Luminous Landscape Forum

Raw & Post Processing, Printing => Printing: Printers, Papers and Inks => Topic started by: Mark Lindquist on July 10, 2013, 09:29:11 PM

Title: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: Mark Lindquist on July 10, 2013, 09:29:11 PM
Are there any printers that can print (COLOR) on aluminum, 4' x 8' sheets with inks that will last 25 years in direct exposure to sunlight?

Obviously, a UV coating will be required, but I'm wondering if there are any commercial solutions for making prints that will withstand the rigors of Florida sunshine.  Additionally, does anyone know of any professional printers (print shops) that do this? (Not necessarily sign printers).

Is there a particular brand/model printer made that one can buy that will print on aluminum and create an image that will last 25 years without fading?

Looking at a job of making about (60) unique 4' x 8' panels.

Edit: (added "color")
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: Scott Martin on July 10, 2013, 09:45:55 PM
That's a job for a UV Curable printer and you'll also want a UV Curable lamination on top (which can be hard to find). HPI (http://hpihouston.com) is one place that does both, and does the printing at 1000dpi 24pass with 3M's latest 8 color inkset. Great stuff! I do a lot of it myself.
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: shadowblade on July 10, 2013, 09:50:13 PM
Are there any printers that can print on aluminum, 4' x 8' sheets with inks that will last 25 years in direct exposure to sunlight?

Obviously, a UV coating will be required, but I'm wondering if there are any commercial solutions for making prints that will withstand the rigors of Florida sunshine.  Additionally, does anyone know of any professional printers (print shops) that do this? (Not necessarily sign printers).

Is there a particular brand/model printer made that one can buy that will print on aluminum and create an image that will last 25 years without fading?

Looking at a job of making about (60) unique 4' x 8' panels.

Are you talking black-and-white, or colour?

UV resistance, is one thing, but the other, potentially more difficult, issue is physical, chemical and microbial resistance - an outdoor display will have to deal with chemical attack by acids formed from dissolved atmospheric pollutants, varying temperatures and humidity levels, rainfall and potentially human hands, and will have to be amenable to cleaning after attacks by birds or bird droppings!

As far as I know, no current colour inkjet process - aqueous, UV or solvent - will be suitable for these conditions for such a long duration, nor will the dye-sub processes used by Imagewizards, Bay Photo, etc.

Carbon printing using stable coloured pigments are extremely stable, essentially fadeproof against UV light and are protected from atmospheric pollutants because they essentially consist of pigment particles suspended in hardened gelatin. On the minus side, they can be susceptible to physical attack, given that they have a slight relief surface over the substrate, and, uncoated, are difficult to clean.

Also, I believe Sandy King has done some testing with carbon prints on uncoated aluminium, with the result that, although the print itself held together just fine, the bond with the uncoated aluminium failed after a few months. Therefore, the aluminium would likely have to be coated with Gesso, or some other primer, in order to adequately hold the gelatin layers in place. Or you could form the carbon print on paper, then permanently affix the paper to aluminium - the final result would not be reversible or 'archival' in the true sense of the word, but may hold up physically for 25 years in a harsh environment. One must remember that, in this situation, if even one component fails, the entire system fails, and you're not displaying or keeping the print in ideal museum storage conditions!

Having mounted the carbon print on aluminium (either via a primer or by mounting a paper carbon print to aluminium), you would then have to protect the whole thing against physical attack, humidity, rain and biological attack. Sealing the whole thing - face, edges and back - in polyurethane, or a non-yellowing, chemically-stable sealant, could be an option. Again, it definitely won't be 'archival' - it's irreversible, and, once the sealant fails, the whole image is gone - but it will certainly be more durable against rain, heat, humidity, pollutants, birds, human hands and cleaners than any 'archival' process could ever be. After all, you need the entire assembly to last 25 years in a harsh environment. You're not after a print that will last centuries in a dimly-lit gallery, away from rain, birds and human hands, hidden behind glass.

Tod Gangler, of Art and Soul studios (http://www.colorcarbonprint.com (http://www.colorcarbonprint.com)) is, I believe, one of the only commercial carbon printers in the world, and has done some large displays. Not at 4'x8' size, but quite large - and, I believe, yours is a one-off special project. He may be able to give you some more insight into this process, and the feasibility of using carbon printing for this sort of project.
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: tastar on July 10, 2013, 10:50:38 PM
If you are looking for someone to do these prints, you can try Advanced Finishing outside of Erie, PA - they sublimate onto metal and have done very large (up to 40 ft. x 60 ft.) murals, so they could probably do 4 x 8's. The sublimated metal seems to be extremely durable, too. The owner is Greg Yahn, their website is http://www.atexfinishing.com/welcome.html (http://www.atexfinishing.com/welcome.html). I would guess that it would be a very expensive project, though.

Tony
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: Mark Lindquist on July 10, 2013, 11:02:42 PM
That's a job for a UV Curable printer and you'll also want a UV Curable lamination on top (which can be hard to find). HPI (http://hpihouston.com) is one place that does both, and does the printing at 1000dpi 24pass with 3M's latest 8 color inkset. Great stuff! I do a lot of it myself.

Thanks very much, Scott - looking into this.  Appreciate it very much. - Mark
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: Mark Lindquist on July 10, 2013, 11:03:50 PM
If you are looking for someone to do these prints, you can try Advanced Finishing outside of Erie, PA - they sublimate onto metal and have done very large (up to 40 ft. x 60 ft.) murals, so they could probably do 4 x 8's. The sublimated metal seems to be extremely durable, too. The owner is Greg Yahn, their website is http://www.atexfinishing.com/welcome.html (http://www.atexfinishing.com/welcome.html). I would guess that it would be a very expensive project, though.

Tony

Thanks much, Tony - will check it out.  Appreciate it very much. - Mark
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: Mark Lindquist on July 10, 2013, 11:12:55 PM
Shadowblade -

Thanks very much for your thoughts and perspective on this issue.  Yes, I'm looking for color, and no I haven't considered bird poop, but certainly will after reading your epistle.

You bring up many good points, and although the process you describe is certainly most worthwhile, I think it will be beyond the scope of the budget, the cost of which will most likely not even get me through the proposal process on that scale.

Your info is invaluable however.  Many many thanks for taking the time to discuss this, and a million thanks for your generous sharing of information.  After many years of sharing information freely, myself, it is gratifying to be on the receiving end, particularly with such astute practitioners, and on this forum.

Very much appreciated, and I am deeply grateful, sir.

Best-

Mark Lindquist
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: shadowblade on July 10, 2013, 11:29:26 PM
Shadowblade -

Thanks very much for your thoughts and perspective on this issue.  Yes, I'm looking for color, and no I haven't considered bird poop, but certainly will after reading your epistle.

You bring up many good points, and although the process you describe is certainly most worthwhile, I think it will be beyond the scope of the budget, the cost of which will most likely not even get me through the proposal process on that scale.

Your info is invaluable however.  Many many thanks for taking the time to discuss this, and a million thanks for your generous sharing of information.  After many years of sharing information freely, myself, it is gratifying to be on the receiving end, particularly with such astute practitioners, and on this forum.

Very much appreciated, and I am deeply grateful, sir.

Best-

Mark Lindquist

Bird poop is also highly corrosive, given that it's also mixed with urine.

Just look at what it does to the paintwork of cars!
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: Scott Martin on July 11, 2013, 10:24:17 AM
As far as I know, no current colour inkjet process - aqueous, UV or solvent - will be suitable for these conditions for such a long duration, nor will the dye-sub processes used by Imagewizards, Bay Photo, etc.

Then perhaps you should look into UV Curable printing. It's the standard for outdoor signage and is made to last for years in the sun, weather and to stand up to bird poop (a common thing for signage)! I mentioned the UV Curable lamination process as well because it dramatically improves an already incredibly durable process. With the UV lam, prints become graffiti proof - even spray paint can be wiped off. But a lot of places don't offer the lam because they don't think it's necessary. If super durability is what you're after, you'll want the UV lam.

Lots of people, especially in photography and fine art markets, don't have much experience with UV Curable printing. The printers themselves are $200,000+ but the cost of having prints made is surprisingly affordable. Far, far more so than dye sublimation prints on metal that some mention here. If you don't have experience with it, don't knock it until you've made some prints of your own and put them on your roof for a while...
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: Mark Lindquist on July 11, 2013, 11:05:40 AM
Scott -
Thanks again, for the additional information.  Believe me, I am not knocking it at all.  I checked out their website and I see how  serious the process is and what they have done with it.  I'm looking into many avenues, and this is certainly one I'll be considering.

It's great to have different perspectives and yours is certainly very highly valued.  I just need to get some tech info on the longevity of color and price per square foot, etc.

This is a very big project, and given the scale, I will need to do a LOT of homework.  It could be that all of it will be budget buster pricing and having any expectation for 25 years light fastness may be whistling in the wind (or staring at the sun).  I'm sure there are certain things that may approach, but oooo-weeee - money money money.

I have one process I have found that I've been researching over the past seven years (for other purposes) and they have doubled their light-fastness in that amount of time, so that's promising, but the cost could be astronomical.

Thanks again for weighing in and I very much appreciate the idea and information.

Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: shadowblade on July 11, 2013, 11:39:30 AM
Then perhaps you should look into UV Curable printing. It's the standard for outdoor signage and is made to last for years in the sun, weather and to stand up to bird poop (a common thing for signage)! I mentioned the UV Curable lamination process as well because it dramatically improves an already incredibly durable process. With the UV lam, prints become graffiti proof - even spray paint can be wiped off. But a lot of places don't offer the lam because they don't think it's necessary. If super durability is what you're after, you'll want the UV lam.

Lots of people, especially in photography and fine art markets, don't have much experience with UV Curable printing. The printers themselves are $200,000+ but the cost of having prints made is surprisingly affordable. Far, far more so than dye sublimation prints on metal that some mention here. If you don't have experience with it, don't knock it until you've made some prints of your own and put them on your roof for a while...

What's the image quality like for photos of this print process? I know it's used for signage, but what's acceptable in a large sign or a large billboard isn't the same as what's acceptable in a small-ish photo-quality print that needs to resemble a continuous-tone image.

Also, what's the long-term stability of these inks like? After all, I don't see people rushing out to produce archival fine-art prints using UV-cured inks... or am I missing something? I believe UV inks are all based on a polyurethane-based or epoxy resin-based monomers, which polymerise when exposed to UV light - don't these turn yellow with age, like other polyurethanes and epoxy resins? Is there any decent information on the long-term (archival-term) stability of these polymers? No doubt the inks themselves can't be made UV-resistant to protect the pigment particles, since they rely on UV light to polymerise - if they included UV absorbers in the ink, it would never set.
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: Mark Lindquist on July 11, 2013, 12:48:47 PM
What's the image quality like for photos of this print process? I know it's used for signage, but what's acceptable in a large sign or a large billboard isn't the same as what's acceptable in a small-ish photo-quality print that needs to resemble a continuous-tone image.

Also, what's the long-term stability of these inks like? After all, I don't see people rushing out to produce archival fine-art prints using UV-cured inks... or am I missing something?

Shadowblade - for my project - I'm talking about very large billboard size images - if you read my original post - needing at least 60 4' x 8' sheets, minimally, and those sheets, tiling a very large XY pano image.

So definitely, NOT small-ish prints.  I am curious about archival longevity as well.  Fading is one thing, especially when compared to an original sample, but some degradation would have to unavoidable, I would think over the long term.  Also, in this case, coatings could be a strong factor in establishing longevity (taking into consideration what you posintewd out in your first post).
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: shadowblade on July 11, 2013, 04:54:22 PM
Shadowblade - for my project - I'm talking about very large billboard size images - if you read my original post - needing at least 60 4' x 8' sheets, minimally, and those sheets, tiling a very large XY pano image.

I thought you meant sixty different photos, not sixty different panels making up one giant photo! That's somewhat different...

Quote
So definitely, NOT small-ish prints.  I am curious about archival longevity as well.  Fading is one thing, especially when compared to an original sample, but some degradation would have to unavoidable, I would think over the long term.  Also, in this case, coatings could be a strong factor in establishing longevity (taking into consideration what you posintewd out in your first post).


That depends on your definition of 'some'. 25 years outdoors in a Florida environment is tough! (I'm assuming similar conditions to far-north Queensland in Australia - i.e. tropical weather). A lot of good-quality printed outdoor signage has a lifespan of 5 years or less before severe fading. Dye-sub aluminium prints, apparently, show severe fading outdoors after only 3 years or so.
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: Mark Lindquist on July 11, 2013, 07:01:35 PM
Yep multi-billboard size - gigapixel kindof thing.

I'm looking at a technique that has a minimum of ten years in direct sunlight (measured in flat sun in Arizona, in real time) before degrading noticeably in comparison to an original sample.  From that point on, the color fades according to a curve - just not sure how fast.  Since the image is an abstract, it would be difficult to see a marked difference for at least about 15 years give or take.  After that it's anybody's guess.

The question is, how significant would the fading be, and what effect would it be (negative, or possibly acceptable).

Good to know about the Dyesub quick fade info.  That would be a problem, for sure.
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: shadowblade on July 11, 2013, 07:10:26 PM
Yep multi-billboard size - gigapixel kindof thing.

I'm looking at a technique that has a minimum of ten years in direct sunlight (measured in flat sun in Arizona, in real time) before degrading noticeably in comparison to an original sample.  From that point on, the color fades according to a curve - just not sure how fast.  Since the image is an abstract, it would be difficult to see a marked difference for at least about 15 years give or take.  After that it's anybody's guess.

The question is, how significant would the fading be, and what effect would it be (negative, or possibly acceptable).

Quote
Good to know about the Dyesub quick fade info.  That would be a problem, for sure.

It's not quick - it lasts a lot longer than most other print methods under those conditions. The thing is, those conditions are tough! A print which would last two hundred years in a gallery may not last three months outdoors in those conditions, even behind perspex or with a polyurethane coating.

The other thing is, most polyurethane or epoxy resin coatings turn yellow with age. The polyurethane doesn't lose strength, but changes colour significantly.

Perhaps it would be possible to make a test print for profiling, coat it with whatever final protective coating you would use, blast it with high-intensity UV light until the coating had turned yellow and the print faded a bit, and make a print profile based on the coated, aged print, rather than on the freshly-printed, uncoated work. Then, after printing the final work, you'd coat it with polyurethane in the same way as the test print, blast all the panels with UV light until they reached their final yellowness (i.e. what the profile was based on). and display that as the work.
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: Mark Lindquist on July 11, 2013, 08:27:24 PM
Thanks SB - not to worry - with this other thing - I've got it covered (pun intended)....
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: Scott Martin on July 12, 2013, 11:04:07 AM
What's the image quality like for photos of this print process? I know it's used for signage, but what's acceptable in a large sign or a large billboard isn't the same as what's acceptable in a small-ish photo-quality print that needs to resemble a continuous-tone image.

Just like aqueous inkjet tech ~10 year ago, UV Curable technology wasn't great at first but has gotten to the point where it's really good in terms of effective resolution and color gamut. The 8+ color inksets, combined with 1000dpi printing at 16 or more passes yields a print without a noticeable dot. The process naturally has a fairly matte surface and the gentle black that goes alone with any matte process. Apply the liquid lam though and one sees a nice DMax boast and increase in color saturation as well.  4 point type is legible but not as pristinely sharp as with aqueous inkjet. It's not the right process to make small, highly detailed prints with. Right now I prefer to make aqueous inkjet prints on fiber base papers up to 20x30 and UV curable prints at 30x40 and larger. While 48x96" inkjet prints on a nice paper are nicer than a UV Curable print at this size its rare to have an image at sufficient resolution to justify the inkjet. But its really the durability advantages and presentation options without glass that make the UV Curable option so attractive. People really like the way these prints can be presented without glass and where they can be placed due to their durability.

Also, what's the long-term stability of these inks like?

The consensus is that no color inks are more stable, or light fast, and that's why UV Curable has quickly taken over the outdoor market. Lightfastness ratings from the ink manufacturers are rated for outdoor use, not indoor usage as aqueous inks and papers are rated.

After all, I don't see people rushing out to produce archival fine-art prints using UV-cured inks... or am I missing something?

Where are you looking? It's cutting edge stuff, and is catching on in big art markets like New York. The place I mentioned is a beta site for Vutek and had the very first 1000+dpi printer with the latest inks that are now available to everyone. I spent three days calibrating that beta setup and when we were done we all stood back sighed and said "holy cow, this is incredible" and starting printing some of my night images on some leftover dibond. Problem is, most shops don't give a shit about taking the time to calibrate and run their pritners at these "super high, super slow" modes so there are only a handful of places that cater to fine art printing. Finding the right vendor is key. That said, it's still new stuff and the artists that are using it are seeing a nice reception to it. The vendor I mentioned is making huge prints for big deal artists worldwide. I think it will become more commonly known and used in fine art circles in the next few years.

Just last week I saw a UV Curable print with some bright red on it that's been on the outside of a building in Houston facing west for about 8 years that still looks like new, with no yellowing. And the inks are a lot better now than they were back then.

Still, 25 years facing west in a place like Texas or Florida is a lot. No one has done that because the tech hasn't been around that long. You should protect the edges carefully. While the consensus may be that nothing is better suited, and that 8+ year prints are still looking great and the outdoor light fastness testing exceeds 20 years, you probably should contact the scientists that formulate these inks and get the word direct from them. How they might fade, as you mention, is smart to consider. Your situation is extreme so having realistic expectations would be smart. Do you get hail in your area? Would hail puck marks be acceptable like you'd get in a metal roof? Will there be an overhang? What about hurricanes? Would there be a maintenance schedule for your installation and protection for these events?

Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: shadowblade on July 12, 2013, 07:23:59 PM
Sounds similar to an inkjet-made carbon or gum print then, only with polyurethane or epoxy resin as the binder in which the pigment particles are embedded, instead of gelatin or gum arabic. In theory, that should be *very* stable - provided the polyurethane or epoxy resin remains intact.

But, from what I've seen of polyurethane and epoxy-based coatings and varnishes on furniture, paper products and boats (both marine and freshwater), they always yellow, turn brittle and peel with age. Maybe not in ten years, but, definitely in twenty or thirty years. Any idea what the chemical or physical mechanism behind this is, and whether the newer polyurethanes and epoxy resins have the same problem? Also, I thought they weren't so good at printing on flexible surfaces (e.g. paper) because of their tendency to crack under those circumstances.

Are you talking about UV printers like the Roland LEJ-640 and LEF-12? http://rolanddg.com.au/colour/wide-format-printers/versauv-lej-640 (http://rolanddg.com.au/colour/wide-format-printers/versauv-lej-640). With their four-colour system (plus white and clear), what's their colour and black-and-white reproduction like, particularly in wide areas of subtle tonal gradient, such as skies?
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: Mark Lindquist on July 12, 2013, 09:47:31 PM
I'm looking at DuPont SentryGlas - Expressions.  They've done 10 year testing in Arizona under extreme lighting conditions.

They print on a translucent sheet and it is laminated between 2 pieces of glass - (the same process as safety glass - only the center layer is an image rather than clear).  This solves utterly ALL the problems except budget, but possibly that can be overcome.

They guarantee 10 years and there is a curve where the image begins to slowly degrade, so possibly if the fading is very slow and hopefully pleasing, it may do the trick.  This would solve ALL:: the maintenance issues, bird poop, hurricanes, sealing and on and on, for many years and could even be regularly cleaned and even backlit at night. (The glass is hung on an armature).

A huge project, undoubtedly, but the SentryGlas approach could be the answer for this application.  In this sense, it is the "railroad grade" approach to the problem, which is why I like it.  I'm concerned about the untested issues with the other processes, and the newness to architects, who have an affinity to working with glass.

From the standpoint that this is an architectural and engineering application, this could fill the bill.  The other ideas are intriguing, however, and still worth investigating.

BTW - thanks guys for continuing to discuss this, I'm finding it very helpful.
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: Scott Martin on July 14, 2013, 09:43:12 AM
Sounds similar to an inkjet-made carbon or gum print then, only with polyurethane or epoxy resin as the binder in which the pigment particles are embedded, instead of gelatin or gum arabic. In theory, that should be *very* stable - provided the polyurethane or epoxy resin remains intact.

While I'm not sure, my gut feeling is that it's not polyurethane.

Are you talking about UV printers like the Roland LEJ-640 and LEF-12? With their four-colour system (plus white and clear), what's their colour and black-and-white reproduction like, particularly in wide areas of subtle tonal gradient, such as skies?

That's a dinky UV printer... The Vutek GS5000 is the kind of big dog my clients tend to use. With an 8+ color inkset and lots of resolution modes and number of passes to choose from subtle gradient are really nice at the higher settings. Gotta have those light colors and black inks - 4 color inksets are never going to look great.

Quote
They print on a translucent sheet and it is laminated between 2 pieces of glass - (the same process as safety glass - only the center layer is an image rather than clear).  This solves utterly ALL the problems except budget, but possibly that can be overcome.

A neat option that I'd like to know more about as well. Not sure how lightfast these are relative to UV Curable. UV Curable is very affordable and super tough...
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: shadowblade on July 14, 2013, 10:20:39 AM
While I'm not sure, my gut feeling is that it's not polyurethane.

That's a dinky UV printer... The Vutek GS5000 is the kind of big dog my clients tend to use. With an 8+ color inkset and lots of resolution modes and number of passes to choose from subtle gradient are really nice at the higher settings. Gotta have those light colors and black inks - 4 color inksets are never going to look great.

A neat option that I'd like to know more about as well. Not sure how lightfast these are relative to UV Curable. UV Curable is very affordable and super tough...

Maybe in 10 years' time, they'll actually have 8- or 12-colour models available for the same price as current Roland printers (i.e. $20-40k).

A $500k-or-greater printer just isn't viable for printing fine-art photos, which are neither 2m-5m wide, nor produced in such huge numbers as to justify the purchase price of such a machine.
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: Ernst Dinkla on July 15, 2013, 08:39:41 AM
I'm looking at DuPont SentryGlas - Expressions.  They've done 10 year testing in Arizona under extreme lighting conditions.


Yes, Glass was what I expected as a solution too. In the past (20 years or so) I have used a local insulating glazing company to assemble the glass sheets I silkscreen printed for an outdoor sign. I used the different layers to create some interaction for passersby, the texts shifting to the background etc. A text/vector design on three inside surfaces including the white glass background. This insulating glass had a silica in the profile sealed in to capture any moisture. The printing had two steps, an etch on the glass first of the design to create a better bond and then alkyd based ink that hardens on oxide. It lasted longer than the lawyer firm it was created for.

You might consider that method too and have the front glass printed at the inside with UV curing inks + a white ink for reflection and add white glass at the back. It is possible with tempered glass too for better strength. In that case no extra polymers are used in the image layers that could create issues. The process could be less expensive than what you describe. Prolonged exposure of UV cured inks in sunlight is not without issues though. I have had problems with polycarbonate sheets printed with UV curing silkscreen inks. Both the thermoforming of the polycarbonate afterwards and sunlight exposure did harm the bond of the ink and reduce the flexibility of the ink. There are however new UV curing inkjet inks for thermoforming that may fit this purpose. There are also solvent inks that could be better in this case. Or more exotic, a silicate based ink for glass (SolGel, Fraunhofer) or actual ceramic pigment (fritte) inks for special inkjet printers. The last have to be fused. Tiles are already made that way.

Edit: In the sign industry and other industrial print facilities that use (eco)solvents or UV-curing inks the inkset often does not go beyond CMYK, if more then only CcMmYK and the last often again compromised when a white ink, transparent or metallic ink is added. For speed you will see 2x CMYK as well. I do not know a CcMmYKkkRGB inkset in use in that industry like we know in our niche, not to mention one that has a white ink as well aboard. Metallic ink printers exist too and they compromise on other inks then. Sometimes a CcMmYK printer model allows a spot color ink or two added. With rigid media one could print in register the CcMmYK etc image first on one flatbed printer and the white, metal, varnish on another but that's it in PRACTICE in my opinion. Durst, Canon/Océ Arizona, Fuji Acuity, Inca Eagle are the main UV curing inkjet printer models and be aware that their inks or inks from other suppliers often are aimed at specific media ranges and do not have the properties for another range of substrates.

--
Met vriendelijke groet, Ernst

http://www.pigment-print.com/spectralplots/spectrumviz_1.htm
December 2012, 500+ inkjet media white spectral plots.





Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: Scott Martin on July 15, 2013, 09:31:22 AM
Maybe in 10 years' time, they'll actually have 8- or 12-colour models available for the same price as current Roland printers (i.e. $20-40k).

Such inksets are already around and Roland should have them if they care about image quality.

A $500k-or-greater printer just isn't viable for printing fine-art photos, which are neither 2m-5m wide, nor produced in such huge numbers as to justify the purchase price of such a machine.

Big shops gravitate to that kind of printer because they are fast, can handle the work that would otherwise require a dozen dinky printers and can accept surprisingly affordable UV inks when bought in large quantities. Ink costs are a fraction of aqueous and solvent ink costs. Shops that have such printers can provide UV prints to artists like us for surprisingly affordable prices - similar to what it would cost to make prints on the $5000 aqueous printers that we might be able to own. Not a bad deal at all. You don't want the headache of owning one of these pritners unless you're doing tons of printing on it.
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: Mark Lindquist on July 15, 2013, 06:06:07 PM
Yes, Glass was what I expected as a solution too. In the past (20 years or so) I have used a local insulating glazing company to assemble the glass sheets I silkscreen printed for an outdoor sign. I used the different layers to create some interaction for passersby, the texts shifting to the background etc. A text/vector design on three inside surfaces including the white glass background. This insulating glass had a silica in the profile sealed in to capture any moisture. The printing had two steps, an etch on the glass first of the design to create a better bond and then alkyd based ink that hardens on oxide. It lasted longer than the lawyer firm it was created for.

You might consider that method too and have the front glass printed at the inside with UV curing inks + a white ink for reflection and add white glass at the back. It is possible with tempered glass too for better strength. In that case no extra polymers are used in the image layers that could create issues. The process could be less expensive than what you describe. Prolonged exposure of UV cured inks in sunlight is not without issues though.
Met vriendelijke groet, Ernst

http://www.pigment-print.com/spectralplots/spectrumviz_1.htm
December 2012, 500+ inkjet media white spectral plots.

Ernst,
Always good to hear your opinions and suggestions.  The process I am considering using is called Dupont SentryGlas:

"...SentryGlas® Expressions™ is patent pending technology that brings together
our PVB technology with DuPont proprietary inks to create a decorative
laminated safety glass that optimizes safety, image quality, lightfastness
and glass durability.  We can take an image,  print it on PVB and ship to a qualified SGX glass
laminator.  We are able to print up to 94" x 192"...."

As you see from the quote above, they have a proprietary printing process, using their proprietary inks, and the laminated end result adheres to their testing requirements, which they guarantee.

Since this is such a huge project, I would hand over the image to the company, and the mounting to architects, engineers and designers, so that they would be in charge of the installation with qualified installers.  Since the panels would be hung on an armature, presumably, the glass would be impervious to rain from any holes, etc, for mounting.

I like your idea about the back panel being frosted or white.  One thing that occurs to me, is that while being back-lit the image would be well seen at night, perhaps not so much during the day.  A white panel from behind, might solve the problem, giving me the best of both worlds.

Thanks again for your thoughts and suggestions, Ernst - always a pleasure hearing from you.

-Mark
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: Scott Martin on July 15, 2013, 07:52:55 PM
Edit: In the sign industry and other industrial print facilities that use (eco)solvents or UV-curing inks the inkset often does not go beyond CMYK, ... I do not know a CcMmYKkkRGB inkset in use in that industry....

Well there are 8 color CcMmYKkk UV inksets and the Epson Surecolor S70 uses an 11 color solvent CcMmYKkkOWMs inkset that incorporates Orange, White and Metallic. These are THE two UV and Solvent inksets attractive to those wanting to make the highest quality UV and solvent prints today. R and B inks really don't help much and I think you'll see them disappear in the future. Don't leave Vutek off your list of UV printer manufactures - the rest you mention (except Inca) are late comers to the party, and trail in sales.
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: shadowblade on July 15, 2013, 09:28:04 PM
Well there are 8 color CcMmYKkk UV inksets and the Epson Surecolor S70 uses an 11 color solvent CcMmYKkkOWMs inkset that incorporates Orange, White and Metallic. These are THE two UV and Solvent inksets attractive to those wanting to make the highest quality UV and solvent prints today. R and B inks really don't help much and I think you'll see them disappear in the future. Don't leave Vutek off your list of UV printer manufactures - the rest you mention (except Inca) are late comers to the party, and trail in sales.

The Epson inkset only has a stated permanence of 3 years (2 years if also using the orange ink, 1 year if using the white ink and just 3 weeks if you use the metallic silver ink). I'm assuming this is outdoors, unprotected, though - would love to know how this translates to Wilhelm years or Aardenburg megalux-hours, in order to make a meaningful comparison with other printers.

I wonder if the yellow pigment they use in their GSX inks is more lightfast than those on their K3 and HDR inksets - they say it's a 'new, more permanent' ink, but compared to what? Obviously, the inks will be different, but it's common to suspend the same pigment in different solvents (whether aqueous, solvent, UV-curing, acrylic paint, oil paint, watercolours or anything else) to give a different ink or paint.
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: Ernst Dinkla on July 16, 2013, 02:52:54 AM
Well there are 8 color CcMmYKkk UV inksets and the Epson Surecolor S70 uses an 11 color solvent CcMmYKkkOWMs inkset that incorporates Orange, White and Metallic. These are THE two UV and Solvent inksets attractive to those wanting to make the highest quality UV and solvent prints today.

Are they actually used in the industry right now and can they print as flatbeds on glass sheets? I was not aware that the very recent Epson S70 had such a wide inkset but it does not change much for the job Mark has to do.

--
Met vriendelijke groet, Ernst

http://www.pigment-print.com/spectralplots/spectrumviz_1.htm
December 2012, 500+ inkjet media white spectral plots.



Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: Scott Martin on July 16, 2013, 10:32:57 AM
The Epson inkset only has a stated permanence of 3 years... I'm assuming this is outdoors, unprotected, though...

Yes, that's outdoors where aqueous inks won't last 2 weeks. UV Curable longevity is much greater than solvent.

Quote
Are they actually used in the industry right now and can they print as flatbeds on glass sheets?

Yes.

Part of what I'm trying to emphasize here is the liquid lamination. Liquid lamination will improve durability and lightfastness by a  factor of 2x-10x. If you're going outdoors don't overlook it.
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: shadowblade on July 16, 2013, 10:51:29 AM
Yes, that's outdoors where aqueous inks won't last 2 weeks. UV Curable longevity is much greater than solvent.

Arguable - after all, UV inks use exactly the same coloured pigments as solvent and aqueous inks. The only difference between solvent and aqueous inks is in the solvent in which they are suspended - hydrophilic in the case of aqueous inks, hydrophobic for solvent inks. Once the solvent has been absorbed or evaporated, the pigment particles are exactly the same. UV inks have an additional difference - they are suspended in a polymer layer formed by the polymerisation of UV-sensitised monomers, rather than adherent to a surface - but, given that UV inks, by definition, cannot be opaque to UV light, the pigments would be subject to UV bombardment just like any other pigment print (they'd be sealed against atmospheric pollutants, though).

I use the back and side windows of my car (as well as the bit in front of the rear-view mirror, which you can't see past anyway) as a crude-but-effective means of comparing the permanence of various ink/paper combinations. Being constantly outdoors under the harsh Australian sun, protected from rain and wind but not UV light, the prints undergo many decades worth of indoor-display UV bombardment in just a few months. Given the abuse, they hold up pretty well in general...

Perhaps the major difference is in the substrate (microporous coatings for aqueous, uncoated vinyl for solvent, almost anything for UV) that accounts for this difference in durability, rather than the inks themselves? After all, outdoor display in a city tends to attract many more pigment-destroying pollutants than just UV light, and microporous coatings are terrible as far as resistant to chemical attack goes, given their huge surface area compared to the others.
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: Mark Lindquist on July 16, 2013, 12:46:44 PM
Do you think other systems would actually outlast SentryGlas® Expressions™, which is fused between layers of safety glass?

Think windshield glass.  They have known direct sun longevity testing, actual real time testing in direct Arizona sun.  Are you saying any system you are discussing can outlast or better SentryGlas® Expressions™ in terms of sturdiness, and light-fastness, and carry a guarantee?  Remember, there is no possibility of permeating any seal, because there is no seal - it is all one incorporated entity.

Don't forget, we're in hurricane territory here.  We get storms that would curl your toes.... backwards...

Tallahassee is inland enough that we haven't had anything like a Katrina-like event, but we get big winds and unbelievable rain storms.  In the summer we can get rain almost every afternoon and I'm talking real gully-washers for short periods.

Whatever I come up with has to be able to withstand the elements here.  The SentryGlas® Expressions™ seems like the hardiest of all the applications that have been thus far discussed, and even now, I'm having doubts as to the light-fastness beyond say 15 years, realistically.

Nothing on this scale is easy, though.  It feels like the industry is just at the tipping point, however.
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: shadowblade on July 16, 2013, 12:57:09 PM
Do you think other systems would actually outlast SentryGlas® Expressions™, which is fused between layers of safety glass?

Think windshield glass.  They have known direct sun longevity testing, actual real time testing in direct Arizona sun.  Are you saying any system you are discussing can outlast or better SentryGlas® Expressions™ in terms of sturdiness, and light-fastness, and carry a guarantee?  Remember, there is no possibility of permeating any seal, because there is no seal - it is all one incorporated entity.

Don't forget, we're in hurricane territory here.  We get storms that would curl your toes.... backwards...

Tallahassee is inland enough that we haven't had anything like a Katrina-like event, but we get big winds and unbelievable rain storms.  In the summer we can get rain almost every afternoon and I'm talking real gully-washers for short periods.

Whatever I come up with has to be able to withstand the elements here.  The SentryGlas® Expressions™ seems like the hardiest of all the applications that have been thus far discussed, and even now, I'm having doubts as to the light-fastness beyond say 15 years, realistically.

Nothing on this scale is easy, though.  It feels like the industry is just at the tipping point, however.


An artistic display made out of safety glass will last until someone decides to throw a rock at it.

In an average city, that'd be 25 days, not 25 years.

Safety glass or not, it's going to break - the 'safety' part just stops it from raining glass slivers everywhere.
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: Mark Lindquist on July 16, 2013, 09:14:41 PM
An artistic display made out of safety glass will last until someone decides to throw a rock at it.

In an average city, that'd be 25 days, not 25 years.

Safety glass or not, it's going to break - the 'safety' part just stops it from raining glass slivers everywhere.

Nice. 
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: shadowblade on August 13, 2013, 11:37:22 AM
Just wondering - can UV printers also be used to make prints on fine art paper? Or are they limited to metal, ceramic, plastics and other rigid materials?
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: Scott Martin on August 13, 2013, 04:34:14 PM
Just wondering - can UV printers also be used to make prints on fine art paper? Or are they limited to metal, ceramic, plastics and other rigid materials?
Yes, although that would be unusual to do so. Roll to roll printing is common on vinyl, canvas and other materials.
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: Stefan Ohlsson on August 16, 2013, 10:16:23 AM
An artistic display made out of safety glass will last until someone decides to throw a rock at it.

In an average city, that'd be 25 days, not 25 years.

Safety glass or not, it's going to break - the 'safety' part just stops it from raining glass slivers everywhere.

Then it isn't safety glass. I've made prints that been mounted between safety glass that have been shoot at. It did leave a small mark but didn't break.
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: shadowblade on March 30, 2016, 11:52:10 AM
Out of interest, what did you end up going with? Did the Sentryglas Expressions work out? If you went with them, how is their print quality and colour accuracy like? Any idea what sort of inks/print process they use for the layer in the middle?

10 years of outdoor display probably means 10 centuries of indoor display - just as well, given some of the museum relics some photos are displayed alongside.
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: Mark Lindquist on March 30, 2016, 12:21:38 PM
Out of interest, what did you end up going with? Did the Sentryglas Expressions work out? If you went with them, how is their print quality and colour accuracy like? Any idea what sort of inks/print process they use for the layer in the middle?

10 years of outdoor display probably means 10 centuries of indoor display - just as well, given some of the museum relics some photos are displayed alongside.

Holy resurrect an old dead thread Batman!

There were so many issues that we (client and me) could not get past that I pulled out of doing that one.  Liability issues, and longevity issues ultimately along with contractual guarantees. 

I will not be attempting to do outdoor work in the future due to the relatively short life span, particularly in the harsh Florida sun.  As for liability, I looked into (glass) product liability briefly and that was enough to make me want to run.

On the other hand, this project worked out beautifully:

WORKING BIG !! (http://robogravure.com/robogravure_Mark_Lindquist_WC_Hotel_Lobby-Installation.htm)

I ended up buying a customized 2010 Mac Pro 12 core with 128GB Ram and 4 GB mSATA drives so that I could edit multiple layers in "real time" rather than doing edits then up-rezzing the images.  It was extravagant but the project budget handled it no problem.

BTW - it sure was nice having 6 guys doing the installation under my supervision.

Working big like this definitely has its challenges.

I'm so glad I walked away from the other outdoor one.  Until someone can guarantee at least 20-25 years, possibly 30, I think I'll pass on the outdoor work.

Thanks for asking Shadowblade (wish I knew your first name).

Mark

*Spelling, typo and grammar edits
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: shadowblade on March 30, 2016, 10:17:00 PM
Looks good - was that done using laminated glass? How is the close-up image quality? Good enough for small (20x30") prints, or only really suitable for huge pieces?

Did you get any idea of their print process (dyes vs pigments, aqueous, solvent, UV, etc.)?
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: Mark Lindquist on March 30, 2016, 10:52:18 PM
Looks good - was that done using laminated glass? How is the close-up image quality? Good enough for small (20x30") prints, or only really suitable for huge pieces?

Did you get any idea of their print process (dyes vs pigments, aqueous, solvent, UV, etc.)?

No-not laminated glass.  Have not found anyone who does that work to my expectations yet.

The images were initially made partly using a robotic system I built with a Nikon D810 as the end effector.  Since the file size is pretty big to start with, I processed the images at first in NXD, then lightroom,then photoshop. I made the images for the diptych 4'x8' immediately out of NXD then began working a series of duplicate image layers that included lights, darks, saturation, curves,etc., hand blending everything.  It's amazing to me that PS CC 2015 can handle such huge files at 300 ppi.  At one point I believe the file was in excess of 20 GB.

So to answer your question, the image is pretty sharp at about 1', very sharp at 5', and tack sharp at 20'.
It is easy on the eyes close up.  I had 16"x32" prints on ultra gloss aluminum made as test prints and they are astonishingly sharp.  The images will scale up or down at this point.  To me, that's the main advantage of working "real time or actual size" - it's much easier to scale down than to scale up. The scaled down images are clean, clear, crisp, sharp.

Another reason I worked at the largest file sizes (actual size) was to avoid noise accumulating from stacking layers.  In the end, the final image looks very much like a 20x30 print, but it has much more integrity having been edited full scale, so the finished work has as much dynamic range and tonality as I personally required.  The pieces glow.  Of course I made 44" wide glossy prints on my Z3200 and sent them along with the file as match prints.

An early iteration of the robot is here:

(http://robogravure.com/images/lula/part2/-0032%20RC-ACR-%20I%20-%20B+W.jpg)

Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: shadowblade on March 31, 2016, 02:30:37 AM
No-not laminated glass.  Have not found anyone who does that work to my expectations yet.

What was the print method and substrate then? They look backlit...

I guess you could go with direct UV-curable printing onto the back of a glass panel, backed with Dibond or another white material, or solvent-printed film facemounted onto glass or acrylic.

Quote
The images were initially made partly using a robotic system I built with a Nikon D810 as the end effector.  Since the file size is pretty big to start with, I processed the images at first in NXD, then lightroom,then photoshop. I made the images for the diptych 4'x8' immediately out of NXD then began working a series of duplicate image layers that included lights, darks, saturation, curves,etc., hand blending everything.  It's amazing to me that PS CC 2015 can handle such huge files at 300 ppi.  At one point I believe the file was in excess of 20 GB.

So to answer your question, the image is pretty sharp at about 1', very sharp at 5', and tack sharp at 20'.
It is easy on the eyes close up.  I had 16"x32" prints on ultra gloss aluminum made as test prints and they are astonishingly sharp.  The images will scale up or down at this point.  To me, that's the main advantage of working "real time or actual size" - it's much easier to scale down than to scale up. The scaled down images are clean, clear, crisp, sharp.

Another reason I worked at the largest file sizes (actual size) was to avoid noise accumulating from stacking layers.  In the end, the final image looks very much like a 20x30 print, but it has much more integrity having been edited full scale, so the finished work has as much dynamic range and tonality as I personally required.  The pieces glow.  Of course I made 44" wide glossy prints on my Z3200 and sent them along with the file as match prints.

Looks a lot like a Gigapan-style rotational panoramic setup. Or does it do something different, given you had to build it yourself?
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: shadowblade on March 31, 2016, 04:21:48 AM
I'm so glad I walked away from the other outdoor one.  Until someone can guarantee at least 20-25 years, possibly 30, I think I'll pass on the outdoor work.

Not that they've made a commercial inkjet ink out of it yet, but nanoparticle-based plasmonic 'pigments' look promising for image permanence, both on a conceptual as well as a product-development level.

Since their colour is dependent on particle size rather than composition, they can be produced from gold, platinum, carbon or other inert element or compound that won't oxidise or otherwise lose/shift colour. Different materials will require different sizes and shapes to produce the same colour - everything from infrared to ultraviolet can be produced - but you can achieve most colours using the one material in different shapes and sizes. Trap it within an inkjet receptive layer (then stabilise the layer by encasing the whole thing in a durable polymer layer, e.g. by soaking it with Timeless) or suspend it in a polymer layer using a UV printer and you'll have an image that will never fade.

They're the reason why many stained glass windows don't lose colour, despite centuries in direct sunlight - they didn't know it back then, but the colouring agents used in some of the windows were, essentially, plasmonic pigments.

You can even take them a few steps further than normal pigments - as well as L*a*b* values, you can also adjust transparency, reflection and refraction, and have different absorption and scatter spectra (i.e. you could have a pigment that looks green, but gives you red light when backlit). Also, since particles can be customised to specific wavelengths rather than perceived colours, it becomes possible to print images that look 'correct' not only to ordinary trichromats (the majority, but by no means all, people), but also to bichromats (common in humans), tetrachromats (less common), trichromats with different sensitivities from the usual RGB, robotic 'eyes' with bichromat, tetrachromat or any other visual system or which even show different things depending on whether you're viewing it in infrared, visible light or ulraviolet. Which would go along very well with stacked-sensor, Foveon-style or other multilayer cameras, which have the potential to separate incoming light spectrally, into more than just three broad categories, without losing resolution.

More information:

http://download.springer.com/static/pdf/847/art%253A10.1007%252FBF03215244.pdf?originUrl=http%3A%2F%2Flink.springer.com%2Farticle%2F10.1007%2FBF03215244&token2=exp=1459409182~acl=%2Fstatic%2Fpdf%2F847%2Fart%25253A10.1007%25252FBF03215244.pdf%3ForiginUrl%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Flink.springer.com%252Farticle%252F10.1007%252FBF03215244*~hmac=59752157f2d2285ad99b13486023c6f3756766498167f98700de3884ce549e4e (http://download.springer.com/static/pdf/847/art%253A10.1007%252FBF03215244.pdf?originUrl=http%3A%2F%2Flink.springer.com%2Farticle%2F10.1007%2FBF03215244&token2=exp=1459409182~acl=%2Fstatic%2Fpdf%2F847%2Fart%25253A10.1007%25252FBF03215244.pdf%3ForiginUrl%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Flink.springer.com%252Farticle%252F10.1007%252FBF03215244*~hmac=59752157f2d2285ad99b13486023c6f3756766498167f98700de3884ce549e4e)

http://nanocomposix.com/pages/plasmonics (http://nanocomposix.com/pages/plasmonics)

http://nanocomposix.com/pages/color-engineering (http://nanocomposix.com/pages/color-engineering)

And a similar concept, manipulating colour by burning nano-scale holes in a layer rather than adding nano-scale particles: http://www.gizmag.com/inkless-printing-nanoscale-color-metamaterial/37932/ (http://www.gizmag.com/inkless-printing-nanoscale-color-metamaterial/37932/)

Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: Mark Lindquist on March 31, 2016, 06:37:58 AM
Looks a lot like a Gigapan-style rotational panoramic setup. Or does it do something different, given you had to build it yourself?

The iimages I made for the diptych and triptych couldn't be done with a gigapan type unit.  The robots I build have high speed programable motion capabilities.  I don't want to go into much more detail since a certain degree of mystery is a big part of the mystique of the images.  Although the images are made with the use of robotics, it's not the whole story. 

Although technique and technical aspects are undoubtedly a large factor in creating such work, I draw the line at a certain point particularly as an image comes to fruition, both in capturing and finishing the work.

Are they technical - yes, but not to the degree of pushing beyond prevailing mostly proven available technology.  In that sense, they are obsolete before they are made.  I'm not interested in inventing process that is in the realm of scientists who are working on the cutting edge.  I am really just interested in pairing the technology that best works with my vision without overloading on the infinite possibilities that can be done.

I use the aspects of technology that are anathama to engineers; jitter and stutter, attempting to control those things to a degree that allows me to create my art.  While your information about glass and chemical coatings, nano-particles, etc., is intruiging, shadowblade, it's not yet practically available which is what I'm interested in.

Building robots, or machines to do work is something I'm mostly interested in based on 45+ years of building machines for my studio. Since I have contacts to do machining that I can't do in my machine shop, I can get things done that are beyond my abilities.  But experimenting with glass coatings is over my pay grade and not something I have a passion for.

I'll hope that someday a company will come out with an affordable process/product that is turn-key, rather than putting man-years into development myself.

Again, here is where I draw the line when it comes to making work.  The actualization of the object, the finished work must be ultimately controllable in order to meet deadlines. 

We live in an era of immense technological development.  As an artist working in several areas, I try to pick and choose my battles and to keep my vision paramount.  The rabbit-holes lead to warrens, and they can be vast and deep.

Mark

Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: shadowblade on March 31, 2016, 07:14:04 AM
The iimages I made for the diptych and triptych couldn't be done with a gigapan type unit.  The robots I build have high speed programable motion capabilities.  I don't want to go into much more detail since a certain degree of mystery is a big part of the mystique of the images.  Although the images are made with the use of robotics, it's not the whole story. 

Although technique and technical aspects are undoubtedly a large factor in creating such work, I draw the line at a certain point particularly as an image comes to fruition, both in capturing and finishing the work.

Are they technical - yes, but not to the degree of pushing beyond prevailing mostly proven available technology.  In that sense, they are obsolete before they are made.  I'm not interested in inventing process that is in the realm of scientists who are working on the cutting edge.  I am really just interested in pairing the technology that best works with my vision without overloading on the infinite possibilities that can be done.

I use the aspects of technology that are anathama to engineers; jitter and stutter, attempting to control those things to a degree that allows me to create my art.  While your information about glass and chemical coatings, nano-particles, etc., is intruiging, shadowblade, it's not yet practically available which is what I'm interested in.

Building robots, or machines to do work is something I'm mostly interested in based on 45+ years of building machines for my studio. Since I have contacts to do machining that I can't do in my machine shop, I can get things done that are beyond my abilities.  But experimenting with glass coatings is over my pay grade and not something I have a passion for.

I'll hope that someday a company will come out with an affordable process/product that is turn-key, rather than putting man-years into development myself.

Again, here is where I draw the line when it comes to making work.  The actualization of the object, the finished work must be ultimately controllable in order to meet deadlines. 

We live in an era of immense technological development.  As an artist working in several areas, I try to pick and choose my battles and to keep my vision paramount.  The rabbit-holes lead to warrens, and they can be vast and deep.

Mark

I guess I'm a bit of an omnidisciplinary scientist, with a hand in almost every technical aspect of photography, from optics to geography to astronomy to software to chemistry. Probably not surprising, since my regular work also calls for combining knowledge from many different fields of science.

In many ways, I find the technical aspects - everything from planning the shot, to post-processing, to producing the final image - to be far more interesting and satisfying than the aesthetic aspects. After all, the aesthetic side of things pretty much comes down to, 'nice shot' (or not) whereas the technical story behind the final product - position of the sun/moon/tides for lighting, composition and acquisition of a multi-frame image, postprocessing, as well as the production and technical details of the final product - are far more interesting than a simple one-liner. But, then again, my background is in the sciences rather than arts.
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: Mark Lindquist on March 31, 2016, 07:35:59 AM
I guess I'm a bit of an omnidisciplinary scientist, with a hand in almost every technical aspect of photography, from optics to geography to astronomy to software to chemistry. Probably not surprising, since my regular work also calls for combining knowledge from many different fields of science.

In many ways, I find the technical aspects - everything from planning the shot, to post-processing, to producing the final image - to be far more interesting and satisfying than the aesthetic aspects. After all, the aesthetic side of things pretty much comes down to, 'nice shot' (or not) whereas the technical story behind the final product - position of the sun/moon/tides for lighting, composition and acquisition of a multi-frame image, postprocessing, as well as the production and technical details of the final product - are far more interesting than a simple one-liner. But, then again, my background is in the sciences rather than arts.

You're right about the journey of making an image shadowblade, having the ability to be intersting and satisfying.  After all, what goes into making the work, the journey, the creative and scientific aspects, the technical process is the stuff that artists have wrestled with since Michaelangelo and the Sistine Chapel and DaVinci and the Last Supper, going back to the development of Persian glass, et al.

The "one-liner" as you put it, has the capacity to be the record of the process and is, in short, the encapsulation of the uphill climb.  The finished work can not be separated from the effort made to create it, as it is the direct reflection of the thought/vision/process.  I'd hardly call such works one-liners, but I see what you're driving at.  Just as the things you mention play an important role in the development of the work, aesthetics ultimately trumps all, when it comes down to it.  Having the ability to understand space, then create work for it takes a different sort of eye than just "making something". 

Art and technology must co-exist in this day and age.  But DaVinci had his problems when he used walnut oil experimentally is his Last Supper.

I'd be interested in seeing some of your work Shadowblade.  Feel free to PM me if you're interested.

Mark

Article on DaVinci (https://artistsofitaly.wordpress.com/2011/05/26/5/)

Edit for spelling, puncuation - added DaVinci story link
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: shadowblade on March 31, 2016, 07:52:01 AM
You're right about the journey of making an image shadowblade, having the ability to be intersting and satisfying.  After all, what goes into making the work, the journey, the creative and scientific aspects, the technical process is the stuff that artists have wrestled with since Michaelangelo and the Sistine Chapel and DaVinci and the Last Supper, going back to the development of Persian glass, et al.

The "one-liner" as you put it, has the capacity to be the record of the process and is, in short, the encapsulation of the uphill climb.  The finished work can not be separated from the effort made to create it, as it is the direct reflection of the thought/vision/process.  I'd hardly call such works one-liners, but I see what you're driving at.  Just as the things you mention play an important role in the development of the work, aesthetics ultimately trumps all, when it comes down to it.  Having the ability to understand space, then create work for it takes a different sort of eye than just "making something". 

Art and technology must co-exist in this day and age.  But DaVinci had his problems when he used walnut oil experimentally is his Last Supper.

I'd be interested in seeing some of your work Shadowblade.  Feel free to PM me if you're interested.

Mark

Edit for spelling, puncuation

Some recent shots.

http://forum.luminous-landscape.com/index.php?topic=107334.0 (http://forum.luminous-landscape.com/index.php?topic=107334.0)

http://forum.luminous-landscape.com/index.php?topic=108190.0 (http://forum.luminous-landscape.com/index.php?topic=108190.0)

http://forum.luminous-landscape.com/index.php?topic=107706.0 (http://forum.luminous-landscape.com/index.php?topic=107706.0)

http://forum.luminous-landscape.com/index.php?topic=107613.0 (http://forum.luminous-landscape.com/index.php?topic=107613.0)

http://forum.luminous-landscape.com/index.php?topic=107307.0 (http://forum.luminous-landscape.com/index.php?topic=107307.0)

http://forum.luminous-landscape.com/index.php?topic=107256.0 (http://forum.luminous-landscape.com/index.php?topic=107256.0)

Although most of the stuff I post tends to be almost-but-not-quite-finished work needing final adjustments to saturation and tone (since all my images look different on my wide-gamut monitors once exported to web, despite Firefox supposedly being colour-managed).
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: Mark Lindquist on March 31, 2016, 08:06:09 AM
Some recent shots.

http://forum.luminous-landscape.com/index.php?topic=107334.0 (http://forum.luminous-landscape.com/index.php?topic=107334.0)

http://forum.luminous-landscape.com/index.php?topic=108190.0 (http://forum.luminous-landscape.com/index.php?topic=108190.0)

http://forum.luminous-landscape.com/index.php?topic=107706.0 (http://forum.luminous-landscape.com/index.php?topic=107706.0)

http://forum.luminous-landscape.com/index.php?topic=107613.0 (http://forum.luminous-landscape.com/index.php?topic=107613.0)

http://forum.luminous-landscape.com/index.php?topic=107307.0 (http://forum.luminous-landscape.com/index.php?topic=107307.0)

http://forum.luminous-landscape.com/index.php?topic=107256.0 (http://forum.luminous-landscape.com/index.php?topic=107256.0)

Although most of the stuff I post tends to be almost-but-not-quite-finished work needing final adjustments to saturation and tone (since all my images look different on my wide-gamut monitors once exported to web, despite Firefox supposedly being colour-managed).

Thanks for sharing, Shadowblade.  Some very interesting and technical images there.  Do you travel specifically for photography or does your work take you there?  I particularly enjoyed the set with the light trails and mountains.  The sandstorm is cool.
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: shadowblade on March 31, 2016, 08:54:26 AM
Thanks for sharing, Shadowblade.  Some very interesting and technical images there.  Do you travel specifically for photography or does your work take you there?  I particularly enjoyed the set with the light trails and mountains.  The sandstorm is cool.

I often travel for photography alone, but also sometimes combine it with medical practice (e.g. as an expedition doctor for a mountaineering or other wilderness trip). Selling prints makes it pay for itself. I could concentrate more on it, but medical practice pays better.
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: shadowblade on March 31, 2016, 08:25:07 PM
What are you currently printing on with your Z3200? Before my printer died, I was using a lot of Pura Smooth and Pura Velvet with it (best-in-class longevity combined with an ability to soak diluted Timeless into the surface for an exceptionally-durable final product), but I haven't seen anyone else using the combination. I also liked Lyve.
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: Mark Lindquist on March 31, 2016, 08:47:54 PM
What are you currently printing on with your Z3200? Before my printer died, I was using a lot of Pura Smooth and Pura Velvet with it (best-in-class longevity combined with an ability to soak diluted Timeless into the surface for an exceptionally-durable final product), but I haven't seen anyone else using the combination. I also liked Lyve.

I use the Z3200 44" a lot for making "Match Prints" to send off when I'm having Dye-Sub or other types of Prints I can't make done.  I've been very happy with KODAK PROFFESIONAL Inkjet Photo Paper, Glossy 44" x 100'

For portfolio prints I do 13 x 19 and 17 x 22 prints on both the Z3200 24" and the 44".  I use a lot of Canson papers what used to be Arches Canson.  I have a lot of that left over from stock.

I do use BC PURA Smooth and Velvet both in sheets and rolls.  I do like PURA Velvet as well as Elegance Velvet.

I like Lyve but it seems heavy.  I also like Chromata White, but I have to say I prefer Glamour Gloss to Timeless.

I'm looking for a paper that has the same look and feel as the old Portriga Rapid paper.

I like the earlier Canson papers but also like the BC papers.  There was a BC paper that they discontinued called Vibrance Matte.  Also a Paper called Elegance Velvet.  Both were awesome.

Since I have my own printers and I do a lot of experimenting with post processing techniques, etc., I make a ton of prints on 13 x 19 on (wait for it) believe it or not Canon Premium Pro Matte paper.  It takes a day for the ink to dry down on it, but it matches pretty much in every way what I will get with my more expensive papers.  It's good match print stock.  I buy that stuff by the case and save my best prints for the expensive papers.  $10.50 for 20 sheets is hard to beat....

I hate to say it but Breathing Color is very good, even though I dislike their attitude and the shipping charges from California to Florida.  I've had problems with their canvas with seeds, etc., but they seem like the best game in town.  I wish there was something better.  But the look and longevity is there.  What can you say.

You never did say what printer you have that's on the fritz.  Not talking about it?  LOL.

Mark
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: shadowblade on March 31, 2016, 08:59:25 PM
I use the Z3200 44" a lot for making "Match Prints" to send off when I'm having Dye-Sub or other types of Prints I can't make done.  I've been very happy with KODAK PROFFESIONAL Inkjet Photo Paper, Glossy 44" x 100'

For portfolio prints I do 13 x 19 and 17 x 22 prints on both the Z3200 24" and the 44".  I use a lot of Canson papers what used to be Arches Canson.  I have a lot of that left over from stock.

I do use BC PURA Smooth and Velvet both in sheets and rolls.  I do like PURA Velvet as well as Elegance Velvet.

I like Lyve but it seems heavy.  I also like Chromata White, but I have to say I prefer Glamour Gloss to Timeless.

I'm looking for a paper that has the same look and feel as the old Portriga Rapid paper.

I like the earlier Canson papers but also like the BC papers.  There was a BC paper that they discontinued called Vibrance Matte.  Also a Paper called Elegance Velvet.  Both were awesome.

Since I have my own printers and I do a lot of experimenting with post processing techniques, etc., I make a ton of prints on 13 x 19 on (wait for it) believe it or not Canon Premium Pro Matte paper.  It takes a day for the ink to dry down on it, but it matches pretty much in every way what I will get with my more expensive papers.  It's good match print stock.  I buy that stuff by the case and save my best prints for the expensive papers.  $10.50 for 20 sheets is hard to beat....

I hate to say it but Breathing Color is very good, even though I dislike their attitude and the shipping charges from California to Florida.  I've had problems with their canvas with seeds, etc., but they seem like the best game in town.  I wish there was something better.  But the look and longevity is there.  What can you say.

You never did say what printer you have that's on the fritz.  Not talking about it?  LOL.

Mark

Elegance Velvet is still available. I never went with Elegance (or Optica One) though, due to their high OBA content. Seems like a lot of print shops offer Z3100/Z3200 with Elegance or Optica One, but no-one offers it with Pura Velvet/Smooth (which are exactly the same papers without OBAs). For short-term display I like Moab Slickrock Pearl. Wish they made a fibre-based, OBA-free version of it, though. Or an OBA-free, archival-rated polymer film version.

Epson 7900 (resuscitated from the dead after being obtained cheaply, running a custom inkset) - fried electronics. 44" Z3200 (shared with several others) is sitting in several pieces after the ceiling above it failed.
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: Mark Lindquist on March 31, 2016, 09:43:27 PM
How bad is the Z3200?  Why not fix it? 
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: shadowblade on March 31, 2016, 09:52:46 PM
How bad is the Z3200?  Why not fix it?

The whole thing was literally split in two - even the rail the print head runs along has folded in the middle. Porcelain toilets are heavy. Covered by insurance, but calculations based on depreciated value hurt.
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: Mark Lindquist on March 31, 2016, 10:40:02 PM
The whole thing was literally split in two - even the rail the print head runs along has folded in the middle. Porcelain toilets are heavy. Covered by insurance, but calculations based on depreciated value hurt.

Ouch!
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: enduser on April 01, 2016, 06:17:07 AM
Purely as an aside, my son was living next to a busy  road and we thought an outside banner might draw attention to his business.

We printed a 6 foot by 2 foot banner in color using a Canon ipf6100 pigment printer.  The substrate was a a cheap synthetic banner material from China.  We then bought a can of the cheapest clear spray from a DIY store and emptied it over the image.  It was then stapled to a pine frame.

For three years it was outside, next to the road and the only change that was observable was a bit of weave unravelling at the ends. Colors appeared not to have changed.
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: shadowblade on April 01, 2016, 06:45:41 AM
Purely as an aside, my son was living next to a busy  road and we thought an outside banner might draw attention to his business.

We printed a 6 foot by 2 foot banner in color using a Canon ipf6100 pigment printer.  The substrate was a a cheap synthetic banner material from China.  We then bought a can of the cheapest clear spray from a DIY store and emptied it over the image.  It was then stapled to a pine frame.

For three years it was outside, next to the road and the only change that was observable was a bit of weave unravelling at the ends. Colors appeared not to have changed.

I remember you mentioning that a few years ago.

Did you happen to compare it side-by-side against a newly-printed banner? Sometimes, a change happens so slowly it doesn't seem obvious, unless you compare it against the original, or unless you haven't seen it for a long time.
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: enduser on April 01, 2016, 07:24:37 AM
We did re-print a bit of it and it looked just a tiny bit tired, but it served its purpose and brought in some business.  We called it "A quick and dirty" response to a need that cost almost nothing.

The main point was that it didn't need to really look like the original because it was just words and some swirls of color.
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: shadowblade on April 01, 2016, 07:27:02 AM
We did re-print a bit of it and it looked just a tiny bit tired, but it served its purpose and brought in some business.  We called it "A quick and dirty" response to a need that cost almost nothing.

The main point was that it didn't need to really look like the original because it was just words and some swirls of color.

Sure, I definitely get that with signage.

Photos are probably a bit different...
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: shadowblade on April 03, 2016, 12:13:04 PM
I like Lyve but it seems heavy.  I also like Chromata White, but I have to say I prefer Glamour Gloss to Timeless.

Don't think I've had anything printed on Chromata White since Lyve came out. Can't beat the increased gamut and Dmax. Canvas isn't my favourite substrate texture-wise, but it's hard to argue with it for durability and longevity on open display.

What do you mean by 'heavy'? Isn't that generally a good thing, durability-wise? I'd print on 32oz denim if they made it inkjet-compatible...

Why Glamour II? Ease of use and self-levelling? Granted, I'd probably use it too, if it contained UV inhibitors...

Quote
I like the earlier Canson papers but also like the BC papers.  There was a BC paper that they discontinued called Vibrance Matte.  Also a Paper called Elegance Velvet.  Both were awesome.

I've found myself printing less and less paper over the last few years, and more and more of everything else. In most cases, this has to be outsourced.

I like paper. For almost any photo, there is at least one, often many, papers on which it stands out. In many cases, it brings out the photo better than any other medium. But, by the time you surround it with a mat, put it in a frame and cover it with glass, much of the aesthetic and appeal of paper is lost, and you're left with an object that doesn't really fit in many of todays urban, minimalist interiors. And, unfortunately, there's no surface coating or treatment on the market that can make printed paper as tough as canvas or dye-sub aluminium without changing its appearance, to make it suitable for frameless display. If there was some suitable treatment available - say, something that printed paper could be soaked in to plasticise it - I'd be printing a lot more of it. But, faced with the choice of a beautiful paper print hidden behind glass, in a setting where a frameless image would look better, or a canvas or aluminium print that, while not as appealing when you're close enough to see and appreciate the texture and substrate, is much more impactful when viewing the whole, frameless work on the wall, I'd take the latter almost every time.

I wonder what the solution is. Maybe textured, white-pigmented metal printed with UV inks or via some sort of pigment-transfer process, with imprinted surface textures identical to those of various fine-art papers? Hahnemuhle Torchon or Canson Etching Edition aluminium might just work...

Quote
I hate to say it but Breathing Color is very good, even though I dislike their attitude and the shipping charges from California to Florida.  I've had problems with their canvas with seeds, etc., but they seem like the best game in town.  I wish there was something better.  But the look and longevity is there.  What can you say?

They seem to have the most lightfast inkjet coating out there, as well as substrates that compete with the best from the long-established paper mills in terms of quality (if not variety). Hahnemuhle does pretty well too. Canson produces beautiful papers, but seem to be lacking a bit longevity-wise - I order a lot of black-and-white carbon on them (especially Etching and Platine) but prefer something with a higher longevity rating for colour.  The other big plus is that the matte papers work very well with both Timeless and Glamour II, unlike the offerings from Canson and Hahnemuhle. Shipping to Australia costs a bundle, though.
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: Mark Lindquist on April 03, 2016, 12:51:15 PM
Don't think I've had anything printed on Chromata White since Lyve came out. Can't beat the increased gamut and Dmax. Canvas isn't my favourite substrate texture-wise, but it's hard to argue with it for durability and longevity on open display.

What do you mean by 'heavy'? Isn't that generally a good thing, durability-wise? I'd print on 32oz denim if they made it inkjet-compatible...

Why Glamour II? Ease of use and self-levelling? Granted, I'd probably use it too, if it contained UV inhibitors...

I would prefer a medium weight canvas for ease of stretching.  I want something that can hold the inks well, be extra archival, but be relatively easy to stretch, and will hold throughout the seasons and years.

I prefer Glamour II for the reasons you mention.  I developed a special formula for rolling it on years ago which involved heating the distilled water.  It was the best coating I've ever seen in that configuration.  I now send my canvases out to a great guy who does super work.  We worked out a coating that is just right with Matte and Gloss mixture sprayed.  I like the finish but he doesn't like to stretch my work because of the mirrored edges and pickiness of his client... What can I say, the work has to be right.  Thank goodness he humors me and just charges extra to do my work.  This is MUCH appreciated.


I've found myself printing less and less paper over the last few years, and more and more of everything else. In most cases, this has to be outsourced.

I like paper. For almost any photo, there is at least one, often many, papers on which it stands out. In many cases, it brings out the photo better than any other medium. But, by the time you surround it with a mat, put it in a frame and cover it with glass, much of the aesthetic and appeal of paper is lost, and you're left with an object that doesn't really fit in many of todays urban, minimalist interiors. And, unfortunately, there's no surface coating or treatment on the market that can make printed paper as tough as canvas or dye-sub aluminium without changing its appearance, to make it suitable for frameless display. If there was some suitable treatment available - say, something that printed paper could be soaked in to plasticise it - I'd be printing a lot more of it. But, faced with the choice of a beautiful paper print hidden behind glass, in a setting where a frameless image would look better, or a canvas or aluminium print that, while not as appealing when you're close enough to see and appreciate the texture and substrate, is much more impactful when viewing the whole, frameless work on the wall, I'd take the latter almost every time. 

I find that paper is critical in understanding the nuances of an edited file.  I print several prints of one file making corrections and subtle changes.  Having paper in hand is critical for my portfolio.  It is what sells the print.  In Paris during the impressionist period of painting, Japanese pottery was sent over using Ukiyo-e prints as packing. These prints got around to many artist, VanGogh and Gaugin, lots of others, who became enamored of the handmade print.  The tactility of the image hand printed on handmade paper just blew these guys away.  This became an important influence - the designs, the images, the hand made qualities, the iron wire techniques, etc.

I do agree, that a Dye Sub print on Ultra Gloss or whatever is impactful.  It is in many cases the best for locking in the exact manner of representing work.  But a print is intimate.  It can be walked to different light sources, which makes the print impart a sense of ownership to the viewer holding it, via their participation.  They can control one aspect of viewing - the way they want to see it-- their way.

I wonder what the solution is. Maybe textured, white-pigmented metal printed with UV inks or via some sort of pigment-transfer process, with imprinted surface textures identical to those of various fine-art papers? Hahnemuhle Torchon or Canson Etching Edition aluminium might just work...

They seem to have the most lightfast inkjet coating out there, as well as substrates that compete with the best from the long-established paper mills in terms of quality (if not variety). Hahnemuhle does pretty well too. Canson produces beautiful papers, but seem to be lacking a bit longevity-wise - I order a lot of black-and-white carbon on them (especially Etching and Platine) but prefer something with a higher longevity rating for colour.  The other big plus is that the matte papers work very well with both Timeless and Glamour II, unlike the offerings from Canson and Hahnemuhle. Shipping to Australia costs a bundle, though.

Yeah, this is a tough one.  Always in search of the ultimate to be able to exhibit the image in the ultimate form.
Ernst Dinkla, who I respect very much, mentioned a technique he used, with sandwiches of glazing and a white layer behind.
His approach is earlier in this thread.

If you think about milky white plexi-glass, if there was just some way to infuse an image into it, just as an image is infused into the aluminum with dye-sub, that could be the answer, at least for me.  I dream of an image that becomes part of the material, in this case milky white acrylic sheets that can be back-lit, or hung in a window, or just lit from behind somehow.
It would be interesting to see the image with a sandblasted, frosted face, as a matte surface somehow.

I'm sure it can be done, it just isn't available commercially yet.  I wonder if it can be done with the heat press transfer process, then have another acrylic sheet laminated and heat pressed.  Now that would be interesting....
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: shadowblade on April 04, 2016, 12:45:35 PM
I would prefer a medium weight canvas for ease of stretching.  I want something that can hold the inks well, be extra archival, but be relatively easy to stretch, and will hold throughout the seasons and years.

Wunderbars (http://www.wunderbars.com) - they'll stretch themselves, and stay taut even as the canvas 'breathes'.

Quote
I prefer Glamour II for the reasons you mention.  I developed a special formula for rolling it on years ago which involved heating the distilled water.  It was the best coating I've ever seen in that configuration.  I now send my canvases out to a great guy who does super work.  We worked out a coating that is just right with Matte and Gloss mixture sprayed.  I like the finish but he doesn't like to stretch my work because of the mirrored edges and pickiness of his client... What can I say, the work has to be right.  Thank goodness he humors me and just charges extra to do my work.  This is MUCH appreciated.

I just can't get past the lack of UV protection with Glamour II.

Mirrored edges, coloured borders, anything other than gallery wraps are tricky, even after taking into account dimensional change when printing. Unfortunately, they're often unavoidable, since most shots aren't taken with extra space around the edges for gallery wraps. Almost makes you want to just glue it down to a piece of Dibond with silicone or PVA rather than stretch it...


Quote
I find that paper is critical in understanding the nuances of an edited file.  I print several prints of one file making corrections and subtle changes.  Having paper in hand is critical for my portfolio.  It is what sells the print.  In Paris during the impressionist period of painting, Japanese pottery was sent over using Ukiyo-e prints as packing. These prints got around to many artist, VanGogh and Gaugin, lots of others, who became enamored of the handmade print.  The tactility of the image hand printed on handmade paper just blew these guys away.  This became an important influence - the designs, the images, the hand made qualities, the iron wire techniques, etc.

I do agree, that a Dye Sub print on Ultra Gloss or whatever is impactful.  It is in many cases the best for locking in the exact manner of representing work.  But a print is intimate.  It can be walked to different light sources, which makes the print impart a sense of ownership to the viewer holding it, via their participation.  They can control one aspect of viewing - the way they want to see it-- their way.

Yeah, this is a tough one.  Always in search of the ultimate to be able to exhibit the image in the ultimate form.
Ernst Dinkla, who I respect very much, mentioned a technique he used, with sandwiches of glazing and a white layer behind.
His approach is earlier in this thread.

Agree about the paper - if you can approach and view it from multiple angles, without intervening glass, the texture really makes it special. The same applies to brushed aluminium, although the silver only works for certain images. No doubt it would also apply to textured, white-coated aluminium too, if it were commercially available. If only there were a viable way to protect paper so that it would be suitable for mounting and glassless display. After all, you can't really appreciate the aesthetic of paper if it's hidden behind glass in a frame, and frames aren't really viable beyond a certain size (a 32x96" panorama isn't really amenable to framing).

Quote
If you think about milky white plexi-glass, if there was just some way to infuse an image into it, just as an image is infused into the aluminum with dye-sub, that could be the answer, at least for me.  I dream of an image that becomes part of the material, in this case milky white acrylic sheets that can be back-lit, or hung in a window, or just lit from behind somehow.
It would be interesting to see the image with a sandblasted, frosted face, as a matte surface somehow.

I'm sure it can be done, it just isn't available commercially yet.  I wonder if it can be done with the heat press transfer process, then have another acrylic sheet laminated and heat pressed.  Now that would be interesting....

One option would be overprinting or spraying a print on inkjet-coated metal with some sort of low-temperature glaze, then heating it in a conveyor belt oven to set it. The pigment from HP and Canon printers should certainly be able to take it, since the temperatures in the thermal inkjet head exceed the temperature needed for some glazes.
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: Mark Lindquist on April 04, 2016, 06:16:09 PM
Wunderbars (http://www.wunderbars.com) - they'll stretch themselves, and stay taut even as the canvas 'breathes'.
Yeah, they look great, but not available in US yet. 

   

I just can't get past the lack of UV protection with Glamour II.

Yes, this is an issue.  I have done a light pre-spray with UV fixative in the past.  Along time ago, I had an issue with a specific type of Maple wood that yellowed as it aged.  I got into using rabbit skin glue to stabilize the lighter wood and for the UV protective properties of the size.  Your idea of soaking the material is giving me an idea about experimenting with RSG.  It definitely is time tested and it has a lot of different properties depending on how it's mixed.


Mirrored edges, coloured borders, anything other than gallery wraps are tricky, even after taking into account dimensional change when printing. Unfortunately, they're often unavoidable, since most shots aren't taken with extra space around the edges for gallery wraps. Almost makes you want to just glue it down to a piece of Dibond with silicone or PVA rather than stretch it...

Yeah, I hear you about gluing the canvas down.  I have done that and it has been succesful.  The mirrored edges have been extremely difficult in my case as the side edge of the stretched canvas becomes part of the overall look.  In certain cases, the lines form chevrons, and they can be extremely difficult to get right.  Even the Wunderbars won't help with this issue.  I've a mind to quit trying with getting the wraps perfect and just go with a frame.


Agree about the paper - if you can approach and view it from multiple angles, without intervening glass, the texture really makes it special. The same applies to brushed aluminium, although the silver only works for certain images. No doubt it would also apply to textured, white-coated aluminium too, if it were commercially available. If only there were a viable way to protect paper so that it would be suitable for mounting and glassless display. After all, you can't really appreciate the aesthetic of paper if it's hidden behind glass in a frame, and frames aren't really viable beyond a certain size (a 32x96" panorama isn't really amenable to framing).

I think it might be the next iteration for the Dye Sub printers.  I don't like the brushed aluminum, but I could see an embossed surface that had subtle "tooth" to it like paper.  Potentially, it could even have a particular texture that even felt like paper.  Think of feeling the surface of etched glass or sandblasted glass.  It could have possibilities.


One option would be overprinting or spraying a print on inkjet-coated metal with some sort of low-temperature glaze, then heating it in a conveyor belt oven to set it. The pigment from HP and Canon printers should certainly be able to take it, since the temperatures in the thermal inkjet head exceed the temperature needed for some glazes.

Optical epoxy.  Heat cured.  That stuff could be laid down as the print comes out of the printer (via a separate system) to combine with the inks as a base coat.  Now that could be interesting.

Optical epoxy can be used in so many ways and with textures and surfaces that can be controlled.

Maybe there would be a way to soak the canvas print in it and have the print stretched in a machine that could vibrate the excess off while going through the heat treatment. The more left on the glossier, the less, the more matte the surface.

At one point just before final curing, the whole print could be sent through an embossing roller that would give the same texture as several papers or canvasses.

Mark

 

Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: shadowblade on April 07, 2016, 01:03:58 PM
Yeah, they look great, but not available in US yet. 

Not in Australia either. I just order them via a friend in London. You could also use a parcel forwarding service.

Quote
Yes, this is an issue.  I have done a light pre-spray with UV fixative in the past.  Along time ago, I had an issue with a specific type of Maple wood that yellowed as it aged.  I got into using rabbit skin glue to stabilize the lighter wood and for the UV protective properties of the size.  Your idea of soaking the material is giving me an idea about experimenting with RSG.  It definitely is time tested and it has a lot of different properties depending on how it's mixed.

Not familiar with rabbit skin glue - what does it do and what are its properties that make it useful for this?

Quote
Yeah, I hear you about gluing the canvas down.  I have done that and it has been succesful.  The mirrored edges have been extremely difficult in my case as the side edge of the stretched canvas becomes part of the overall look.  In certain cases, the lines form chevrons, and they can be extremely difficult to get right.  Even the Wunderbars won't help with this issue.  I've a mind to quit trying with getting the wraps perfect and just go with a frame.

Good thing is, when making huge prints, a gallery wrap usually isn't a problem, since the edges are only a small percentage of the total canvas dimensions. Smaller prints are more problematic.

Quote
I think it might be the next iteration for the Dye Sub printers.  I don't like the brushed aluminum, but I could see an embossed surface that had subtle "tooth" to it like paper.  Potentially, it could even have a particular texture that even felt like paper.  Think of feeling the surface of etched glass or sandblasted glass.  It could have possibilities.

I don't see dye-sub metal having much of a future. It only exists because current photo inkjet printers can't print onto aluminium plate and because, so far, no-one's made a UV printer aimed at the photography and fine art market rather than the industrial/signprinting market. Compared to direct printing methods, it's time-consuming, labour-intensive and had a much greater chance of error/failure, and compared to pigment, it isn't as lightfast. What it gives is an appearance and physical durability that can't currently be replicated by any other photo printing method; when direct printing methods become more accessible to photographers and artists, with fine-art/photography-oriented printers and inksets, I think dye-sub metal will die out.
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: Mark Lindquist on April 08, 2016, 03:04:41 PM

Not familiar with rabbit skin glue - what does it do and what are its properties that make it useful for this?

It is a canvas size when mixed one way, and a glue when mixed another way.  Renaissance painters used it to size their canvasses- stretched them tight as a drum.  It is used also as an undercoat for gold leaf.
It has lightfast properties and can block UV.  It has to be the real RSG, however.
I can't say if it is compatible with  pigment inks.  It does not work with acryilic.  It has pros and cons.

Good thing is, when making huge prints, a gallery wrap usually isn't a problem, since the edges are only a small percentage of the total canvas dimensions. Smaller prints are more problematic.

Have to disagree with you there, Doc.  Getting an edge to line up exactly at a stretcher-frame edge and hold it there and going to opposite side and hitting it exactly while maintaining a taught canvas is sometimes very tricky.  Not easy to do, to hold the exact lines.

I don't see dye-sub metal having much of a future. It only exists because current photo inkjet printers can't print onto aluminium plate and because, so far, no-one's made a UV printer aimed at the photography and fine art market rather than the industrial/signprinting market. Compared to direct printing methods, it's time-consuming, labour-intensive and had a much greater chance of error/failure, and compared to pigment, it isn't as lightfast. What it gives is an appearance and physical durability that can't currently be replicated by any other photo printing method; when direct printing methods become more accessible to photographers and artists, with fine-art/photography-oriented printers and inksets, I think dye-sub metal will die out.

Doubt that level of printer will be available to us anytime soon.  But if it was, I'd consider buying it.

I can't see dye-sub dying out, but then again, the buggy whip makers couldn't believe those things would become obsolete either....

I see dye sub just getting better.  Better longer lasting inks, better techniques, etc.

-Mark
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: shadowblade on April 09, 2016, 01:48:03 AM
It is a canvas size when mixed one way, and a glue when mixed another way.  Renaissance painters used it to size their canvasses- stretched them tight as a drum.  It is used also as an undercoat for gold leaf.
It has lightfast properties and can block UV.  It has to be the real RSG, however.
I can't say if it is compatible with  pigment inks.  It does not work with acryilic.  It has pros and cons.

I suspect a similar method could be used to manufacture paper that's as tough as canvas and suitable for frameless display.

After all, cellulose fibres are strong. Wood is made of it. So are sailcloth and denim, which resist saltwater, high winds and scrapes on pavement. Paper is made from the same thing - just that the fibres are neither arranged in a strong, mutually-reinforcing pattern nor held together by a strong, waterproof binder. On the other hand, its absorbency and anisotropic texture make it ideal for absorbing ink and being used for writing - but neither is needed for inkjet printing, since the paper is no more than a base to reinforce the layer that's actually being printed on.

So, why not throw out all the 'tradition' of papermaking - gelatin sizing and all - and think about what it is you're actually trying to produce, what features you need and want, which features you don't, and how to achieve them? The texture and appearance of paper, certainly. If you didn't want the appearance of paper, you'd print on something else. Durability, physical strength and water resistance? Certainly - you want to be able to display these unprotected like a canvas or aluminium print, not be forced to hide it behind glass for its own protection. Resistance to chemical or biological attack? I assume you want these to last a long time, not grow mouldy or start showing spots of foxing. Flexibility? Useful if you want it to go through a printer, although a paper that comes pre-attached to an aluminium panel (possibly intermeshed with a metal mesh or lattice in front of the solid metal panel so it cannot possibly delaminate) would be nice for flatbed printing. Ability to accept inks, pencils, etc.? You're making an inkjet paper, not a drawing or watercolour paper. Don't need it in the paper base.

Given that you want to keep the cellulose base, it's all about the sizing. Forget gelatin - it may be traditional, but there are better options now if you want to make a material with the listed characteristics. Organic chemistry has advanced somewhat in the past 600 years. The right sizing makes it water-resistant, impervious to biological and chemical attack, and, like the cement in concrete, can bind the fibres together to make it as strong as wood or canvas. Choose a flexible sizer if you want flexibility, or a rigid one if you want a hard, boardlike material. Double points if you can also make the sizer inkjet-receptive (probably easier for solvent than for aqueous inks); if not, then add a receptive layer that extends deep into the meshed fibres rather than simply coating the surface (the pigment will still stay at the surface) so that it can never come apart from the paper. That way, you'd have a material that looks and feels like paper (because it *is* paper) but lacks its fragility and susceptibility to environmental attack. But that would require a goal-based, engineering approach to paper development from the ground up, rather than a simpler, 'add a receptive coating to a well-known non-inkjet paper' aesthetic approach.

Quote
Have to disagree with you there, Doc.  Getting an edge to line up exactly at a stretcher-frame edge and hold it there and going to opposite side and hitting it exactly while maintaining a taught canvas is sometimes very tricky.  Not easy to do, to hold the exact lines.

I meant in terms of not losing the composition due to too much of the image being lost at the edges, not in terms of actually putting the thing together!

Quote
Doubt that level of printer will be available to us anytime soon.  But if it was, I'd consider buying it.

I don't see why not. It'd essentially be a HP or Epson inkjet printer with some curing LEDs attached to the print head. No solvent-resistant parts required, no heating elements like solvent printers, and the inks are cheaper to make than aqueous inks. Build in something to cut aluminium and Dibond to size and it'd be perfect. Really, the only reason current models cost a hundred times as much as aqueous inkjet printers is because they're 5m wide, weigh 10 tons and are built for industrial speed.

Also, they'd be the perfect medium for next-generation, fade-proof plasmonic pigments.

Quote
I can't see dye-sub dying out, but then again, the buggy whip makers couldn't believe those things would become obsolete either....

I see dye sub just getting better.  Better longer lasting inks, better techniques, etc.

It'll still be fiddly, incovenient and labour-intensive, with the requirement of multiple registrations, transferring prints and large, heated presses.
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: Mark Lindquist on April 09, 2016, 12:04:53 PM
It occurs to me that what I would like, in some cases for certain images would be the equivalent of a sheet of acrylic where the image was engrained within.  I think it would be possible to do a 3D print building up layers of color, within a clear base.  Thinking of color as 3D in a colloidal suspension (hypothetically) where the suspension is clear acrylic (or glass), the image could be an integral part of the "sheet".  Dye sub gives the impression that it is one unified structure from the origin of its making, yet it is sandwiched layers.

The real issue is that I'm not about to jump into that fray or go down that rabbit hole at my age.  I'd rather work on my art or the mechanical aspects of making things and eschew chemistry and physics, the things that are not my strong areas.  I know just enough to be dangerous.  I'll wager you know enough to be deadly.

I see it this way:  Paper is paper, other substrates are what they are.  I wouldn't begin to mess with the history and tradition of paper, which I dearly love.  Going another direction for other images where it is suitable is another thing, but that's for others to tackle. 

It's a shame that Harvey Littleton and Dominic Labino are not still alive.  Harvey was the father of American Studio Glass.  We had several conversations about printing and glass.  He did a particular kind of printing called Vitreography using glass as the plate for printing.  I've done some prints that way in the past. Littleton translated the industrial glass formulas so they could be used in the smaller craftsman's studios.

He might have been interested in this discussion since Vitreography was his main focus for years before he passed.

VITREOGRAPHY and HARVEY LITTLETON (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitreography)

I like the idea about 3D printing and building up of layers to create an encapsulated print.  Possibilities for lightfastness and longevity.  But then, some might ask why not just use an LED screen.  For me, it is the object itself that exhibits museum heft, which would require light-fastness and a significant archival endorsement by the powers that be.

Many years back there was a CNC/Milling process that was used to reverse engineer objects (like a carburetor for example).  The machine essentially milled off a small layer, say 10 thousandths, then scanned the object, then milled, then scanned, etc., until the object was gone but a CAD drawing of it was created by layering the scanned images.

My idea would be to reverse the reverse and make it an additive process. Building up layers is a technology that is available currently, but the lightfastness is the issue.

I imagine this could happen in the near future, but it won't be me, making it so.

-Mark
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: shadowblade on April 10, 2016, 10:28:38 AM
It occurs to me that what I would like, in some cases for certain images would be the equivalent of a sheet of acrylic where the image was engrained within.  I think it would be possible to do a 3D print building up layers of color, within a clear base.  Thinking of color as 3D in a colloidal suspension (hypothetically) where the suspension is clear acrylic (or glass), the image could be an integral part of the "sheet".  Dye sub gives the impression that it is one unified structure from the origin of its making, yet it is sandwiched layers.

The real issue is that I'm not about to jump into that fray or go down that rabbit hole at my age.  I'd rather work on my art or the mechanical aspects of making things and eschew chemistry and physics, the things that are not my strong areas.  I know just enough to be dangerous.  I'll wager you know enough to be deadly.

I see it this way:  Paper is paper, other substrates are what they are.  I wouldn't begin to mess with the history and tradition of paper, which I dearly love.  Going another direction for other images where it is suitable is another thing, but that's for others to tackle. 

It's a shame that Harvey Littleton and Dominic Labino are not still alive.  Harvey was the father of American Studio Glass.  We had several conversations about printing and glass.  He did a particular kind of printing called Vitreography using glass as the plate for printing.  I've done some prints that way in the past. Littleton translated the industrial glass formulas so they could be used in the smaller craftsman's studios.

He might have been interested in this discussion since Vitreography was his main focus for years before he passed.

VITREOGRAPHY and HARVEY LITTLETON (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitreography)

I like the idea about 3D printing and building up of layers to create an encapsulated print.  Possibilities for lightfastness and longevity.  But then, some might ask why not just use an LED screen.  For me, it is the object itself that exhibits museum heft, which would require light-fastness and a significant archival endorsement by the powers that be.

Many years back there was a CNC/Milling process that was used to reverse engineer objects (like a carburetor for example).  The machine essentially milled off a small layer, say 10 thousandths, then scanned the object, then milled, then scanned, etc., until the object was gone but a CAD drawing of it was created by layering the scanned images.

My idea would be to reverse the reverse and make it an additive process. Building up layers is a technology that is available currently, but the lightfastness is the issue.

I imagine this could happen in the near future, but it won't be me, making it so.

-Mark

That's essentially what UV-curable printers do - they put down layer upon layer of coloured dots on a substrate (whether transparent or opaque) to build up an image, performing multiple passes if needed to build up colour, and can finish it off with a clear layer on top for gloss. It wouldn't be a huge stretch, or even particularly costly, to add extra, low-grade heads to print out a substrate (in whatever texture) before it passes through the coloured heads, or to print out a thick clear layer on top of the coloured layer once it's been printed. Just three rows of heads - the first to print out a substrate (this can be cheap, crude and fast, and turned off when you're using a pre-made substrate), the second, high-resolution row to add the coloured layer, likely in multiple passes for increased gamut and better graduations (no need for light inks if it takes 16 passes to produce a full colour anyway) and a third, cheap/fast row to add a transparent coating on top.

If you really want to up the UV protection, just change the monomers a little and, instead of making it UV-curable, make it electron-beam curable or even X-ray curable, while being opaque to UV light (but not visible light). Electron-beam curing is currently in use and is easier in terms of chemistry, but more difficult in terms of printer design, since beta particles (electrons) don't travel far in air. X-ray-curable, UV-blocking monomers (transparent to X-rays and visible light, but opaque to UV light, to protect the pigments) would be more difficult to design and would require the printer to have inbuilt shielding to prevent X-rays from reaching those around it - but so do electron beam curing printers, since beta particles striking metal also produces X-rays. X-rays would also be damaging to pigments, like UV light; however, they are almost entirely blocked by the atmosphere, so the print would never encounter them, so there is no need to shield the print against them.
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: Mark Lindquist on April 10, 2016, 12:06:59 PM
That's essentially what UV-curable printers do - they put down layer upon layer of coloured dots on a substrate (whether transparent or opaque) to build up an image, performing multiple passes if needed to build up colour, and can finish it off with a clear layer on top for gloss. It wouldn't be a huge stretch, or even particularly costly, to add extra, low-grade heads to print out a substrate (in whatever texture) before it passes through the coloured heads, or to print out a thick clear layer on top of the coloured layer once it's been printed. Just three rows of heads - the first to print out a substrate (this can be cheap, crude and fast, and turned off when you're using a pre-made substrate), the second, high-resolution row to add the coloured layer, likely in multiple passes for increased gamut and better graduations (no need for light inks if it takes 16 passes to produce a full colour anyway) and a third, cheap/fast row to add a transparent coating on top.

If you really want to up the UV protection, just change the monomers a little and, instead of making it UV-curable, make it electron-beam curable or even X-ray curable, while being opaque to UV light (but not visible light). Electron-beam curing is currently in use and is easier in terms of chemistry, but more difficult in terms of printer design, since beta particles (electrons) don't travel far in air. X-ray-curable, UV-blocking monomers (transparent to X-rays and visible light, but opaque to UV light, to protect the pigments) would be more difficult to design and would require the printer to have inbuilt shielding to prevent X-rays from reaching those around it - but so do electron beam curing printers, since beta particles striking metal also produces X-rays. X-rays would also be damaging to pigments, like UV light; however, they are almost entirely blocked by the atmosphere, so the print would never encounter them, so there is no need to shield the print against them.

I'm sure, no doubt, that you are familiar with the article on Vacuum Ultra Violet Smoothing of Nanometer-scale Asperites of Poly(methyl methacrylate) surface.

Vacuum Ultra Violet Smoothing Article (https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0ahUKEwi0-Z7-sITMAhXDQyYKHbLyAvEQFggkMAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ntmdt.com%2Fdata%2Fmedia%2Ffiles%2Fpublications%2F2010%2Flapshin_2010engl.pdf&usg=AFQjCNHBil27X30mGPdBHCBPiTJ73lNbbA&sig2=gDDPSMXY2V4cVlq6Ubpi-Q&bvm=bv.119028448,d.eWE)

In the early 80's I experimented briefly with Dr. Dale Nish on heat curing of vacuum impregnated wood (spalted wood) for stabilization purposes.  The effect was excellent.  The wood was stabilized, actually had a hard surface not unlike the hardness of rock maple and it worked and finished beautifully and took a wonderful polish.

This makes me wonder about vacuum impregnation of papers.  This could be a method of stabilizing the paper, possibly after the print has been made so that the ink would be trapped within the impregnation.

The methyl methacrylate was heat cured in an oven so it is not like the vacuum Ultraviolet Smoothing technique.

The trick, I guess, would be to encapsulate everything - Ink and all within the substrate and stabilize it while not altering the look and feel of the paper much.

An example of this exists in the woodturning world where Ed Moulthrop (and now his son and grandson) use PEG (polyethylene glycol) and soak the woods in it until the substance has displaced the bound water in the cells of the wood.  Ultimately the process stabilizes the wood, particularly green wood, that can then be turned as though it was green, but it won't crack since the evaporation of water is obfuscated by the PEG.

It alters the wood to the degree that only gloss finishes can be used however, and in sufficient thickness to trap the PEG completely.

The Work of Ed Moulthrop (http://www.moulthropstudios.com/ed.html)

You'll probably tell me that there is a printer out there that already does that, LOL.

One difficulty with all of this, is that the photographic prints produced through inkjet are subtle and refined.  the process has been developed over many years to get where it is now.  How long would it take to develop similar sophistication with the "future processes"? 

I question whether a printer cabable of these concerns would be affordable for the average user, or even the artist pursuing photography seriously.  Service bureaus would likely be the only possibility, unfortunately.

So ultimately, treating paper with the right process might yield a similar benefit - same characteristics of the paper, yet protected from the elements.  To say that this could be done to last outside for 30-50 years, however, is at best iffy.  But who knows - all it takes is someone like Ed Moulthrop (another friend who has passed on) to begin working with the process and make significant advances where industry does not plan to go.




Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: shadowblade on April 10, 2016, 12:57:51 PM
I could see vacuum impregnation being used with paper. Definitely with matte papers and other papers not containing a nonporous layer, but it mightn't work too well with baryta or RC papers, for example. With baryta papers, you'd end up with two tough, impregnated layers (the paper base and the microporous layer) on each side of a brittle, impervious baryta layer that wasn't stabilised because it isn't porous. That said, if you wanted a tough, high-gloss appearance rather than a paper appearance, there are easier methods to get it (direct printing, dye-sub, facemounting, etc.) than a method which involves vacuum pumps and industrial equipment.

Naturally, you'd use a flexible polymer for a flexible final product, or a rigid polymer if you wanted to stabilise an already-flat piece. You could even do it with Timeless - after all, this is merely an extension of the current technique of spraying multiple coats of watered-down Timeless onto the front of a print (the Pura papers work particularly wekk) and allowing them to soak in, binding the image, receiving layer and a deep portion of paper fibres into a single mass. But you'd probably choose something even more durable.

The problem is that of washing the excess off - the image is at the very surface of the receptive layer, and is fragile to begin with. Washing off a thick polymer would require a fair bit of force, and the last thing you'd want would be an abrasive effect on the image itself. So you'd probably go for a far less viscous, UV-curable sealant which can be washed right off the surface prior to curing (couldn't use electron beam curing, since beta particles are easily blocked by a thin solid layer, such as paper).

One final point is that it's not enough merely to stabilise the material. The image itself - right on the surface - needs to be protected as well. Otherwise, it's just like painting a signboard on a piece of stabilised wood - the wood itself might be stable, but the paint, right on the surface, can still be scratched off fairly easily. Perhaps a combination of vacuum impregnation to protect the mechanical structure of the paper, plus a spray-on or print-on, curable laminate to protect the image itself?
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: Mark Lindquist on April 10, 2016, 01:36:23 PM
I could see vacuum impregnation being used with paper. Definitely with matte papers and other papers not containing a nonporous layer, but it mightn't work too well with baryta or RC papers, for example. With baryta papers, you'd end up with two tough, impregnated layers (the paper base and the microporous layer) on each side of a brittle, impervious baryta layer that wasn't stabilised because it isn't porous. That said, if you wanted a tough, high-gloss appearance rather than a paper appearance, there are easier methods to get it (direct printing, dye-sub, facemounting, etc.) than a method which involves vacuum pumps and industrial equipment.

Naturally, you'd use a flexible polymer for a flexible final product, or a rigid polymer if you wanted to stabilise an already-flat piece. You could even do it with Timeless - after all, this is merely an extension of the current technique of spraying multiple coats of watered-down Timeless onto the front of a print (the Pura papers work particularly wekk) and allowing them to soak in, binding the image, receiving layer and a deep portion of paper fibres into a single mass. But you'd probably choose something even more durable.

The problem is that of washing the excess off - the image is at the very surface of the receptive layer, and is fragile to begin with. Washing off a thick polymer would require a fair bit of force, and the last thing you'd want would be an abrasive effect on the image itself. So you'd probably go for a far less viscous, UV-curable sealant which can be washed right off the surface prior to curing (couldn't use electron beam curing, since beta particles are easily blocked by a thin solid layer, such as paper).

One final point is that it's not enough merely to stabilise the material. The image itself - right on the surface - needs to be protected as well. Otherwise, it's just like painting a signboard on a piece of stabilised wood - the wood itself might be stable, but the paint, right on the surface, can still be scratched off fairly easily. Perhaps a combination of vacuum impregnation to protect the mechanical structure of the paper, plus a spray-on or print-on, curable laminate to protect the image itself?

In the past you've mentioned soaking in timeless several times, SB.  How much do you do that process, and what are your procedures, if I may ask?  Do you have large trays?  It makes me think of the old darkroom days.  Do you squeegee the excess off or hang the print up and allow the liquid to slough off on it's own?  Obviously you must be allowing the substrate to dry for a significant amount of time to avoid off-gassing before putting it through the timeless bath.

This implies a full emersion coating both front and back and interior.

Does the print become brittle?

How many soaks, how much timeless, and how diluted is it?

Cold or heated?

Do you want gloss, matte, or semi-gloss?

Do you use this for sheets as well as canvas (you mentioned Pura sheets)?

If you care to share, I'd be interested.

As to your comment above about washing the ink off, I wonder about actually doing a soak and elimination of excess FIRST on the paper, then profiling it and when thoroughly dry, then printing on the lightly soaked dry substrate, then putting the whole thing back in to a diluted bath allowing the timeless to bond with the inks and the base coating.  You have a chemistry background - would this create a stronger bond and cause the inks to become integral to the timeless and therefor the substrate?  Sounds like a lot of work to me, but the end result could be stunning....



Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: shadowblade on April 10, 2016, 02:01:10 PM
In the past you've mentioned soaking in timeless several times, SB.  How much do you do that process, and what are your procedures, if I may ask?  Do you have large trays?  It makes me think of the old darkroom days.  Do you squeegee the excess off or hang the print up and allow the liquid to slough off on it's own?  Obviously you must be allowing the substrate to dry for a significant amount of time to avoid off-gassing before putting it through the timeless bath.

This implies a full emersion coating both front and back and interior.

It's not my original method, but one I picked up and modified/refined from this forum a few years ago.

By 'soaking', I'm not referring to literal immersion in a vat of Timeless. That would be the ideal. It's also completely unfeasible, outside of a vacuum. The problem is air bubbles, trapped within the porous structure of paper and canvas. If you soak canvas or paper in Timeless, or apply a thick coating via HVLP, some will bubble to the surface as it dries, forming unsightly bubbles that ruin the final print. If you had access to a vacuum chamber to do it, you could literally dunk the print into Timeless and not get any bubbles, since the trapped air would escape as the vacuum formed, before placing the print in the Timeless. That's also getting very close to vacuum impregnation.

Rather, what I mean by 'soaking' is spraying it with multiple, thin coatings of diluted Timeless, allowing each to soak in before applying the next. This way, trapped air is only gradually displaced and has channels through which to escape, rather than simply forming a bubble. I've only tried spraying the front - haven't tried doing both the front and the back.

Quote
Does the print become brittle?

No, it stays flexible, or, in the case of paper, becomes even more flexible (in the sense that you can bend it more before it creases).

Quote
How many soaks, how much timeless, and how diluted is it?

4 parts Timeless Gloss to 1 part distilled water, plus a drop of Photo-Flo as a wetting agent. Anywhere from 1-5 coats for paper, depending on the final finish desired. The more coats you apply, the tougher the final surface, but the more of the paper texture you lose. The final coating can be gloss, satin or matte, depending on the desired final finish, but matting agents don't soak in anyway, so you don't want them in the earlier coatings.

Quote
Cold or heated?

Room-temperature. I'm in Australia. I'm not sure how well it would work in a North American winter...

Quote
Do you want gloss, matte, or semi-gloss?

That completely depends on the final finish desired. Five coats of diluted gloss will give you a wet-looking, high-gloss finish. But you can easily kill it with a final layer of satin or matte.

Quote
Do you use this for sheets as well as canvas (you mentioned Pura sheets)?

It works with Pura Smooth/Velvet. Not so much with Hahnemuhle Photo Rag (haven't tried it with other Hahnemuhle papers). It won't work at all with RC or baryta, since there's no way the Timeless can reach the paper base. Not sure if it will work with non-baryta, non-RC gloss papers (e.g. Photo Rag Pearl) - there's no intervening nonporous layer, but there's also a very fine-pored layer at the front of the print. Maybe it would work if you diluted it down some more; you'd certainly need the surfactant. Apparently it also works with Moab Entrada, but I haven't tried it, and doesn't work well with Canson papers.

Quote
As to your comment above about washing the ink off, I wonder about actually doing a soak and elimination of excess FIRST on the paper, then profiling it and when thoroughly dry, then printing on the lightly soaked dry substrate, then putting the whole thing back in to a diluted bath allowing the timeless to bond with the inks and the base coating.  You have a chemistry background - would this create a stronger bond and cause the inks to become integral to the timeless and therefor the substrate?  Sounds like a lot of work to me, but the end result could be stunning....

Depends what printing method you use. It probably wouldn't work at all with aqueous inks, since the Timeless would also sit around in the microporous layer and clog up the pores there, preventing the ink from effectively separating from the pigment. You wouldn't be able to soak it with Timeless and dry it first, before printing on it.
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: Mark Lindquist on April 10, 2016, 03:08:19 PM
Thanks for sharing your approach SB.  Years ago, we developed a formula and rolled on Glamour Gloss II, basically "soaking the canvas as you have said.  I envisioned your putting the prints in trays for some reason - just the way you said "soak".

Using the special fine rollers we were able to put on several diluted layers of GGII and warm distilled water with some parts gloss and some parts matte.  I am not keen on matte finishes that are heavy or cloudy.  The ideal is not knowing there is finish on the print, but that is really tricky to pull off and keep protection.

I really like the roller method but I haven't found anyone who can/will do it for me.  We no longer do it here because I have built up a chemical sensitivity to finishes of all kinds and it throws me into a wobble when I get exposed, even when wearing a mask for VOC's - the heaviest available.  People who are not sensitized to it can do all they want, but once you become sensitized to chemicals it's game over.

This is one of the reasons I'm interested in a printer/printing process that does this finish as part of the process.  As it is, I have the printers isolated from the rest of the studio.  I have 25,000 sq.ft, so it's not too difficult to carve a space out for it.  But the finish gets everywhere, so is verboten now.

I've used tyvek suits and positive air pressure breathing systems but still it's enough to trigger a response.  I'm pretty much done with doing the work myself at this point.  I do miss the rolled surface though.



Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: shadowblade on April 12, 2016, 12:29:47 PM
Thanks for sharing your approach SB.  Years ago, we developed a formula and rolled on Glamour Gloss II, basically "soaking the canvas as you have said.  I envisioned your putting the prints in trays for some reason - just the way you said "soak".

Using the special fine rollers we were able to put on several diluted layers of GGII and warm distilled water with some parts gloss and some parts matte.  I am not keen on matte finishes that are heavy or cloudy.  The ideal is not knowing there is finish on the print, but that is really tricky to pull off and keep protection.

I really like the roller method but I haven't found anyone who can/will do it for me.  We no longer do it here because I have built up a chemical sensitivity to finishes of all kinds and it throws me into a wobble when I get exposed, even when wearing a mask for VOC's - the heaviest available.  People who are not sensitized to it can do all they want, but once you become sensitized to chemicals it's game over.

This is one of the reasons I'm interested in a printer/printing process that does this finish as part of the process.  As it is, I have the printers isolated from the rest of the studio.  I have 25,000 sq.ft, so it's not too difficult to carve a space out for it.  But the finish gets everywhere, so is verboten now.

I've used tyvek suits and positive air pressure breathing systems but still it's enough to trigger a response.  I'm pretty much done with doing the work myself at this point.  I do miss the rolled surface though.

I like the idea of vacuum impregnation. It's like the spray-and-soak approach taken to the next level - since you've taken all the air out of the paper, you can safely immerse it in the sealant without running into problems with bubbles and, once the vacuum pump is turned off and pressure restored to the paper, air pressure would push the sealant even further into the paper.

You could even build a chamber at home without too much difficulty? Bearing in mind that even a large print can be rolled up, placed in the chamber and impregnated with a flexible polymer, so you wouldn't need a huge one.

Only thing is, what sealant would you use? You'd probably want to operate this in a low-temperature environment - at low pressures, water in aqueous sealants will boil at room temperature, and many solvent-based sealants have even lower boiling points. I'm not sure if you could use something normally used for sealing or stabilising wood or stone - unlike for wood or stone, it needs to be flexible, as well as non-yellowing and archival. UV-blocking would be a huge plus. It would need to have low enough viscosity for the excess to easily flow off, or be washed off, the print once it is removed from the chamber, yet be easy to cure (air-dried would be easiest), and cure without releasing chemicals (e.g. hydrochloric acid) that can harm the print.
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: Mark Lindquist on April 13, 2016, 11:13:43 AM
I like the idea of vacuum impregnation. It's like the spray-and-soak approach taken to the next level - since you've taken all the air out of the paper, you can safely immerse it in the sealant without running into problems with bubbles and, once the vacuum pump is turned off and pressure restored to the paper, air pressure would push the sealant even further into the paper.

You could even build a chamber at home without too much difficulty? Bearing in mind that even a large print can be rolled up, placed in the chamber and impregnated with a flexible polymer, so you wouldn't need a huge one.

Only thing is, what sealant would you use? You'd probably want to operate this in a low-temperature environment - at low pressures, water in aqueous sealants will boil at room temperature, and many solvent-based sealants have even lower boiling points. I'm not sure if you could use something normally used for sealing or stabilising wood or stone - unlike for wood or stone, it needs to be flexible, as well as non-yellowing and archival. UV-blocking would be a huge plus. It would need to have low enough viscosity for the excess to easily flow off, or be washed off, the print once it is removed from the chamber, yet be easy to cure (air-dried would be easiest), and cure without releasing chemicals (e.g. hydrochloric acid) that can harm the print.

I have experience making paper cast objects with a vacuum system.  In the past, years ago, like 1989, I collaborated with a master printer who had been a Tyler Graphics printer, that was making his own moulded paper castings.  He had a vacuum system that was like a blanket that pulled the vacuum and sucked the liquid out of the pulp.  Actually used cotton Levis for pulp.  Made several paper moulds from various carved reliefs I had done.  Labor intensive making one's own pulp, but well worth it.  I can't remember where he got the pulp vat and the vacuum system - that was a long time ago.  There are guides to making homemade vacuum table presses out there:

VACUUM TABLE PRESS (https://books.google.com/books?id=P-yxLu54aboC&pg=PA33&lpg=PA33&dq=making+paper+with+homemade+vacuum+system&source=bl&ots=RNiUE-zdoj&sig=QyZuwlIoA2vurTi0pomuEa_yZRE&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiE1IOq74vMAhVF5iYKHXLtCP04ChDoAQgdMAE#v=onepage&q=making%20paper%20with%20homemade%20vacuum%20system&f=false)

Roll to Roll Vacuum Deposition system (https://books.google.com/books?id=9tt5CgAAQBAJ&pg=PA267&dq=making+paper+with+homemade+vacuum+system&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi6gMbn74vMAhVMxCYKHfe2AeUQ6AEIRTAF#v=onepage&q=making%20paper%20with%20homemade%20vacuum%20system&f=false)

Catherine Nash's 1986 article on Vacuum Casting Paper (http://www.papermakingresources.com/articles_vacuum.html)

See here's the problem, Shadowblade, that all of the above is possible, feasible, doable, etc., but it would take what is commonly referred to in the industry (or used to be before PC) "multiple Man Years" to accomplish a viable system.  It can be done, and I have dedicated myself to many projects along these lines building robotics, but I just don't see jumping into this rabbit hole.  However, it is intruiging.

I see no reason that timeless couldn't be used as a liquid sealant.  With a vacuum system, a table type, the timeless could be put on from the front and pulled through the print when the vacuum is pulled.  When the print, paper, or moulded pulp, etc, comes through it is just about dry similar to how clothes from a washing machine that have gone through the spin cycle.  What would be cool would be a system where the entire finished print could be soaked in a vat and then put on felts in a vacuum table press, then sucked almost dry.  That would be impregnation.
A lot of experimentation, a lot of futzing around, and ultimately one could just take out one's wallet and throw money on the ground - it would be easier. 

But it could be done.

Why don't you try it?

 ;)

Mark
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: shadowblade on April 14, 2016, 07:07:52 AM
I have experience making paper cast objects with a vacuum system.  In the past, years ago, like 1989, I collaborated with a master printer who had been a Tyler Graphics printer, that was making his own moulded paper castings.  He had a vacuum system that was like a blanket that pulled the vacuum and sucked the liquid out of the pulp.  Actually used cotton Levis for pulp.  Made several paper moulds from various carved reliefs I had done.  Labor intensive making one's own pulp, but well worth it.  I can't remember where he got the pulp vat and the vacuum system - that was a long time ago.  There are guides to making homemade vacuum table presses out there:

VACUUM TABLE PRESS (https://books.google.com/books?id=P-yxLu54aboC&pg=PA33&lpg=PA33&dq=making+paper+with+homemade+vacuum+system&source=bl&ots=RNiUE-zdoj&sig=QyZuwlIoA2vurTi0pomuEa_yZRE&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiE1IOq74vMAhVF5iYKHXLtCP04ChDoAQgdMAE#v=onepage&q=making%20paper%20with%20homemade%20vacuum%20system&f=false)

Roll to Roll Vacuum Deposition system (https://books.google.com/books?id=9tt5CgAAQBAJ&pg=PA267&dq=making+paper+with+homemade+vacuum+system&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi6gMbn74vMAhVMxCYKHfe2AeUQ6AEIRTAF#v=onepage&q=making%20paper%20with%20homemade%20vacuum%20system&f=false)

Catherine Nash's 1986 article on Vacuum Casting Paper (http://www.papermakingresources.com/articles_vacuum.html)

See here's the problem, Shadowblade, that all of the above is possible, feasible, doable, etc., but it would take what is commonly referred to in the industry (or used to be before PC) "multiple Man Years" to accomplish a viable system.  It can be done, and I have dedicated myself to many projects along these lines building robotics, but I just don't see jumping into this rabbit hole.  However, it is intruiging.

I see no reason that timeless couldn't be used as a liquid sealant.  With a vacuum system, a table type, the timeless could be put on from the front and pulled through the print when the vacuum is pulled.  When the print, paper, or moulded pulp, etc, comes through it is just about dry similar to how clothes from a washing machine that have gone through the spin cycle.  What would be cool would be a system where the entire finished print could be soaked in a vat and then put on felts in a vacuum table press, then sucked almost dry.  That would be impregnation.
A lot of experimentation, a lot of futzing around, and ultimately one could just take out one's wallet and throw money on the ground - it would be easier. 

But it could be done.

Why don't you try it?

 ;)

Mark

I probably would, if it weren't for lack of floorspace in my study/printing room!

Sounds interesting - driving the Timeless deep into the paper with a vacuum chamber (as in standard vacuum impregnation), then drawing it through the paper using a vacuum table, instead of washing it off the front of the print. I wonder how tough the resulting surface would be, though. If you could make it as tough as canvas, it would be acceptable.
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: Mark Lindquist on April 14, 2016, 10:24:51 AM
I probably would, if it weren't for lack of floorspace in my study/printing room!

Sounds interesting - driving the Timeless deep into the paper with a vacuum chamber (as in standard vacuum impregnation), then drawing it through the paper using a vacuum table, instead of washing it off the front of the print. I wonder how tough the resulting surface would be, though. If you could make it as tough as canvas, it would be acceptable.

Actually, it would be an interesting process, particularly once a viscosity formula was established.  If I remember correctly, the vacuum system either had a heater in it or the vacuum caused heat - I can't remember.  In terms of a process, I would begin by running a very thin immersion that would set a "key" to the paper for subsequent immersions to bond to.  I would imagine that relatively soon thereafter, it would require a thicker coating that would still flow through the fibre/fabric.  Ultimately, each layer would be filling the micro holes not filled in the previous layer.  The idea of laying down a coat is out, since the vacuum would be unable to pull a sealed surface.  There would have to be a lot of experimentation.It might not work though, since the tendency is for the vacuum is to pull all the moisture out.  Perhaps it would be a partial vacuum or a vacuum to a certain extent - just enough to impregnate the paper or canvas.  I can't see Timeless being used as an outdoor finish however. It's just not made for that.  As far as an outdoor finish goes, we're back to the same conundrum.  A UV curable finish like Scott Martin discusses in the beginning of the thread could be a contender.

Depending upon the subtlety of the effect on /in paper, it could be just enough to let it be and allow the paper to be exhibited sans framing.  That would be an interesting development, for sure.  One perhaps worth fighting for.

Mark
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: shadowblade on April 14, 2016, 02:19:42 PM
Actually, it would be an interesting process, particularly once a viscosity formula was established.  If I remember correctly, the vacuum system either had a heater in it or the vacuum caused heat - I can't remember.  In terms of a process, I would begin by running a very thin immersion that would set a "key" to the paper for subsequent immersions to bond to.  I would imagine that relatively soon thereafter, it would require a thicker coating that would still flow through the fibre/fabric.  Ultimately, each layer would be filling the micro holes not filled in the previous layer.  The idea of laying down a coat is out, since the vacuum would be unable to pull a sealed surface.  There would have to be a lot of experimentation.It might not work though, since the tendency is for the vacuum is to pull all the moisture out.  Perhaps it would be a partial vacuum or a vacuum to a certain extent - just enough to impregnate the paper or canvas.  I can't see Timeless being used as an outdoor finish however. It's just not made for that.  As far as an outdoor finish goes, we're back to the same conundrum.  A UV curable finish like Scott Martin discusses in the beginning of the thread could be a contender.

Depending upon the subtlety of the effect on /in paper, it could be just enough to let it be and allow the paper to be exhibited sans framing.  That would be an interesting development, for sure.  One perhaps worth fighting for.

Mark

For an outdoor-suitable surface, you'd probably be looking at something like polyurethane. But my main goal in this wouldn't be for rendering paper suitable for outdoor display anyway - it would be to render paper suitable for frameless/glassless display, like canvas or aluminium, while retaining the appearance of paper and rendering it strong enough for removal from the mounting surface and remounting, should the bond fail. That would be an ideal way to display a paper print - all the texture and fine detail visible, rather than being hidden behind glass or surrounded by a mat and frame that, despite our best efforts, often detracts from the image itself rather than adding to it. If you wanted a paper-like surface for outdoor display, you'd probably be better off UV or solvent printing on a paper-textured polymer surface anyway.

I don't see why you couldn't lay a coat down. You wouldn't let it solidify - you'd apply the vacuum to it while it was still liquid, in order to draw it through the paper and minimise its visibility on the surface. The vacuum wouldn't be able to pull effectively on a solid film, but it can certainly drag liquid into/through the paper. You'd probably need a very strong vacuum pump, though - it would require a lot of force to draw aqueous solutions through the paper. The way to go would probably be to vacuum-impregnate it first - that way, it starts off already saturated with liquid sealant (no 'micro-holes', since you're removing all the air prior to soaking it in sealant), so that you can guarantee the entire paper will be saturated in it rather than solidifying before the vacuum table has a chance to pull it all the way through the paper.
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: Mark Lindquist on April 14, 2016, 03:39:32 PM
For an outdoor-suitable surface, you'd probably be looking at something like polyurethane. But my main goal in this wouldn't be for rendering paper suitable for outdoor display anyway - it would be to render paper suitable for frameless/glassless display, like canvas or aluminium, while retaining the appearance of paper and rendering it strong enough for removal from the mounting surface and remounting, should the bond fail. That would be an ideal way to display a paper print - all the texture and fine detail visible, rather than being hidden behind glass or surrounded by a mat and frame that, despite our best efforts, often detracts from the image itself rather than adding to it. If you wanted a paper-like surface for outdoor display, you'd probably be better off UV or solvent printing on a paper-textured polymer surface anyway.

I don't see why you couldn't lay a coat down. You wouldn't let it solidify - you'd apply the vacuum to it while it was still liquid, in order to draw it through the paper and minimise its visibility on the surface. The vacuum wouldn't be able to pull effectively on a solid film, but it can certainly drag liquid into/through the paper. You'd probably need a very strong vacuum pump, though - it would require a lot of force to draw aqueous solutions through the paper. The way to go would probably be to vacuum-impregnate it first - that way, it starts off already saturated with liquid sealant (no 'micro-holes', since you're removing all the air prior to soaking it in sealant), so that you can guarantee the entire paper will be saturated in it rather than solidifying before the vacuum table has a chance to pull it all the way through the paper.

So let's agree about the goal of creating a timeless impregnated paper that can be displayed on it's own without frame.

My approach then would be to create a tube as you earlier discussed (and is used in wood vacuum drying systems) and use it as a soaking mechanism.  Roll the paper gently and put string around it so that it will be a 1/2 inch from the wall of the tube - let's call it a 4" PVC drain tube with an end cap on one end and a permanent cap on the other.  The tube is filled with timeless.  the paper has been printed.  The paper goes into the tube filled with Timeless and soaks fully, for several days, preferably while being agitated by a device like those wave machines.  After several days, the Timeless soaked print is pulled from the Timeless, unrolled, and layed down on the flat vacuum press.  The felts, etc., are laid on top and bottom and the vacuum material (which is like a heavy/light plastic with a tube running in it from the vacuum machine pulls the plastic down hard on the felt/print sandwich.  Eventually, the timeless is pulled out of the print, but no doubt a good deal is left behind since it has been soaking in it for several days.  Trial and error determines how much and how long to pull the vacuum, and what results is matte and or gloss finish.  Actually I'd think once the print dried, an easy light coat or several could be rolled or sprayed on for gloss, etc.  The main objective would be to impregnate the print so it could withstand elements, etc.  Another thing to consider would be to soak the print in Timeless and run it through a wringer roller.  But I like pulling the vacuum better.

Actually once the vacuum stuff was built , both a tubular chamber and a flat table press, it might not be too bad.

Having a large paper press wouldn't hurt, either.  Once the sheets were dried, they could be pressed flat.

Many many possibilities.

Come on Shadow blade, give me a first name.  After all, we're getting to know each other now....   :)

Mark
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: shadowblade on April 15, 2016, 03:28:57 AM
So let's agree about the goal of creating a timeless impregnated paper that can be displayed on it's own without frame.

My approach then would be to create a tube as you earlier discussed (and is used in wood vacuum drying systems) and use it as a soaking mechanism.  Roll the paper gently and put string around it so that it will be a 1/2 inch from the wall of the tube - let's call it a 4" PVC drain tube with an end cap on one end and a permanent cap on the other.  The tube is filled with timeless.  the paper has been printed.  The paper goes into the tube filled with Timeless and soaks fully, for several days, preferably while being agitated by a device like those wave machines.  After several days, the Timeless soaked print is pulled from the Timeless, unrolled, and layed down on the flat vacuum press.  The felts, etc., are laid on top and bottom and the vacuum material (which is like a heavy/light plastic with a tube running in it from the vacuum machine pulls the plastic down hard on the felt/print sandwich.  Eventually, the timeless is pulled out of the print, but no doubt a good deal is left behind since it has been soaking in it for several days.  Trial and error determines how much and how long to pull the vacuum, and what results is matte and or gloss finish.  Actually I'd think once the print dried, an easy light coat or several could be rolled or sprayed on for gloss, etc.  The main objective would be to impregnate the print so it could withstand elements, etc.  Another thing to consider would be to soak the print in Timeless and run it through a wringer roller.  But I like pulling the vacuum better.

Actually once the vacuum stuff was built , both a tubular chamber and a flat table press, it might not be too bad.

Having a large paper press wouldn't hurt, either.  Once the sheets were dried, they could be pressed flat.

Many many possibilities.

Come on Shadow blade, give me a first name.  After all, we're getting to know each other now....   :)

Mark

You wouldn't need to soak it for several days. In a vacuum environment, there is no air in the pores between fibres in the paper and Timeless would fill it quickly - in a matter of minutes. Surface tension makes it energetically favourable to do so. A surfactant added to the solution would only help it along. I also doubt you'd want to soak it for several days - even with external and internal sizing, I suspect you'd run the risk of saturating the paper fibres with water, causing them to weaken, break down or distort out of shape, as well as risking the image itself running or breaking down.

The procedure I'm envisaging would be something like this:

1) Fill the bottom of the tubular vacuum chamber with sealant
2) Place the rolled-up print in a wire mesh basket in the top of the chamber
3) Seal the chamber and turn on the vacuum. Wait a few minutes for all the air to be drawn out of the paper
4) Lower the basket containing the print into the sealant. Allow a few minutes (up to half an hour) for it to be fully saturated
5) With the vacuum still on, extract the basket from the sealant
6) Turn the vacuum off. The increase in air pressure should force the sealant even further into the paper
7) Remove the print from the vacuum chamber and place it face-up on a felt pad on the vacuum table. Place another felt pad over the print before covering the whole table with a plastic film, to complete the seal.
8) Turn on the vacuum table. Run it until you can no longer see a distinct layer of sealant on the surface of the paper.
9) Remove the paper and allow it to dry flat. It should remain flexible, but you don't want to induce any curl
10) As a final step, spray with something like Hahnemuhle Protective Spray, Lascaux Fixative or another protective spray, to further protect the surface (since the ink layer, although saturated with sealant and stabilised by it, only has a very thin layer of sealant covering the surface, where the image is). Or overprint with a matte, satin or gloss UV-curable laminate.
11) Flat mount it on a substrate. I suspect anodised aluminium would work very well, due to its huge surface area for adhesion. Or you could impregnate the surface wood (or another porous material) with Timeless too, then glue them together using that.

The main difficulty, I suspect, would be temperature control - at low, near-vacuum pressures, there isn't much of a difference between the freezing and boiling temperatures of water, and Timeless is an aqueous solution.

RC papers, baryta papers and other papers containing a non-porous layer probably also wouldn't work very well - what you'd end up with is essentially two layers of stable, flexible, sealant-soaked material sandwiching a still-brittle baryta layer. Although it would probably still be fine for flat mounting.

With regards to the vacuum table, I suspect you would get better results by diluting the Timeless - without dilution, the viscosity would make it difficult to force through the paper. Perhaps Breathing Colour will make a 'Timeless for paper', designed to soak more easily into paper and similar materials, rather than the more-porous canvas. Otherwise, dilution (and/or a surfactant to reduce its surface tension) would probably be the way to go - unlike with vacuum impregnation, you can do this with a vacuum table, since you don't need to worry about the water flash-boiling in the low pressure.

If only the vacuum table weren't 2.5m long (for a 32x96" print) and the vacuum tube at least 2m tall (for a 40x60" rolled print), or if I had a large, empty workshop - then I'd probably try to build one myself. The parts aren't particularly expensive or hard to obtain...
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: Mark Lindquist on April 15, 2016, 08:31:23 AM
You wouldn't need to soak it for several days. In a vacuum environment, there is no air in the pores between fibres in the paper and Timeless would fill it quickly - in a matter of minutes. Surface tension makes it energetically favourable to do so. A surfactant added to the solution would only help it along. I also doubt you'd want to soak it for several days - even with external and internal sizing, I suspect you'd run the risk of saturating the paper fibres with water, causing them to weaken, break down or distort out of shape, as well as risking the image itself running or breaking down.

The procedure I'm envisaging would be something like this:

1) Fill the bottom of the tubular vacuum chamber with sealant
2) Place the rolled-up print in a wire mesh basket in the top of the chamber
3) Seal the chamber and turn on the vacuum. Wait a few minutes for all the air to be drawn out of the paper
4) Lower the basket containing the print into the sealant. Allow a few minutes (up to half an hour) for it to be fully saturated
5) With the vacuum still on, extract the basket from the sealant
6) Turn the vacuum off. The increase in air pressure should force the sealant even further into the paper
7) Remove the print from the vacuum chamber and place it face-up on a felt pad on the vacuum table. Place another felt pad over the print before covering the whole table with a plastic film, to complete the seal.
8) Turn on the vacuum table. Run it until you can no longer see a distinct layer of sealant on the surface of the paper.
9) Remove the paper and allow it to dry flat. It should remain flexible, but you don't want to induce any curl
10) As a final step, spray with something like Hahnemuhle Protective Spray, Lascaux Fixative or another protective spray, to further protect the surface (since the ink layer, although saturated with sealant and stabilised by it, only has a very thin layer of sealant covering the surface, where the image is). Or overprint with a matte, satin or gloss UV-curable laminate.
11) Flat mount it on a substrate. I suspect anodised aluminium would work very well, due to its huge surface area for adhesion. Or you could impregnate the surface wood (or another porous material) with Timeless too, then glue them together using that.

The main difficulty, I suspect, would be temperature control - at low, near-vacuum pressures, there isn't much of a difference between the freezing and boiling temperatures of water, and Timeless is an aqueous solution.

RC papers, baryta papers and other papers containing a non-porous layer probably also wouldn't work very well - what you'd end up with is essentially two layers of stable, flexible, sealant-soaked material sandwiching a still-brittle baryta layer. Although it would probably still be fine for flat mounting.

With regards to the vacuum table, I suspect you would get better results by diluting the Timeless - without dilution, the viscosity would make it difficult to force through the paper. Perhaps Breathing Colour will make a 'Timeless for paper', designed to soak more easily into paper and similar materials, rather than the more-porous canvas. Otherwise, dilution (and/or a surfactant to reduce its surface tension) would probably be the way to go - unlike with vacuum impregnation, you can do this with a vacuum table, since you don't need to worry about the water flash-boiling in the low pressure.

If only the vacuum table weren't 2.5m long (for a 32x96" print) and the vacuum tube at least 2m tall (for a 40x60" rolled print), or if I had a large, empty workshop - then I'd probably try to build one myself. The parts aren't particularly expensive or hard to obtain...

You have a credible approach, SB, although I wouldn't want to go through all of that and then have to resort to a fixative.  Tthe point of the process would be, for me, to not have to use any over-spray.  I would prefer to exhibit the paper all by itself with no back, if going to all this trouble.  This would mean that the paper would be more stiff, by virtue of the process.  The Print would be hinged on the wall - something I haven't thought through completely yet.

I think an incremental introduction of Timeless into the paper using only the flat vacuum press might be best, gradually increasing amounts of finish as the print fills up, is vacuumed back down, re-iterating the process until the desired consistency.

My print would have an eerie stiff quality, yet maintaining the same characteristics of the original paper (unless gloss finish) and be able to stand on it's own much like a playing card maybe thinner.  A matte surface should have minimum glare and no haze.

The surface should feel much like the paper, but be smooth and have the original tooth.

On the back, the print could have a simple french cleat made of 1/4" foam core or whatever, causing the print to stand off a bit from the wall.  The thinness and stiffness of the print should be unique in and of itself, exhibiting a "how did they do that" quality.  Granted, it might be fragile, then again, it might not.  It could be that one or two layers of are laminated together during the vacuum pressing process.

To go through all the work of impregnating and vacuum-izing the print, there should be something unique about the end result.  Which is why I would prefer my print not be laminated to anything other than additional layers of the same substrate.

Ultimately, in a future-print-now scenario, I'd like to see the print simply hover away from the wall at an appropriate distance.  Of course, now, in an installation context, this illusion could be achieved by using the thinnest of nylon filament and hanging the print from above.  In a gallery/museum context, I could see this done with a somewhat darker wall and lighting on the print only, behind a glass wall or a barrier to discourage touching.  (This would be defeating the purpose of course but would be necessary).  NOT practical.

I'd like the print to be luminous, to glow.

The dye-sub aluminum prints already do this, and no doubt stand a much better chance of survival.

Your idea of laminating the print to the aluminum surface might be more realistic,
but I would still want to see the print sans backing.

The irony of this, is that after all this work, the process could introduce unknowns or aberrations that cause harm or issues that just don't work.  Talking and talking about it is just the beginning. Doing and doing and going through the wrestling with the tools and process is obviously what would be required.  Only then would the hard work yield an answer.

For all we know, there may be someone doing this already.



Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: shadowblade on April 15, 2016, 08:52:28 AM
Well, canvas can't stand on its own either - it needs to be stretched around a frame or mounted on something.

If you wanted something that could really stand on its own, you're probably looking at a paper like this:

http://www.piezography.com/PiezoPress/blog/piezography-life/something-extreme/ (http://www.piezography.com/PiezoPress/blog/piezography-life/something-extreme/)

Half a centimetre thick, printed using a specially-modified Roland solvent printer. Or you could do it using a flatbed printer.

But, then, you wouldn't be able to roll it up and would need a vacuum impregnation tank that was actually as large as the print itself (i.e. huge). You'd probably want a more rigid sealant, rather than a flexible one. And don't even mention trying to ship it around or otherwise move it - it's as easy to bump into things as a huge frame or huge piece of Dibond, but still much more fragile.

Much easier to make a paper-textured substrate and just print on that with a flatbed printer - it will give you the same appearance, in a more durable form, with much less effort. You could even do it by covering a substrate with gesso, paint or something else and pressing a piece of paper with the desired texture against it, to give the final surface the texture you want, prior to printing.

I don't see the problem with spraying the final product with HPS or another thin, solvent-based sealant. It's done to many paintings, drawings, pastels and other works - it's invisible, but provides some extra protection against scuffs, scrapes and other marks. Every extra bit of protection helps.
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: Mark Lindquist on April 15, 2016, 09:23:13 AM
I don't see the problem with spraying the final product with HPS or another thin, solvent-based sealant. It's done to many paintings, drawings, pastels and other works - it's invisible, but provides some extra protection against scuffs, scrapes and other marks. Every extra bit of protection helps.

If you used a spray sealant like this: Papilio Spray Sealant (http://www.papilio.com/spray%20uv%20clear%20laminate%20clearjet%20aerosol.html)

Sure, additional protection, but has there been any longevity studies done on these coatings?

I would think having that information would be critical.

Very nice example of hand made paper.  Cool mod of the Roland printer.

That paper is a little thick for what I'd be wanting.  This is where our visions perhaps diverge SB.

With all the choices for printing and types of prints that can be made today, it's enough for me now to use dye-sub on aluminum or stick with traditional methods, until someone comes up with something as described in the too many pages of this thread.

I've made (4) 44" x 75" big prints on canvas while we've been discussing this over the last 2 days.  I'm printing as far out to the edge as possible.  Eventually I will have to deal with how to mat/mount/frame.  I'm not crazy about canvas stretching.  Laminating down to dibond or gluing to wood panel seems like the eventuality.  Too bad our vacuum process isn't available right now.   :-\
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: shadowblade on April 15, 2016, 01:41:03 PM
If you used a spray sealant like this: Papilio Spray Sealant (http://www.papilio.com/spray%20uv%20clear%20laminate%20clearjet%20aerosol.html)

Sure, additional protection, but has there been any longevity studies done on these coatings?

I would think having that information would be critical.

People have been varnishing paintings and drawings for centuries, and HPS, at least, was demonstrated on Aardenburg to significantly increase the longevity of prints.

Quote
That paper is a little thick for what I'd be wanting.  This is where our visions perhaps diverge SB.

Same here. What I'd really want is to be able to mount paper onto a flat piece of aluminium, wood or another material and display it much like a dye-sub or UV-curable metal print or a stretched canvas, with a surface durable enough to withstand such treatment, and the work itself being durable enough to withstand being un-mounted and re-mounted on a new substrate should the bond fail. You can't do that with untreated paper.

Quote
I've made (4) 44" x 75" big prints on canvas while we've been discussing this over the last 2 days.  I'm printing as far out to the edge as possible.  Eventually I will have to deal with how to mat/mount/frame.  I'm not crazy about canvas stretching.  Laminating down to dibond or gluing to wood panel seems like the eventuality.  Too bad our vacuum process isn't available right now.   :-\

I'm not a huge fan of canvas for most photos, but use it because it's lightweight, cheap, easily shipped in the unstretched form and seems popular. The issues are with texture and flatness. The even, regular pattern of canvas isn't as aesthetically appealing as the more random, natural-looking texture of paper or the mirror-like gloss of metal, while canvas, no matter how well-stretched, never ends up truly flat like a metal or flat-mounted paper print - there's always a bit of a curve or bulge to it. Some images work well with it, but, even then, I generally prefer those shots on matte paper. Still, mounting canvas onto a flat material solves all the problems except the texture - it gives perfect flatness, is tough enough for unframed display and is strong enough to be dismounted and remounted should the adhesive fail.
Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: Mark Lindquist on April 15, 2016, 02:42:50 PM
I think people are pining for an end to this thread - I know I am.

Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: Mark Lindquist on April 22, 2016, 09:11:11 AM
I've been asked who or what company can provide a 25 year lightfast print for outdoor use.

My conclusion:

Nobody Can Yet, that we can buy as a service.

I've re-opened the thread for anyone who would like to further discuss the topic.

I won't answer calls on the topic.

Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: narikin on April 22, 2016, 10:17:23 AM
A $500k-or-greater printer just isn't viable for printing fine-art photos, which are neither 2m-5m wide, nor produced in such huge numbers as to justify the purchase price of such a machine.

Tell that to Swiss-Q, who sell such machines for fine art use...
I know of an individual photographer with one, just for his own artwork. Nice to be that successful!

For the rest of us, Laumont has one in their LIC base.


Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: Mark Lindquist on June 01, 2016, 03:02:34 AM
Tell that to Swiss-Q, who sell such machines for fine art use...
I know of an individual photographer with one, just for his own artwork. Nice to be that successful!

For the rest of us, Laumont has one in their LIC base.

Wow - this thread just turned 10,050.  (6/1/2016)

I could use one of these:

(http://uvintegration.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Nyala_2_RolltoRoll_RZ.jpg)

I mean what else could you want?  Wonder how much to buy one of these....

Title: Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
Post by: narikin on June 01, 2016, 06:26:48 PM
Yep, Swiss Q Nyala, I believe.
About $350/400,000, depending on options.

Personally I'd wait for the new P20000 generation head to migrate across to these machines, rather than be stuck with the older generation. Well, not that I'd turn one down for a second!