So I'm Building A Home Studio (with resources for newbs)
Here are the things I've done/read/watched to get where I am now.
Screwball Press. This is where I had my first good introduction to screen printing. If you're in the Chicago area and can schedule a day to learn from Steve, I recommend it.
Screen Printing Today by Andy MacDougall. Nearly everyone here recommends this for good reason. I'm betting that if you buy it through that link, Andy get's a couple more bucks than if you buy it from Amazon. Includes plans for a vacuum table and t-shirt jig. Buy this book and read it before you buy a lot of supplies.
Do-It Yourself Washout Booth for Screen Printing. Uses an ag storage tank. I like this idea because it is semi-translucent allowing it to be backlit and the tank is seamless with no places to leak except the drain. Size is a problem if you need to get it through a standard door. If this is an approach you like search for "water storage tanks". They come in all sorts of sizes (including some that will fit through a door) and you might be able to get a deal on a broken one since you're going to cut into it anyway.
Building A Vacuum Table. Oh, man. That aluminum top is slick. It is tempting to go this way, but in the interest of saving money I'll likely use a countertop laminate top like Andy's table in the book at the top of this post. However, if you are thinking of going this route, one thought is to use thinner aluminum and use more spacers underneath it (this table only has two, but used 1/4" aluminum). Another option is instead of drilling all those holes through metal, search for "perforated metal sheets". Some places have it in stock or can drill a sheet to your size and specs. This table is based off the one at Pelican Print Shop. [Note: I considered using a magnetic stainless steel top so that I could use magnetic registration tabs, but read a suggestion by Andy noting that any registration tabs that sit proud of your paper will wear pin holes in your paper over time] [Note 2: Almost all other vacuum table builds I've seen are slight variations on the one in Andy MacDougall's book. You can make it in a variety of sizes.]
DIY Vacuum Unit! From another board. This unit includes a timer and is interesting because it uses a vacuum pump instead of a ShopVac type vacuum. Is a vacuum pump potentially quieter or last longer? Also includes a couple links for smooth black 3mm neoprene for the top. Link 1. Link 2.
Inks. This comes up a lot. For every kind of screen printing ink there is, you'll get two answers because some folks mix them. Some people use house paint. TW seems to get a lot of love, but so do Nazdar, Speedball, and Versatex. I've used Dick Blick water based textile paint which has been compared to Union Aerotex. I'm intrigued by using Golden Acrylics with screen printing medium.
Paper. Popular answers include Cougar 100#, French Paper, and even Wausau 80#. It seems like I've seen a couple posts where Andy suggests roughing up paper with 300 grit wet/dry. Some have asked if he was joking. I'm not sure what the answer is, but I've yet to take sandpaper to paper before printing.
Last edited by u6crash; 05-24-2013 at 11:25 PM.
Reason: Spelling errors!
Earlier this year I finally bought my first house an I have some serious room to setup a home screen printing studio. I'm going to have a ton of questions for the seasoned veterans here, but first I thought I would post some of the more helpful links I've come across on a wide variety of topics for fellow newcomers. Hopefully it will cut down on some of the frustration of using the search function only to find old threads with broken links and missing pictures and maybe it will cut down on some of the questions that are asked time and time again.
Due to a huge character count, this introduction to the thread is now the second post and a little awkward.
Last weekend I found a couple of t-shirt printers that were liquidating their supplies. I got a stainless steel wash basin for $35, a pressure washer for $65, and a heat press for $80. I didn't have plans to buy a heat press, but I took some extra money because they said they had a lot of stuff. Hopefully I'll get some use out of it at some point.
Here's another shot of the wash basin. It is 48" x 24" on the inner dimensions. Under the lip it is supported by 1x4s on all but one side. This will be useful in putting up walls around it.
This is the drawing table my parents gave me for my eighth grade graduation many moons ago. The top is water damaged now, but my plans are to use the base for my printing table support. I kept trying to conceive of some hybrid vacuum table and standard adhesive use table, but I've read enough posts that suggest I don't need to mix the two and my drawings kind of confirm it. So I think I will build a vacuum table, but I may get a sheet of masonite to lay on top of it for the rare print I make that is oversize (I've got plans!). What I like about this as a base is that I can adjust my height and angle.
Okay, here's my first round of questions before I order a whole bunch of supplies.
My print setup will be in my basement. Basements are a little damp. I've got a dehumidifier set to 55% with a 2-hour on/2-hour off cycle. Is that cool or do I need to reduce it more and should I be watching my humidity on an actual humidity gauge? I'll probably plan to pre-rack my paper, but I wasn't sure if I should expect more problems given my environment.
From what I've read here I probably don't have to worry about safe lights too much, right? Apply emulsion, put it somewhere dark, and I should be good? Do I have to worry more if I end up taking out the dry screens to apply a skim coat?
After debating different emulsions, I've decided to try Murakami Photocure Pro. As I'll be using water based inks, how important is it to apply MS Hardener? Some sites that carry that emulsion are sure to point that you need either MS Hardener or Murakami A+B Hardener (for more permanent stencils) in conjunction with water based ink. This thread is the only discussion I've found on it, so maybe they are just trying to sell me something I don't need.
That's it for now. I'm getting anxious and I haven't even built anything yet.
Well, I am full on flattered to have one of my threads included in this bevy (and also pleased you've included some more sensible suggestions for table surfaces as well). I wouldn't be surprised if future This Is What You Need To Know threads just linked to this one!
Best of luck getting started. Look forward to seeing what you print.