Screen printing machine, sometimes called silk screening, is an ancient technique of applying ink to a material using a mesh, a stencil, and a squeegee.
The stencil allows the ink to pass through the stencil and the screen where the artwork is located, leaving a neat design on the material below.
A relatively simple process that won’t cost you too much, screen printing is becoming incredibly popular among cunning fancy or DIY “freaks”, but also among companies and firms.
Especially in the music industry, screen printing allows bands and musicians to create high-quality promotional products – such as T-shirts – cheaply, making a lucrative profit when these products are sold.
Screen printing machine may seem like an easy trade-off to learn, but you must master all the details to ensure that a high-quality image is created on a consistent basis.
Some screen printers work better than others, so make sure you know all your details and full capabilities to find the best screen printing machines for small business.
Ready to get started? Read the first 13 screen printing tips
1) Prepare the ink properly.
The quality of an ink is crucial for the quality of the final image. If it is too thin or too thick, it is difficult to control the print quality. If the ink is not compatible with print-quality, you can add products to help make the ink thinner or thicker.
If the ink gets too thick, make sure the reducer you added is soft and clean. This product will help spread the ink more easily and will allow you to work less.
If the ink is too thin, try to store at room temperature – or even a little cold – setting, wait another 24-36 hours to try printing.
Once the correct texture is established, you must pour ink into your screen printer and shake before use.
Stir ensures a proper consistency and eliminates the possibility of bleach and clamp formation. Once your ink is smooth and “creamy” you are ready to pour.
2) Make sure the artwork is ready for screen printing.
As important as preparing the ink is, you must set up the artwork properly for your screen printer.
The best way to do this is to copy the image to a transparent layer, which you can do with a local printer at very low cost.
Although complex designs are possible, a beginner should first try to screen simple designs with a clean-cut line. The goal should be to create a copy of the artwork that is black and on a clean background.
If done correctly, the artwork will block emulation on the screen, allowing ink to pass through the screen and create images on the desired surface.
Need help making sure your artwork is properly prepared? Consult a professional.
3) Collect all the necessary materials first.
Prepare artwork and ink, collect the rest of the materials needed for screen printing:
- Material (fabric for T-shirt, a poster board, etc.)
- Screen frame (a wooden frame containing ink, mesh and artwork)
- Black layer (the layer on which the screen is placed)
- Sensitive and activating
4) Keep the screen as tight as possible.
A loose screen can ruin the screen printing process as it will compromise with the final printed image. If the screen is not tight, the image will “bleed” because the image field will accidentally become a moving target.
However, when the screen is tight, the quality of the final product will be maximum and it will be easier to make as less pressure is required.
5) See fake count.
Did you know that each screen has a different fake count? Higher mesh counts leave less ink on the screen and print, while lower mesh counts work in reverse.
The fake calculation you need depends on the design complexity of the print and how many colors are being used. For a bolder look, use a low mesh count screen. Higher complex count screens should be used in more complex designs.
6) Know your color-based limitations.
One-color designs are often best for fast screen printing materials. Although multiple colors are possible, the more complex your design – both in size, shape and color – the more careful you will be with multiple colors.
You also need to change the screen – or at least wash thoroughly between ink applications – which can compromise the quality of the hard and final image.
When using a screen printer we recommend using only experienced “printer” complex color combinations.
7) Thinning with multiple colors and ink.
When applying multiple colors, it is important to understand how dung ink should be applied. The first color is added which must penetrate the deepest part of the material.
Because the colors added later will already be on top of the ink added to the material, those inks should not be so thick.
Adding a diluting agent to subsequent paints is critically important to avoid color stains and to avoid wastage of ink and other resources.
For example, if you add three different ink colors, the density of the first color applied should be the most dense, the second color a medium-density ink and the third color a light-density ink.
8) Platinum: Do not move!
When pressing the image, the plate cannot be moved. Not at all.This is the easiest way to ruin the final image and distort your design. When going through the screen printing process, do not let the plate move.
9) A straight, sharp squeegee.
To help the ink pass through the screen and reach the material, a squeegee is needed. One thing you must be sure is that the squeegee is sharp and straight.
When it comes to screen printing, the fewer strokes you make, the better, so it’s important to make sure your squeegee is in its infancy.
10) Take your time to save time.
Screen printing is an industrial form just like a manufacturing process. To save time, take your time to print the screen.
As you have already seen, it is a complex process that requires patience, careful vision and a confused mind. If you rush through screen printing, you will need to repeat the process.
11) Learn about healing
Once the screen is printed on your desired material, the ink needs time to stabilize or “heal”. Despite popular belief, you cannot speed up the healing process with high temperatures or different settings. You just have to wait for it.
12) Number of pressures and strokes.
The type of pressure when printing on screen depends on a number of factors: the thickness of the ink, the color of the material, the style and consistency, and the complexity of your art design.
As we have said before, the fewer strokes with a squeegee, the better for creating a high-quality screen printed image. Your goal should be to use consistent, good pressure while using as few strokes as possible.
13) Clean the machine and its equipment.
It is very important to maintain a clean screen printer and all materials when you go. As the printing process progresses, keep an eye out for “bleeding” in areas of the screen printer where ink should not be.
Random ink stains from past productions can ruin an otherwise perfect image. Please do not skip over screen printer cleaning in a thorough and consistent manner.
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