AmerGraph ULF-28 Xenon Printing Source

Discussion in 'Contact Printing' started by sanking, Mar 17, 2006.

  1. sanking

    sanking Restricted Access

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    I am the proud owner of a brand new AmerGraph ULF-28. The ULF-28 is a Continuous Wave Xenon printing light, designed for photographers printing with both silver and alternative processes. As I understand matters, I am the first person to own this unit, and in exchange for this considerable privilege I intend to work with it extensively over the course of the next few weeks, and eventually do a very thorough review of it for publication.

    What I can tell you is this. The AmerGraph ULF-28 is physically similar to the NuArc 26-1k and 26-1ks series. But the difference ends there. The ULF-28 uses a 1200 watt continuous wave Xenon bulb, in contrast to the 1000 watt metal halide bulb of the NuArc 26-1ks. The difference between the two is significant, both in printing speed, in striking ability and in full radiation. First, the continuous wave Xenon light reaches full output almost immediately, so that 10 integrated units is in fact 10 seconds, and 250 integrated units is almost exactly 250 seconds. Second, the continuous wave Xenon bulb will strike up immediately after shut-off. And finally, printing speeds are much faster. My initial tests indicate that the ULF-28 is about 1.5 stops faster in printing speed than the NuArc 26-1k and my bank of BL tubes. This assessment may change with further testing, but that is what I am seeing right now. Also, the ULF-28 has a computer based program system that allows numerous pre-programming (ten in ROM and ten free base) possibilities not available in other light sources.

    One of the purposes of the designers was to produce a light source that could be configured to print with both UV sensitive processes and with silver contact printing processes. The configuration involves a light attenuator, placed between the bulb and the sensitive material, to which one can add or subtract ND filters. I will be testing all of this for the review that I plan to do. I think this is an important feature of the unit since I anticipate that more and more people will be contact printing with silver papers in the future than projecti0n printing

    More details to come, but my preliminary assessment is that the ULF-28 is one great printer for contact printing.

    Sandy
     
  2. avandesande

    avandesande Member

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    Is this a short-arc bulb?
     
  3. Bruce Schultz

    Bruce Schultz Member

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    How much would something like this cost?
     
  4. sanking

    sanking Restricted Access

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    You got me on the question. I don't know the difference between a short-arc and long-arc bulb. I can tell you all about the SPD charts of the various bulbs (mercury doped, iron doped, etc.) available for the ULF-28 but don't know anything about the arc issue. But I will find out if you give me more information?

    Sandy


     
  5. sanking

    sanking Restricted Access

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    Somewhere in the $1900 to $2300 range, probably at the lower end if purchased directly from AmerGraph.

    Not cheap of course, but for folks who want the best this unit is at the top of the best.

    Sandy


     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 17, 2006
  6. Dave Wooten

    Dave Wooten Member

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    Sandy,
    This is exciting news! Will look forward to more info as you continue your research!
     
  7. sanking

    sanking Restricted Access

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    Dave,

    I am pretty excited printing with this machine. Man, is it nice!

    And what is also very exciting is that this is the first lighting unit of its type designed and marketed for us, and by that I mean photographers, both alternative workers and those who contact print with silver contact papers.

    Sandy





     
  8. Clueless

    Clueless Member

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    MacBeth's pulse xenon PX -56 (tube) was used in GA 139 Durst

    It was 5000 K bright and hot. Reguired fans in and out of head. Yet was only 1500 watts. It enabled enlarged separations through the stability and registration of the Graphic Arts Dust. The tubes were expensive. Does this sound like what you are working with?
     
  9. sanking

    sanking Restricted Access

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    OK, bright and hot are relative terms. The output of the 1200 watt Continuos Wave Xenon bulb does put out heat, but it is dissipated well by the use of a single output fan, of the same type you see on the NuArc 26-1k series. I worked with a NuArc 26-1k for several years and based on that experience I do not believe there is much difference in heat build-up between the ULF-28 and the NuArc 26-1k. In fact, probably less with the ULF-28 than with the NuArc. Bright it definitley is, but there is a curtain that draws around the unit to protect one from the UV light so in use one sees very little light.

    Sandy



     
  10. avandesande

    avandesande Member

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  11. sanking

    sanking Restricted Access

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    Thanks. I will get the technical information on the specific bulb in question.

    Just curious, what would be some of the major functional differences between short-arc and long-arc in this type of system?

    Sandy


     
  12. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    Sandy,

    If you can, please describe the reflector that they are using to gain even light spread across the projection area.
     
  13. sanking

    sanking Restricted Access

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    Donald,

    The entire area surrounding the bulb is covered with a silvery mirror like surface that is stated to reflect a very high percentage of UV light. The shape around the bulb is similar to that of NuArc 26-1k or 1ks, but the reflecting surface is very different.

    The width of the vacuum frame is 28 inches. That is, the maximum width of paper you could put in the unit is 28 inches. I will be conducting tests soon to determine how much light fall-off there is from the center to various other spots in the frame. That figure with my NuArc 26-1k was about 1.5 stops, for a slightly shorter distance.

    BTW, thanks very much for the sheet of ND filter you sent me. It has been very useful in calibrating my new Xenon pulse sensitometer.

    Best,

    Sandy


     
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  15. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    Sandy, Thanks...It sounds like Mirro Silver or a similar reflective material. Glad to be of help.
     
  16. reggie

    reggie Member

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    Just out of curosity, why is a company producing a new product specifically for the ULF market, especially in the supposedly declining world of analog photography? This company has always made equipment for industrial use, not for people in our world. I assume you've been working with them in the development process and that they just didn't drop the first unit on your doorstep to try out.

    It's a real nice sign to see something like this come out. Please keep us posted on your testing results.

    -R
     
  17. avandesande

    avandesande Member

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    Most likely they are just marketing an existing UV curing product for ULF use.

     
  18. avandesande

    avandesande Member

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    I don't know anything about the long arc type bulbs. I do know that the wiki article is pretty incomplete, short-arc xenon HID is now used for many different applications. Some of the high end import cars use them for headlights. You can even get small units that you can wear for desert racing.
    https://www.bajadesigns.com/NET/item_detail.aspx?ItemCode=340000

     
  19. DeanC

    DeanC Member

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    If it works well, I'm all for off-label use.
     
  20. brYan

    brYan Member

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    Sandy,

    Which magazine will your review be published in? VC?

    -Bryan
     
  21. sanking

    sanking Restricted Access

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    Bryan,

    I will be looking first at on-line journals, such as unblinkingeye.com, and perhaps one of the main-line photographic magazines after that. Alternative photographers do not tend to subscribe to any of the trade journals that we would normally associate with this type of light unit.

    BTW, I am involved with the testing of the ULF-28 but I did not work as a consultant with them in the design of the unit. As a prevous poster suggested the unit is an adaptation of one of their existing units, with the changes focused at the niche market of photograhers who want to contact print with LF and ULF negatives.


    Sandy



     
  22. avandesande

    avandesande Member

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    Sandy, I think the long-arc bulb is used for conveyor belt cure applications. This will give uniform illumination vs point source. Didn't want you to miss out on your useless fact of the day!
     
  23. sanking

    sanking Restricted Access

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    Which fact did you find most useless?

    Sandy


     
  24. avandesande

    avandesande Member

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    Actually maybe not useless if you exposed on some sort of belt or moving table. I am not sure if exposure falloff is even an issue with alt process.
     
  25. reggie

    reggie Member

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    Hi Sandy:

    Is there any update on your testing of this unit? I am very interested in getting one. I have a new 12x20 camera and I need a vacuum frame and lightsource and this seems like the perfect unit. I have checked eBay for Nuarcs 26-1Ks and individual components but finding ones in good shape that the seller will ship has not been possible. It also seems that none on my side of the country ever show up for me to pick up locally. So, I'll look into buying a new one and this seems to be a perfect fit.

    Please let me know how far you are from making your final assessment. Do you see any reason why I can't order one within the next month, after I pay uncle sam?

    Thanks.

    -R
     
  26. sanking

    sanking Restricted Access

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    Hi Reggie,

    Although it will be some time before I finish my review of the unit and get it in print I have already reached the opinion that the ULF-28 is the best printing unit I have ever used, and I have used both bank of BL and BLB tubes and a NuArc 26-1k with a metal halide bulb. Compared to the NuArc, the ULF-28 prints faster in every process I have tested to date (carbon, kallitype, Pt./Pd. VDB and cyanotype) , gives more even illumination over the entire area of the vacuum frame, re-strikes faster and reaches full output almost immediately, and has the advantage of a computer-type interface that allows numerous pre-sets.

    I am recommending it very highly, and will of course provide very detailed analysis in my review.

    Not sure when it will be for sale. I would suggest that you get in touch with Robert Lesko at AmerGraph to check on date of availability.

    Sandy