Dry Mount Press
I'm starting to look for a dry mount press and am wondering what temperature it should maintain and for how long, is necessary for it to work.
I see some referred to as T Shirt Laminator & Press that seem to be less expensive and wonder if they have the ooomph to do the job. I realize shipping cost is an absolute consideration to the final cost as they are heavy.
"Print with #3.5 and burn with #1.5." B.J. Confucius
As I recall, the instructions for the dry mounting sheets call for 175 degrees, but I have had better luck at 200 for 2 minutes. As to whether a press designed for another purpose would work, I don't know. You'd probably be better off trying before buying, but I suppose if you're concerned with shipping costs, that option is unavailable to you.
I've been looking at them myself. Many of the Seal units have been used for shirts, etc. The problem with these is that the platens and pads are often a messy of melted adhesive, etc. T-shirt makers don't seemed to be concerned about archival quality . . .
Unless you can visually inspect the unit, I'd steer clear of the ones used for purposes other than photography. These are often bad enough as it is.
Seal has a whole range of dry mount presses. Go to B&H Video and search on "Seal drymount" to see the range. Decide what size fits the largest you ever plan to print or can afford. These are very heavy so shipping on a used one can be as much as the press. Look on eBay for ones near you geographically. Craig's List is another possibility.
Besides photographers and labs going from analog to digital, frame shops and schools making the switch are another source of used models. I found a model 210 on eBay and have a download of the manual. PM me with an email address if that will help.
temp depends on the adhesive and the press technique
Kodak t2 - 180F, about 30 sec for me, with heated platten, release paper, the print, the dry mount sheet, then the mount board, then the sponge.
Then there is some ancient stuff (likely 40-60 years old) I have for fibre based only prints that takes about 280F for almost a minute in the same arrangement.
I did dry mount Fibre up to 8x10 for about 5 years with an ordinary laundry iron. Then I started printing bigger, and the iron didn't work on them as well. So *bay an 11x14 one for about $60m and had it mailed parcel post across canada for about $40. .
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The temperature and time depends on the dry mount tissue you are using, and the instructions usually come with the tissue. As long as your press will go up to about 300f or so, you should be fine . Most tissues require temps of between 180 to 220f or so. I highly recommend Bienfang Buffermount. It is the only "archival" dry mount I know of. (As archival as dry mount gets, anyway)
That's just, like, my opinion, man...
All the posts have given you good advice for temp ranges. The only other thing you may need is some sort of heavy plate (glass, steel, etc.) to put over the mounted print as it cools. Older dry mount papers "set" as they heated up (Seal MT5); the modern archival ones set as they cool, so you need a weight on the print for a few minutes after removing from the press.
I use a pizza stone for this. If you're not familiar with such a thing, it's a heavy, flat slab of smooth stone that one heats in an oven and then puts pizza crust on for even heating. It's waaaaay less expensive than, for instance, the enameled piece of steel sold by Light Impressions.
Originally Posted by palewin
As to temperature...it would be wise to run a few tests with scrap prints on scrap mount board to check your press's heat settings. Very few presses are spot on accurate with their dials, and it would be a shame to have problems with a fine print when mounting goes awry due to excess or too little heat.
I use the Bienfang Buffermount and 180 seems to work just fine for me. I got a Seal because B&H sells lots of replacement parts - pads, etc. so that a used one can be repaired.
I've used a Seal press for many years and never replaced any parts. I never used a setting above 250F, therefore, thermal stress was relatively low. Also, never had to clean the platten - using release paper (make sure release paper is clean though).
Originally Posted by juan
"Pictures are not incidental frills to a text; they are essences of our distinctive way of knowing." Stephen J. Gould