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Author Topic: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please  (Read 26916 times)

Mark Lindquist

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Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
« Reply #60 on: April 04, 2016, 06:16:09 PM »

Wunderbars - 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

 

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shadowblade

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Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
« Reply #61 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.
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Mark Lindquist

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Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
« Reply #62 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
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shadowblade

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Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
« Reply #63 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!

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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.
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Mark Lindquist

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Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
« Reply #64 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

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
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shadowblade

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Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
« Reply #65 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

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.
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Mark Lindquist

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Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
« Reply #66 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

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

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.




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shadowblade

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Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
« Reply #67 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?
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Mark Lindquist

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Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
« Reply #68 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....



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shadowblade

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Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
« Reply #69 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.

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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).

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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.

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Cold or heated?

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

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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.

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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.
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Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
« Reply #70 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.



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Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
« Reply #71 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.
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Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
« Reply #72 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

Roll to Roll Vacuum Deposition system

Catherine Nash's 1986 article on Vacuum Casting Paper

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
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Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
« Reply #73 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

Roll to Roll Vacuum Deposition system

Catherine Nash's 1986 article on Vacuum Casting Paper

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.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2016, 07:39:59 AM by shadowblade »
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Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
« Reply #74 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
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Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
« Reply #75 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.
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Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
« Reply #76 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
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Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
« Reply #77 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...
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Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
« Reply #78 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.



« Last Edit: April 15, 2016, 09:24:57 AM by Mark Lindquist »
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shadowblade

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Re: OUTDOOR INK LONGEVITY/PRINTER Questions - advice please
« Reply #79 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/

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.
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