Okay y'all, I'm calling it a night. Got started on my first real print run, and so far things are going okay...just okay. The first screen burned just fine; the second I'm pretty sure wasn't quite dry enough, but I can redo that one tomorrow night no prob. Here are the big things:
1) Where (on the web) can I get a nice wide squeegee? I'm using a 12" one now, and need one that's 16", maybe up to 18".
2) On some of the detail sections, it doesn't print very cleanly. I think I'm probably pulling too much ink down and it's pooling up around the edges of the detail stuff. Any tips on avoiding this, or at least remedying it in the process?
Thanks! Below is a preview of what I'm printing. Only printed the blue so far.
Re the squeegee, try screenweb.com and then look for dealers, same with sgia.org...why not look in the yellow pages and shop local at your nearest screen supply shop, these are the people you will need to know as you become a screenprinter. Might as well start now.
Blurred print... too much ink is getting through the screen during the print and blurring under.
too coarse a mesh count = too much ink
too slack a screen = too much ink
too thick a flood = too much ink (especially if it sits on a coarse mesh)
too flat a squeegee angle = too much ink
too much lift = too much ink
not enough lift = blurring
to cure the problem, eliminate each item as a potential source. Start with the easy ones (lift, angle, flood) although if you have a slack screen that''s probably 90% of your probs.
out of arkansas has insanely cheap prices and quality equipment...after calling all the screen shops in Albuquerque to see if they restretched screens...they said they all send them out to rhema you restretches for 12 bucks for a 23 x 31 230 mesh setup...that CHEAP...and all shops swore by rhema.
Thanks for the tips. I have 180 line count mesh, and they haven't been used much so they're nice and tight—still make a pretty ringing sound when they fall over in the bathtub. I've got it offset about 1/4" from the screen, but I'll try keeping an eye on the angle of my pulls tonight. I figure all it will take is practice, but your suggestions will probably help get to the root of it more quickly.
As for the supply shops in town, all the places I've talked to (which was like two or three) don't have much of a selection of anything. When I was looking for emulsion, each place only had one kind. I didn't ask about squeegees though, so it wouldn't hurt to make another round. The commercial screenprinting work in this town is probably 99% t-shirts...I've only seen one shop advertise custom posters. I'm about to corner the market!
Thanks again. I'm still open to any other suggestions.
Arkansas! I like the sound of that. I'll definitely check that place out. I'm going need to get at least one of my screens stretched—I had duct tape on the frames and noticed that it was causing a slight gap on my exposures, so I took it off of one of them last night, and tore a bit out of the corner. Great way to end the night! Anyway, I'll check that place out.
i've had that happen many times. usually it was one of the things andy mentioned, however one thing he didn't mention was a dull squeegee. i started out with one of those red rubber squeegees, and after a run or two, the edge would be rounded off, so i would have to use sandpaper to sharpen it up again. i've since switched to nicer ones that stay sharp from dickblick.com
Yeah, I have little shims made out of cardboard padding the bottom end of the screen from my printing table. I don't think it's offset by exactly 1/4", probably a shade less. I was printing lower on a previous run (posters my friend and I did) and had even worse problems with the paper coming up no matter how thick I sprayed tack on there. Anyway, I'll let you guys know how your advice factored into tonight's run later. For now, I'm off to the carwash.
Thanks for all the tips, guys—tonight's stab at the blue layer went much more smoothly. Still waiting for the emulsion to dry on the other to do the burn, but I think it won't be such a problem as the other (a lot less print area to cover). So, anyway, yeah, thanks, totally.