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  1. #1
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    archusangelus's Avatar


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    Default Printing this kind of detail possible?

    Hey everyone,

    So I've been browsing these forums for a while and posting here and there. But now I'm finally going to start screenprinting. I have screenprinted before in a studio but only very simple images.

    The problem for me is that I'm kind of a detail freak when it comes to my illustrations and I pretty much do all my value with cross hatching using microns. I love drawing like this, but I'm not even sure if I'd be able to screenprint this kind of thing at home. So I'm just wondering if I can get some opinions on what you guys think.

    I'll be building an exposure unit and everything but have been considering taking the step into building a vacuum top exposure unit, the only problem is I don't think I'd be able to afford all those fluorescent tubes and ballasts. So was wondering if anyone has seen a vacuum top exposure unit using 2 500w halogen work lamps, and if you think it's worth the effort.

    Okay so here are some crappy photos of my current poster to give you an idea.

    Thanks!

    Oh, and it's 11 x 17".




  2. #2
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    Yes, and not particularly difficult. You just need a good stencil.

    The halogens are better than flourescent tubes for this, because the light won't be coming at the emulsion from every which way. Big banks of flourescent tubes = undercutting = detail loss and jaggies.
    Try to get the halogens as far from the screen, and as close together, as possible. The ideal light source is a single point, as far away as possible (i.e., the sun.) Make sure your positive is sealed really really tight against the screen as you expose.

    You have to work fast when you print; once dryout begins it snowballs. So get a friend to back you up.
    You might want to start with something a bit less detailed...maybe the same sort of image, drawn smaller and blown up 200%.

  3. #3
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    Default

    Thanks for the quick response.

    Yep I was definitely going to be starting with a simpler image but eventually want to get to this sort of thing.

    Do you think a vacuum top is necessary or could I use the whole glass sheet on top of the stencil thing.

  4. #4
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    The important thing is having your positive perfectly flush against your screen.
    A vacuum top is the best, but by no means the only way to get this. Weight can work, you just need to be careful and make sure you're in contact everywhere.

  5. #5
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    Okay cool thanks!

  6. #6
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    a space-bag and a sunny day will do it
    "I guarantee, the image will not be fade off and you will be pleasure it too. " - a bootlegger
    We need to print a tshirt "Avoid sucker effect!"-Fabio
    "fudge isn't sharp"-phoondaddy

  7. #7
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    I've been thinking about a space bag. Thanks.

  8. #8

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    I'd also like to add that you'll need a higher mesh count, in the range of 230, or even better, 305 or even 330. That's not a "beginner" mesh, so the advice to start simpler (if this is your first print) might be sage indeed if you already have a lower mesh count. The higher the mesh count the finer the detail.

    90% of the problem after you get the detail to show up on the stencil will be proper startup and ink handling.
    You'll need a really durable, sharp stencil that will be able to withstand some "screen startup" in the form of a lubrication liquid (which you make) and some quick proofing. This means you'll have to make sure the stencil is post exposed, preferably the printing side, so that it's pretty impervious to being broken apart by moisture.

    Also, you'd need to retard your ink for this level of detail, no doubt. Your ink supplier will have propelyne glycol or some other retarder for the ink if you're using water based/water phase.

    When you go to "start up", you wanna lube the screen with a sponge that's damp with the lube liquid.
    Lubrication liquid for me (I make this myself) is 1 part fragrance/dye free laundry detergent to 9 parts water. This does two things: It "lubes" the screen in prep for printing and it soaks the emulsion. If you don't do this, sometimes the emulsion will suck the moisture right outta the ink and clog.

    Don't get the screen sopping wet, just moisten it and let it absorb some water by lightly sponging it.

    Then you want to add your ink, which hopefully you've modified with retarder as mentioned above, pull a couple prints on newsprint while the screen settles in, before switching to good paper.

    If you notice lighter lines "drying out" or clogging, you'll want to pull a printing stroke, but NOT flood your screen, stick a piece of newsprint under your screen to keep your printing surface clean, and sponge the screen out all over. Keep watch on your most detailed/thinnest detailed lines and that will be your tell tale area.

    It's easier to print with a friend plucking paper for you, but honestly, I've printed stuff this level of detail before without issue on my own, manually.

    Have fun!

  9. #9
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    Thanks so much for that awesome write up!

  10. #10
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    Coat the screen 3 times, back-front-back (back being where the ink will go) and dry it front side down. This way the emulsion will come out a little on the front and will create a sharper edge so that the ink is contained better and the detail enhanced.

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