I recently took a poster printing workshop and the instructor had a band of duct tape "permanently" around the inside edges of the screen to seal the edges/corners. Is this common practice? What is the proper way to do this? How far should the duct tape go "on to" the screen from the aluminum edge? Is this done only on one side?
This is different from the temporary packing-tape coverage where the emulsion stops.
Any advice is appreciated, and a picture would be a bonus.
I have been a graphic designer for apparel screen printing for over 10 years, but I'm setting up my first poster printing station and am trying to learn as much as possible from the forum here.
i wouldnt want anything on the screen thats going to collect goo and dirt and be sticky on a permanent basis, and duct tape deteriorates and gets gross. i think its in your best interest to be able to 100% completely wash out the screens everytime. it takes two seconds to tape up in the inside of your screen. honestly, also just lifting out that tape around the edges and tossing it in the garbage is 25% of cleaning a screen anyways.
75% if you extend it in to where the squeegee edges run.
cheap 2" clear packing tape. Seal the edges with the back of your fingernail before printing and the waterbased ink doesn't creep under as easily.
ON your first piece of tape, extend the extra over the edge of the frame and crinckle it. then lay all your tape so the cross tapes go over top of this original piece at least once - i.e. first tape front to back, second and third top and bottom, then 4th other side front to back - then the rest of your tape anywhere.
when you are ready to clean the screen (after scraping up excess ink, and wetting the back of the screen (this makes the tape not stick so bad and leave residue) you pull that crinckled tab and all the tape comes off in one go.
What Daniel & Andy said, except I use masking tape. Same dif.
I tape up the inside / squeegee side and peel it off with each time I use a screen. I've used screens with a more permanent tape, already on the screen and kinda hated it. Plus it does truly start to collect yuck and be a pain in the ass.
Make sure to get "cheap" clear packing tape (as Andy said)--it sticks good enough but does not leave a glue residue like the good stuff does sometimes.
As for "Happy Canada Day motherfuckers!": here in Calgary, Canada Day is just a minor warm up act for the Calgary Stampede (billed as "The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.") Boots and saddles boys. That's the cowboy way.
I would like to mention that I have been using harbor freight packing tape and it sucks real bad. It seems like nearly all of the adhesive gets left behind. It is more difficult to washout than my ink and I am using an aggressive solvent wash! On the other hand, I started using their duct tape and it seems ok, though I would like to use a clear tape. Aren't some people using 3M Tartan or something?
I also second Andy's advice about tape removal and cleanup. The more ink you can remove using the tape, the better. I do have a problem with taking all in one go, I try to get each side individually so I don't get ink all over myself.
I've seen duct tape used on wooden frames to reduce warpage. I think the idea is that by covering the frame it keeps water off the wood or some junk when you washout/clean up. Dude's shit was still warped and the tape was all fuxxored on the inside edges which made the important tape not adhere very well. My suggestion that aluminum frames would cost about the same once you work out how much tape gets wasted after a 4-color run was met with a blank stare.
It's the only instance I've seen duct tape used in screenprinting. I use both the Duck brand packing tape for big coverage and the fancy red/blue printers tape for the edges around the stencil. I've had the cheaper tape's adhesive break down on me with water-based ink on long runs.
Yes, it's common practice. The point, as I understand it, aside from blocking any areas not covered by emulsion, is to make clean-up a little easier. Ink usually wells up on all sides, and if you don't have tape there, it will seep into the cracks and crevices. Go about it the way Andy said, that way you only have to lift one piece of tape and the rest come off easily.
I (3+ yrs printing) and the guy that taught me to print (15+ yrs printing) have always used 2" masking tape (2" x 60 yards Uline Industrial Masking Tape S-318 - Uline). Never had a problem with it. Tried duct tape once and it sucked. They sell a special plastic tape for screen printing (R Tape Block Out tape 2" x 36 Yards), and it is pretty nice and easy to use. But it's a little more expensive, and not noticeably different. It's also not as easy to use to cover pin holes on the print side of the screen..
Couple other tips about using tape.. (mainly when using plastisol for t-shirt printing)
It's common to put as many images on one screen as possible, to save time and money. I usually squeeze as many designs (from diff customers) onto one screen, so each faces a different direction and all I have to do is flip the screen when moving on to the next design. So obviously the design I'm not printing needs to be taped off. Cover the image with tape on the ink side, not on the print side, and make sure your tape extends all the way to the edge of the screen. When I'm done with one design, I simply peel the tape off the print side, leaving a clean image underneath. Clean off the old ink w/screen opener, flip the screen, and you're good to go on the next image. If you were to tape off the (un-used) design on the print side of the screen, there would have been a large amount of ink buildup getting into the design while doing your 1st print. Ink going over tape leaves a gummy mess, so it just makes it easier to gang print things by taping things off on the print side. Of course, you don't want the tape to get in the way of your squeegee pulls, so play around w/it a little til you're comfortable w/it.
I'll attach a pic to try and show what I mean.. there are 2 designs on this screen, one is a little bit bigger than the other..