and Materials for Print Dryer
Materials required for the dryer
1 sheet of 3/4 in. plywood
2 two-by-fours, 8 ft. ea.
1 piece 3/8 in. plywood, 10 x 32 1/2 in.
1 piece of 1 x 4, 8 ft. (or substitute two pieces of 3/8 in plywood, 13
3/8 in. x 36 in.)
4 sheets HDF (high density fiberboard) (or Masonite) 1/4 in.
thick, smooth on both sides.
11 pieces of corrugated cardboard, 45 x 32 inches. Make sure the
corrugations run along the long dimension. I ordered mine from
www.uline.com, in 4x8 foot sheets, however salvage cardboard in good
shape would work fine.
22 blotters. I used the 40x60 "Cosmos" blotters (Item #60138)
from Graphic Chemical. Anything similar would work.
4 ratchet tie-down straps, 10 ft long.
1 bathroom exhaust fan
2in. and 2 1/2 in. drywall screws
2 pairs "hook & eye" hardware (for permanent attachment use
Cut-list for Stack
piece 45 x 32 in. - for top cover of stack.
1 piece 48 x 32 in. - for bottom of stack.
2 pieces 3 x 12 in. - for stacking guides, on back side of dryer.
4 pieces, 41 in. long - attach to top and
bottom of dryer.
2 pieces, 9 1/4 in. long - for bottom part of stacking guides
on back edge of dryer.
8 pieces, each 10 3/8 in. long. -
for inserting between the 2x4's that run along the top and
bottom of the dryer.
Note: A simpler option would be to substitute a piece of 3/8
plywood, 13 3/8 x 36 in. attached to the top of the 2x4's on top and
bottom of the dryer.
1/4 in. thick, smooth on both
sides. Also called "HDF" (high density fiberboard).
12 pieces, 45 x 32 in. (cut 3 pieces from each
4x8 ft. sheet-the 32 in. dimension will be a bit short)
11 pieces, 45x32 in. with corrugations running
along long dimension.
22 pieces, 45x32 in. Attach at
edges with tape or glue on both sides of the corrugated cardboard, to
keep the cardboard from pressing a pattern into the prints.
Cut-list for Exhaust
piece 11 x 32 in. for back, cut out hole and mount exhaust fan in
center of this piece.
1 piece 4 x 32 in. for top.
2 pieces 5 x 11 3/4 in. for sides. Cut a groove 1/2 in. wide and 1/4
in. deep 1/2 in. in from the long edge for the 3/8 in. piece of plywood
("slider") to slide in.
2 pieces 11 x 2 1/2 in. for spacers. (see picture of fan assembly)
|3/8 in. plywood:
1 piece, 10 x 32 1/2 in. for slider.
|Fan Assembly, with slider
||Fan Assembly, slider removed
the 41 in. 2x4's to the top and bottom pieces of 3/4 in. plywood.
Locate them at 2 in. from the back edge, 2 in. from front edge top (5
in. from front edge of bottom). Outside edge of 2x4 should be 9 1/4 in.
from long edge of plywood.
Attach the 8 pieces of 1x4; 4 on top
and 4 on bottom. Locate along 2x4's on centers at 4in., 15 in., 26 in.,
and 37 in. Or (simpler option) cut a piece of plywood 13 3/8
x 36 in.
and screw it on to the tops of the 2x4's.
Guides: You need
guides to get a straight stack for the exhaust-fan assembly to fit
over. Attach one end of one of the two 3x12 in. 3/4 in.
to one end of one of the two 9 1/4 in. pieces of 2x4, so that the
plywood laps the end of the 2x4 to form a "L"-shaped piece.
same with the other two pieces. On the 3/4 in. plywood bottom of the
stack, locate the stack guides on centers 13 in. down from
and 9 1/2 in. up from the back along the back edge of the dryer base.
Attach with screws, or (to be removable) with hook and eyes.
To define the ledge where the exhaust fan assembly will sit, draw a
line with a sharpie pen (or something similar) 3 inches back from the
32 in. long front edge of the stack bottom. This will define
area where the layers of Masonite and cardboard are placed, an area
congruent with the size and placement of the 3/4 in. plywood top of the
Exhaust Fan Assembly:
mark and cut a hole for mounting the exhaust fan in the 11 x 32 in.
piece of 3/4 in. plywood. Attach the top piece so
that it laps the
back piece. Attach the two side pieces so that they lap the back piece
and the top. Attach the side pieces with screws only along the edge
adjoining the back, leaving the edge adjoining the top free so that the
side pieces can spread apart slightly if necessary to fit over the end
of the stack of boards, blotters and cardboard. Attach the 11
x 2 1/2
in. pieces of 3/4 in. plywood (spacers) with screws through the back.
the exhaust fan. These are usually designed to be attached to
wall or ceiling stud and fit flush with 1/2 in. drywall. In
there is no stud, and in stead of drywall there is 3/4 in. plywood.
Take the blower and motor out of the metal box. Secure the
drilling a hole in the center of each side of the metal fan enclosure,
3/8 in. from the edge where it mates with the edge of the plywood.
Insert screws through the holes into the plywood to secure
|Assemble the layers so that starting at
there is a layer of Masonite, then a layer of cardboard with blotter on
either side, Masonite, cardboard & blotter, etc. Place each
against the two stack guides on the back of the stack, in the 32 x 45
in. area defined by the line drawn across the plywood bottom of the
stack. There should
be Masonite next to both the plywood top and bottom. The damp
prints are sandwiched between the Masonite and a blotter, so this
arrangement has a capacity of 22 layers of prints per dryer-load.
It doesn't matter if the face of a print is next to Masonite
next to a blotter. Try to keep the prints distributed as evenly as
each layer as you load the dryer. I usually don't cover the
prints in the dryer with tissue paper, but do so if I'm worried about
ink transferring. Make sure the tissue paper doesn't have any
folds or creases , or these can leave a pattern in the paper of the
print. Don't allow tissue paper to be pressed into heavy
of ink on a print long enough for the ink to dry hard, because then you
won't be able to get the tissue paper separated from it. There is room
for the capacity of this dryer to be approximately doubled by adding
more layers of cardboard, blotters and Masonite. I use the Masonite as
it comes from the store, and have never had any problems with stains or
anything transferring from the Masonite to a damp print.
it would make added protection for the prints and would make the dryer
work a little bit more efficiently if you were to coat the Masonite
with some kind of matte shellac or oil-based (waterproof)
paint. Spray it on rather than brushing it on, or brush it on and
lightly sand it. Brush marks might press into a print. The
would work more efficiently because untreated Masonite absorbs a small
amount of moisture from the print, which has to migrate back
through the print and blotter to be removed by the air flowing through
the cardboard before everything's dry. If the Masonite were
sealed with a moisture barrier, the moisture would be isolated closer
to the airflow.
When the dryer is loaded and the straps are cinched down (they don't
have to be extremely tight) set the fan assembly in place.
sides should lap the end of the stack, the spacers should be against
the end of the stack, the back of the box should be flush
the edge of the plywood bottom and the slider should be sitting on the
top of the dryer. Turn the exhaust fan on to draw air through
I have the fan on a timer switch, and set it for 4 hours.
usually long enough to completely dry a load of prints.
time can be affected by wetness of prints going in, relative humidity
in the room, etc. They usually end up staying in the dryer
overnight or longer, and if so I usually run the fan for a while
periodically just to help ensure good drying.
When printing, I usually take the wet print out of the press and lay it
face up on a piece of plastic. I lay a piece of tissue on top of it,
and cover it with a large clear plastic bag to keep it from drying out.
I accumulate the day's prints this way, stacked wet with tissue between
them and covered with plastic. I leave them overnight to
the ink to partially oxidize and put them in the dryer the following
day. If prints have lines or areas with heavy ink or
slow-drying ink, I may leave them in the wet stack an extra day or two;
possibly changing the tissue paper before putting them in the dryer.
In extreme cases, it may be necessary to air-dry the prints
let the ink harden, then dampen the backs with a sponge and flatten the
prints. Most of the time prints can go into the dryer immediately after
finishing printing without ink-transfer problems.