Located conveniently next to the proofing studio is the plate room. It is set up for plate preparation, etching, and applying aquatints. Since New Grounds employs exclusively less-toxic materials, we use a vertical etching tank with ferric chloride to etch copper plates and Z-Acryl polymer grounds for hardground and aquatints. The grounds are water-soluble when wet and are removed with a mild soda ash solution once dry. For aquatints, the polymer hardground is applied with an airbrush to create the fine dots traditionally generated with resin. These new products have helped eliminate the need for asphaltum-based grounds, solvents, and any other toxic materials traditionally used in printmaking. Incidentally, we clean up oil-based inks with baby oil, and we use water-based Akua inks for monotypes.