We just set up a printing table (a swiss 'frenke' of reasonably large format (70cmx100cm) one armed manual with parallel frame lift etc... etc...) that has been stored for around 3 years on a shipping-pallet ON ITS SIDE.
all is sweet EXCEPT the vacuum printing plate has developed an upward bulge.... so I've dismantled it and it seemed to have been under considerable pressure within its tabletop-frame. (shipping containers get hot!)
The bulge seems to stay and it looks as if i have no option but to replace it.
Q: what material do people here recommend?
It has to take solvent and water based based inks and the usual high-use abuse, and come in 10mm thickness
I can't identify the stuff that was used for the old one, looks like some high density stuff similar to old power board type bakelite... aluminum is a possibility...
Depending on how you attach it to the table, you could use aluminum (get lots of drill bits) Unless there is a subsurface you can glue to and you can use courntertop laminate - but the subsurface must be flat. You have a picture?
We build tops of plywood and laminate all the time - 3 layers of 5/8" ply, with the top formica (countertop laminate) end up around 2" thick.
If the support structure underneath will hold it flat you could laminate the countertop laminate to a piece of ply, or maybe plexi or some other plastic. Use an exterior grade solvent based contact cement if you want it water and solvent resistant. Although aluminum would stay flat and only require drilling, but that is a thick plate (10mm) we use 1/8" aluminum but it is supported with I beams every 6 inches or so.
then drill. We used to use a 'plunge drill' kind of like a router or dremel tool to drill big aluminum tables, would work for this. has a base it rests on the surface, you just push it down. or a drill.
Don't use a particle board, or the water from WB inks will puff it up eventually.
Thanks! and good points there Andy.
a 'plunge drill' sounds great. good to know there is something out there to lessen the pain of drilling those holes!
I spent the day running around with the plate from engineering places to electricians and back again. turns out it is solid through and through Formica as used in old power switch-boards.
I think the steel frame construction is capable of supporting an aluminum plate and the 'pins' underneath the central area are 6mm screws... so i'm getting pricing for the aluminum and the Formica option.. both not cheap but that press is worth it. It looks a bit more pre-loved than the one pictured... yeah, I can't wait to pull me some nice posters on it!