diy exposure

one thing i fight, besides a small budget is a small amount of space. i always have to keep things very compact or else tee shirt making would easily take over the whole house. this is the limitation i was working with when it came to figuring out an exposure unit. at the time i got my printing press off craig’s list, the same guy also had a nice exposure unit for very cheap (i think he wanted $150 for it), but it was huge and would have been hard to store. i decided instead to try something else.

white board and padded board

white board and padded board

it is a very simple concept. i took a board that was about the same size as my screens (20″ x 24″) and painted it white. i then took another board (3/4″ thick) and cut it to the size of the inside of my screens (about 16 3/4″ x 20 2/4″). i then put 3/4″ thick green padding over that and covered it in black duck cloth (which is like canvas) and stapled it on the bottom with a staple gun. the padded block was not quite tall enough as is, so i took a piece of 1/8″ thick vinyl sign material and put that under the padded block. this made it tall enough to press against the screen when the whole thing is assembled.

exposing the screen

exposing the screen

i then got a piece of clear acrylic from jmk displays about the same size as my screen (1/4″ thick). so, when i want to expose a screen, i put the board down, then the vinyl sign piece, the padded block next, the emulsion coated screen, the positive (front side down) and then the clear acrylic. i use several spring clamps from the home depot to clamp the whole thing together. this provides great positive contact between the negative and the emulsion. at this point, one could take this out into the sun and expose. i use a halogen work lamp from home depot and i use my phone as a timer. with the graphic hu emulsion on my 110 mesh screens it takes about 15 mins to get a good exposure. i would guess out in the sun, it would take about 5 mins. in doing step wedge tests, i’ve found that my exposure time is really quite a wide range. i assume that is because of the great positive contact this setup gives me. the other advantage is everything tucks away very nicely.

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