Nu Arc FT26L

I have just acquired an Nu-Arc FT26L platemaker. Quick internet search didn’t turn up much.

Does anyone have insight and/or used one? Any PDF’s of operators manuals, parts books, etc.

I think Nu-Arc is still in business, will try them also. My guess is that they will not have any info. BP seems to have some very knowledgeable users.



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I have 2 of them, never had a manual. What questions do you have?

I am a green newbie when it comes to platemaking? Don’t even know enough to know what questions to ask. Bought a building that was an newspaper, main reason was for the meihle press.

Do you intend to make photopolymer letterpress plates or offset plates?


This machine is for exposing the thin photopolymer emulsions of litho plates (or, with deep vacuum gasket version, silkscreens). I used a NuArc 26-1K unit for years to expose the thicker emulsions of letterpress plates, but I had photo-mechanical experience; and its light source was closer and I think better output. And I will tell you, if you want to make commercially viable plates, get a proper photopolymer platemaker.
Proper photopolymer units use a bank of UV tubes close to the exposure plane, which allows for short exposures and correct structure of the plate body. The cheaper units just use simple pressure rather than vacuum, and then manual washout with a brush (A5 category). Better units have vacuum contact (with flexible Krene rather than glass) and sections for washout and drying (A4+). Making all these steps successfully when starting with an unsuitable exposure-only machine is asking for a LOT of struggle, a lot of spoiled plate material, and potentially, very unhappy customers. If you are doing competitive commercial work, you are going up against plates made by professionals, even if the end printers are buying them from Boxcar or Owosso.
Get a proper machine, start small, learn the process, and if you have commercial need for larger plates, then get a larger unit. Plate material is not cheap. You can’t afford to waste a lot while learning why litho units are not efficient for relief plates.

Thanks for the replies. Cliff Notes version. I went to look at an Ludlow caster that was advertised on BP at a former newspaper.. Also found a model 0 Mehle horizontal printing press Along with lots of equipment from the 60’ and 70’s.

The press is 12000 pounds and would have be disassembled and the main frame stood on its side to remove from the building, so……………..

Ended up buying the building along with all the print gear. My plan right now is to move my Linotype and Intertype machines into this space. Hot Metal is my main focus.

This is just a hobby, saving old cast iron and making them functional again.

Doubt if I will ever use the N u-Arc, but I enjoy learning new skills. And this is new to me.

There are other items that I will ask about over the next several months as I go thru the building on a treasure hunt

Once again thanks for the replies, I learn something new every-time I come to this site..


This plate maker is uses a burning carbon arc for its light source. They were built to expose pre sensitized offset plates for offset printing. I bought my two to convert uv tube before I abandoned photopolymer.

They have really good vacuum pumps and nice glass if you are interested in building an exposure unit for screen printing or photopolymer plates. Or you could go all hipster and start running an old offset press.

Also, where are you? I would love to see that mehlie. There are a few of us around with big cylinder presses, it’s always nice to see another that can be saved to print against .

Is it a carbon arc unit? My search for “FT26L” gave a coiled bulb, but no description of output.
When I added offset—Chief 20—to my letterpress shop in the ’80s, I got a NuArc set, 17x22 vac frame with separate carbon arc light source. (I’d used a NuArc carbon flip-top at school, but in my own shop, the open carbons were toxic without extra ventilation.) The later mercury vapor 26-1K unit was far cleaner, and faster for offset plates. But even then, for letterpress, the exposures could reach 45 minutes for fine detail.
In stark contrast, 3.5 minutes with UV tube exposure.

Sorry for mot getting back sooner. Been under the weather last week or so.

Live in central Iowa, press is north of me about 35 miles Will start a separate thread about the meihle after I get a grip on what I have been blessed with. Really want to find the sn of this jewel and maybe get year it was born..

As far as Nu arc I don’t know what type of light source it has.

I will probably be back to the building this weekend and I can do some more detective work then. No heat in building at this time and high temps below zero haven’t made the trip north a high priority. Highs in the 20’s and 30’s this weekend are doable for a road trip.


If the bulb or the carbons are missing, it might be harder to tell what it is, but a carbon arc unit will have an external knob for adjusting the gap of the carbons.