Making Stamps the Polymer Plus Way
Set Type and Prepare a Negative
The original stamp copy is usually prepared with a computer and laser printer. Most people use a simple "desktop publishing" software program that will allow for type and text variations to create great-looking stamps. Copy can also be provided by the customer in black ink on white paper and can include such things as business cards, letterheads, logos, emblems, and signatures for scanning to the computer.
To make a negative with the Polymer Plus Exposure Unit, the original copy must be on vellum paper. The laser printer is used to create the vellum original. Simply insert our laser-printer vellum paper in the paper tray and print!
Put the vellum original in the Polymer Plus Exposure Unit along with a piece of "JMP daylight-safe negative film." After exposure to ultraviolet light for about 40 seconds, the reversing film is sprayed with a water-based developer solution, swished with a soft cotton pad, and rinsed with tap water. Just like that, an exceptionally high quality negative is made.
Install the Negative
The negative is placed on a glass plate that is provided with the Polymer Plus Exposure Unit. It is covered with a thin sheet of "cover film" to preserve it for future use. Air pockets that may be trapped between the negative and the cover film are pressed out with a cover-film applicator.
Attach Foam Strips and Pour Resin
The photopolymer "resin" is a thick liquid that has the consistency of honey. It is contained over the negative by the use of "foam strips" with self-adhesive backings. Cut the foam strips to the size of the image area and attach them to the cover film. Then pour the resin over the negative.
Apply the Substrate
A rigid plastic sheet of "substrate" is placed over the resin. The substrate will bond to the photopolymer resin, providing stability for the finished stamp-dies. Another glass plate is put on top of the substrate. Special aluminum clamps hold everything together for the exposure cycles.
Processing with the Polymer Plus Exposure Unit
The glass-plate assembly is inserted into the exposure drawer. "Back exposure" will be the first cycle. These first seconds of exposure to ultraviolet light will bond the substrate to the polymer resin. Then the glass plates are turned over and cycled for "face exposure." It is during face exposure that ultraviolet light penetrates the transparent portions of the negative and the stamp-printing characters are created.
Manual Washout and Post-exposure
Polymer resin that has been covered by the opaque portions of the negative is still in liquid form while the exposed portions are now solid. The liquid resin is washed away with warm water and a mild detergent. A final "post exposure" step hardens the stamp-printing characters, preserving their fine detail. Post-exposure is accomplished by submerging the stamp-die under water in the Polymer Plus Exposure Unit's exposure pan and cycling for another few minutes. When the stamp-die has dried, a fine layer of powder is applied to remove any tackiness. After some practice, the entire process of negative production, pouring resin, exposure cycles, and washout requires only about 15 minutes. Or...try one of our new POLYSONIC Ultrasonic Washout Units!
Assembling the Finished Products
Now the individual stamp-printing dies are cut apart with a pair of scissors and "mounted." Mounting is the process of attaching the dies to traditional mounts and handles or convenient self-inking frames, and can be completed in just minutes. Regardless of the style of mount that you use, the final step is to stamp an image on a piece of indexing stock and attach it to the mounts for quick and easy identification.
Copyright Jackson Marking Products 2006