still transparent in letterpress use.

We use verdunnungs paste which in simple terms is a paste reducer that is remarkably effective in lightening the shade with minimal vehicle reduction . Liquid reducers work but are more likely to lenghten the vehicle or in easy terms makes the ink runny which to be honest will drive you nuts in warm weather. As for tranny white yes it makes a fair overprint seal, what i always hated was its long vehicle and tendency to find the one part of your duct that doesnt close down and leak everywhere. Vile tacky mess . you are absolutely right that letterpress a colour and print the same mix litho and the colours will be way different on the sheet as i said a touch of verdunnungs will lengthen and lighten the shade slightly . i have in the past gone for the next shade back in the swatch to get a close result on letterpress but at the end of the day you mix and adjust where necessary its what makes a printer good at his task .

Haven’t ever heard of Verdunnungs Paste. Is this a UK thing? It sounds like a very heavy varnish.

Its a reducer for inks , quite old fashioned now but i still have 3/4 of a tin been using it for years , tried loads of different ones ,most reduce the vehicle too much and turns the ink into useless slop , a lot of printers dont like to reduce inks, however it does knock a bit of the strength out of a rich colour ,I dont like to use varnish to weaken a shade ,i am one of the school of thought that says it holds the ink from drying and letterpress is already slow enough without having to reprint because the job set off.