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?
Last edited by StuJohnston; 06-07-2011 at 04:12 AM.
if you are going with solvent based, I would buy the correct thinner for your ink. We always bought the retarder too. We also had a gallon of 'sharp printing compound' or retarder paste - whatever they call it. Add some of that to your mix and you can print detail and keep your screens open like crazy.
for wash, there are lots of things. You might want to try an 'eco' product for this, they make citrus based cleaners for the solvent inks. If it takes the ink up and doesn't leave a mess, it works. Some better than others. If it is 'oily' it seems to spread the ink, more than clean it up - that was always my problem with mineral spirits. I liked a good lacquer thinner, cuts right through, and picks up the ink. somebody else running solvent can recommend a wash.
for emulsion, you can go to a straight one pot (no diazo), the only problem is if it is real fast you might overexpose using sun.
if yu like roller frames, look on any of the screen websites or craiglist and buy used, I see them all the time.
I may not have tried to use mineral spirits to thin if Midwest was open on the weekend, ha ha. I will go and pick up some of the correct materials in the next couple of days. Inkwash and additives it is. I have some lacquer thinner and I noticed that it hase xylene in it as well, son of a gun. I may try that with a mask and gloves today.
Why yes, I am interested in cheap 9700 ink! I don't have much money left after buying all of the tools and chems lol, so I won't be able to buy much. Nette tells me that you switched to UV inks. That is really far out for me at this time, but it seems like a good idea. How do you like them? Do you use ritrama calendered vinyl for sticker stock? Some of my friends got stickers printed from you and I really like the vinyl. That and the people at midwest assured me that the regular calendered vinyl is the most used substrate. I had the idea that it was a gloss vinyl, then I took a look at some of the stickers I have and noticed that they weren't so glossy. Do you happen to print for DDC?
Using the straight one pot kiwo might be great for the mercury vapor lamp though! I hope, I think that I will try it without the sensitizer the next time I buy a quart.
Regarding retarder, is there a benefit past slowing down the drying time? I am not doing long enough runs that I get any drying in the screen issues, yet. I think I read somewhere that it can be used as a thinner, is that another cost cutting no no? Or plain false?
As for roller frames, I do like the one that I have, but it gets pretty expensive if I want to get bigger than the readily available sizes. currently I have up to 23x30 od frames and would like to go bigger. I am going to ask about the pre stretched options at midwest and how much it is to get them re meshed.
This is the last thing I printed. It's a graduation gift for a friend and contains some in-jokes. mostly over ambitious use of color.
After reading Andy's book, I am seeing more and more the effects of me trying to squeeze every inch of printing surface out of my screens. Especially the glow in the dark stuff, it was pretty difficult to figure out if I had printed properly since it was going over white. everything in this print is WB save the black ink in the corner.
For the hell of it, I may as well post the photoset from the time that some of my friends came over to print. Screen_Printing_052211 - a set on Flickr I am printing in my father's woodworking shop. The part that you can see in these photos only covers about a 1/6th of the total area and the exposure unit is in another area.
@standard, of course, but I figure that most aren't selling chemicals. At least not the screen printing kind. Like I said, I have had a really good experience with the salespeople at midwest, I just wanted a second opinion.
I got some of the proper thinner and the ultimate ink wash. So far, it's been a bust. I made a decent stencil that was washed out with the pressure washer, so I figure that should be a good indicator of it's strength. I go to print and I think that I messed up by spending too much time trying to get the registration correct and the ink dried in the screen. The vinyl stuck to the screen no matter what, I even thinned some ink and added it and it still stuck to the dried ink. I gave up and washed out the ink. While I was washing it out, it looked like the stencil was coming out! I am pretty sure that the ultimate ink wash degrades the one coat stuff! After I wiped it down, I sprayed it with the pressure washer and the stencil stayed put, what was left of it. Applied stencil remover, washed out the stencil, degreased and put it in the dryer for later.
There is a new hydroponic supply in town that is having a grand opening event that will include 30%-80% off all merchandise. I may see if I can score a nice metal halide setup. I think that I should go to midwest to get some retarder as well.
AndyDiesel, since I will be out that way, I would it be ok to drop by Diesel Fuel Prints to talk about the 9700 leftovers?
EDIT: Whoops! On a whim, I looked at the Kiwo brochure that I picked up when I got the original sample and it looks like the one coat is not intended for use with solvent inks. Ah ha! It was probably the ink itself that was eating the stencil, that makes sense now. Thankfully I have a gallon of QX-1 to go! According to the tech sheet, It says that it will expose in ~25 seconds with a 1000w metal halide. While I plan to test this out for myself, I have been reading that many people take much longer to expose with a MH setup. Is it because most emulsions expose at a much slower rate than QX-1?
Last edited by StuJohnston; 06-10-2011 at 01:14 AM.
I got that halide lamp, the cheapest bulb they had was a 10k bulb. It looked most of the power was going out of the 330-440nm range. The qx-1 does take around 30 seconds as it turns out.
I went to midwest again yesterday. I picked up a sample of kiwo poly plus s after telling the person helping me that I was looking to try something more solvent specific. She told me that she was wondering when I was going to come around on that idea, lol. So far, it works pretty well. I haven't found anything thing that makes me say, "Ah ha! I have been foolish to use qx1 instead of this!" It does expose slower, which is oddly something that I was hoping for after I got the halide and tested out the qx1. I coated a bunch of screens with the ply plus to expose tomorrow, so I look forward to learning more about it.
I talked to the outside sales guy about the lack of gloss when I printed on the ritrama calendered vinyl with 9700 ink. I told him that I was printing on gloss stock from xpedx and it was fine, but printed on a sheet of the ritrama for grins and it just about completely flat. As it turns out, I was overthinning the ink due to some issues that I was having with the xpedx stock. I tried to use only 10% thinner today, but it was still a little flat Unfortunately I was printing on the wrong side today. I only noticed this when some of the the ink flaked off and then I peeled the sticker from the backing and noticed that the part I printed on wasn't the sticky side.
Now that I know that gloss can be killed by thinner, how low can I go with the thinner? I was told to never print 9700 straight out of the can, but I would like to have as much gloss as possible. I got some overprint clear as well for an unrelated reason and found out that it can be added to a thinned ink to increase flow while maintaining gloss. Could I just use the clear instead of thinner?
I really appreciate the help so far, I am just starting to wonder how much I should bother the salesguy at midwest or should I pester you all more?