To be fair to the salespeople, I have been dealing with Midwest in Portland and they have been incredibly helpful.
That said, I would like some input from people outside of the selling side of things. I started with buying some screens, some union ink, emulsion and chemicals. Up to this point, I had been using a newman roller frame and hand stretched screens. After asking about getting more roller frames and being told that it would take three weeks to arrive at the warehouse, the kind lady told me about the panelframes. I was pretty impressed with them and the ability to have multiple meshes on hand in case of needing a different count or some mesh malfunction. So far they have been great!
The issue that I have though, is that I got started on solvent inks. I am pretty sure that I will not be going back to WB once I get more solvent colors and I run out of the WB that I have. There are some question that I would rather ask you guys since it seems that there is a difference of opinion of the handling of washout and thinning between the people that use solvent ink the people who sell it.
When I bought the ink, nazdar 9700 btw, I was sold sw37 as the clean up solvent. I read up on the msds when I got home and decided that it would be too much trouble and returned it the next day. During the time that it was in my possession, I read here that lacquer thinner, paint thinner, kiwo inkwash or acetone would clean out the screens. I tried thinner, then acetone, then back to thinner and have decided that I can live with mineral spirits for clean up. Recently I have discovered that nazdar actually recommends something other than sw37 for clean up, ims201 I think. What gives?
The other issue is that of the thinner of the ink itself. I was about to buy some of the official stuff then I read that mineral spirits could be used. I tried it and it worked! Is this ok, or is it something that will bite me in the butt later on? Funny enough, the first two times I tried it, I pulled it straight out of the can. I couldn't figure out why the vinyl was pulling off of the vacuum table (Thanks for the plans AndyMac! it hasn't failed me otherwise.)
In my journey into screenprinting, I found out some things on my own that I havenlt found here, even after rigorous use of the search function.
-shop vac works ok on the vac table, but a dust collection unit can pull a bit more.
-I read that a stainless steel table aids in ink washout. I cannot afford to buy one, so I bought a large drip pan from an automotive shop. ten bux!
-even though nazdar recommend sticking with heavier papers, if you must used paper for 9700. When thinned out, it will print just fine on tracing paper, no wrinkles at all!
-while this has been said many times here, I would like to add my recommendation of a cheap pressure washer!
After reading Andy's book, I decided to tryexposing in the sun. Wow! I have been using a 175 watt mercury vapor, it isn't bad. The times are in the sub 8 minute range with diazo sensitized kiwo one coat and a little higher for qx-1. I am pretty sure that is the wrong way around but that is what has been working. To be honest, this requires some care when washing out and drying/exposing post washout before it is ready to print. When I tried the sun, it was a clear day, I tried out the ulano ND sheet over a test transparency that I made as my film is a little more cloudy than the ulano provided film. It looked like it was around a minute. I tried out a minute with the Kiwo and lo and behold, it was a perfect stencil. I even washed out with the pressure washer like Kiwo recommends!
What I learned from this was two things. First, I need to figure out a better lighting situation for rainy days and second, I need to get a better contact with the film and screen. I have been using a sheet of glass, but it looked like it wasn't making perfect contact. I will try something soft underneath next time.
As if that weren't enough words, I came up with another question. From what I have read, ulano doesn't claim that qx-1 is terribly good at solvent or waterbased, though I have no complaint at this point. The kiwo will expose faster if I don't put in the sensitizer and it will only be good for solvent inks. Would there be any advantage to going with an emulsion that is straight solvent? If I don't add the diazo to the kiwo, would I gain any thing more than faster exposure times?
Edit: I just remembered, AndyDiesel recommends Kiwo inkwash for cleaning out 9700. I looked at the Kiwo site and there are ink washes listed, but none with that specific name. Is it 'ultimate inkwash'? Or is it 'ink wash 99'? Maybe something else?