Took my first baby steps towards Pt/Pd today

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by GreyWolf, Nov 17, 2003.

  1. GreyWolf

    GreyWolf Member

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    Well I guess by now you are all getting tired of this fellow asking all of those questions and he does not even have the stuff yet.

    Well I finally stepped off and began the process.

    I ordered my Richeson brush (actually two of these) today. :cool:

    So... after a bit more thought I will be continuing on or else learning how to paint.

    Hope to be attending Les McLean's workshop this weekend in Calgary. Maybe he knows about Pt/Pd processes.

    Kind Regards,
     
  2. Michael Mutmansky

    Michael Mutmansky Member

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    James,

    If you don't know the best way to use these, here it is:

    The brush is used totally wet (saturated with water). Dip it in distilled H2O and get it completely soaked. When you pull it out, you'll discover that the brush makes a really nice razor edge tip. That's what you are paying the money for.

    Take the brush and shake it off pretty agressively onto the floor. I shake it at least once in the four orientations of the brush (flat, two sides, and on edge, two sides).

    The brush should now still be quite wet but not dripping, and the bristles should form a solid edge with no gaps or seperations. If you get seperations, you need a little more water. I don't think you can shake too much water out in a few shakes, but if you do, redip, and start over.

    Now you are ready to coat. Pour the solution on the paper, dip the brush in the center, and then start spreading reasonably fast. You want to get the solution evenly coated as fast as possible, because otherwise you may have problems with blotchiness in the print.

    When you're done, rinse it well and dip it in some distilled water as a final rinse. Leave it sitting wet for your next coating session.

    ---Michael
     
  3. GreyWolf

    GreyWolf Member

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    Thanks Michael. I am going to need to know how to do that.

    Well step number two now taken. I ordered a Pt/Pd kit from Bostick & Sullivan yesterday. (a Christmas present from my wife) I spoke with Kevin and as some of you folks have already stated, he indeed enjoys explaining these things on the phone. Had a real good conversation with him that I quite enjoyed.

    Hopefully over the Christmas holidays I can do my first 4x5 contact print. Now the last piece of the puzzle is to figure out how to go about building a UV light source. The building part is not a problem for me but selecting and purchasing the lights might prove to be an educational journey.

    Kind Regards,
     
  4. Michael Mutmansky

    Michael Mutmansky Member

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    James,

    There is a very useful link for this here:

    http://www.eepjon.com/ubldit.htm

    They have basically complete directions for building a UV light unit. I recommend you also check out the links they have, as they list sources for the lamps you will want to get.

    They recommend the correct lamps in the article, which are known as blacklight lamps (or BL in the lamp code). There are others that will work, including blacklight-blue (BLB), which are the traditional lamps used for lighting blacklight posters, etc. These are not as efficient, and will probably cost more, so I don't recommend them.

    Make sure you build the light big enough to accommodate the largest size print you reasonably expect to print in the future. You don't want to have to do it again if you get an 11x14 camera. I strongly recommend you give yourself at least 6" of lamps beyond the end of the print in all directions. If you don't you will have uniformity problems at the edges.

    If there are Grainger stores in Canada, you will be able to get everything you need from them, including lamps, ballasts, sockets, switches, etc. You'll have to order online, as none of the stores will carry the lamps.

    There is a bit of misinformation out there about the speed of the printer. With the FL tube bank, the speed is primarily dictated byt the lamp type, and then the lamp spacing. It is best to have them spaced the absolute minimum you need to get the lamps installed, and not have any gaps between them, other than a fraction of an inch. As long as you build the bank large enough, the distance between the lamps and the print will not affect the printing time much, within reason.


    ---Michael
     
  5. sanking

    sanking Member

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  6. Michael Mutmansky

    Michael Mutmansky Member

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    Sandy,

    Of course, using an HO or VHO ballast will be a faster printing method, but at the substantial expense of the lamp life. Using these ballasts with normal output lamps is not recommended, and may not be electrically safe due to the much higher amperage that the lamps are operating at.

    If you look at the ends of the lamps, you will probably see what's known as end-wall blackening. This is a result of the cathodes in the lamps sputtering off the tungsten that makes up the cathodes. This will occur much more rapidly with an improperly driven lamp, and will eventually cause the lamp failure.

    Additionally, the extra heat that is generated by overdriving the lamps will bake the phosphers, and reduce the efficiency of the lamp more rapidly, so you had better have a very good way to remove the heat generated by the lamps.

    Personally, if you want to use a HO or VHO ballast, be my guest, but it's not something I would do. Besides, if you are concerned about cost, then using an HO or VHO ballast is definately not going to be on your solution sheet, as they tend to be very expensive compared to normal output ballasts.

    If you get normal output ballasts, it may be possible to find three or four lamp electronic ballasts, which will reduce the number you have to buy. If you use HO or VHO, you probably won't find electronic ballasts, so you will need one ballast for every two lamps. Combine this with the higher cost per ballast, and you suddenly get a much more expensive setup, that is much less energy efficient, and will burn up the lamps more quickly.

    I do recommend electronic ballasts, even though they cost more. Make sure you get the appropriate ballast for the lamp. Some of the BL lamps are T-12 lamps, and most electronic ballasts are for T-8, so be sure that you are getting the appropriate ones. Also, make sure that all the ballasts are of the exact same manufacture. This is important because the actual output from ballasts can vary by manufacturer, and you can get differences of as much as 10-15% in lamp output depending on the operating characteristics of the ballast. That can cause uneveness on the image under certain circumstances.

    BLB lamps are essentially BL lamps with an added Wood's filter applied to the glass before the phosphers are coated onto the glass. There is no possible way that they will ever be as efficient as a BL lamp, although the difference may be slight. If they are readily available at a reasonable cost, then I suppose it may be a reasonably alternative, but you have to be more careful around these lights.

    The BLB lamps don't have the majority of the visible spectrum that the BL lamps contain. This will result in a relatively 'dark' appearence to the light, which is useful if you have a bunch of phychedelic posters or whatever, but this also means that your pupils will be dialated with this light source, which can result in your eyes receiving much more UV light than with the BL (or other) lamps.

    While this isn't an issue if you do this a few minutes a week, if you spend a lot of time around the lamps, you might want to be more careful about eye protection. Most home centers have good safety glasses that will eliminate a very high percentage of UV. They should be used if you are going to be around any of these light sources a lot, but it is much more important around the BLB lamps.

    In most cases, the 2' BL or BLB lamps have about 10,000 hour life expectancy, and the 4' lamps have about 20,000 hour life expectancy, and the 4' lamps are often priced cheaper than the 2' equivalents, due to volume issues. I would recommend making a 4' unit. It will allow you to print on multiple negatives at any one time, or on larger neagtives without difficulty, and there is almost no drawback to the larger lamps, other than the larger unit, which reduces portability, and the increased energy usage when in operation.


    ---Michael
     
  7. Ralph

    Ralph Member

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  8. sanking

    sanking Member

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  9. Michael Mutmansky

    Michael Mutmansky Member

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    Sandy,

    What you have to consider about BLB lamps is that they do not APPEAR very bright to our visual system.

    In both lamps, the UV exposure is similar, but in the case of the BLB, the UV component is a MUCH HIGHER PERCENTAGE of the output of the lamp.

    When you look at the BLB lamp, your pupils don't automatically constrict in the regular self-preservation manner, because the human visual system does not account for UV when it determines what a safe size the pupils should be.

    So, you could be working under fairly subdued light in the coating area, with fairly large pupils, and then go into the exposure room under low light, place the negative and paper, and mess around near the exposure unit for a while.

    All the while, your pupils can be fairly dilated due to the relatively low amounts of visible light. However, the UV in the room is off the chart, and your eyes are getting a healthy dose that could be much greater than what they would get outside, because the pupils have not constricted due to the disparity between UV and visible percentages in the room.

    There can be a big difference in the pupil size of a room that has a low ambient light level that is generally considered suitable for pt/pd to avoid fog, and those of a person using the Sun for exposure, for example.

    The light levels that most people work under are quite low, probably in the 10 to 20 footcandle range, and it wouldn't surprise me if there are many that are below 10 fc in the coating area. More important, the use of low wattage incandescent, and other low color temperature light sources (that have little or no UV component to avoid fog) will exacerbate the problem of pupil dilation because the human visual system is keyed more toward the blue end of the spectrum. So under the same light level and exitance conditions, the pupil will be more dilated when the light source is yellow-white, than it will when the light source is blue-white.

    As I said, this is not an issue for an occasional user, but it is an issue if you print a lot, because the damage caused by UV is cumulative.

    The exposure can be a real problem if you spend time looking directly into the light source to check for dust or or other problems as you mention, because of the extreme amounts of UV radiation that is present under the exposure area.

    Basically, don't be massing around near the UV exposure unit without eye protection, regardless of the lamp source, and there won't be any long term issues. Of course you know this, but most people don't think about this type of thing too much, and it has to be said for the sake of education.

    ---Michael
     
  10. sanking

    sanking Member

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    Michael,

    You must work in very different conditions from me. I work in a room with a lot of light and my UV printer is always shielded so when it is on there is virtually no light leaking out. The only time I work in low levels of light is when coating and drying sensitized mateial, and in those circumstances I sure am not going to have the UV light on!!

    But one can not be to careful in protecting their eyes from UV light.

    In any event this has strayed from the point. You stated that you did not recommend BLB tubes. What I wanted to do was point out that these tubes are in fact highly efficient in printing alternative processes. They are just slightly slower than BL tubes, print virtually on par in tems of speed with AQUA and SA tubes, and are quite a bit faster than NuArc 26-1K. Plus, as I mentioned in the earlier message, the strange light really highlights debris that tends to settle on the glass of the priinting frame or vacuum easel, which really helps to make clean prints.
     
  11. roy

    roy Member

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  12. sanking

    sanking Member

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  13. GreyWolf

    GreyWolf Member

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    Hi folks,

    Recently I attended a workshop with Ian and viewed some of his cyanotype prints. He has properly convinced me to try contact printing my 4x5 negs with the cyanotype process (less expensive) as a learning step before attempting to do Pt/Pd printing when my kit arrives at Christmas.

    My question is can I use my Richeson brush (read expensive ...perhaps just for Pt/Pd brush) for the cyanotype testing....

    or..... should I just use another cheaper brush that I already own for experimenting?

    Kind Regards,
     
  14. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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  15. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I picked up a set of brushes in a kitchen supply store - the type used for greasing pans and such. I expected to be able to discard them after use (van Dyke, salted paper, cyanotype), but they clean easily, too. Total cost about $1 for 3 brushes...
     
  16. ian_greant

    ian_greant Member

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    Jim,

    since you know what my prints look like you can judge for yourself if cheap paint brushes work well enough. :smile:

    Although I actually prefer slightly used brushes.. gives rougher brushing which is something I like.

    cheers,
    Ian