Thermofax Experiment with Gestetner CopyPrinter Master – CPMT-8

Thermofax Experiment with Gestetner CopyPrinter Master – CPMT-8

Background: I’ve had a 3M 4550 Thermofax machine since around 2014.  They were originally made to burn images into plastic transparencies, back before the days of digital projection.  When I obtained mine, I was looking for one because I’d read on a number of blogs about this amaing technology that artists were employing to make quick and easy screens for art fabric.  The technology was old, and the Thermofax machines could only be found hidden away in closets and at electronics recyclers. It appeals to some of us.

I eventually sprung for one, purchasing mine from Welsh Products.  I had to look it up.  I paid a whopping sum of $1,465.21 (shipping and tax included) for this machine that they could have simply found in a junkyard.  Not too shabby!  Welsh products has been the go-to site for Thermofax in the US.

That is, until Riso, the manufacturer of the film used for making the screens decided to change their manufacturing process which created a film that was more difficult to ‘burn’.  This meant that there were a lot of failed screens being made.  I would say that was about 2 years ago.

Since then, it’s been on my to-do list to figure out how to get a clean burn with the new (white) Riso film.  We tried several times, to no avail.  We purchased some of the old (green) film from Australia, but I’m sure they’ve sold out by now.

Yesterday: I found a blog by an artist in Switzerland.  She does a lot of experimenting with materials and pointed me to the Gestetner CopyPrinter Master – CPMT-8.  She uses it in conjunction with a tattoo machine.  I’d considered trying to get a tattoo machine, but part of me just wanted to make the old machine work with the new film.

Caprice Rothe (Hands of E.T. in the well known movie featuring Drew Barrymore) and I played around with the Thermofax yesterday.  I have an ‘experiential’ video that we made.  It has all the mistakes and a lot of talking.  You’re getting it as we did it.

The experience was not terrible.  We had some positive results.  There’s a lot more playing we need to do.

Here it is:

I should note that the Stampeede site did not try to use the old 3M machines.  You can find Stampeede here:


Leave a Reply