When a printmaking lab at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, Manitowoc Campus was gutted earlier this year, Berel Lutsky wanted only one thing — a safe, high-quality paint booth for his students.
Before the renovation, students worked under a chemistry lab fume hood that Lutsky retrofitted with an explosion-proof fan motor. It was far from ideal, and he could tell the imperfect equipment hampered students’ creations.
“It wasn’t great,” said Lutsky, a professor of art. “It was a pretty common fume hood and didn’t have filtering elements to filter anything out.”
The printmaking lab is now twice as large and features a 5-by-4-foot Bench Paint Booth from Global Finishing Solutions (GFS). It features an integrated, raised booth bench, adequate airflow and high-efficiency filtration. Lutsky takes comfort in knowing his students are now working in a code-compliant environment.
Each semester, his class of 14 to 18 students uses the paint booth to spray paints and solvents, mainly with garden-variety spray paint and occasionally an acrylic paint that resembles a floor wax. They spray plates that they then etch, as the paint gives the plates a speckled effect. They also use lithography — a printing process using a metal plate on which the image areas are worked with a greasy substance so the ink adheres to them, while the non-image areas are made ink-repellent.
Lutsky worked with the university’s architects and Grainger, a supplier of GFS products, to turn his vision of acquiring the benchtop paint booth into a reality.
“I was given a blank slate to work with,” Lutsky said. “The university told me to put in whatever I needed, and I got to do most of the planning. I knew we needed a paint booth that was well built and code compliant.”
High-powered fans and motors create consistent airflow in the Bench Paint Booth, giving students a cleaner workspace for a better paint job. The manometer monitors overspray buildup on exhaust filters, and a fluorescent light fixture in the ceiling provides a brighter painting environment.
“There is a lot less turbulence in the Bench Booth compared to our previous setup,” Lutsky said. “The Bench Booth has a nice airflow through it, so we use it to dry other coatings as well. It is also lit inside, whereas the old fume hood was not. Having lighting in there has really helped eliminate shadows when students are spraying.”
Lutsky hopes more students become interested in printmaking now that the renovated building offers a top-notch workspace, with safe, efficient working conditions. The Bench Booth from GFS truly has transformed Lutsky’s class – a fixture for creativity for years to come.