I am new to the forums. Working on building a set-up in the basement for paper goods and such. I found a drafting table and set it up with speedball hinge clamps. Also made a little riser section with a 2x2 and a 1x2 for this specific job.
I've got a lady who had trouble finding a printer to print on small 2x2 blocks for baby shower invitations. I was up for the challenge and decided to go for it....little did i know.
So here's the photos:
Here's the set-up. I've got a little more than 1/8" of off contact on the blocks and I'm using a versatex ink that i believe is along the lines of the speedball ink. It has worked well in printing paper goods like invitations on cardstock and business cards on chipboard.
The problem I'm running into is the amount of misprints. We will print 4 sheets of cardstock and everything will look great, then as soon as we remove the paper that is sitting on top of the blocks the ink hits the blocks and just spreads outward making every other block look like shit.
We have it set so there is 2 rows of blocks, all 6 sides side by side so we only need one screen and can just rotate the blocks into each side printing 12 blocks at a time.
Some turn out great then the very next run is terrible.
So i'm just not sure where to go from here. We printed 24 blocks and had 7 turn out great. lol. so at this rate i'll need to order about 300 blocks in order to get the 100 that she needs for invites.
Maybe since the paper is printing great sitting on top of the blocks maybe i have too much off contact? it seems like if i press too hard on the squeegee when printing it spreads on the blocks and when i don't press hard enough it doesn't clear the screen. screen is 230 mesh with a 1/1 coating of the rlx emulsion from ulano. i believe it's the rlx. the water and solvent based resistant emulsion.
now after cleaning the screen multiple times i have little pinholes all over the place so i will need to re-coat the screen and expose the image again. just worried about when it's time to print. Any help or input would be great. it could very well be that i'm just not consistent with my printing and i just need to get it down smoothly, but when printing on the paper we bust them out perfectly without any issues.
1. The blocks cannot shift or wiggle when printing. Any movement will create bleeding
2. The blocks need to be exactly the same height at all times. Higher blocks will have more pressure and lower blocks will not have enough.
3. If the blocks are varnished then minimal pressure is required. Sealed blocks are less absorbent. Unsealed blocks will also print differently on the end grain than with the grain sometimes.
4. Switch to a thicker ink perhaps. Lower your off contact so that it requires minimal pressure to touch the blocks with the squeegee but that you are still getting a little snap release with the lift.
5. Print a piece of paper after each block print to get any excess ink off the back of the screen.
6. You just may not have the skills to pull this off as a field of blocks. Switch the set up to a single vertical column of blocks and you will be able to eliminate much of the above.
Thanks a lot for the reply and feedback squeegeethree.
The blocks appear to be all even and level with each other. we made a border of adhesive weather stripping to create a tight fit so that the blocks fit in just like a puzzle. you can see from the photos that there a lot of blocks under the screen. we are actually only printing 2 rows of blocks in the middle of the sea of blocks in order to make the surface even before and after the print area so that the squeegee is be on the same level just before the print and after the print for having a nice fluid stroke.
any suggestions on a thicker ink? the non-textile ink i got from the local screen printing supplier was so thin and runny that it was terrible on standard cardstock with a 230 mesh screen, so i went to blick art store and they had the versatex/blick brand inks.
the blocks are sanded down and unfinished. my thoughts were maybe that with the wood not being absorbent at all compared to paper that maybe it was just too narrow of a window for manual printing with my skill level.
we originally had a 6 x 6 up printing 36 blocks at a time, but realized that the 6 blocks in a vertical row made it difficult to flood evenly without using a ton of ink on the screen. so we taped off 2 rows at the top and 2 rows at the bottom leaving only 2 rows of blocks to print. this made flooding much easier, but still gave us trouble in getting the right print. i could definitely see printing paper after each run of blocks would be good. i will try that and see about finding a thicker ink.
When we need to print with a thick WB ink we use Union's areotex line of inks.
7. Switch to 305 mesh.
8. Flood harder faster so you have minimal flood deposit.
9. Change your squeegee angle to closer to 90 degrees but not 90.
10. Print with a faster pull, don't press so hard.
11. Use a harder squeegee, make sure its sharp.
12. Tell your friend to go get 6 stamps made and stamp them cause you give up.
Hah. I'm game for switching up the screen to a higher mesh. I was told that anything higher than 230 and you will have trouble printing manually so I went with 230. I'll keep the same set-up with 2 rows of blocks in the middle of the bunch to keep the surface the same on the 305 mesh and press less with a faster stroke. hopefully it helps because i've wasted about 50 blocks with the first run of trying 36 at once and the few after.
spray paint the blocks you've messed up something similar to the color you've already printed and then print white over those once you get your system dialed in. Not exactly the same effect but a lot less waste.
That pic of the one with the blur....this looks like you flooded part way, then flooded again. I see this a lot with printers who don't catch all their ink, or flood with pressure. Don't flood unless you have enough to do it in one go, and generally, flood with pressure ONCE.
If you partially flood and stop, it leaves a raised buildup of ink in one spot. either through gravity letting this blob go through the stencil, or you flooding again over it, it puts too much ink through at that particular spot. You get the result in the picture, a blur on the letters in one area.
WAs there a blur on all the blocks lined up with the blur you show?
Yeah I never flood with pressure. Usually try have a thick even coat of ink covering the print area. I've been printing t-shirts for a few months and that was how I was shown to flood. Now after checking out this site and getting some feedback it sounds like i need to actually put some good pressure into my flooding and not exactly leave a thick coat of ink over the area. It was usually in spots when the areas will blur and spread a bit. That was our biggest issue. If I didn't press hard enough in printing then it wouldn't clear the screen and if it was too hard it seemed like too much ink would pass through and leave the blurred areas.
I just picked up a 305 screen today and coated it. So going to expose the image again and hope that the tighter mesh along with a good pressure for the flood that doesn't leave a ton of ink over the open areas will clean them up a bit.
Got it. So just slightly less than 90 degrees for the flood and print.
Yeah man i didn't think wood would be hard to print on. I just didn't want to make 6 separate screens and do the blocks individually so figured doing a 6 block x 6 block square would have been perfect, but it wasn't. So i'm exposing the new screen to do just 2 rows of 6 instead of 6 rows and going to keep all of the blocks set up the same so that the squeegee is at the same level before and after the print area to keep it even.
I was told that anything tighter than a 230 mesh screen would be hard to print so I didn't even realize that it would work. Maybe just stick to all of the non textile stuff at 305 mesh to be safe?