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Thread: Printing on Glass?

  1. #1

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    Printing on Glass?

    I am curious if anyone has success printing on glass with archival inks?

    B&W of course.... Awhile back there was a company that modified an Epson desktop printer to accept very thick substrates, they printed on metal... i think they were located in Los Angeles area. Never knew if they printed on glass?

  2. #2

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    Re: Printing on Glass?

    I am sure that it is possible, albeit not on the better known large format printers without substantial modifications. However some of the older Encad machines or proper "Grand format" printers could certainly do it.

    There are also several manufacturers of a paint/spray on compound that enables a non compatible surface to take up inkjet inks - Inkaid from Booksmart Studio comes to mind.

    It could be an interesting project, I don't know how long it would last though.

    If you have a LF negative there is also of course the possibility of doing it traditionally using liguid emulsion and an enlarger which would probably be much easier.

    David Whistance

  3. #3

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    Re: Printing on Glass?

    There is several flat bed inkjet printers, however, none that I am aware of that will print on glass.... the issue is the ink staying adhered to the glass.

    I am curious about this darkroom process to accomplish such? Can you explain?

  4. #4

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    Re: Printing on Glass?

    For the inkjets to work you need a coating such as the Inkaid I mentioned to allow the inks to stick to the glass. They come in both opaque and clear finishes, you would probably use the latter for glass.

    For the more traditional method you need some liquid emulsion which you apply to your substrate, in the dark of course. You then just expose under an enlarger and then process as usual, albeit with some experimentation as the speed of the emulsion varies. Liquid emulsion is available from Siverprint here in the UK. In the US I'd try Bostick and Sullivan or Photographers Formulary first.

    Hope this helps

    David Whistance

    PS - Which flatbed inkjets are you referring to?

  5. #5

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    Re: Printing on Glass?

    Given a printer with hard substrate capability I'm sure this could be done. Glass tends to be hydrophobic so an issue would be wettability of the ink to the glass and keeping the ink drop where it's supposed to be as well as spreading it for a desired distance. Most likely the glass would need to be coated with a thin film of something (say metal or organic polymer) prior to printing. The fastest way to success might be to duplicate the surface coating found on typical inkjet paper although adequate adherence would need to be worked out.

    Interesting idea especially considering the possibilities of using a metallic coating that could yield a tintype kind of effect.

    Nate Potter, Austin TX.

  6. #6
    joseph
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    Re: Printing on Glass?

    I've known about liquid emulsion for a long time, but never used it-
    I don't suppose the liquid emulsion can be spread thin enough so that the image can be viewed through the glass, i.e. from the back? Or is that a stupid question?

    j

  7. #7

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    Re: Printing on Glass?

    I have heard of these liquid emulsions.... but the older I get, the more I try to avoid exposure to chemicals....so I will avoid the darkroom approach....

    The solvent printers do NOT print to glass....

    The Inkaid might be the best approach.... thanks for the suggestion. It is an inkjet receptor as Nate was suggesting. But to do this, I still need a flatbed inkjet printer.... i was hoping for a small printer, no larger than 24" max. Most of the flat beds that accept the 1/4" thick media are often 60" +. Is there any desktop flatbed ink jets?

    The colorspans are too big... sure glad HP took bought them out...

  8. #8

    Re: Printing on Glass?

    Solvent inks, or UV cured inks, and some variations of those, might be the next desktop revolution. However, I think given current economic circumstances, it might be a while before we see those. There are desktop printers that sort of do flat printing, though they are currently only dedicated to printing on CDs and DVDs. There are also very large flatbeds that use acrylic inks, or even solid inks.

    A clear acrylic or similar substance would be a safer choice than printing onto glass. It would be possible to screen print onto glass, and it could be fairly durable. However, there is an issue of proper registration of each colour, and an issue of getting the screens made accurately. So I would suggest Lucite, or some acrylic substance, instead of glass.

    Ciao!

    Gordon Moat Photography

  9. #9
    multi format
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    Re: Printing on Glass?

    Quote Originally Posted by jb7 View Post
    I've known about liquid emulsion for a long time, but never used it-
    I don't suppose the liquid emulsion can be spread thin enough so that the image can be viewed through the glass, i.e. from the back? Or is that a stupid question?

    j
    hi jb7

    i have printed with liquid light on glass for since about 1986 ...
    the hardest thing is making a binding agent ( sub ) so the emulsion anchors itself
    and doesn't float down the drain ...
    you clean the glass with washing soda until it sheets off
    then you can either us gelatin or urethane as a binding agent. urethane will get yellowish as it ages ..
    after that you put the emulsion on the glass ( paint, glass rod, dunk in a tray &C )
    however you want to do it. i used to put about 2 layers on.
    print on the glass like you would on photo paper and process the same way.
    yup, the image can be viewed through the glass think of it as a sheet of film, except it is glass.

    at alternativephotography.com look under dry plates, it explains it all ...

    there is another way of getting an image onto glass for sun printing. i have never done it ( have wanted to though ) and it involves coating the glass with egg whites
    and silver nitrate and fuming with ammonia.
    (i posted the recipe at apug it is in the article/recipe area under aj12 and other things ).

    have fun!
    john

  10. #10

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    Re: Printing on Glass?

    You could print on transparent plastic film, then mount that on glass.

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