how the hell do you register prints properly... My first print is actually pretty much perfect every time but after that, all the other ones are off.
I'm trapping my artwork and I'm using registration marks, but it seems that the problem is when I place a new sheet under my screen, I guess its never exactly in the same place as the previous. I tried making L marks on the corners with tape to ligne the up, I also tried making stiffer "L's" out of card stock that I glued on the corners with semi permanent spray glue. Nothing seems to work.
My only thought is that maybe its in the design of the artwork, maybe I should make the art simpler..? my problem right now is a character that has concentric circles in his eyes... Should I just avoid concentric circles?
Add more trapping, overprint cover over color from lightest to darkest(or the reverse for effect) & I'd check your rig and make sure there is absolutely ZERO movement. A loose clamp or even whichever part attaches the clamps to your press or table/printing surface. 1/32" of movement in a clamp could become an 1/8" or more once travels diagonally down the length of the screened image.
Hey thanks for the response, I just got home from a hard day of zero good prints and am racking my brain over it... I don't think there is movement in the clamp but I will definitely double check since I hadn't thought of it.
How do you keep your paper lined up with the previous one? I've made an L shaped tab which I glue in one corner and then I have a straight tab which I keep against the bottom edge of the paper. I'm also on a vacuum table, so it seems really snug, but then again the color never seems to fall in the same place.
Am I just asking too much? Here is what I'm working on, the concentric circles in the eyes of the middle character have been driving me mad. Maybe they could just never be exactly centred...?
Maybe this will help you a little bit. It briefly shows how I register my prints.
1. Tape your black line film to the poster where you want it to print.
2. Tape some arms to the back of the paper (one on the left and one on the bottom) so you can move the paper under the screen.
3. When you get it lined up, place tabs down. One on the top right and two along the left side.
5. Repeat the same process with your next screen with the same master poster with arms and blackline.
is your paper changing shape/size on you from the first color to the second? (for once i'm not being a smartass)
the moisture in the first color you put down (or in the air) can get absorbed by the paper and cause it to expand. i've been told to pre-rack paper overnight and not take it straight from the box to start printing on it.
What mikeage said. I never thought of pre racking stuff at first. Just went straight from the box to printing and was having a motherfucker of a time getting registration to work. Turns out everything was getting warped after the first color went down due to the ink/humid printing space and registration setup I had used was now useless.
ok thats interesting I'll give that a go, I don't really have a proper drying rack, so I guess I can just lay my paper out somewhere or hang it or something? Tuffy I use the arms on the back of the paper method, but thanks for the link to the conversation about registration tabs, I might try something new. Any thoughts on the illustration itself, think it's something thats doable? I mean really like I said in the end it's just the circles in the eyes that are problematic, but I'd rather not change em.
Making sure the obvious is out of the way: Did you use the reg tabs on the first color, or just the subsequent? If your first color run wasn't reg'd properly, nothing's going to fix it.
Also, from your description, it sounds like your tab setup has two contact points on the same side of the paper, and then the L-shaped one is on an adjacent side, but really the same corner, is that correct? That'll make it easy to be just that little bit off that makes the circles not line up. I'd suggest two tabs along one side, and then an entirely separate one on the other end of an adjacent side. That way you end up with a really big L-shape made up of three tabs, instead of an L with one long side and one short. That extra length will make it easier for you to get the paper against all three tabs tightly. Make sense?
For pre-racking, you don't need to literally separate each piece of paper on the drying rack. Just take it out of whatever packaging it came in, lay it flat, and leave it overnight to adjust to your shop's humidity.
Yep tabs on the first color, I'll try placing the tabs as you said though BR, sounds like a better method.
I also realized something, I was using the arms under the paper method with the film to line up my first color, then when everything was in place I was putting the tabs down, and then removing the film and printing the design along with the registration marks. Then I was trying to line up the next color from the printed registration marks. I think this is what Tuffy was getting at but is it better to just leave the film on the paper with the arms underneath and just reuse that to register the next one? It was hell using the printed marks to register since the first color was yellow it was almost impossible to see under my yellow mesh.
Most of this is all good, if you are just starting it takes some work to figure, and also to deal with diff issues, a lot of little things can conspire...but the screen must come down in the same spot each time - if you are printing by hand, then the hinges can't have play, and you should put some blocks on either side of the front of the screen to lock it in.
The most common way to register a sheet is 2 tabs on the longest side, and then one 'stop' tab in the corner - all 3 are independent pieces - we use sticker material built up in a 4 layer, trimmed to 1.5"x 3/4" or so. Peel and stick, easy to move. the two tabs create the 'x' plane, the 'y' is the other. The longer the distance on the x side, the more accurate it will be. By placing the 2 tabs in one corner, it becomes easier to put the corner of the paper in place - you can put a finger on, and pivot the paper up against the other stop. When you have your 2 corner stops spread out, you increase the chance the paper is not sitting snug. and the tab should be hard...tape or card or other materials can smoosh and change if they get hit again and again. hard tab, and not higher than the stocke or you can rip your screen by repeatidly printing over it.
BUT you have to place the paper perfectly in the tabs each time. When I watch people print, this is one of the most common mistakes - especially on the first colour...'hey we don't need to worry about tight register till the later colours...'
Placement is critical.
So second colour....you can't see the yellow? then mark your register bullseyes with a pen, or stick down your film over the yellow. But get this.....once you register the second colour to the first, and put your 3 tabs back IN EXACTLY THE SAME location relative to the paper (not another side, and not another location along the side - mark this location on your setup sheet and stick the tabs there - this is CRITICAL if you have hand trimmed paper) you need to realize that when you start to print, the screen and image will distort in the direction of print. If you have a lot of lift, more distortion. So be prepared to move your tabs slightly as you dial in your register. It is rarely correct on the first pull. the beauty of the peel and stick tabs is after a print, before moving the paper - you can see usually how much you need to move...so move the tab that amount. the next piece should be better - keep going until it is in register, then lock it in.
Don't obsess about little things if you are just starting, but try to learn and correct as you go. Come back and tell us how you are doing after you have 20 tight register pieces done, and you have worked on this. the squishing of the ink is the easy part. All the rest is hard until you figure it out. Then you will go....doh!