Outsourcing VS Making Photopolymer Plates

I’m a beginner looking to get into letterpress, will be mainly printing with ppp as I’m looking to get my own designs out on letterpress.

My preferred choice is to outsource the making of the ppp to experts in the industry, at least in the short term. Needing to learn how to make a excellent plate on top of trying to get a hang of the machine is pretty overwhelming. I’m also starting small with a tabletop press, so it seems a bit overkill. However, there’s no boxcarpress equivalent in my country. The shipping costs are crazy. The entire letterpress industry is scarce here.

So for those of you who face similar issues, how did you resolve it? Those who tried outsourcing and making your own, which did you prefer? Those who make your own, how’s the entire learning journey been like?

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If I were in your shoes, I’d out-source my plates to start with. Conquer one sill at a time. First, learn to print on your press with out-sourced plates, then if the desire is there learn to make them for yourself.

Personally, I make all of my own plates…. both PP and copper etched ones, BUT I’ve been doing this for a long long time, and didn’t learn the skills all at once. Take it one step at a time.

Other folks who started where you are (and most of us did) started out with out-sourced plates, and stayed there. There’s nothing wrong with either way. It’s not cheating, nor will anyone look down on your work if you do. One of my best friends, who is almost a legend in some circles, outsources most of his PP plates.

Remember: it is all about the finished image, not if you had help along the way.

About Boxcar: they do good work, and worth the extra shipping. One way to cut down on the cost is to order a number of them at the same time, so they can be shipped together.

One thought — I don’t know where you’re located but is there anyone making magnesium plates around you? I’ve run across a number of companies that specialize in that as opposed to pp. Some printers prefer them even if they have both options!

Anyway, just an idea, might not be any less expensive for you. :)