Anyone have any tips on tiling transparencies together?
I've run into an issue with tiling my transparencies together. I print out 13x19 transparencies (fixxons) from my inkjet printer. I overlap the printed areas of the film by about a 1/4" or so. Occasionally this line would show up ever so slightly when printing but it was never noticeable or much of a problem. I recently built a large vacuum frame for doing solar exposures (I'll post some pics of it when I get a chance, it's pretty cool), as a result I get better exposures with finer detail and all that. The problem is the lines where my films are taped together are now much more apparent. The overlapped section creates slightly heavier marks, and then there is a slightly blurred area right next to it caused by the film being layered over the next piece. I expose with the ink side of the film directly against the mesh/emulsion.
Are there any better ways to do this? I'm going to try reducing the opacity just a tad in the overlapping areas to see if that helps even out the marks. I wish there were a way to avoid overlapping the two pieces at all, but I can't think of a precise way to do this since I would have to cut the clear edge of the film off. Anyway, this is very frustrating, any advice would be appreciated.
There is very little beyond what you both have identified, to make tiling easier or better. Bottom line, it sucks, and is only something you do if you can't afford the alternative.
It sucks less, with simpler images and solid fields of color. With detail it sucks more, and with halftones it is a nightmare.
I'd say, evaluate whether you can afford the alternative, taking into account not only the cost of larger films or a larger printer over time, but the amount of time & hassle you squander on trying to fit a square peg into a round hole (time is money!), and the amount of lost revenue from jobs you are simply unable to take due to the technical limitations of tiled positives.
we used to strip film up all the time. the quick way is as you described. if you get marks on your stencil or soft spots from the edge of the film, can't you just use some blockout?
if the spot is really light (on your stencil where the two films are overlapped) up your exposure time a bit.
If you want to get trick, tape your first sheet down to some glass or cutting table. don't tape where you will be cutting, just some tape to hold it on the sides away from your cut.
Tape your second piece in register, overlapped. Again tape the piece down away from the overlap. Now cut through both pieces where they both overlap with an exacto and straight edge. Take away the two excess pieces. Tape in the clear areas to hold the main pieces together. use some litho tape or black elecricians tape to bridge any black type. Remove the tape that was holding the two pieces down to your cutting board. You should now have a single layer positive. this method only works for bold graphics, not for halftones etc. You will probably still have to touch up with blockout, where the light cracks appear.