I’d like to try making my own plates but have no idea where to start

I’m going to be moving overseas in about 9 months and am very concerned about the cost (and time) that will be involved with ordering plates from either Boxcar or Elum. For that reason, I am interested in learning what is involved, for both machinery and learning curve, in order to make my own pp plates.
I’ve tried a search on here and haven’t found anything about where to start. I know there’s been discussions on it, I just can’t seem to find them. If anyone could give me a place to start, suggestions on equipment (cost and size are both a factor), or links to past discussions, I would very much appreciate the help!

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is a Ludlow Model PLS-150 UV Platemaker something that I should consider? I can get a great price on one locally….

i have an A4 size negative and polymer platemaker from polydiam(uk) Very easy to use, and so far has been fab!

I remember seeing the Ludlow photopolymer exposure devices at trade shows just before Ludlow went out of business. If my memory serves right, they used a liquid polymer which, when exposed to the light, hardened and amde a plate suitable for rubber stamps. It seems that the polymers were low in durometer (soft). That’s not to say that other liquids could nto be found which would work and make harder plates (for letterpress), or that other plates could not be found which could be exposed in the machine. The problem may come in the lack of a vacuum system to hold the neg against the plate.

Can anyone else confirm my memory? I don’t have the documentation.

I have a Ludlow PL-150, and it can expose either liquid or sheet photopolymer. There is a glass sandwich for liquid above the lamps, and a regular krene-covered vaccuum drawer below the lamps. Nice digital timer too. But it is for exposure (and post-exposure) only, you’ll have to wash out by hand and find a way to dry the material.

Thank you! I think I’m going to get it. Washing out by hand seems perfectly feasible.
The next question is films… I’ve spent a lot of time going through the info I can find over the past couple days and it looks like people have had success with a number of different ways to make the negatives.
I’ll be on Guam, which is small and isolated so I can’t count on there being a quality film source there. I wont be able to make myself a blackroom. If I can find an imagesetter is that the best way to go? I saw someone on here say that he got great results using an epson printer. Any thoughts?
I really appreciate the help! I don’t know much about this side of the industry as I never imagined getting involved in it. Moving to a little tropical island changes everything!


Having lived on Guam and working in the publishing business, I think you might find the states to be “small and isolated” by comparison. There is an extremely active and budding printing and computer graphics environment there.

While you’re there, you might check into the Pacific Daily News. Ask to see Rindraty Celes-Limtiaco, the editor. There was a letterpress in the basement there 20 years ago. Its problem was a broken arm on a roller truck. You may get lucky and retrieve it.

Tap into the knowledge base of the several photographers, graphic designers and computer-driven industries at your disposal. Calls to the mainland are the same rates as the states and you benefit from domestic postage even though you are overseas (being an unincorporated territory has its perks). You also will find an active book publishing industry and an island that excels in media production.

Enjoy your new adventure!