Name: Tessa Chambers & Nick Osetek Date: 3/6/2018
Room Temperature: 68*F Humidity: Dry
Experiment Goal: Become familiar with the current Zea Mays saline sulphite etch process and etch times by using an aluminum test plate marked w/ various line work and broken down into 5-30 minute segments.
Plate Material: Aluminum (5052)
Plate Preparation (surface prep, ground application, image making process, etc.): Prepared eight (8) 3″ x 3″ aluminum plates. Beveled plates, de-greased with Bon-Ami, applied BIG hard-ground and baked at 220*F for approximately 20 minutes, backed and marked the first plate with sequential etching sections from 5 – 30 minutes with a pen.
Evaluation of Plate Preparation: The aluminum plates took a lot longer to degrease than copper usually does. Plates could use a thicker application of hard-ground and need more time to cure before etching.
Etching Bath Notes: Plastic tub, 140g copper sulfate, 140g salt and 2 liters H20
Time in Bath: 5 minute etch intervals up to 30 minutes. (Etching didn’t last past 15 minutes due to plate/hard-ground issues)
After Bath Evaluation: Hard-ground began deteriorating rapidly off of the plate during the first 5 minute etch. Etched areas showed signs of erosion, but quickly lost clarity after 10 and 15 minutes in the bath. After 15 minutes, the hard-ground had lifted and eroded in random spots across the plate and the original image/linework was almost unrecognizable.
Removal of Grounds (Chemicals used and evaluation of effectiveness): Plate untouched/unstripped after initial etch due to degradation of the plate
Inking Methods (Type of ink used, modifier, wiping/rolling techniques): Plate uninked/unprinted
Paper Type: N/A
Soaking Time: N/A
Press, Blanket Set Up and Pressure: N/A
Possible issues: 1) Hard-ground not cured properly. 2) Plate not de-greased fully. 3) Hard-ground not applied evenly or thick enough. 4) Copper residue sticking and not floating off of plate?
Conclusions: A error was made during the BIG hard-ground application and the aluminum test plates needed more time to cure before etching. We marked up the first test plate and etched immediately after baking the hard-ground, which is the cause behind the hard-ground deteriorating from the plate so rapidly. Although this test was claimed void and no important discoveries were made towards our goal, it was still important to log as we became familiar with the process. The second test plate will be prepared as a repeat of this test, but will have had more time to cure properly.