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Etch Press question

Hi Friends,

I’d like to know if anyone can confirm conclusively whether the Rio
Etch Press (Print Gocco press) will work with an image produced from
an ink jet printer… as opposed to a dry toner print or photocopy.
This is not the toner iron transfer process, but the press that
creates silk screens for resist application.

Thanks in advance!

Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans’ Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)

Yes, I have a Print Gocco. Yes, I have used it to make etching
screens. The principle is basically where you take a master and "burn"
it to the screen, producing a master screen. In turn, this master
screen is used when applying the resist by using the screening
process. Different screens are available, from fine to coarse, and
half tone as well. But, there is a considerable learning curve to use
it with consistent results, it’s messy, time consuming and it doesn’t
produce as crisp an image as PnP. However, you must still use carbon
based media to “burn” the master screen with the Print Gocco. It’s an
intregal part of the process to make it work correctly. I’m sure
there are others out there who will give you the technical details.
Does this answer your question?

The key is that the ink used to create the image must have a high
carbon content. The black messy stuff that creates the images from
(non-color) photocopiers has the required carbon content, as do
permanent (black) marking pens, and India inks. It is the carbon
content that makes the image heat sensitive when the flash bulb goes
off - the ink gets hot and burns through the plastic film covering the
screen, thus the metal-etch resist (or ink) can pass through the
screen wherever the burning of the image occurred. I think the answer
lies in whether the ink in the ink jet printer cartridge contains a
carbon based ink or not. I would wager that the black ink jet
cartridges probably do contain carbon, but the carbon content may
vary from brand to brand.

A sure way to find out if this idea will work is for the artist to
experiment using an image from their ink jet printer.

Dave, if you’re willing to give this a try, we’re willing to minimize
the risk. Go ahead and use an image printed from your printer, the
only thing you have to lose is one screen and a few minutes of your
time. You should be able to hold the screen up to the light and see if
the image burned properly or not. Hopefully it will and you can go
forward with your project. Contact me (800-396-9896, X 3040) if it
fails to work using an image from your ink jet printer, and we’ll give
you a credit towards your next order for the value of the wasted
screen ($2.00), or send you a replacement screen if you prefer.

Hope this info is useful.
Molly Bell

The carbon concentration makes sense to me, which is why resist
transfers of PnP blue, laser and photocopier work. But these are all
dry inks with an electrostatic bonding. Ink jet is water soluble and
should bleed out.

Please let me know how this all works out.


Don’t know if I’ll make Hanuman’s holiday cut off, but we’ll try.
Have a wonderful vacation! Happy New Year!

I’m willing to give and inkjet original a try. I’m optimistic…
maybe hopeful is a better word. Just saves me a run to Kinko’s to use
their copier… which also deteriorates the image quality a little.
They also offered to print it on a laser printer (for better quality),
which may be a better option. I just hoped somebody had tried or
encountered this - to save me from wasting a screen if it doesn’t

I already have the press… using it for the first time since I
bought it a few years ago. The resist that comes with it is all thick
and gooey, but I have asphaltum which is in good shape. I’m really
having a tough time with the application of the resist. Probably a
common mistake for beginners, I started with way too much. Cleaned off
the screens (2) and metal sheets and started all over. Still not what
I had hoped for, but I think I know what I need to do. The
instructions say to squeegee the resist down the screen, then back
again, which is what I have been doing. Mary Ann Scherr’s discussion
of it in Metals Technic says one pass is usually sufficient. I’ve
already cleaned the screens again and will clean the metal again to
give it another shot. I have seen areas that worked effectively
enough to give me hope.

I should also acknowledge that Karen Christians has strongly
encouraged me to skip all this mess and use the toner transfer method,
but I already invested in this equipment and in my stubbornness,
insist on using it.

I’ll give the inkjet printout a try to expose one of the screens, and
report back “for the record.”

All the best,

Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans’ Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)

I have the Print Gocco Etch Press system and used it with different
resists. It was more difficult to get the asphaltum to just the right
consistency and the blue resist by RGA worked fine for ferric chloride
and ferric nitrate (but breaks down with nitric acid). I was in art
school at the time and there were always scraps of beveled photo
mounting board around, which we used in both printmaking and for the
blue resist application as a disposable squeegee. By the way, there
are some dot screens which convert photos to
gray scale with interesting effect for use in this technique.

Thanks, Donna! Sounds like we’ve had a similar experience with the
asphaltum! The blue resist that came with the kit was thick and
gooey… apparently has a shelf life. I called Rio to see about having
it replaced, but that particular resist has been discontinued…
possibly for that reason. They quite graciously replaced it with their
current product, which is a black, asphalt based resist (but
apparently not asphaltum). It has arrived, but I haven’t tried it
yet. Had to put the etching experiments on a side burner as I
addressed more pressing priorities!

All the best,

Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans’ Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)