Hercules Merigraph platemaker


I work in the book arts department of an art school which has been offered a donation of a Hercules Merigraph Type 32 liquid polymer platemaker with a Polimero washout unit.

I don’t think we’d like to get into the whole liquid polymer thing, and from what I’ve read already liquid polymer isn’t really suited for letterpress anyway. What I’d like to find out is how easy/successful is it to expose sheet polymer in one of these units. This unit doesn’t have a vacuum system, so we’d need to use some kind of contact frame setup I’m guessing.

We currently use a NuArc exposure unit and do washout by hand, which works well for us. We’re thinking in terms of this unit being used in addition to our current setup, rather than replacing it, and of course having the washout unit might be nice.

I’d also like to find out if anyone knows if replacement parts and bulbs are readily available for this type of machine? I haven’t had any luck with searching online so far.

Any input would be appreciated!

Log in to reply   6 replies so far

From what I know, liquid photopolymer plates are flexo plates and are used to print corrugated boxes and other packaging products. See the Anderson & Vreeland link below.


These plates are much softer than letterpress plates and are made to be used with flexo inks which are fast drying (in a fraction of a second), and about the consistency of light cream. Most if not all of the inks these plates are used with, are water based. I don’t know if they would be compatible with lettterpress inks or not.

i worked for a company making plates for corrugated boxes, they are very soft, but you can use a harder polymer, i made a couple of plates that i used to print t-shirts with on my poco proof press. Dick g.

Thanks for your responses Geoffrey and dickg.

I think my main questions are:
Has anyone had success exposing sheet polymer on a machine like this?

And will I be able to find bulbs and/or other parts for this thing? It is rather old and I can’t seem to find any info online.

thanks again,


Without a vacuum system I’d think your chances of success are fairly nil. You can likely find bulbs but parts, doubtful.

But with a properly configured NuArc and the new washout unit, you might be okay. A controlled mechanical washout is probably the more crucial of your needs.


i make rubber stamps with a cheap light box poly machine, liquid poly is sandwiched between 2 pieces of glass and the plates are washed out by hand. I tried a harder poly to make printing plates, i did get a few to work, but could have bought 100’s of plates outside for the time i spent trying to make this work. With rubber stamps you don’t have to be too accurate, but the plates for printing must be. Gerald is more than right, without a vacuum system and a decent washout system you would be better off to outsource your plates. Making your own plates sounds good but i think my liquor bill was far too high to continue with this. Dick G.

Thanks for your input Gerald. I had a feeling that would be the case. Perhaps I’ll pick it up just for the washup unit and we’ll just continue to use our NuArc.

And Dick G., yeah, I’m sure we don’t want to drive our students to drink over this! thanks again!