This week I was given the opportunity with a friend of mine to used an AB Dick 350 printing press to make stickers for Evan Davidson Photography. This printer was used in the industry around the 1950s and 60s, but in some cases was even operated in the later years. The printer uses the process of lithography, which is a method of printing based on the immiscibility of oil and water. For the project, the first thing I did was format a document in Adobe Illustrator that would fit 12 1.5"x3.5" stickers on a standard 8.5”x11” sheet of sticker stock paper. After that I printed it out on a plate printer. In lithography printing, a plate must be made. A plate is a flat piece of plastic with the image on it. Once the plate was made, it was rolled onto whats called the blanket cylinder, which repeatedly gets fed paper and rolls over each sheet, printing the same design over and over at about a 100 sheet per minute pace. Once the image is applied to the blanket cylinder, the prints are ready to be made. Obviously, like most of the things I try to do in my blogs, I encountered some problems. When you apply the plate to the blanket cylinder, you’re supposed to open a valve that lets fountain solution (a water-based mixture specially formulated to dampen lithographic printing plates before they are contacted by the inking rollers) through the machine. This valve of course was not opened and the whole cylinder got covered in ink, which is a pretty messy thing to have to clean up. After about five minutes of scrubbing, it was finally clean and ready to go again. Before we ran the print on the sticker stock paper, we did some tests with regular copier paper. The prints turned out well, but once the prints were finished, they began folding in the receiving tray of the machine, causing a back up and jam of the printer. This happened a few different times and we could never deduce the problem. We just decided to go through with the print on the sticker stock and hope that since the stock was thicker, it would be better received and not fold. Once it was all said and done, we had about 200 sheets of paper, which meant we had about 2,400 stickers. I've put stickers on a lot of things I use as well as given them out to people I know. The Stickers turned out pretty well and seem to stay on very well. Since I have a bunch of them, if you ever bump into me, ask for a sticker!
Until next week! - Evan