Waterless Offset – Test (ongoing)

Offset printing is a planographic printing process where both printed and non-printed elements sit almost in one single plane. The method is based on opposing physico-chemical behaviours of certain substances that are ink-accepting and colour-repellent. It is for this reason during the printing process that, before inking the image areas of the printing plate, you must first moisten the non-image areas with a dampening solution consisting of water and an acid-dampening solution additive. Alcohol is also often necessary.

Waterless Offset printing basically eliminates the factor damping solution. It is not a new concept. For decades, printing plate manufactures have been improving their waterless offset plates, but this approach is not yet widespread in the printing industry.

This technique is also known in printmaking, and it seems to be possible to create waterless offset plates by using materials from the hardware store. We gave it a try and made a test.

Looks quite complicated and it is indeed a bit time consuming to set up waterless offset plates with stuff from the hardware store.

Recycling old printing plates by using the reverse side. Roughening it with steel wool and cleaning it with detergent.

A handheld milk frother turned out to be the best device to mix the silicone with the other ingredients.

Testing the waterless plate and the Rotaprint RT4 machine.

The testprint shows different pens which work for this process.