Curry night!what's this got to do with printing?Well it's my turn to cook tonight and it's curry.
While I wait for the chicken to cook I'm looking out of my kitchen window at the Swifts or could be house Martins feeding on insects it's been a warm day and the brood that's been nesting in the little barn across the lane are out in force feeding on the evening insects.
What fantastic little birds.I guess that they are feeding up before the long trek home to Africa.
This week i have been trying out my press.I decided to etch my plates using ferric chloride as it can be posted in granular form and then be made up into a solution.I have no experience with this material so i thought i might make a test piece to get an idea of what the results would be for a set amount of time in the acid.After covering the plate with liquid ground I used an etching needle to inscribe a copper plate with 2,3,6,12,24 and 48 min marks,exposing the whole plate for 2min, washing off in water and after drying covering the 2min marks with stopping out varnish.It then went back in the acid for 1min to complete the second etch.I carried on masking and etching the plate in the same way halving the etch time until the last 48min mark was etched for a further 24min.I hope this makes sense.Anyway it seemed to work and I now have an idea how dark an etched line will be for a given amount of time in the solution.I know that other factors are involved the concentration of the mix and the temperature have an influence,but it will do to start.
I call this first print "Elvers" it seemed an easy in for a first print but after my initial sketch, actually etching through the ground to give a smooth flowing line was very difficult because unlike a sketch you can't just rub out the line and re-draw it.I think my home made scribers were not helping so i am going to invest in a proper tool.
The main assembly of the press is now complete so its time to strip everything down so i can spray the individual parts.This will now have to be left for a day to harden off before re-assembly.
The following day the first job is to locate the rollers in their respective bearings in one half of the press frame.The next is the attachment of the 12mm studding that i have used to connect together both halves of the press.To the top two sets of studding i have included small roller bearings to help support the main press bed and to give it a smooth operation.
The top half of the press is then lowered onto the rollers and studding,completing the main structure.
All that remains is to make the press bed .I have decided to experiment with 18mmMDF and ply with a 2mm steel plate fitted under the bed . I can't wait to try out the press on an etching i have been working on ,but in my haste
to finish the press ,i have forgotten to order the blankets ,so i will have to wait a bit longer to do the first trial print.
I have been a bit restricted on the width of the press because the design has been based around the main rollers that were given to me but i think that it will at least enable me to start work and perhaps enlarge the press as i gain more experience.
After a short trip back to the U.K for a family wedding I am returning to my work on the press.Whilst in the UK I managed to find someone to do some lathe work for me to finish off the main spindles and to turn up a boss centre for the main wheel.I have made up some dummy spindles to enable me to Aline the bearings.
Now i have the machined parts i have been able to start assembling the roller assemblies and the main wheel. I do have a m.i.g welder and a pillar drill to do all the necessary work.The handles for the main wheel were donated by a friend,unfortunatley there were only two, so i found a rubber door stop for the third handle which will do for the moment.