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Author Topic: Do-it-yourself Acrylic Facemount vs Pay To Have It Done  (Read 36426 times)

weingrub

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Do-it-yourself Acrylic Facemount vs Pay To Have It Done
« on: November 13, 2013, 12:06:48 am »

All -

I have about 30+ images (and growing) that I want to facemount to acrylic with a dibond backer. I'm thinking that I want them 18x12 or 24x18. I could pay (hah!) to have them all done, but that will likely cost upwards of $6000 easy (approx $200 each), and hence I can't. And as my photography improves and I get more images that I want to print and face mount, then I will continue to go broke.

So I am thinking about doing it myself instead by ordering prints, buying a Drytac ML25 cold roller, precut acrylic and dibond, and then laminating them myself. Is this a really bad idea?

That's the main question. If the answer is yes, please tell me so ;-)

If the answer is no, is the Drytac ML25 a good entry point? Anyone know of dibond and/or acrylic distributors (who will precut, perfectly-ish) near Denver or Boulder? Any other good advice?

Many many thanks,
weingrub
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Richard.Wills

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Re: Do-it-yourself Acrylic Facemount vs Pay To Have It Done
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2013, 04:38:41 am »

All -

So I am thinking about doing it myself instead by ordering prints, buying a Drytac ML25 cold roller, precut acrylic and dibond, and then laminating them myself. Is this a really bad idea?

That's the main question. If the answer is yes, please tell me so ;-)

If the answer is no, is the Drytac ML25 a good entry point?

Trickiest thing with facemount is dust. Dust and static. I'd want to have both hands free to zap the dust. I'd also look at getting some sort of antistatic device, as, when you peel the release liners from the dibond and the acrylic, you build up a beautiful charge. Static on the dibond can be reduced by wiping with isopropyl alcohol. You don't want that anywhere near acrylic.

I'd look at the JM26 - having two hands for the material will make life much easier.

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Ernst Dinkla

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Re: Do-it-yourself Acrylic Facemount vs Pay To Have It Done
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2013, 04:58:13 am »

Is face mounting the only display method you can appreciate?

You would not dare to exhibit bare prints say RC Satin mounted on aluminium, sprayed with a protection spray like HahnemŁhle's?  Way cheaper method if done by a good lamination shop. Avoiding all the hassle of doing facemounting yourself.


--
Met vriendelijke groet, Ernst

http://www.pigment-print.com/spectralplots/spectrumviz_1.htm
July 2013, 500+ inkjet media white spectral plots.


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dgberg

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Re: Do-it-yourself Acrylic Facemount vs Pay To Have It Done
« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2013, 06:10:58 am »

I do facemounting for myself but do not offer it for sale. The learning curve in itself is not so bad it is just the things you have to deal with already mentioned by Ernst and Richard.
When you have several free hours do a search hear on LuLa on face mounting and you will find tons of threads. For me it is the dust more then anything else.
I am working to get my studio more sterile and have just purchased an Idylis air purifier as well as one of their hudmidifers. Trying to keep my hudmitiy close to 50% should help with the static.
To show you how difficult this can be I believe my failure rate is at around 50% and I have some pretty good equipment. One speck of dust at the very end of the process and you throw the whole thing away.
Its a great look but If I were you I would farm it out.


« Last Edit: November 13, 2013, 06:32:46 am by Dan Berg »
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PeterAit

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Re: Do-it-yourself Acrylic Facemount vs Pay To Have It Done
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2013, 09:19:44 am »

Face mounting to acrylic can look sharp but it does permanently bond your print to a surface that is easily scratched or messed up if someone uses the wrong kind of cleaner on it.
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weingrub

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Re: Do-it-yourself Acrylic Facemount vs Pay To Have It Done
« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2013, 03:44:24 pm »

Thanks for everyone's responses!

Then where to begin in trying to make a dusty basement dust free. Plastic sheeting for make-shift walls, humidifier, HEPA air filter, dust roller (hence jm26 hands-free). Ugh. What else?

What ill-effects does the static have? Is it simply a bad dust attractor?

Ernst, I can appreciate other mediums as well, eg dibond etc, but I just really like the acrylic and I think my B/W pics will look great under it.

I'm in such a painful quandary over this - do it myself or spend the big big bucks. I feel that I can't sell them until I print them (nicely) and I can't print them until I sell them. Around and around we go....

;-) Thanks,
Rob
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Wayne Fox

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Re: Do-it-yourself Acrylic Facemount vs Pay To Have It Done
« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2013, 04:34:10 pm »

Are you planning on using inkjet for the prints?  While mounting c prints such as fujiflex and kodak metallic works well, face mounting inkjet to me is hit or miss, and Iím not sure how the bond between ink/inkjet receptor coat and paper backing will hold up over time. Maybe OK with resin back papers such as epson luster, maybe not so good with standard papers. The issue of the surface not being perfectly smooth if using pigment prints may create some bonding issues and cause some silvering.

Doing it yourself, while not a daunting process (plenty of youtube vides showing how to do it), the kill rate can climb pretty fast. The larger the print, the more challenging the process, and acrylic is definitely harder than glass for sizes up to about 40-50Ē (mainly because itís easier to control the static.

After working on this for about a year, the thing thatís helped the most is one of these http://kinetronics.com/store/iag.html . Before that a large print was impossible.

Iím a do it yourself kind of guy as well, run a small camera store with a full print and frame shop so weíve been trying to introduce this as a product.  But to be honest you will spend a large amount of time making these, and you may find that itís actually more economical outsourcing them to start and if you start selling them, you should have enough margin to handle the extra cost.  Even if you do it yourself, you need to pay yourself the effort and time, so it really shouldnít make a difference in your selling price.
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tim wolcott

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Re: Do-it-yourself Acrylic Facemount vs Pay To Have It Done
« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2013, 11:01:13 pm »

I still think Face mounting is just a stupid idea.  I'm sure I will get shit for this.  But even AIPAD and Getty and Amon Carter as well as the Smithsonian think this is a bad idea for the collectibility of photographs.  I'm still waiting to see the reports from Wilhelm or AArdenburg about this longevity ratings.  But the ratings will be some what false since the test print will printed from a tube not a processor.  The paper was originally designed for tube processing which has a longer longevity.  But nearly 100% of the images are made with processors which can bring down the longevity very substantially.  Then you have the glue which will interact with the dyes and lower the longevity.  Then you spider scratches and scratches that will ruin the image.  None of those galleries or museums think this is good thing.  Tim
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weingrub

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Re: Do-it-yourself Acrylic Facemount vs Pay To Have It Done
« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2013, 11:04:10 pm »

So what's your preference then, Tim? What sort of mounting/framing do you prefer?
« Last Edit: November 13, 2013, 11:17:00 pm by weingrub »
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weingrub

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Re: Do-it-yourself Acrylic Facemount vs Pay To Have It Done
« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2013, 11:04:45 pm »

Here's maybe a strange question, but what if you have two people working on the face mount? One to roll and pull, and the other to blow a couple cans of air? Would the success ratio be better?

This is a struggleÖ

Thanks,
Rob
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tim wolcott

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Re: Do-it-yourself Acrylic Facemount vs Pay To Have It Done
« Reply #10 on: November 13, 2013, 11:44:28 pm »

I got so upset at the industry that I decided to create my own paper and my own proprietary coating to replace glass.  But I've been designing pigment printing since the early 1990's.

But I hated the fact I had to use glass or the Optium Plexi to protect my prints.  Everyone said it was impossible but I have always said impossible is possible, it just takes money, times and experts to make it happen.  It took nearly 1.5 years and a dream of mine for many years when I met Ansel Adams and he was complaining about glass.  It also took a lot of money to create an invisible coatings and paper to work together.  

I just think it should be archival and you shouldn't make print and sell them if you open yourself up for lawsuits.  But I want my images to last for hundreds of years.

Oh by the way if you at the history of pigment prints and you look at the old ones from the late 1800's and also the early 1900's they have all crackled due tot he fact they expanded and contracted over time.  To minimize this destruction of your images over time I designed a mounting board that does not allow this to happen and keeps the print laying flat at all times.  I've recently talked about this with the Smithsonian where I used to be a consultant with.  But i'm not in the business of being a factory that sells my products nor do I intend too. I just wanted to solve the problems that I have had over time and create a great photographic printing process.  Tim
« Last Edit: November 13, 2013, 11:58:01 pm by tim wolcott »
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rubo

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Re: Do-it-yourself Acrylic Facemount vs Pay To Have It Done
« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2013, 12:24:39 am »

Hi folks, my first post here. Kudos to Tim with your proprietary coating - I did the same, works pretty much on everything I put it down - glass, polycarb, acrylic, aluminum - you name it. I was even more pissed at the industry - to the point that I built a flat-bed printer - not of of these DIY t-shirt printers, but a big a$$ 42" machine.
As for mounting - the way I go about it is I print on non-glare acrylic - in reverse of course and then spray the print with a paint of choice - sometimes clients want to have "metallic" effect, so it will be gold or silver paint, otherwise it's just plain white. I have some pix and videos if anybody wants to see - not sure if it's allowed here
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enduser

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Re: Do-it-yourself Acrylic Facemount vs Pay To Have It Done
« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2013, 01:08:40 am »

Those who decry facemounting should consider that Peter Lik uses it, (actually it's done for him).  He doesn't use acrylic but uses Lexan (Polycarbonate) and is very successful.  Those who mount for him produce over 100 pieces a week.  At his prices that's a success story for face mounting.

That's what I know, but I also think he uses Fuji Crystal Archive paper.
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Wayne Fox

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Re: Do-it-yourself Acrylic Facemount vs Pay To Have It Done
« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2013, 02:47:06 am »

Here's maybe a strange question, but what if you have two people working on the face mount? One to roll and pull, and the other to blow a couple cans of air? Would the success ratio be better?

This is a struggleÖ

Thanks,
Rob
Once you get to a 20x30 it's a two man job, and when you get to 30x40 or larger maybe even a 3 man job.  be careful with the canned air, as it can easily spit out some propellant.  Probably better with a small air compressor and decent water trap, and if you put the kinetronic blower on it, you will be amazed at how the static just goes away and the dust just flies off.

Those who decry facemounting should consider that Peter Lik uses it, (actually it's done for him).  He doesn't use acrylic but uses Lexan (Polycarbonate) and is very successful.  Those who mount for him produce over 100 pieces a week.  At his prices that's a success story for face mounting.

That's what I know, but I also think he uses Fuji Crystal Archive paper.
According to several of his sales staff including one who claimed is his lead trainer, he has switched from Lexan to acrylic. He uses FujiFlex, which is one of several "fuji crystal archive" paper, although technically it's not a paper, but rather a polyester based product.  The result is a mirror smooth surface which is ideal for face mounting.  When  you say someone "does it for him" I'd be curious what you mean, because I think the company that does it for him is also his company - a logical business approach and was under the impression they do not print for anyone else.  If not, I'd love to find out who is actually doing his work and have them do a few for me.. Rodney Lough also  face mounts fujiFlex to acrylic but his acrylic is treated with a scratch resistant and UV absorbing surface.  The production side of his business is setup as a separate entity, but only produces his work.

Another person that falls in the conversation might be Gursky who's 4.3 million dollar print was face mounted using Diasec, a process I would be more concerned with than cold mount adhesives (which have been used for quite some time).

As far as archival, there are many that want their work to be presented in the archival definition used by museums and curators and I have no problem with that, I'm just not one of them and I think most photographers and even buyers just want assurances the work will "last a long time".  Face mounted prints to quality UV glass or acrylic if done right will manage several decades depending on the condition it's displayed, so it amounts to a tradeoff of longevity for presentation impact. Peter Lik and his sales staff may be setting him up because they ALL make the statement the pictures are mounted in a special way so they will NEVER fade ... yes they use the word never and that is certainly not the case. 

 these conversations often remind me this article by Mike Johnston , and his first point is pretty blunt ... become famous.  I don't think anyone will care about the images I produce in a hundred years or so, and there aren't many photographers who fall into this category.  99.999% of images (or more) will die a death from something other than fading away.

I'm more concerned with the sudden move to aluminum, which has most of the visual qualities of face mounted prints but is more durable and very scratch resistant. However the testing shows me the magenta dyes will fade faster than others meaning the print will gradually turn green over time.   I'd love to see Aardenburg test an aluminum print like this, because if it lasts as well as face mounted acrylic it's something I'd look into making.

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tim wolcott

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Re: Do-it-yourself Acrylic Facemount vs Pay To Have It Done
« Reply #14 on: November 14, 2013, 11:20:46 am »

Really!  Your going to use Peter Lik as a success.  Maybe in selling a lot and pulling the eyes over the buyers.  But when the one year longevity glue he uses to face mount with starts to degrade they and he will be having fun in court.  "This info comes from his framers".  Yes he maybe selling a lot of prints but seriously the quality of the images is not there.  Anytime anywhere he wants to take me up on the challenge.  I hope he is.  By the way Peter tell your framers and employees to stop coming over and snooping in my trash.  You will never figure out what I'm doing and how I'm doing it. Just got to say good luck with upcoming lawsuits when the prints start to fade and the glue degrades and falls a part.


On aluminum, I like the look but the problem will be expansion and contraction.  Time tells all.  I have had the talk with the fore mentioned museum curators and it will crackle over time but it will take a while. 

By the way Gursky has been talked about in an article called I believe Why C-Prints Fade.  But its out there.  All face mounting will be like the Warhol's of today.  They can't stop the fading.  By the artwork is meant to be seen.   Not stored in the dark at a cold temp.  Tim
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weingrub

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Re: Do-it-yourself Acrylic Facemount vs Pay To Have It Done
« Reply #15 on: November 14, 2013, 11:47:23 am »

Well, I guess I asked. Thanks for the different perspectives.

Anyway, if my images make it into a museum, then I will likely be successful enough to farm out the mounting/framing. If the images fade or whatever after 20+ years, I guess I can reprint them, considering they're digital. And I can't imagine I will ever get sued over a $500 print.

BTW, I am going to print with Lightjet to Fujiflex....

;-)
« Last Edit: November 14, 2013, 11:49:35 am by weingrub »
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nairb

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Re: Do-it-yourself Acrylic Facemount vs Pay To Have It Done
« Reply #16 on: November 14, 2013, 01:09:35 pm »

Regarding Ernst's suggestion of laminating to dibond, would that backing material help to minimize the amount of contraction/expansion do you think? I'd be printing my own injets.

Just how durable is the HahnemŁhle spray? I experimented with Premier Printshield once and didn't really like the way it changed the look of the paper (and it was difficult to apply evenly).


In my area there's one printing company that suggests putting a protective laminate on the surface (with the dibond mounting) as well which gives a matte (somewhat plastic) appearance but would be more durable than a spray but looks kind of crappy. I just have questions about that materials stability and wonder if it might yellow over time. I've seen some quite large 40x120" pieces done this way in local galleries but most galleries still show mostly acrylic face mounted for larger pieces. Very rarely have I seen pieces done in a traditional frame.

I'd like to get away from traditional framing for large pieces as well, but am in a rural area, so it's more difficult to see what's out there. It seems it's either face mounting or laminating to dibond.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2013, 01:13:26 pm by nairb »
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dgberg

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Re: Do-it-yourself Acrylic Facemount vs Pay To Have It Done
« Reply #17 on: November 14, 2013, 02:18:59 pm »

I still think Face mounting is just a stupid idea.  I'm sure I will get shit for this.  But even AIPAD and Getty and Amon Carter as well as the Smithsonian think this is a bad idea for the collectibility of photographs.  I'm still waiting to see the reports from Wilhelm or AArdenburg about this longevity ratings.  But the ratings will be some what false since the test print will printed from a tube not a processor.  The paper was originally designed for tube processing which has a longer longevity.  But nearly 100% of the images are made with processors which can bring down the longevity very substantially.  Then you have the glue which will interact with the dyes and lower the longevity.  Then you spider scratches and scratches that will ruin the image.  None of those galleries or museums think this is good thing.  Tim

We are talking apples and oranges here so it probably is not worth comparing.
Not everyone's work goes to galleries or museums.
I print and mount more for the every day working man and woman whatever that means.
Corporate boardroom with pictures of the industrial machinery they build.
Camera club member looking for a nice mount that will pop for their annual contest.
Or the housewife that wants a real cool print and mount for her boudoir shoot for her husband. ;)
It is very rare that anyone asks about longevity ratings especially when the average length that any piece like this will hang in these settings is a measly 7 years.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2013, 11:40:15 am by Dan Berg »
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Wayne Fox

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Re: Do-it-yourself Acrylic Facemount vs Pay To Have It Done
« Reply #18 on: November 14, 2013, 06:09:26 pm »

But when the one year longevity glue he uses to face mount with starts to degrade they and he will be having fun in court.
The adhesive is ph balanced and considered archival in nature, and is far more stable than one year. Facemounting has been around for a long time, and the fact the image is now virtually sealed reduces/eliminates the problems of humidity, ozone, and other gases.  Most evidence indicates face mounting will enhance the longevity of color in the image and Iím aware of no evidence that it adversely affects the image quality.

The problem isnít the face mounting, itís the C-paper itself which is certainly far from the fade longevity attainable with other processes if thatís your goal.  Work like this will look fine for many decades as long as it isnít exposed to inordinate amounts of UV light.  Iím not quite a positive about Diasec face mounting ... that process just sounds sort of iffy.

Since you mentioned museums, this article regarding face mounting from the Indianapolis Museum of Art discusses their perspective, mentioned they have face mounted work in the collection and what they view are the pros and cons of this process.  The pros are many and the tone of the article is most of the cons are just about the unknown, and mentions work they are doing to evaluate this.  But taken as a whole it appears they are pretty positive about the process and itís benefits and seem to be hopeful that their research will validate face mounting as not being problematic for organizations such as theirs.

On aluminum, I like the look but the problem will be expansion and contraction.  Time tells all.  I have had the talk with the fore mentioned museum curators and it will crackle over time but it will take a while.  
Makes sense, but wouldnít contraction/expansion be less of a concern in a controlled environment?  Most buildings vary only a degree or two in any direction, not sure there is enough expansion/contraction to be concerned about.  I do agree aluminum prints may prove to be problematic for other reasons, so to me the jury is still out.

But considering physical damage/destruction is probably the greater enemy of print longevity than actual fading, the aluminum prints are probably the most durable of all the choices.  this may not apply to images in museums which receive tender loving care, but then most museums donít buy what they collect, and most photographers are trying to sell their work, so museums really arenít their customers.  If by some amazing chance a museum wanted me to donate one of my images, I certainly would discuss it with them and most likely would make efforts to provide something very archival, perhaps sacrificing visual presentation impact a little.  But none have called yet ...
« Last Edit: November 14, 2013, 06:20:55 pm by Wayne Fox »
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tim wolcott

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Re: Do-it-yourself Acrylic Facemount vs Pay To Have It Done
« Reply #19 on: November 14, 2013, 10:54:34 pm »

Wayne I understand what your saying but the adhesive is an assumption on your part that he cares.  But when his framers tell me what he is using and they get in a fight with him about it.  Then I have to think they are saying the truth.  But if anyone thinks that the longevity of fuji paper is what was reported they smoking some weed.  It was designed not to run thru a processor.  Its always been part of the problem.  I believe art should have some ability to get the look you want, but not at the cost of it hurting the whole market of the selling of prints.  Look at the polaroid transfer prints, they look cool but now the lawsuits are flying.  Same with Iris prints, soon Fuji and face mounting.

I will agree that mounting on aluminum will last a long time.  The expansion contraction can be mitigated if temps due not fluctuate over the long time.  But everyone who makes prints should understand and see the effect of processes over time.  What's happening in Vegas galleries is that they are going for a quick fix.  The reason they went to face mounting is because they were having issues with dust between the images and the glass/plexi. 

Its ok though, because when I get my gallery there they will see what it should be looking like.  Tim
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