View Full Version : Do I want a plate burner?

John Kasaian
16-May-2005, 22:00
This is really wierd. I might have an opportunity to get a Nu Arc plate burner for "next to nothing"(probably not much more than the cost of gasoline to pick it up---hey, maybe thats not "next to nothing" after all!) The thing is huge. I've heard of these being used by platinum printers(which I don't do, but someday I'd like to try) so the question is---should I? Shouldn't I? Are there any other processes a plate burner is good for? How useful are these things? This one was used for making blueprints. Thanks!

Mike Davis
16-May-2005, 22:28
If it's a flip top, you could also use it with a separate light source for azo contacts. Usually they have a vacuum and that would help any neg and paper stay flat. If it's not a flip top, it's even better for contacts.

The main problem with them is space. They take it up. Oh and stairs, they don't like stairs. Wait, I'm confused, I don't like moving them up stairs.

All that said, if a reasonably sized one came along for free, I would get it and store it until I build my next darkroom and have room for it (5x7 just isn't much space).

Janko Belaj
17-May-2005, 07:10
Well, I have to say I would like to have one. But as Mike have already noted, those things are usually huge. And in my country they have to be plugged in special ..."something with 3 faze electricity something" (my bad english). I have used them for contact prints (ordinary silver prints, but with large negative from imagesetter) when I have worked in one prepress firm. Great stuff.

Joe Smigiel
17-May-2005, 07:58
Yes. Not only do you want it, you need it. You have to have it.

I picked up a NuArc 26-1K mercury plateburner w/vacuum frame a few years ago. It's great for most any alternative process and UV sensitive material including Pt/Pd, cyanotype, Van Dyke Brownprint, Gum Bichromate, etc. The vacuum frame and light integrator simplify the entire exposure of these contact processes. Repeatibility is also assured with the integrator.

The only drawbacks I can see are:

1) it is noisy;
2) it has a large footprint and is heavy;
3) it is not as fast as printing with the sun;
4) it generates heat;
5) it throws UV throughout the room (which I solved by encircling it in a welding curtain).

The advantages far outweigh the disadvantages IMO.

John Kasaian
17-May-2005, 08:42
Thanks for all the insights! I just learned that its a 50" x 38" Nu Arc model #FT46L. Has anyone here used this model?

Thanks again!

Jorge Gasteazoro
17-May-2005, 13:11
John, this is a huge printer and heavy as well. Unless you are planning to do 20x24 contact prints IMO this is way more than what you need. I dont like the flip tops because they dont allow you to do some burning or dodging, not that you want to do it too often but sometimes it is necessary. If it was me I would pass on this one, one thing is for sure, you will need a couple of your buddies to help you unload it when you get home, in contrast the 26-1K I was able to take appart and transport by myself.

John Kasaian
17-May-2005, 21:16
Thanks, Jorge. After reading your advice, I think depending on ol' Sol will work out just fine until a smaller machine happens to come my way.

18-May-2005, 07:49
I have used Edwards Engineering light sources and if weight is of concern they are a good option. I use a NuArc-26 1k and wouldn't trade it for anything. By removing or just loosening 4 screws you can separate the light integrator form the vacuum frame. The unit weighs 150lb total . So 75lb apiece is actually moveable by most people. But once it's set up I see no need to move it again. A point light source is great for dodging and burning. This can be done with an Edwards unit but with some difficulty and a little guess work as you can't really see the print during the process. If the humming noise from the mercury light is bothersome in the NuArc just turn up the stereo...lol.