UV Exposure Unit
Looking for UV exposure units, I came across a website of a company that manufactures exposure units for screen printing. These are banks of 4 or 6 fluorescent tubes with timer built in and are offered for very reasonable prices.
I was wandering if anyone have tried any of these. The look pretty decent but wonder if the amount of tubes as well as the separation in between the tubes, and the distance to the glass would make it suitable for alt procesess.
The website is at: http://westcoastgraphicsllc.com/index.htm
Christian, for some information about the number of tubes, check this thread...
http://www.apug.org/forums/forum42/9845-question-about-uv-light-source.html - Michael M did an excellent job of detailing the why...
Last edited by photomc; 12-01-2004 at 09:06 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Highly recommend Edwards Engineered Products. http://www.eepjon.com/
If you buy direct and then at some future date decide you want a larger more sophisticated unit you get your first purchase cost back on the trade.
Nice deal. Nice product. One man show and a good and helpful person on the phone.
A satisfied customer,
I think making a fluorescent exposure unit is part of the 'fun' of alternative processes, and something everyone should do at some point. If you are not interested in making your own, there are two sources I would consider, Edwards Engineering Products, and Aristo. The Edwards products are a better value, and have more flexibility, so that would be the direction I'd go.
Due to the number of lamps in the unit and also the cover glass, I expect you will have very long exposure times on pt/pd and other iron-based printing processes. However, if you could convince them to do a 'custom' with twice the number of lamps, you may be in business. Have them remove the timer, and make sure the cover glass is removeable.
Also, you need to find out exactly what lamps they are using, as the information they have on the website is insufficient to determine if they lamps are suitable or not. "High UV spectrum" lamps is not really useful to determine the suitability of the lamps.
One thing about silk screening, I believe the materials used for this are a lot more sensitive than the average alternative process coating, so they don't need to worry about the speed of the exposure unit too much. However, with the very slow processes that most alternative process people are using, even a small reduction in the printing speed will result in a substantial increase in the exposure time required, so it is important to be acutely aware of this when selecting an exposure unit.
Let me add one more note. Based on the cost they have listed for the replacement lamps in the FAQ, I expect these lamps are not going to be suitable for many alternative processes. That doesn't mean the unit is useless, but you might have to track down suitable UV lamps for printing. That may actually be harder than you think (or even impossible), depending on the ballasts they have installed in the unit, so be careful.
Last edited by Michael Mutmansky; 12-01-2004 at 09:06 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Reason: Added information
Thanks a lot for your opinions. Makes sense. I am most times convinced, especially with photography, that one should not save money. It costs more in the end. The Edwards engineering stuff look like the way to go but... The price seems quite expensive. I mean I looked at the local Lowes and Home Depot and it seems I can build one for less than $300. So that may be the way to go.
The other concern is a vaccum easel. Do you guys know of any source of this on the web.
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The Edwards Engineering UV units are well made and virtually everyone I know who owns one is satitisfied so they come well recommended.
Originally Posted by Christian Olivet
But building your own UV bank of lights is really remarkably easy and takes only a modicum of construction skills, and not a lot of time. It is basically simply a question of cutting wood to make a box of the right size, bolting in standard two-tube fixtures, and connecting the wires. And you also need to plan for a small fan. In fact, you can find some working details for building such a unit at the Edwards Engineering site. You might also look at the article I did on UV light sources for some general considerations on building such units. See http://unblinkingeye.com/Articles/Light/light.html
But there are also other options to UV banks at this point in time, including metal halide lights and platemakers. It really is a very good time to buy used platemakers as many are on the used market because of the change in the pre-press industry to digital output. Outside of local sources for such equpment (graphic art and printing establishiments) check also in the graphic arts and printing section of ebay. Both platemakers and vacuum easels come up very often at attractive prices on ebay.
I wrote an email to the company asking for the distance between the tubes and the distance to the glass and did mention to them what the intended use was and that eveness of lighting was important. This was the response:
"The distance between the lamps is 3" and the distance between the glass is 3" as well. I'm not exactly sure of the light refraction as it pertains to what you are doing. I could however build you a custom version with 12 lamps which would create a very even spectrum. This is not required for exposing screens but might be necessary for your needs. It would be about a 125.00 additional cost to do this. Please let me know if I can be of further assistance."
That is not too bad but I think I will follow the suggestions and build my own.
I just got my Edwards unit today. I hope to give it a try during my Christmas vacation.
I'm so jealous Diane...
Originally Posted by colrehogan
Congratulations, can't wait to see some of the work you produce with the new light box..will be interested to hear what your exposure times are with it.