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dry mounting on aluminum

Russell Needham , Jul 31, 2003; 10:55 a.m.

I have recently obtained a Hot Press and have started mounting on aluminum. Does anyone know if one needs to use a particular finish on the aluminium or not? Thanks Russell


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Eric Friedemann , Jul 31, 2003; 01:15 p.m.

Response to dry mounting on aluminium

I'm not at all being sarcastic- I'm genuinely interested. I've never heard of mounting a print on aluminum. What sort of aluminum are you mounting on, what kind of adhesive and why aluminum instead of say, Foam Core?

DK Thompson , Jul 31, 2003; 02:51 p.m.

Response to dry mounting on aluminium

we've had prints mounted on aluminum for some of our exhibitry--sorry we didn't do it in-house, so I can't tell you specifically how it was done. I think the labs that did it for us used either hot or cold mount adhesives in a type of laminating/mounting machines as opposed to a dry mount press. We looked into buying a GBC machine like this a couple of years ago that would mount with hot or cold adhesives onto any substrate up to a 4x8 sheet an inch and half thick. You could run a sheet of gatorboard or plywood or whatever through it, use a heat or cold adhesive and then do UV laminate or textured overcoats as well. They use one of these in a building near ours to do signage for the state fair... for the prints mounted to aluminum--these have been c-prints, rc b&w's or cibachromes-- They took a print and wrapped the corners of the paper around the back of the aluminum and then did a laminate overcoat. It's a very smooth, clean look. The adhesive is actually a silicone I think...this type of mounting is done for high-traffic areas or outdoor use--some of these prints we had mounted like this were then face mounted to sheets of acrylic that had text silkscreened to it for signage--each one was a standalone panel about as big as a person. When our exhibits come down, parts of them are often cannibilized or thrown away or both...I've seen some of these aluminum prints stripped apart, and the aluminum is sorta just matte, flat aluminum really. nothing fancy, but to get the print off it you pretty much have to rip it off.

so...probably doesn't answer your question, but it is does in tradeshow production and exhibit fabrication.

David Goldfarb , Jul 31, 2003; 04:06 p.m.

Response to dry mounting on aluminium

I've also seen it used for large prints in galleries and museums. I think the large Gursky prints are mounted on aluminum. I've also seen it used as a substrate for prints that involve multiple processes like gum over platinum, where shrinkage could cause registration problems. It's a very stable and flat material and relatively lightweight. There's another thread about it here:


Eric Friedemann , Jul 31, 2003; 04:09 p.m.

Response to dry mounting on aluminium

You truly do learn something new every day here.

DK Thompson , Jul 31, 2003; 05:02 p.m.

Response to dry mounting on aluminium

I just found an old 4x4 foot cibachrome we ripped out of one of our galleries mounted like this. this one was flush mounted to aluminum and had a matte laminate overcoat that was wrapped to the back. It's some sort of contact cement or cold mount adhesive, although I'm not 100% on it...I tried to peel it apart with an x-acto and I'd have to scrape it apart basically to get it off. It's really on there... FWIW--we use alot of Sintra for mounting prints and graphics and the company that makes it has an aluminum substrate called "Dibond". I don't think you'll be able to dry mount to it, but it may be worth reading the tech specs if you're interested. There are prints mounted to sintra, aluminum, plex, MDF, gatorboard, etc all through the exhibits at the museum where I work--same with the traveling exhibits we get & i see at other places, all this stuff is pretty common if you go to museums that aren't strictly fine-art galleries. Doing any kind of permanent mounting is sorta taboo for "archival" use, but if you can get beyond that, it opens up alot of possiblities for creative applications....


Eric Friedemann , Jul 31, 2003; 05:12 p.m.

Response to dry mounting on aluminium

Well, if the aluminum sheets aren't too expensive, they would certainly be swell for Cibas. The only thing with the Ciba glossy surface is that you need something perfectly smooth, like Foam Core. Regular matt board just isn't smoothe enough. But a sheet of aluminum certainly would be nice.

DK Thompson , Jul 31, 2003; 06:36 p.m.

Response to dry mounting on aluminium

It's all expensive...for a ciba, Gatorboard is a better material than foamcore. This has a hard surface to it, as opposed to that squishy foamcore which can get dimpled when you mount to it & dings up easily. Gatorboard is sold in 4x8 sheets, but you can get it in solid black up to an inch thick. we use tablesaws to cut this down, otherwise a knife won't really get a clean cut. Then you just use a cold mount adhesive on it--like Scotch PMA for small prints or more aggressive, nasty stuff for larger ones.....Sintra is great for print mounting, but it's expensive and heavy...same goes for it though--you cut it with woodworking tools and can do all sorts of nifty things just like wood (plus some, like heat forming, bending etc)--you can route the edges or use roto-zip/orbital saws, jigsaws, bandsaws to do cutouts etc. The material is flexible, so you can mount photos to curved walls etc--we just had a mural done like this (actually alot of 'em)--the biggest one was a little over 16 feet long by 8 high. It was 5, 4x8 pieces of Sintra seamed together. The print was made on Crystal Archive and mounted/laminated to the Sintra. Our shop guys made this frame that was curved and then the mural itself was screwed into this and became a curved wall in the back of a display....it's flexible, yet really smooth & solid. we've used it to make lifesize prints & cutouts of people too---this is kinda what you'd see aluminum being used for sometimes. MDF is good, but like Sintra it's heavy, expensive...one thing alot of design shops do now is to use Lightjets to do signage with--where they take the text, photos, everything and image it onto c-prints and then mount this to the substrate. So, next time you go to a museum, check out the signage too, we've had 2 exhibits (one still up) that were done this way. The label panels were basically photographs, even if they were all text...like I was saying above, it's not archival but once get beyond that you can do all sorts of things with these materials.

pascal miele , Aug 01, 2003; 04:47 a.m.

Response to dry mounting on aluminium

here (in france) pro labs use filmolux or mac tac adhesives with laminating machines. with these systems you can use almost any support.

hot press are now mostly using for flatening FB paper.

Patrick Mackin , Oct 11, 2003; 09:36 a.m.

There is now a product out that has a pre-mounted archival adhesive mounted to 3/8" thick mdf panel. It is archival and it is reversible. It can be mounted in a dry mount press at 140 degrees. It has hanging slots on the back to hang the panel on the wall. Made by Art Boards at www.art-boards.com

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