Contact printing glass. How thick?

Discussion in 'Contact Printing' started by hoffy, Jan 21, 2010.

  1. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    Hi,

    I want to improve the way I make contact printed proofs and also potentially do some contact printing of paper negatives.

    I am trying to source some frosted anti glare glass, but can only find the gear that the picture framers use (2mm thick). My concern is that this may not be heavy enough to hold everything flat. Would this be OK? Or would I be better off trying to source something that is a bit heaver? OR would it work if I layed two layers of glass on top of each other?

    Cheers
     
  2. nick mulder

    nick mulder Member

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    2mm - I'd be concerned is too thin for anything larger than maybe 4x5 or 120 sized frames...

    Upon applying pressure on some 3mm think glass over around an 8x10 area I cracked it and scratched up a neg quite nicely.

    Frosted anti-flare huh ? Out of interest, what is the thinking behind that ? Even with a diffuse source like a bank of UV flouros I find that the emulsion is so close to the paper that resolution is maintained, under direct sun with its collimated nature and lower 'profile' it is ideal - I would have though any frosting would be either redundant or even harmful if you were using the sun and there wasn't enough contact pressure ...

    I just use a slab of 5mm glass from the local window chaps - doesn't seem to affect exposure times under UV lights that much, 30secs in Pt/Pd for instance
     
  3. henrysamson

    henrysamson Subscriber

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    I have been making contact prints for years just using a sheet of 1/4 inch glass bought from glass shot. Negatives up to 8x10. It is the thick stuff used to make coffee table tops. No need for frosted. The weight of the glass holds everything in place fine, no frame needed. No Newton's rings either. My piece is 10x12 so I have an inch all the way around for finger prints. Have them grind the edges so it is not sharp.
     
  4. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    Thanks.

    The frosted? Because thats what I have seen been used here (I did a search). So are you suggesting that I use just a standard piece of glass?
     
  5. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

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    I just use standard 1/4" clear glass.
     
  6. nick mulder

    nick mulder Member

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    Yup, frosted will just reduce the transmission ...

    No benefit that I can ascertain - but I can see how some faulty logic or a misunderstanding may have made it a suggestion in that perhaps they were trying to reduce the chance of banding and had some diffusion installed closer to the lamps
     
  7. Sal Santamaura

    Sal Santamaura Member

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    "Non glare" for a reason

    "Non glare" glass is used in contact printing frames to eliminate newton's rings. Get the finest pattern your picture framing supplier has; single-sided is fine. Make sure they cut a defect-free section and remember to put the rough side toward your negative.

    If you've never struggled with newton's rings, congratulations! Keep using plain glass when contact printing. If you have been frustrated by this problem, using "non glare" glass will bring great satisfaction.
     
  8. Lopaka

    Lopaka Member

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    I have never encountered newton's rings in this context...
    I just went to a local custom glass shop and ordered a piece of 1/4" thick glass cut to size with the edges sanded, so there would be no sharp edges.
    Works fine.

    Bob
     
  9. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Newton's rings are most prevalent in humid climates, and also when positive contact pressure isn't fully maintained. IME it seems more prevalent with some papers than others. They are caused by any small, even microscopic, gap between the negative and the glass, whether air or moisture. With regular glass, a felt or foam backing and good pressure like in a contact frame goes a long way to eliminating them, but not always. With the frosted glass they are eliminated by the scattering of the light, removing the "harmonic" in the gaps that cause them. Exposure time is generally not a problem with contact printing, even with the slowest of paper, so the minor loss of transmission isn't generally anything to notice. I printed with regular glass for a long time, and never thought I had a problem. One humid summer they appeared in droves. I switched to the frosted no-glare glass and they disappeared. Careful examination of earlier prints after the fact revealed earlier, but nearly unapparent manifestations of the same issue. I personally won't use any other kind of glass now.

    My 8x10 spring backed frames have 2mm glass, sourced from a framer. Larger glass for larger prints I had etched at a glass shop, and is 3/8ths inch. I don't know how many mm that is, I live in Utah.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 23, 2010
  10. jmcd

    jmcd Member

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    I have not had a struggle with Newton's rings, and also use a 1/4" piece of plate glass from the local shop. I use this for proofs and for contact sheets.

    Laminated glass with eased edges would be hard to break and should do a good job, also.

    If I ever get Newton's rings, I will pursue the non-glare glass solution. I bet this is available in a laminated sheet.

    As Sal mentioned, be sure to tell the shop what you are using it for so they select a section without scratches or other defects.
     
  11. Konical

    Konical Subscriber

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    Good Afternoon, Hoffy,

    HenrySamson has it exactly right. 1/4 inch glass is preferable because its weight helps flatten negatives, and it's less likely to break than the 1/8 inch stuff. Mine is also oversized at around 11 x 14, a bit larger than Henry's, mostly to increase the weight slightly.

    Konical
     
  12. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    Thanks for all the comments and replies. I will go for the 6.5mm glass and take it from there.

    Cheers
     
  13. 77seriesiii

    77seriesiii Member

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    alright this topic seems to have answered a question I had and raised a few more.

    I have an 11x14 contact frame, Century made and it needs glass. Based on this discussion I should get antiglare and thicker than 2mm. For this contact frame, how thick should my glass be? I understand that some of you are using super thick glass which has the weight enough and eventually I will probably go that route but I have a gadget and I want to use it! ;-)

    Thanks

    Erick
     
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  15. Loris Medici

    Loris Medici Member

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    77seriesiii, ordinary 2mm glass will do the job for your 11x14" contact printing frame. I have one from Bostick and Sullivan (same size as yours, actually oversized for allowing brushmarks and white space around the image) and use it for different alternative processes w/o troubles. I broke its glass twice before, and I just replaced it with ordinary glass from glass shop w/o any adverse effects. (Have them file - if that's the correct term for glass - the edges and corners to eliminate the risk of self harm while handling it!) I always pay attention to keep a spare glass in case of an accident... I sometimes see Newton rings, but they don't seem to register in the prints. (Maybe UV light - which is what I use for exposures - is less affected from newton rings...)
     
  16. 77seriesiii

    77seriesiii Member

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    Loris,

    I use the same glass, mine just cracked the other day so I was wondering if I needed something different. I have seen newton rings in the glass as I move around the frame and like you they havent registered. Also, like you, I am using other processes, right now I am trying to print consistently with vandyke browns, so far no two prints are alike. One day, I'll nail it.

    Erick
     
  17. nick mulder

    nick mulder Member

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    By just using the weight of the glass how do you go about looking at your print without losing registration like you would with a split frame back ?

    I use one with POP processes and often enough with DOP also as there can be some hints in the initially exposed paper (solarization around the film edges for instance).
     
  18. henrysamson

    henrysamson Subscriber

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    I am a contact printer who just uses the glass but I am printing on photographic paper so there is no need to inspect (nothing to see anyway). I would not think that using just glass, as opposed to a split frame, will be suitable for processes such as POP paper or platinum or any of the other processes that require inspection.
     
  19. bwfans

    bwfans Member

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    use scanner glass

    How about use a scanner glass? I have a few scanners or those multiple function printers all with glasses. Are they better for the contact printing purpose because they are actually designed with image copy/scan in mind?
     
  20. Loris Medici

    Loris Medici Member

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    Applies to UV processes only: Scanner glass will do the job IF it's indeed glass! :wink: All the flatbed scanners I've used (and seen) were fixed with acrylic lids and AFAIK acrylic isn't as transparent to UV as ordinary glass...

    OTOH, even if your process doesn't need UV light, be warned about the fact that acrylic is way lighter than glass, therefore you'll loose some pressure which may translate as unsharp contact prints...

    Regards,
    Loris.
     
  21. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    Reviving an old thread...

    I think the opposite is true about acrylic transmission of UV. See here.. http://www.fresneltech.com/materials.html

    Making an acrylic (plexiglass) or polycarbonate contact printer would be great for alt processes. Since it's lighter though, I wonder what thickness one would need to provide substantial weight for holding things flat, and if that increase in thickness would negate the boost in UV transmittance (I suspect it wouldn't). Or alternatively, if you designed a printer with even pressure around the edges you could probably get around any issues from the weight difference, but rigidity would become just as much of a problem.


    update: something like this -> http://www.spartech.com/polycast/solacryl.html
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 19, 2011
  22. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

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    I think acrylic is wrong selection because it is very easy to scratch it , it will lose its surface smoothness with time and it is harder to obtain with desired sizes. And there are acrylic photograph frame glasses and they are very successful to block uv.


    And what is the abbe number of acrylic and glass for uv ? I think acrylic could lose its flatness and would deform in time. Thick acrylic would be very expensive for you. Nobody cuts its full size acrylic for you. You can cast your glass with liquid acrylic and hardener but if your polymer is not fresh , surface would be covered with colored diffractions.


    Glass is cheap, its easy to order a desired size , higher abbe and index number and you can clean it with your wet wipe. Acrylic would be sensitive to chemicals and you cant be sure whats inside in your cleaner.


    Plastic flat panels are sweet for applications but obtaining them in small sizes are very hard because they are for industry.
     
  23. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    I use half inch at least. For silver contacts, my logic is that you want the top surface as far away from the print as possible, so that if there's any dust or surface defect on the glass it'll be diffused out, i.e., you only have to worry about the surface contacting the neg. Plus the added weight makes for some very nice flatness even with the matte papers I prefer. For alt contacts, the transmission may be an issue- a lot of glass cuts out at ~350nm. But it hasn't been an issue for me. So I say go with thick. If you need to do a lot of dodge and burn then you may want thinner so that you can control the light a bit more precisely.
     
  24. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    P.S. acrylic is *awful* for contacts, in my experience. Yes it has very good UV transmission (down to 210 nm, as I recall), but it is very prone to static buildup and as such every particle or hair in the room will cling to it. Plus it tend to scratch quite easily. Glass is cheap- get a nice big thick slab and know that once it's lived its life, you can toss it in the trash with a clear conscience.
     
  25. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    About as thick as Buddy Holly's glasses. :laugh:
     
  26. jermaineB

    jermaineB Member

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