So I suppose i should start by introducing myself. Hello! My name is john, i reside in chicago, have been a designer and illustrator for a few years but have just recently gotten into screenprinting...but i absolutely love it. Anyway, i dont know if this is the best way to do this (perhaps i should make seperate threads) but i just thought id ask all of you some questions thatve been on my mind in regards to printing:
1)I currently have access to an amazing vaccum exposure unit..whihc allows me to expose sans-serif text down to around 8pts. in size. But often times i have trouble printing such small text...is there a way to get around this? All of my printing problems in regards to small text or line work usually happens with black ink as well...any ideas?
2)I run a clothing line and we have been digitally transfering pigment to silk for these scarves, but it is extremely expensive...I would like to print them by hand but im not sure what type of ink is best..or what the best way to secure a piece of silk to a table for accurate registration would be..
3) what type of ink is used to print on compact discs?
4) for those of you that print with house paint..what are the pros and cons?
Thanks so much if you can find time to answer one or all of these questions..id greatly appreciate it...sorry if this post seems obnoxious..but really im just knowledge hungry, i promise : )
1. maybe your screen mesh is too big so it's not holding the emulsion after washout? if you're more specific, that might help.
3. check in the scrrenprinting section of the forums. i know this has been brought up before, and andymac gave a ton of info about it.
4. i use it (usually mixed in with speedball inks to get the right consistency). it's cheap, available in a multitude of colors. cons: it can be a little difficult to figure out at first. i've found it dries in the screen kind of quickly (floetrol i guess would help that).
about question number 1....what is happening is the screen is exposing perfectly..but when i go to print such small lines and text the ink bleeds to the point where the text cannot be read. its is the bane of my existence : )
It could be too low of a mesh count or too course of fabric or too much pressure on the squeegee o flood or too thin of ink or wrong emulsion for the ink/paint or too much off contact or dirty pallet or.............
Re the fine text, are you printing fabric or paper/graphics?
here's a few suggestions, maybe you need to hook up with a few of the Chicago squeegee bros...
On paper, you need to be running a higher mesh count (225 up to 305, the higher the better for clarity)
Sharp squeegee (= sharp print)
If you are running your ink thin, don't flood, or flood just before the print, or flood every few prints (reduces the amount of ink running through the opening)
Also, a vacuum table so paper doesn't shift
Check your squeegee angle and pressure - many printers press too hard and fold the blade, or press too hard - both these will blur a print.
Too much lift.
On fabric, a higher count, and don't flood hard
you might want to try coating your screen agian on the bottom after the first coating sequence has dried. A thicker coat of emulsion, as long as it exposes good, has a tendency to give you a nicer (sharper) print - it forms a better gasket with the surface as the squeegee goes over.
With some graphic inks (nontextile) you can get a sharp printing compound or microprint gel - it lets you keep the inks thick so they don't run, but it doesn't dry in. I use process clear with TW.
Ain't screamprintin' fun?
Re the silk, we used to do bolts on a long table, moved the screen along to repeat the pattern, but did it with resist, the colour dye was applied after.
I print small letters with 305 mesh and in some cases 355 mesh
I tend to coat my screens as thin as posiable. The thicker the emulsion the more the ink wants to dry the screen. The other problem that alot of people do is pressing way to hard. I print with a fast pull and even preasure letting the squeegee and the screen do the printing. You have see what is happening. If ink is bleeding then try sharper angle and one of the tricks is to keep the ink moving. So you try your best to set up the job so you can go and not have to stop alot the time. This all comes with time
and experiance. keep it up if you have any more question I can be reach at
could you explain this a bit further? what should i look for in purchasing this stuff..what exactly is it called?
"With some graphic inks (nontextile) you can get a sharp printing compound or microprint gel - it lets you keep the inks thick so they don't run, but it doesn't dry in. I use process clear with TW. "
you don't say what ink you use, waterbase or solvent...anyway, most inks come with a retarder base that slows drying while maintaining thickness. (Your ink supplier will have it or it will be listed on the ink colour info chart. cheap inks don't have this) this material is different than straight retarder thinner, which thins the ink and slows drying. with TW, I just use water and some process clear.
With coarse mesh screens and runny ink, it's hard to get sharp printing because the ink bleeds under so easy. so you need to modify the ink, and you need a sharp edge on the stencil, and you have to be careful when you print and flood that you don't get too much ink through. Ink is pretty thick right out of the can, unfortunately you can't print it like that because it dries in immediateley. Screenprinting is all about balancing a bunch of conflicting issues in real time.
Loco is right on the money with high mesh count and squeegee pressure for detail, and most importantly being ready to print at a good clip. The easiest way to print detail is to use a fine screen capable of holding it. The only drawback to 305-355 is you will have trouble printing on fine art papers or absorbant materials with waterbase and even solvent base when you need full coverage.
Of course a lot of these problems can be eliminated by switching to UV inks. but that's a whole other thread....