This test is the first in a new effort to improve consistency and ease of use for this process by replacing paper with a polyester plate, or “Pronto plate.” The Pronto plate can be created as a photocopy, or printed from a photoshop document using a laser printer. Methods for inking and wiping the pronto plate, prior to the transfer stage, are borrowed loosely from Nancy Deissner’s instructions for her Pronto plate workshop.
Date: November 27, 2012
Researcher’s Name: Sally Mackenzie
Plate Material: Copper .032
Plate Size: 4″ x 6″
Room Temperature: 68 degreed F, dry (snowing outside)
I manipulated an image in Photoshop, with a mind to how different tones might respond to the transfer, eliminating true black in an effort to prevent “stopping out,” and working instead in a range of lighter grays. I printed the image onto the Pronto plate, having set the Paper Type to “Thick” and turning off the Toner Save setting under Ecology on the Brother HL-2280DW laser printer/copier. I cut the image down to size, and placed it on the hot plate (set to medium) under a cookie sheet “roof” for 10 minutes to trap heat and cure the toner onto the plate. I rolled a one-teaspoon slab of unmodified BIG ground, and prepared two bowls of water, three cups in each. To one of the bowls I added half of one tablespoon of Gum Arabic. With a clean sponge, I spread some of the plain water onto the clean glass rolling surface, and set the pronto plate on the dampened area to prevent it from sliding. Using another clean sponge, I applied a layer of the Gum solution to the plate’s surface, wiping gently to cover it entirely, but dabbing away any puddles. I charged a small roller with BIG and made the first roll. I did two additional rolls onto newsprint to remove the beads of solution from the roller. I then rewet my sponge in the Gum solution, and wiped the plate with it a second time, then charged the roller with BIG and rolled again. On this second roll a great deal of “scumming” occurred (BIG stuck to the plate indiscriminately), and when I attempted–without success–to gingerly sponge away these areas with the Gum solution, I noticed the printer toner flaking off slightly, and made the decision to abort this plate without making the transfer.
I believe that the toner was not adequately cured onto the plate, and that because the unmodified BIG is very tacky, the toner needs to set thoroughly before the rolling stage. In a general sense, rolling the BIG onto the Pronto plate requires a gentler hand and very little ground on the roller.