Thursday, 11 July 2013

Plate and Ink tests

Over the past few weeks I've been spending some time in the workshop playing with printing plates and inks. There are so many variations and options for each that I'm trying to disregard the less successful results and fine tune the positives.

In terms of printing plates, I've now got the following:
Hand engraved copper
Photopolymer flexo
3D printed polymer
Laser engraved (both polymers and rubbers)
With each of these, there are multiple brands and manufacturers as well as production methods (exposure time, depth etc) and so this makes for many variables in terms of plate alone.

Below is a photo showing the results of the 3D printed plate that featured in the video I posted last month. Having 3D printed a matrix, I then inked it up and printed onto tissue. I was then able to transfer the ink from the tissue onto a scrap of ceramic. The three tests show slight variances in inks. I'd like to print onto a 3D printed ceramic and prove that we can print the object, the matrix and the decoration. Tricky...
3D Printed matrix, print and transfer

Ink wise, I've been experimenting with different base materials - the traditional Linseed base (in various poise / thicknesses) Pine Tar (as is currently used at Burleigh) and also Resins which are more readily available. We have decided to invest in a mixer which is currently being modified for our needs. Once it arrives, I can concentrate on perfecting a black ink which must have both the correct tack and viscosity as well as being happy in the kiln and under a glaze. Ideally, it'd be great if there was time towards the end of the project to look at producing a range of colours.
Ink tests
Close up - the ink on the right has relaxed in the kiln, causing 'filling' in the tightly cross hatched areas.

3 different ink types, printed from hand engraved copper. (glazed and fired)