A few of you might not have experienced the joys of counterweighting your screen. This came out of a couple of conversations at FS with hand printers who were still jamming cans under the screen each print. I just finished building a vacuum table for a customer with one.... Try it, you'll like it...
The concept is simple and most hand set-ups can be easily adapted.
1. A weight equivalent to the squeegee and the screen with ink in it is attached to a small rope or ropes. the rope passes over a bar or through a pully or hook, and then down to the side of the screen frame. It is clamped to the frame with a small c-clamp.
2. Weights can be a can full of pennies or metal bits, a jug of water, or any heavy object. Cans or containers that the weight can be adjusted are better than attaching a single weight, like a tire rim....
3. When your screen is in the hinges, attach your c-clamp and cord. When the screen is down, the weight should go in the air, when the screen is up, the weight can rest on the ground or table surface. You will need to adjust your cord length to get this, but once it is done it is good for all screens of similar size.
4. With a squeegee laid on the front or back or side of the frame (wherever it would normally sit in the up position during the print run) adjust your weight. the screen should come down and sit, and when you move it up it should stay there.
5. To keep things even, especially on bigger screens you will want to have a clamp and cord on either side. In this case, the cords go over your pulley/hook/bar, and then attach to either end of a stick, or metal tube. the weight is attached to the centre of the this tube or stick.
Here's a picture of the set up with a single cord and weight. the weight (that white can) is resting on the tabletop, the screen is up.
If I push down on the screen, the weight rises. It is attached to the front corner of the roller frame with a small c-clamp.
the frame it goes over is made of copper 1/2 pipe, mounted into 5/8 holes in the backbar.
On a fixed table, you can run two 2x4's up the back and drill them out and shove a copper pipe through.
You can also run it to hooks set in the ceiling.
the third (smaller) printing table has a springloaded rolling leg that holds the screen up between pulls.
I have one of those. It only fits on one of my screens though so it's irritating. I have a wooden bar that I screw into the side of my wood frames. The hole is loose enough so that when I pick the screen up, the leg swings down and the screen can rest on it.
I'm screwed with the big screens though. The counterweight system seems like the next logical addition to my table. The can under the screen was lame last night.
my brother stole a table top press from his high school that hadn't been used in like 20 years. (cutbacks on the arts) and it uses couter weights. i will try and borro my girlfriends digi cam and take some photos of it. it is pretty prehistoric but not a bad ideafor home shops!!! it is a screen clampthat has a bracket weleded on to it that has a slot cut in it and has a threaded weightthat attaches with a wing bolt so you can slide the weight back and forth to your liking i have been meaning to take a one and set a little table press. it a good option for sure!!!