I am a “hobby” printer. I do not have the expertise or interest in doing any more than printing stationary/cards for family and friends. Why turn fun into labor?
I am interested (just for the hell of it) in making a photopolymer plate processor. (Boxcar still has my business…not worries there)
I have a light box already constructed from a previous project.
However, I’m a little stuck on coming up with the platemaker itself. I’ve seen Nuarc vacumn frames for sale, but am still not clear whether these frames are sealed once closed and hooked up to a pump.
Thanks to all….
I’ve also seen (but don’t know if advantageous) if the glass should be removed from the frame and replaced with kreene for best pressure on the plate.

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We process polymer plates all the time on our nuarc vacuum frame.

Yes the glass seals against the rubber gasket and a vacuum pump pulls the plate and film against the glass.

Most of the nuarc vacuum frames have a built in light source.

The Nuarc 26k-k is a nice table top version, that you can pick up cheap on the used market.

There are a lot of variables when doing it, expect to waste quite a few plates getting the hang of it.

If you are near Indiana, you are welcome to swing by our shop and get a demo of our process

Mr. RMiller….well, I’m no where near Indiana, but you helped provde the answer I was looking for.
Thanks so much for the assistance.

I used a NuArc 26-1k for a decade before I got a proper unit, and think the only useful part would be the pump. Exposing to a glass frame requires photomechanical experience in correct drawdown, and the distant mercury vapor point light source is not optimal for relief photopolymer, where you are exposing the whole relief, not just the thin layer of an offset plate or daylight film the unit was intended to expose. With 152 and 145 photopolymer thicknesses, I had exposures anywhere from 10 to 45 minutes depending on image detail, and with hand washout, drying, post-exposure, and proofing, then finding a broken serif or comma, it could take half a work day to get a problem image into a good plate. With a proper unit, 3.5 minutes exposure and a plate to print within an hour.
There is a real reason all commercial relief photopolymer units use an open face vacuum frame with krene cover, and a close bank of blacklight tubes as light source.

This thing - my mentor Chip Schilling made this item and used it in his professional press. It’s pegboard on a wooden frame - he just used a narrow attachment on a vacuum hose (like a regular vacuum) and kreen over top. Easy, fast, and if it was good enough for a seasoned teacher and professional it should be good enough for anyone.

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It might be worth noting he has an actual vacuum unit in the back, but he did build his own light source and attached it to a darkroom timer. This unit was his portable unit for when he went to teach lessons. He said his one regret after building was that he didn’t add a little wood to support the center as it tended to bow a bit from the suction.