Carbon transfer/Distressed Steel

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by Annie, Dec 19, 2011.

  1. Annie

    Annie Member

    Mar 29, 2003
    I was just wondering if it is possible to do carbon transfer to distressed steel plate. I know very little about the process it is the 'transfer' paradigm that has me hoping this may work.

    My parameters...

    46 inch panels in varying widths to 30 inch maximum. The panels are distressed, so there are some areas of extreme 'tooth' other areas are buffed out smooth. I have no UV light source other than the big sky one. Extreme detail is not as important in the final image as permanent deep blacks. I am not looking for highlights as the area of the steel that will carry the images has already been toned down to a general mid-tone blue/grey.

    Any insights as to the possibilities of this or other processes in relation to getting images in my distressed steel are greatly appreciated.

    Cheers, Annie
  2. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

    Aug 13, 2009
    Rochester NY
    Multi Format

    Sorry no one has answered your question yet... and the worst part is, you're stuck with my less-than-veteran insight.. :wink:

    For one, how are you going to make contact negatives in that size? That would be problem numero uno.

    Secondly, the question of adhesion to the distressed steel is an open one. I can't say whether the tooth would hurt or help, but my gut says it will hurt. The carbon transfer relies on two very smooth surfaces (usually both gelatin, or maybe ceramic/melinex/glass/etc.) that form a kind of suction to one another.

    I suspect a direct process like gum might be better for distressed steel, but honestly I have no idea. Just hate to see an interesting idea go uncommented on...

    You'll still have the problem of finding really large negatives, which might not be a big problem if there's a budget for this.

  3. akaa

    akaa Subscriber

    Jan 29, 2010
    I recently saw an image that was described as a transfer process, but onto highly polished aluminium. The image was of the sunset, in Utah somewhere I believe, and it was stunning! I wrote the artists name down hoping to read more about their process, but quickly lost the piece of paper :sad:

    He/She was local here in the Bay Area (CA) but i've yet to find something similar or that rings a bell.

    the image size was approx. 20x30 so there may be hope with the image size you have in mind, although i have no idea, i've just started looking into it myself.

    no advice - just a comment :smile:

    good luck!
  4. OP

    Annie Member

    Mar 29, 2003

    No reason to be sorry... I will figure it out... I actually find it inspiring that no one may be doing this. I can shoot 11x14 negs with one of my cameras so I should be able to cobble something together.


    They have been printing inkjet to aluminum for quite a while perhaps that is what the Bay Area artist was doing.

    Anyway, I see no real problems even if I have to make my own emulsions it will be interesting.... and if I succeed I will have made some wonderful and unique pieces... I have been painting on distressed steel these last few months and am very enchanted with the substrate.

    Cheers & thanks for taking time to comment... Annie
  5. mkillmer

    mkillmer Member

    Mar 18, 2011
    Large Format
    I do cyanotype process with 8x10 eventhough I shoot 4x5.
    If I undestand what you are trying, this may help...
    I enlarge my negative for alternative process by scanning then inkjet printing onto Inkjet transparency film (it's very important the film is inkject compatible - this film is available from eBay, amongst other places - in bulk it is not very expensive per sheet). You may need to adjust your curves to get the correct density for carbon printing - I've never done it.
    Hope that helps.
  6. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Subscriber

    Oct 29, 2006
    35mm RF
    Annie ,

    I saw a woman at tv who transfers inkjetted paper images on to leather with transfer solution.
    First , you print on to paper
    Second , you rub the steel with transfer solution.
    Third , you contact the paper on steel and wait the paper lost its adhesion to ink and than ink transfer on steel.
    I think you can apply this to dollar bill and get a hundred percent correct printing plate for your new 100 dollars.

    You can cut a piece of dollar and send to the ink supplier and all you need is to rent a heidelberg 100 year old portable printing press. :smile:

  7. cramej

    cramej Member

    Dec 29, 2009
    Medium Format
    You might be interested in the Dye Sublimation process. You'll need a sublimation polymer to coat the steel, inkjet printable transfer paper with dye sub inks and a very, very large heat press. You may be able to find someone to print and transfer for you who does large format dye sub. Ship them the plates and images and they can print and transfer. Here's a good overview of the equipment used for that: