Making your own plates?

On: Thu, Oct 11, 01 12:46:25 AM

Don Petreycik wrote:

I just got back into holography after a three-year leave of absence and used up my remaning BB plates (which still worked quite well after all this time). I was disappointed to find out that the BB plates are no longer available. I can start using Slavich, Red Star, or Kodak plates; but who is going to stop production next? Besides, the cost of these materials is ridiculous. Maybe it's time I tried making my own plates. Has anyone tried the diffusion method of fabricating plates ( The procedure does not appear to be rocket science and the chemicals are inexpensive. Better yet, how about revisiting dye-sensitized dichromated gelatin now high- powered


Don Petreycik - Thu, Oct 11, 01 12:50:22 AM

Sorry...I accidently posted before completing the last paragraph: Better yet, how about revisiting dye-sensitized dichromated gelatin now that high-powered visible laser diodes are available and relatively inexpensive.

Don Petreycik - Thu, Oct 11, 01 01:00:43 AM

Sorry...Here's that last paragraph again. Has anyone tried the diffusion method of fabricating plates ( The procedure does not appear to be rocket science and the chemicals are inexpensive. Better yet, how about revisiting dye-sensitized dichromated gelatin now that high- powered visible laser diodes are available and relatively inexpensive?

Vidar - Thu, Oct 11, 01 03:19:05 PM

Hello - I have the same opinion. The prices for plates and film is totaly crazy these days. I have heard that the prices are very low in Russia, but when shipping to other countries the prices are increased a lot. This is bad, I would have purchased a lot if it wasn't for the high prices. The description of how to make plates are still to complicated for me. If someone could translate this paper into a even more understandable form I will for sure try.

Martin Mueller - Fri, Oct 12, 01 12:16:58 PM

The making of such plates/films is not that complicated. Around 1900 many amateurs of Lippmann photography coated their plates. I have tried Jeff Blyth's diffusion method. It worked extremely well. Speed almost reached the levels of HRT - definitely faster than PFG-03 - and could probably be improved by different spectral and chemical sensitizers. However, the price for the chemicals (Aldrich) was rather high.

John K - Sat, Oct 13, 01 07:53:00 PM

About a year ago I went and bought the chemicals and lab ware to make my own plates. About the same time I got a good deal on large amount of ilford film, so I put the do it your self plates on the back burner. I did try one run of plates but I didn't an image. I think this was because,1. I used the wrong developer, and 2. because I was cheap,and used methanol from a bottle of gas line antifreze. I have coresponded with three people that have used Jeff Blyth's method they all had good results with it. I have also coresponded with Mr. Blyth and He helped with some questions I had. Aldrich has very high prices on their products. I shopped around and was able to get every thing I needed except the dye, pinacyanol chloride from other sources. I got most of my chemicals from the photographers formulary. The best price at the time for silver nitrate was city chemical. Other places to check are artcraft and the chemistry store, all are on the web and have better prices than aldrich. American science and surplus is a good place to get lab glassware and front surface mirrors. If I got time I may try it again this weekend. The process isn't much more complicated weighing, mixing, and using developing chemicals. I would be interested in hearing anyone else's resultes and modifictions this method.

Don Petreycik - Mon, Oct 15, 01 10:24:23 AM

City Chemical has all the ingredients (including the dye), and the prices are reasonable. My main concern however, is applying an even coating of gelatin. I practiced the "Victorian curtain" method with Knox gelatin, and it's a bit tricky; and yes, there always seems to be a void at the lower far corner of the plate. Before I go any further, I'd like to explore spin-coating. Well, time to go scrounging for more equipment again. John K, what is this Ilford film I've been hearing about? I can't seem to find it on their website. PS. As a warning to those about to explore homegrown plates. Do not pour unused gelatin solution down the drain. It's notorious for causing blockages. I was fortunate enough to hear about this in advance. Throw the waste out in the yard. It's organic and biodegradable.

John K - Mon, Oct 15, 01 09:35:30 PM

ilford stopped making film several years ago, but Nick Hardy has been selling tins on e-bay. I e-mailed him a while back and bought a tin from him directly. There is 400 feet by 9.5 inches of film in a tin, I film is good , I make holograms with it, and as I get better with practice I get brighter holograms. I contacted ilford, and they did say that the dye that makes the film red sensitive may deterorate with time, but I find that I can expose and develop the film opaque. He seems to sell a tin every 2 to four weeks. He is selling a tin on e-bay now. Just type in "holographic film" on e-bay once in awhile. The thing I don't like about the pour and tilt method is it wastes gelatin. I coated my plates with a homemade meyer bar. It is a wood dowel with wire wound on it. The small spaces between the wire meters the gelatin out on the plate. It took me a few tries to get the hang of it.

John K - Mon, Oct 15, 01 09:43:38 PM

Correction, liford stoped making holography film, they still make other film.

dave battin - Mon, Nov 12, 01 07:04:55 PM

have you tryed spin coating? i used that method for dicromate and had good results. i always used a large sheet ,pre-scored it ,then placed it on 45/rpm player ( also warm plate first) poured gelatine,dry,and then snap your plates! the edge always had a buildup of gel so i always allowed an extra 1/2inch arround the edge.

Colin Kaminski - Tue, Nov 13, 01 02:55:05 AM

Dave, Are you in a position to share your dichromate recipe? Have you ever tried to red sensitize it? TIA

Tox - Thu, Dec 13, 01 06:28:34 AM

Check back copies of SPIE proceedings on holographic materials. I'm wading through notes now, making emulsions of <10nm crystal size appears reasonable. My problem as an amateur is balancing for panchromatic dyes.

dave - Sun, Feb 03, 02 10:58:12 AM

colin yes i have made many Dicromate holograms ,and quite easly. im now interested in red sensitising. ill give it a try. heres a start, use the Knox gelatine it worked great for me and was always on the shelf at the supermarket.

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