Awesome Bill, thanks much.
I have the abovementioned polaroid halftone screen (also relatively course), but I have yet to figure out a way to actually utilize it in my camera. With this thing, I can just do it on my baseboard. Great!
Ok, now just to be sure.... you place this in contact with a senstive film and then project a negative onto that sandwich(?) At first I was thinking that maybe you could stack all 3 elements; sensitive film / half-tone screen / negative <--- light source and contact print it.
Or would both ways be effective?
This press stuff is still a bit of a mystery to me... I thought that a certain degree of separation (1/16th" for instance) was necessary in half-toning.
Both ways will work. Space was only needed if the contact screen was itself high-contrast black crosshatch lines etched on glass. These contact screens are basically continuous tone fuzzy dots.
Thanks again Bill, that makes sense.
What I really need is a good book outlining photomechanical techniques. Any recommendations?
Hoo boy, I used to read these things like Zone System manuals. I gave my entire library of print books away to photo teacher Alex Robb about 23 years ago. Can't remember a single title.
The most interesting ones talk about glass halftone screens and letterpress.
Shoot... well I'll have to do some digging. I'm sure there's no shortage!
I'm assuming the OP wants to use semiconductor-grade photoresist because he expects it to be available for many years to come. Of course, this implies he will have to use TMAH (TetraMethylAmmoniumHydroxide)-based developer for his plates. Not so sure how easy this will be to acquire in small quantities.
An alternative process is photogravure, which uses a similar light-sensitive coated plate, but one which becomes water-soluble after exposure to UV light, making development much easier. I would assume the print-making industry will be around for a long time, and that there are enough artisans working in this medium (photogravure) to make the materials readily available for years to come. The process, you may be aware, produces a plate suitable for impression-printing in a press, using ink onto paper.
Properly printed to the right paper, photogravure images are wonderful to view and are very archival, and were in fact the first high-volume publication method for printing photographic images.