What are the 13 things about screen printing machines you may not have known? Why do you need to know them? And how can you use this information to improve your daily operations? This guide will take you through these aspects of screen printing. Read on to learn more:
Understanding Screen Printing
Essentially, screen printing uses ink blocking stencils and woven mesh to transfer images onto such materials as t-shirts and poster paper. With a good printing machine, therefore, you can come up with screen printed materials for your promotional purposes or for anything else you intend to achieve.
Using Screen Printing Machines
Although you might find that it is a bit complex to use screen printers, this isn’t usually the case. In fact, as long as you always follow the instructions that come with your machine, you shouldn’t have a problem.
Anyway, following below are a couple of factors you should always keep in mind – all of which relate to the 13 things about screen printing machines you may not have known prior to acquiring one. Read on to learn more:
1. Ink Quality
To produce good screen printing work, you need the best quality of ink you can get. To this end, never use ink that is too thick or too runny. Rather, the consistency of the ink should be just appropriate for the material you wish to print.
Therefore, consider adding curable reducer and soft hand clear to the ink. The soft hand clear will adjust the pigmentation to make the ink easier to spread and creamier. On the other hand, curable reducer will alter the adhesiveness in the ink to make it spread easier and evenly. Both of these products will modify your ink, allow for faster and better screen printing, and save ink.
2. Stirred Ink
Ink tends to settle in screen printing machines when it isn’t in use. When this happens, the plastisol ink will thicken. After a long hiatus, therefore, you need to blend the ink by stirring it right before you start screen printing. Since the ink is blended completely, desist from adding thinner to it.
Always use tight screens because loose screens will cause bleeding in your image, further distorting it. When you use a tight screen, on the other hand, the image won’t move. This means that the capillary action will work better to set your intended image.
4. Mesh Count
In the same way, every screen in your screen printing machine has a different mesh count. The higher the count, the less the ink will be released during printing. Therefore, if you are using multiple screens and colors, always go for the higher mesh count. On the other hand, if you wish to get a saturated single screen look, use a lower mesh count.
Squeegees are used to spread ink over screens while printing. This means you need to ensure that your squeegee is sharp and straight if you want your prints to come out looking regular and perfect.
As you print, you must ensure that the platen is stationary. Even slight movements can distort your images.
In use of solvent ink:-
You also need to wait for the ink to cure naturally. Although you might be tempted to increase the temperature, desist from doing so. The only way your ink will cure is by taking its time.
In Use of UV ink:-
We can dry the UV inks with the help of UV lamp with the optimum amount of energy required for curing.
8. Thinning Colors
In case you wish to print a design that has many colors, you need to ensure that the first color penetrates deep into and through your material. The remaining colors don’t need to be as thick because they will be layered at the top. Therefore, consider using thinning agents for all top colors to save ink and produce higher quality prints.
Thick ink needs great pressure to be dispersed evenly into your print material. Therefore, when you print on dark shirts, reduce the pressure and use a single swipe to ensure the ink does not dull.
While screen printing, you need a single stroke for the best result. If you increase the strokes to two, ensure they are in the same direction. To this end, ensure that you only use a single stroke with medium pressure to transfer your images.
You should always clean your screen printing machine as required. You can even clean as your machine is printing, remove all ink that fall onto spots where they are not supposed to be, and preventing the ink from transferring to other material. In the same way, ensure that the screen frame edges and squeegee handles are clear of ink.
Using screen printing machines isn’t as difficult as it seems. At first, you will not know what to do. However, after a couple of prints, you should be able to understand how the process works. With time, therefore, you are going to perfect your craft and become more effective at screen printing. Give it time, learn slowly, and use this guide to understand everything there is to know about screen printing machines.
13. Working the Machine
Before you start printing, always examine the quality of your ink. Stir the ink first and mix it with additives if and when required. This way, you will reduce your ink waste and save money in the long run. Better ink will also give you great prints. You should also ensure that your screen is tight, the mesh count appropriate, and your squeegees are straight and sharp. Of course, the platen must also remain stationary during the printing.
In terms of pressure, you only need to practice moderation. In the same way, ensure you only use a single swipe where possible. If you need two or more strokes, they should also go in the same direction.
So, there you have it – the 13 things about screen printing machines you may not have known before coming here. Use the information in this guide to understand how your screen printing machine how and what is required. In the long run, you will be better placed to come up with amazing screen prints of a great quality. With time and practice, your items will start looking even better than they did on your original image.