Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Update

Since the recent outbreak of Coronavirus virus we have put in place preventative measures to help ensure we continue to remain open. The safety of our customers and staff is absolutely paramount at this time.  Please note that we are open for business and remain operational. Ensuring that we adhere to government and health regulations. We will continue to process orders and deliver goods.

If you have any queries please either call your representative or phone the office on 01614426555 / email sales@inkandsolvents.co.uk.

Stay Safe, Keep Indoors and Keep Washing your Hands!

Screen Printing Tutorials

Screen Printing Tutorials

Whether you are new to screen printing or looking to learn a new screen printing technique we have a great range of video tutorials on our You Tube channel.

From beginners guides like……………….

Dummies Guide to Screen Printing

We talk to a lot of people who want to start screen printing but are not quite sure of the process and what’s really involved. So we thought we would put together a quick video to give you a little.

How to print t shirts or any other garment

Screen printing tutorial by the guys at Wicked Printing Stuff. A step by step guide showing you how to print a logo on a T Shirt.

Advance Screen Printing techniques……………….

How to screen print using a vacuum board

A brief video clip showing a demo of the Wicked Printing Stuff Vacuum Board. Ideal if you want to screen print on paper card or other substr…

WPS Handbench Live Print

Live Printing Event at Fedrigoni with Anthony Burrill, Clerkenwell House using a WPS Handbench and waterbased inks, with Macroy and Jim from P…

Demonstrating 4 Colour Process Print and Screen Printing 4 Colour

Demonstrating a 4 Colour Process Print using Union Inks and Wicked Printing Stuff 6 Colour 6 Station Carousel.

Multi Colour Printing using WPS Waterbased Inks

Video taken during one of our training courses showing a multi colour print using our waterbased ink range

To Product Videos……………….

New Screen Printing Products

Pete Buffham, Director of Wicked Printing Stuff, talking about the launch of new products, especially Panther Tunnel Dryers, WEISS carousels

How WPS Panther Tunnel Dryers are made

A quick promo video to show how we make the WPS Panther Range of Tunnel Dryers at Wicked Printing Stuff. Our range of tunnel dryers are great for small screen printers curing plastisol ink through…

Simple fun squeegee video

We at http://www.wickedprintingstuff.com put together a simple fun little promo video of our squeegee range, but seriously choosing the right squeegee makes a real difference to the quality of you…

Wicked Printing Tunnel Dryers

A fun video introduction our amazing range of tunnel dryers made by us in the UK great for curing Screen Printing Inks such as Plastisol, Waterbased, Discharge and other specialist inks. Our range…

Introducing the Riso QS200 Digital Screen Maker

Looking to get from artwork to print in under 5 minutes, wanting to to ditch messy emulsions. Fed up with printing expensive positives, pinholes, washing out, drying, screen filling, blocking tape…

Screen Printing Supplies

A quick promotional video covering the products and services at Wicked Printing Stuff, we also sell Heat Presses and manufacture the fantastic range of Panther Tunnel Dryers suitable for manual, a…

Discharge Screen Printing Selection Packs

Want to start Discharge Printing but want to be eco friendly?

Check our previous blog post All About Discharge Inks if you need a full explanation of the process.

MAGNA The only WATER BASED discharge ink with all these features.

  • Soil Association approved.
  • Doesn’t even need to be washed before use
  • Formaldehyde Free
  • Ready for use, just activate the ink before use
  • Made in the UK
  • Reduced carbon footprint
  • ECO friendly
  • Oeko tex class 1 and 2 approved.

Discharge Printer Selection Pack:

This pack includes thirteen 200gm quantities of pigment ,  5kg of MagnaPrint AW/AB Base, 1 Litre of ready for use Superwhite ink (just needs to be activated) and  0.5kg of activator powder.

Discharge Printer Selection PackIdeal pack for printers wanting to take advantage of the Magna innovative ECO waterbased products, great for small studios and educational establishments.

If you want to mix pantone shades you can use the Magna Magnamix online tool.   Click here for the AW / AB Discharge data sheet.

You can mix up to 6% pigment with the discharge AW/AB base.

Pigments included in the pack (200gm quantites) are :-

  • Magnaprint ECO Red HB
  • Magnaprint ECO Red HG
  • Magnaprint ECO Pink H5B
  • Magnaprint ECO Orange HO
  • Magnaprint ECO Yellow HR
  • Magnaprint ECO Yellow HG
  • Magnaprint ECO Green HB
  • Magnaprint ECO Blue HG
  • Magnaprint ECO Blue HB
  • Magnaprint ECO Navy HR
  • Magnaprint ECO Violet H4B
  • Magnaprint ECO Black H3B
  • Magnaprint ECO White HW

Mix the discharge  base with desired amount of ECO Pigment (up to 6%) then add Activator AB (6%).  Mix and leave for 10 minutes to allow Activator to dissolve. Re mix prior to printing.  Please note that the shelf life of the base after activation is 8 hours (dependant on room temperature)

  • Mesh Count 43 – 77T
  • Use Water resistent emulsion
  • Squeegee – 65 Square Blade
  • Print wet on wet
  • Recommend 3 – 4mm off contact.  The discharge paste must penetrate the fabric so you may need to adjust squeegee pressure
  • Cure for 180 seconds at 165-170 degrees C  (you will need a tunnel dryer or heat press,  you cannot just use a flash dryer)

 

How can I print light designs on a dark garment – All about discharge inks.

I want to print light on dark?

I want a soft touch?

What is a discharge ink?

Here at Wicked Printing Stuff we don’t expect you to know everything and we are happy to explain things. Have you checked out our FREE buyers guide there is lots in there for the Rookie, Intermediate and Professional. Please give us a ring and explain your problem and we will help out. Lastly there are our training courses, designed again for both rookie and advanced printers with basic training or advanced courses.

So back to the problem. You want to print a light colour on a dark garment and you want it to feel soft. Now plastisol inks wrap colour AROUND the threads but gives a rubbery feel (also referred to as hand) but is bright. So ideally you want a water based ink. For those of you that have tried this and I can hear you shouting at the back, but I have tried waterbased inks and I just can’t get a good opaque print, that’s why I use plastisol. Well that’s where the discharge inks come in!

Punk Rockers

For the punk rockers out there, remember how you got that bright green hair, that is right you had to bleach out your own hair colour first so the back ground colour was white, only then the colour would take and be vibrant and striking. It is almost the same in screen printing but we use discharge inks that need curing. The discharge ink actually removes the dye.

First off you have to have the right garment fabric, it has to be 100% cotton and it has to be dyed with a dischargeable dye. So check with the manufacturer. If the garment is a mixture of cotton and polyester only the cotton will discharge. Now that might actually suit you but you would need to do a trial run to make sure you get the effect you want.

Discharge InksSo having got the right garment now we need the right ink. There are a lot out there and some are more complicated to use than others.

Water based dischargeable inks are the easiest and most eco friendly ones to use. The process works during curing when the discharge removes the original dye and the ink gives the new colour. To do this you add activator to the ink which ensures you get an intense colour.

At Wicked Printing Stuff we have researched the products extensively and as a consequence we recommend the following ink Unico  The ink has been developed to meet the most recent ecological requirements. We also supply the Rutland Best of Brands discharge ink which works with both the Unico and the Union activator. Additionally we offer Union plasticharge which is a great way of using existing plastisol inks you may have and turning them into a discharge ink.

For the discharge process to work, you do need a tunnel dryer (the longer the better) – typically 90-120 seconds dwell time is needed for a good cure. You can also use a heat press which is great for low production. You also need well ventilated premises and printers should read the MSDS and be aware of any health and safety consideration.
We would be delighted to talk you through this if you have any questions, please contact us.

What is the best exposure unit for my screen printing business?

Choosing an Exposure Unit?

We are often asked “what is the best exposure unit for my screen printing business?”

Like always what seems a simple question does not have a simple answer. So we thought we would put this guide together to help work through your requirements and to come up with the right answer for you.

Let us first look at what YOU for YOUR Screen Printing business. Think about these considerations and questions?

  • How many screens do you plan to produce on a daily basis (a couple here and there or up to hundreds per day)
  • What is the maximum screen size you use?
  • Do you have any space limitations?
  • Are you a hobbyist printer, commercial or educator?
  • What is the size of your budget?
  • What kind of artwork are you producing? E.g. Complex design with very detailed half tones / 4 Colour Process CMYK or typical T Shirt artwork (medium resolution / block style artwork)

We are going to do our best to avoid baffling techy jargon so if this is all new to you we suggest that to take a look ‘Is screen printing for me article’ and our video tutorial which will help you understand the basics.

Now let us look at the Exposure Unit solutions from simple to heavy duty.

WPS Exposure Lamp

Exposure Lamp

Very simple solution, there are thousands out there, which are used every day. Good for hobbyists / home printers who make a handful of screens per day. Comes as part of our Essential and Mid range screen printing kits.

Pro: Very Cost Effective, can create excellent stencils and you can expose large screens. Note that the lamp does not have a vacuum therefore you need to ensure that the positive is tight and intimate with the screen. To do this you use sheet of glass (the heavier the better) which ensures that the film positive and screen are very tight. This Exposure Unit uses halogen bulbs (1000W) which are powerful and cheap to replace.

Cons: Very Slow (10 – 20 minutes depending on screen size), requires space (large cupboards are ideal), the printer has to time the stencil exposure – there is nothing ‘hi tech’ about the lamp solution but it works.

WPS Mini Exposure Unit

Mini Exposure Unit

The WPS Mini Exposure Unit uses proven “Actinic” tubes in a tight array. This exposure unit comes with a yellow pilot light which you use to position the film positive with the screen. The unit comes with an integrated timer (you can set multiple programs) and vacuum which is extremely easy to use. We have used these units for a number of years and have been pleasantly surprised at the quality of stencil produced even with very difficult artwork. Typical exposure times from 140 – 300 seconds depending on what kind of emulsion and the number of coats you are using.

Drying CabinetIdeal for small print shops, schools and colleges. You can also purchase the unit with a drying cabinet which really does improve production with a relatively small footprint.

Pros: Very easy to use, very tight vacuum, and uses proven technology giving high quality stencils. Different sizes of exposure unit available to accommodate different frame sizes.

Cons: Potentially tube units do not produce stencils as sharp as from a single light source. With tube units, light comes from multiple angles, potentially undercutting the positive during exposure which can result in the loss of fine detail. However we have not experienced many issues at all with this kind of unit.

These units can be used in a high production environment e.g. 50 – 70 screens per days. However do budget to replace the bulbs on a regular basis as they will gradually degrade.

 

WPS LED Mini Exposure Unit

LED Exposure Unit

The WPS LED Mini Exposure Unit, consist of UV LED technology positioned in a tight array, similar format to the “Actinic” version. It comes with a yellow pilot light which you use to position the film positive with the screen. The unit comes with an integrated timer (you can set multiple programs) and vacuum which is extremely easy to use. LED technology has started to make inroads into the screen printing industry, so the technology is relatively new and is continuing to be developed. Like the standard unit it also available with a built in drying cabinet which is great for increasing production and reducing mess.

Pros: Very quick (30 – 300 seconds depending on emulsion / number of coats etc.), Very easy to use, very tight vacuum, LED technology using low power, does not generate heat, is long lasting (stated to be very long life) and produces high quality stencils. Different sizes of exposure unit available to accommodate different frame sizes.

Cons: Initial purchase price higher than Actinic units. The LED array emits light from multiple angles undercutting the positive during exposure which can result in the loss of fine detail. However with LED technology this seems less of a problem than tube units and is commonly not considered a problem for the vast numbers of printers (99.9%). LED technology is new and is continuing be developed.

Ideal for small / mid, large screen printing shops and educational establishments who need to produce lots of screens quickly. These units are designed for high production environments. We tend sell this units to printers who have invested in direct to screen technology.

 

WPS Heavy Duty Exposure Unit

Heavy Duty Exposure Unit

The Heavy Duty Unit uses a single point Metal Halide bulb, they come in lots of different configurations with different bulb ratings and features such as integrators (measures the quantity of light reaching the screen and adjusts the exposure if there are any voltage fluctuations or to compensate for deteriorating bulbs) and rapid start-up – it can take time for a metal halide bulb to get to the correct operating temperature. These units are fast and give very accurate stencils. Metal Halide is still probably the most popular light source used for mid and large screen printers.

Pros: Very fast (depending on the power options you choose) and can come with advanced features so you can produce large numbers of stencils quickly, consistently and accurately. Often used in heavy industry environments and for used for multi applications e.g. exposing print plates. Different sizes of exposure unit available to accommodate different frame sizes.

Cons: Metal Halide bulbs are expensive (£200 – £400 common prices), generate heat and consume much more energy than LED units (LED exposure units typically use 1/5 of the energy of a metal halide unit).   Many screen printers are moving over to LED technology.

 

In summary

 When choosing an exposure unit take some time and think about your current and future screen printing requirements. There are lots of exposure units to choose from all giving different levels of production capability and quality. The exposure units with combined drying cabinets are very cost effective and increase productivity. If you are looking to replace an older unit e.g. metal halide unit then we would highly recommend that you consider LED units.

Please feel free to contact us to discuss your requirements and we can help you to find the right exposure solution for your needs.

 

 

 

Creating a screen using traditional exposure methods

Where does exposure fit in the screen printing process?

What emulsion should I use?

How long can I keep emulsion?

How do you get rid of pin holes?

How long should I dry my screen?

 

Let’s go back to basics. Screen printing is also a stencil method of print making in which a design is imposed on a screen of polyester or other fine mesh, with blank areas coated with an impermeable substance, and ink is forced into the mesh openings of the mesh by the fill blade or squeegee and onto the printing surface during the squeegee stroke.

Emulsion is the means of making impermeable substance. Light sensitive, thick liquid which coats the screen. When the screen is exposed the emulsion hardens and unexposed areas drop out to leave the stencil.

So you have your positive artwork

Making Your Artwork Positive.

Making Your Artwork Positive.

Now this process is one of the most tricky in screen printing and needs to be done thoroughly and carefully. Never skip on any step especially drying.

The first step is to degrease your screen

It is very important to degrease the screen prior to coating the screen with emulsion and exposing the artwork. A screen that is not degreased will have problems exposing and increase the chance of pinholes, the emulsion will not adhere to the screen properly and might washout before the image can be seen. The emulsion could also not wash out at all. Make sure you let it dry thoroughly before you coat it with emulsion.

Choosing your emulsion

There are many emulsions on the market and every printer will have their preferred type and brand. Some emulsions come pre sensitised and ready for use and some will need mixing. Our emulsion is a 2 part emulsion, its comes with sensitizer.

Shelf life is different depending on when the sensitizer is added . Separately both parts can last from 12-24 months. Once mixed the emulsion lasts 6-8 weeks (its life can be prolonged slightly if it is stored in a cold place, like the fridge).
Always make sure you have chosen the right emulsion if you are using Plastisol inks / Solvent inks you need a Solvent resistant emulsion like Ulano Proclaim or if you are using Waterbased inks you need a water resistant emulsion like Ulano 925wr. We also sell Autosol emulsion, which is a good dual purpose emulsion, it can be used with both waterbased and solvent inks.

Location

Make sure you are doing all parts of the emulsion and exposure process in a light safe environment with NO outside or bright light. This includes mixing your emulsion, coating your screens, drying screens, exposure, and washout (as soon as screen is exposed as long as you wash it out straight away this is not a problem)..

A costing trough is the best way to get an even coverage of emulsion. Always check to make sure the coating trough has a straight edge and no damage otherwise you will get poor coverage and you can snag the mesh.

Here are a few things to watch out for if your images are not washing out correctly:
That you are not coating your emulsion too thick. One coat both sides should do it, with a nice even spread. There are sometimes where you may need some extra coats e.g. printing transfers and printing white onto a dark garment but you will need to adjust the exposure time.

Coating Your Screen

Coating Your Screen

That your film positive is very opaque and dark. If you hold it up to a light and can see through it, you need to double print your film to achieve a more opaque image.
That there is positive contact between your screen mesh and your positive film. If the film is not pressed completely against your mesh then you will get light reflection between your positive and your screen which will result in a blurry and not clear image. That’s why the glass is so important.
That you are exposing your screen for the correct amount of time, which will depend on the exposure system you are using. If you are unclear on exposure times please feel free to ask us. The simple run of thumb is – if the emulsions washes off too easily and you start to lose the stencil then the screen is underexposed and if after prolonged washing the stencil does not come through they you are likely to have overexposed the screen.
After you coat your screen, you want it to be COMPLETELY dry  before you expose the screen.

Exposing the image

Exposing Your Screen

Exposing Your Screen

To transfer your image onto your screen you will need to use an exposure unit. There are many different exposure unit set ups on the market and each has a different light source. Each having different light sources. UV, halide and halogen are very popular in the UK. Our Wicked exposure lamp has a 1000 watt halogen light source and is provided will all waterbased and Plastisol kits.

We also sell Actinic and Metal Halide exposure units which are able to expose quicker (typical exposure time is 2 minutes for an Actinic unit and 16 minutes for the lamp depending on size of the screen) than the cheaper lamp solution. Some units include built in drying cabinets making the whole process a lot faster.

A very large part of your decision if you are new to screen printing will be your budget and space. Exposure units vary dramatically in price. The WPS Lamp is small and compact,

After exposing and rinsing out your exposure, you want your screen to thoroughly dry (and ideally harden your screen, by exposing it to the sun or your exposure unit) before inking and printing. This process is often called double baking.

Before inking you need to use blocking tape (can use brown tape or professional blocking tape) to cover up areas on the screen not covered by the emulsion. Also fix any pinholes either using blocking tape or using screen filler which is a liquid emulsion, make sure you choose the right one as there are different versions for solvent and water resistant stencils.

Now you are ready to print

Registering Your Print

Registering Your Print

When you get bigger there are other options like the Revolutionary Riso QS200 Designed for the Professional Printer which prints directly from your computer onto a screen. Then the whole process takes under 5 minutes!