Fuji Dimatix printer for emulsion coating?

Discussion in 'Silver Gelatin Based Emulsion Making & Coating' started by Sean, Apr 6, 2008.

  1. Sean

    Sean Admin Staff Member Admin

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    Looks interesting and possible? Probably not a cheap piece of equipment but as with all tech the price will likely drop and consumer models may appear. If it could print a photographic emulsion I am assuming the emulsion would bleed into a thin uniform coating. Maybe potential for the creation of micro-brew style film & paper companies doing small batch runs..

    http://www.dimatix.com/divisions/materials-deposition-division/printer_cartridge.asp

    [​IMG]

    "The DMP-2800 series printer allows the deposition of fluidic materials on an 8x11 inch or A4 substrate"

    "The most unique feature of this table top printing system is the printhead itself - a world first! FUJIFILM Dimatix has created a MEMS-based cartridge-style printhead that allows users to fill their own fluids and print immediately with the DMP in their own laboratory. To minimize waste of expensive fluids, each cartridge reservoir has a capacity of 1.5 ml. Cartridges can easily be replaced to facilitate printing of a series of fluids. Each single-use cartridge has 16 nozzles linearly spaced at 254 microns with typical drop sizes of 1 and 10 picoliters."
     
  2. Sean

    Sean Admin Staff Member Admin

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    P.S. Ron, maybe Fuji will loan you a demo unit? :smile:
     
  3. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I think with this sort of technology, the problem is keeping the gelatin from cooling and clogging the nozzle.

    My impression is that these are designed for things like depositing biological cultures on films and such.
     
  4. arigram

    arigram Member

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    Dear Sean,
    you must be new here.
    In APUG we don't discuss such technologies.
    You should check out www.hybridphoto.com
    Welcome to APUG though!

    (seriously, this looks very interesting and may well be our future for DIY photography)
     
  5. tim_walls

    tim_walls Member

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    From the datasheet for the device:
    Cartridge:
    Type: Piezo-driven jetting device with integrated reservoir and heater​

    It also states that the vacuum-holder for the paper incorporates a thermostatically controlled heater, up to 60C, so keeping the stuff warm has obviously been a consideration.

    It helps that the printheads are disposable as well!
     
  6. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Hmmm...well that's a possibility then, though it's probably pretty slow.
     
  7. Kirk Keyes

    Kirk Keyes Member

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    Cartidges better be dirt cheap as I forsee it taking a lot of them to get things set up.

    And people thought Ron's coating blades were expensive...
     
  8. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    I would think something as low tech as a high mesh count silkscreen would do for applying a print emulsion. Anyone ever try it?
     
  9. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    The Fuji unit would probably work, but at 12 ml / square foot it would need a rather big capacity cartridge, IDK for sure.

    As for silk screen, sure it would work, but it is wasteful of emulsion and leaves an uneven silk type pattern quite unlike coating on silk paper IIRC. It leaves a lot of emulsion on the applicator and on the screen which must be washed down the drain or somehow saved. Saving it seems unlikely to me.

    PE
     
  10. Jordan

    Jordan Member

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    The Dimatix is for printing "specialty" inks -- electronic materials, biomaterials, jetted coatings and overcoats, lab-on-a-chip devices, etc. It could probably handle emulsions, but is probably overkill for the job...
     
  11. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    Actually it would be pretty economical. The ink or emulsion is scraped off the squeegee and off the screen with a chip of cardboard or plastic and is returned to it's container. Very little has to be washed off. As for the pattern, a 300 mesh polyester screen leaves very little pattern and a 300 mesh stainless steel mesh even less. Most ripples settle as the medium sits and dries down. Thickness can be varied by squeegee angle and how rounded the sqeegee edge is. I worked at a metal decorating plant, the techniques there are much different from what you may be familiar with for tee shirts and much better than for making posters.
     
  12. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Well, if you think it will work, give it a try. Liquid light should work as a commercially available emulsion.

    PE
     
  13. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    I'll let you know soon as I get some together. I have an old screen stashed in the basement, Ill just have to find the emulsion and a pro quality sqeegee.
     
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  15. dwross

    dwross Subscriber

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    Maybe not overkill. What could be considered 'overkill' is probably dependent on the end-use goal. It's been my impression that a number of people are interested in a cottage industry goal - film or paper. If the Dimatix could be configured to produce a good product with minimum time and materials waste, it could be just the ticket for the next George Eastman.

    I hope someone gives it a try (and writes about it on The Light Farm :smile:)
     
  16. Ray Rogers

    Ray Rogers Member

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    Did I over look something here?

    "To minimize waste of expensive fluids, each cartridge reservoir has a capacity of 1.5 ml....Each single-use cartridge has "

    So how many 10 by 8's can you print with 1.5 mL?!!
    Another problem is the 'single use' nature....

    But theoretically speaking, what IS the maximum area
    1.5 mL of a thin, non-viscous liquid can cover?

    Does anyone here know the coverage of regular printer ink, per mL?

    PE also notes that a bigger cartridge would be necessary...
    but I doubt it could just be plug and play... is there room for a bigger cartridge?

    Perhaps what is needed is not a cartridge, but a live feed.

    Ray
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 6, 2008
  17. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Ray;

    My printer contains probably about 10 - 20 ml in several cardridges and can make many many color prints or documents from a load of cartridges. I would guess though that if you averaged out all of my prints over use of the cartridges it would be about 1 ml/print.

    This is not enough coverage of any sort of emulsion to get a dmax image. Emulsions need to be about 1 kg/mole or 1 kg/0.5 mole to be coatable and papers use from 1000 - 5000 mg of silver per square meter to achieve that good black black and a high enough contrast.

    I doubt if 1.5 ml will do the job.

    PE
     
  18. Sean

    Sean Admin Staff Member Admin

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    I think if one of the goals is to print solar cells like they say then they would eventually have a direct feed unit vs. single disposable 1.5ml cartridges. It will also probably gain capability to print onto a roll as well. It will be interesting to see where the dimatix is in about 5yrs time..
     
  19. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    If it works, further discussion should be on hybrid photo.

    PE
     
  20. Ray Rogers

    Ray Rogers Member

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    Ron,

    That was my point.

    I agree with you on the numbers, but I can't say I know of any papers that have that much silver... 5000 mg would seem very high except in special cases....

    Ray
     
  21. Ray Rogers

    Ray Rogers Member

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    That will indeed be interesting!
    Who knows, this could even hold some promise as a new industrial method!
    :surprised:
    If someone follows its development, by all means post a notice here for those of us who never travel beyond their own borders!

    Ray
     
  22. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Ray;

    Current papers use about 100 - 200 mg/sq ft.

    Older papers used about 200-500 mg/sq ft. These are the so called silver rich emulsions of a byegone era. They are not superior in any sense, but rather suffer from a large number of grains that are dead. To approximate mg/sq meter multiply by 10 (actually about 9) to go from mg/sq ft to mg / sq meter.

    My coatings use from 125 - 250 mg/sq ft, but I've gone as high as 500. It is merely another variation on a theme......

    The dead grains come about by poor precipitation or poor chemical sensitization or both. Or, other factors which inhibit development such as Iodide at the wrong place at the wrong time in the wrong concentration.

    PE
     
  23. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Line-by-line seems like a very slow method of coating. If the emulsion at one end of the sheet sets before the head comes back in coating the next line, I'd imagine it would produce an uneven emulsion layer. If one is making traditional gelatin silver prints, at least one shouldn't have to worry about "pizza wheel" marks and such.
     
  24. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Now here's another idea--How about mounting a coating blade on the exit side of the rollers of a most-likely-soon-to-be-useless Polaroid 8x10" processor? Based on what I saw in Ron's workshop, the speed of the paper travel seems about right. It would be necessary to add a stage to support the paper under the blade and a trough for runoff, but it might be do-able, and there's a tray to catch the coated sheet.
     
  25. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    David;

    The coating blade I used was adapted for hand use and then applied to actual production equipment at Kodak Park nearly 100 years ago. It is still used in some plants. The blade is fixed, the paper moves under it, and emulsion is poured in at a rate to be sufficient to keep the blade full. Coating speed of this type of equipment is about 10 - 100 ft / min.

    PE
     
  26. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    It takes about one second for the 8x10" Polaroid sheet to pass through the rollers, so that's on the order of 60-80 ft/min. That seems only a bit faster than we were coating by hand with the blade in the workshop.