So I always wanted to do this as a teenager, now I've got the chance.
Anyone with any advice about printing on skateboard decks?
I guess I'm a bit baffled by the curved surfacce. I imagine there are munufacturers that one can work with. My customer just wants to bring me blank decks. I guess I rather print on the lamination before it gets made.
not to hard to do between the trucks, much more involved if you want to do to tail.
Step 1: figure out a good way to attach film to a screen that is curved in each end (like this but upside down: \_____/)
Once you figure that out tell me . . .
awhile ago i gave a step by step on how we burn bent screens. We basically made over size bags out of clear 4 mil plastic sheeting. stuck the taped the screen to the bent screen, slipped it in the bag with the end of a shop vac. Turned on the vaccum it sucked all the air out and while you work out the wrinkles. Once it was all sucked down tight we exposed it.
We used to do them.. not anymore.. everyone gets them heat pressed now. There is a manufacture just down the street from here I can get his contact information for you if interested.
If you still plan to print yourself... you have 2 options....
1. And the BEST, is to print the laminent single ply first, then get the boards made.
2. You need to make a custom jig and frames.. the jig should be the same board with concave and all, just not cut out, put some pins in the truck holes and that will be the reggy. Figure out a press set up from there.. pretty easy. Your screen will have to be con-caved the same as the board, or as close as possible. To shoot the screen, we found the best method is to have a screen stretched and glued onto a flexible piece of metal, then form that to your screen after you shoot with some screws and print!
Here are some samples from our past, this is between the truck print, super easy compared to the others...
These were printed with curved screens:
And the just the laminent before the boards are made:
There were TONS of threads with detail step by steps on here that I contributed to in the past.. search the forums and you should find all the info you need.
what everyone else said - heat transfers are by far the easiest, less headache inducing and most cost effective depending on the size of your run.
The only things i can add that i've learned from messing with heat transfers are:
you can "fake" or replicate a more screenprinted look with them by overexagerating your traps a bit and by hitting each colour twice. This can get expensive based on how many colours, but it raises the really thin layer of ink a little more and makes your overlays/traps a bit more noticeable ala a screenprinted deck. Also matt and gloss inks do not make a difference as the heat and pressure flatten them a hell of a lot and create a kind of sheen even over matt areas. Aside from that you can pretty much do anything you can do in a screenprint setup including transparent overlays etc etc., They are pretty versatile.
As far as printing a tip to tail without a curved jig - well i've seen a video (which i cant find) of two guys printing with a large flat screen, one pulling the squeegee as the other "rolls" the screen along the contours of the curved deck surface. It was pretty insane and probably took years to master.