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.