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metal halide integrator

1613 Views 5 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  buckcreek
I'm going to purchase a metal halide exposure unit and the ones with an integrator cost about a $1000 more. I know the integrator controls the amount of light so the exposure is the same each time. This is certainly a good feature but I'm wondering if I need to spend the extra money since I have a small shop and do all the work myself for now. I don't want to buy one and then wish I had spent the extra money if it's really that much better to have one. I would appreciate any opinions.
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Joan, My first exposure table was made from a 4 foot florescent light fixture, I changed the bulbs to Black light blue bulbs. The only thing a commercial table offers is the exposure time.,the Sun works just as well but takes longer.
Best of luck, John
You'll see posts by people who have been printing for a long time say that after they bought a commercially-made metal halide exposure unit, that they can't believe they got by so long without it . . . that it made that much difference.
I'm cheap by nature, but I've found that I rarely regret buying a professional-quality tool. I've made 3 exposure units, and was gonna make a metal halide, but decided to quit screwing around and buy a good one and be done with it. I just missed out on a used deal about 100 miles from my shop, and after watching the classifieds and Craigslist, I found a good price on a new AmerGraph. It ships next week.
You can afford only what you can afford, but if you're thinking that the integrator is probably a good idea (and it is), you'll probably regret not getting it in the not-so-distant future. Consistency in exposure eliminates one of the many variables in screenprinting.
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I got a 1000 watt, metal halide light fixture (commonly used in parking lots) about 10 years ago.

My exposure is 40 seconds, never had problems with exposure.

I replace the bulb every 3 or 4 years.

I paid about 50 bucks for it.
I have a 5kw metal halide lightbox with light integrator. Certainly worth the money as far as I am concerned.If you can buy it I would as there is nothing worse or time consuming as having exposure issues and remaking under/over exposed screens.:)
After reading the comments to my question I decided to go ahead and get the exposure unit with the integrator. I agree there are a lot of variables and if you can rule out one that's great. Thanks for the feedback. It sure helps to have a place to ask questions before buying.
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