Producing Negatives with an Ink jet printer for making polymer plates

Does anyone have any ideas or experience of making negatives for making polymer plates, using an inkjet printer. I can print on film but cannot get the density in the black areas. Is there an ideal printer to use? or are there other alternatives other than using a trade house and without going to the expense of a repro camera, if indeed you can get one. I am based in the UK

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Place all your colors on 100% an or replace all your ink cartridge’s with black toner/ink. Also you can adjust your exposure on the plates. best james

Film for photopolymer needs to be produced by silver-based film negatives.

Read this on Briar Press

I have good success with an Epson desktop printer, using film and inks designed for producing positives and negatives for reproduction. I use Fixxons film, and inks from Ink Owl. I fill my own cartridges from a large bottle of ink. The ink, while not giving the 4.0+ density of Silver-based films, has dyes in it which restrict UV light from passage, giving the effect of a much more dense film. I print to film using black only. You could fill all cartridges with the black ink, but I still use the printer for other things, and find the single cartridge gives me ample density. I use metal type for small text, but use photopolymer for illustrations and larger display sizes I don’t have in my cases. The system has worked for me for many years, and gives good-looking polymer plates.

John Henry
Cedar Creek Press

Thank you all for your replies, I have just more question to JHenry, can you tell me which Epson printer you use, it would be interesting to know.
many thanks again


I have an older Epson XP-600 printer. It is limited to 8 1/2” wide material, but that works for me.

I guess I’m the odd-man-out today…. since I still use film negatives. I have nothing against laser or inkjet printers, and have used them both successfully, but I still much prefer the density and sharpness of a good film negative.

My own darkroom is quite small, with a maximum film size of 4x5”…. for what I do it’s perfect. Nowadays, I just print special projects and no commercial work so I can afford to save my darkroom work until I have a good stack of orignals. Then I set up the darkroom and shoot / process my negs all at once. I guess I use it maybe 1 to 2 days per month.

aka Winking Cat Press

I use imagesetters and run Wet Film in 5.0 Density.
Make Polymerplate steelbacked and flexible up to 24x30 inch.

I would seem to be the oddest. I just use my normal crappy canon and print onto two sheets of clear (not milky) inkjet transparencies, then line them up and stick them together. Lining ups a bit fiddly, but no special printer needed.

I had an Epson that we upgraded with a kit to all black film printing setup. It’s called Accu Ink, and you can use Accurip as the rip software to print them. Works amazingly well and is a way to turn an inkjet photo printer into a great film printer. We used a Epson 1430, and they have the kit for a number of Epson models though not anything like a desktop unfortunately. It’s not the cheapest thing to put together, but it works for plates and screen printing super well. I’ve tried other methods with lesser setups and just using black in normal inkjets, doubled up transparencies etc, and you can make that work though the quality won’t work in the end for a lot of detailed designs.

Even with that great film setup, I’ve had a lot less hassle and saved loads of hours just by ordering plates. In the end, it almost works the best unless you need a large volume of plate work consistently.

I use an HP Laser Printer with much success. I can hold the image down to easy 10pt type, and some 8pt. Depending on what level of fine detail you need depends on whether this process is okay to use. I print onto Laser Transparencies that our used for overhead presentations.