Originally Posted by Mac064
You don't say where you're located but in the US this equipment can be found for free at print shops if you're prepared to collect them. I got a second 5KW lamp and vacuum frame a couple of years ago just for the cost of renting a van. They begged me to take the second unit they had sitting there! It's outdated technology for print shops and they just want to get rid of them.
For polymer plates (for photogravure) you really do need a vacuum frame. The plates are much thinner than copperplates and have a tendency to flex and curl when cut. Bad contact shows in the print as areas of uneven tone. Some plates are thinner than others and cut easier, eliminating this problem somewhat - Solarplate for example. I use the KM73s and have a plate cutter which ensures a perfectly flat, smooth edge. Well worth the investment.