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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    Default DIY Exposure Unit: Unfiltered Blacklight Tubes vs 1000 Watt Metal Halide Grow Light??

    I need your opinion and the title of this post says it all: unfiltered blacklight tubes or a single 1000 watt metal halide grow light? I was all about unfiltered blacklights, but I'm moving into more detailed prints with quite a bit of halftone complexity.

    While I never had any troubles getting the detail I needed with a blacklight box, I recently read this article: http://www.murakamiscreen.com/docume...Comparison.pdf and now all bets are off. All that junk about cross linking, and histograms...well, I get it, but I don't know how much it will really effect me.

    An old post I read had AndyMac on record as saying 1000-watt metal halide grow light is his backup (for the sun? That's O.G.) Anyway, I don't know if this still holds true.

    If it's of any concern, I have really good positives, both inkjet films off an Epson 4880 and plotter-cut Rubylith. I've been exposing at school and we have a professionally-built metal halide unit with a light integrator. It's really nice (burns in 13 seconds), but I graduate in 6 weeks, so I'm looking to use those last 6 weeks in the woodshop to build something that will work post-graduation. Also, I've been using Ulano TZ, but as of today grabbed a quart of Ulano Proclaim and Proclaim-HR mostly because our darkroom is less than 'dark' and the washout station is under fluorescent lights and anything too fast-burning gets over exposed in the washout process. When I move to my own setup I'm hoping to remove that from the equation.

  2. #2
    JustinHelton's Avatar

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    Feb 2005
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    I use blacklights and get good detail...i wouldnt them it out.

  3. #3
    Premium Member
    Andymac's Avatar

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    Aug 2003
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    Default

    I still use a grow lamp, but lots of people get good results from the bulbs.

    Depending on distance back from the glass required for larger frames, the 1k lamp will take a while to expose - 17 minutes for me with a cold bulb, 12 if warmed up. fluorescent UV tubes are instant on and exposures are usually shorter depending on emulsion.

    13 seconds....that's crazy fast....
    Andymac

    services www.squeegeeville.com
    equipment www.tmiscreenprinting.com

    Todo es empezar.

  4. #4

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    Default

    Thanks for weighing in guys. I'm burning 21" x 31" screens, so that might be a while. I guess my priority would be detail –*I can always find something to do for 12-17 minutes. But there's something to be said for a quick burn sometimes.

    And I'm going to miss that exposure unit. 13 seconds is pretty awesome. I can burn 4 screens with washout in about 5-6 minutes. That's going to be hard to give up...

  5. #5
    mono_666's Avatar

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    Mar 2006
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    oceanside, ca
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    I used to use a halide... now I just use the sun... and I get as much detail as I need... thanks Andy!

  6. #6
    Premium Member
    El Roacho's Avatar

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    May 2009
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    one mile high, colorado.
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    i used to use a 1000w halide. it took me about 9 minutes to burn a screen but i got some pretty good detail out of it. so yeah, uh, the consensus is, they work. yeah.

  7. #7
    JustinHelton's Avatar

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    My blacklight bulbs...8 of them about 7 inches away from the glass same size screens = 3 minute exposure

  8. #8

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    Mar 2010
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    How are the halftones on 280 yellow? Any undercutting?

  9. #9
    JustinHelton's Avatar

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    I only go as high as 230, but they come out good.

  10. #10

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    Feb 2011
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    I recently switched from tubes to a metal halide grow light, I use 305 screens primarily and draw fine lines with a .25 rapidograph, and occasionally halftones. The tubes had a tendency to shrink the the thickness of my lines, though not too much. I've noticed a greater sharpness to my halftones as well.

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