Wicked Tip – Comparing Curing Technologies

Top Tip to Save Money

Low volume production can double up two process on one piece of equipment. A flash dryer or a hand curer can be used for drying between colours AND curing.

It can be difficult deciding what equipment to buy for flash drying and curing your prints. We know that your budget can also dictate what type of curing equipment you have. So to help you decide, we put together a quick guide to what works and what doesn’t when flash drying and curing your prints.

Starting at the top is the lowest cost option right through to the higher end of heat presses and tunnel dryers. Although the entry level range for these machines can be extremely cost effective.

Curing Technologies

Mesh Count – Which one?

Which Mesh Count Should I Use?

We get lots of questions about mesh count, below are just two from our FAQ’s and on our free Buyers Guide we go into more detail.

Getting the right mesh count is like getting the right squeegee and the right ink for the job in hand. These are ALL really important and make the difference to your finished product. Remember what you are trying to do is push the ink through the mesh on to the substrate. So the wrong mesh will result in too much or too little ink getting through. Not good. A very detailed design on a coarse mesh won’t work either. Check out our range of screens and mesh.

If you ever want advice on which one to buy please contact us. we will be more than happy to talk you through it.

Guide to Mesh Count

 

Count Type Ideal Uses
10t coarse glitter
15t coarse glitter
21t coarse glitter
32t textile maximum opacity on dark fabrics
43t textile bolder graphics
55t textile finer detail
61t textile finer detail
77t textile finer fabrics, halftone graphics
80t textile finer fabrics, halftone graphics
90t textile extremely light material, general graphics
110t textile extremely light material, general graphics
120t paper general process
140t paper general process
160t paper photographic detail

What is the difference between the mesh counts different meshes on the screens?

A lower number means a coarser mesh count, a higher number means a finer mesh count. You will need to select the correct mesh count for the artwork you have produced. 43T is used most commonly for general textile printing. Please note that we use the European system therefore mesh counts is threads per cm, sometimes you may see the American system being used which is threads per inch.Read our online buyers guide – page 15 for a breakdown of each count and their ideal use.

What is the difference between Yellow and White mesh?

Generally speaking there is very little difference in the performance of the mesh unless you are using 90T upwards. Yellow mesh absorbs more light and stops light scattering, this helps expose those very fine lines and intricate details. We use Italian mesh yellow and white, they are great for fine halftones with high resolution and has the greatest possible exposure latitude with unsurpassed protection against light-undercutting.

via Wicked Printing Stuff, your home for screen printing equipment and supplies – FAQs.

 Which Mesh Count?

Once you have selected your screen you will need to select a mesh count. The mesh count will depend what substrate you are printing onto, what ink you are printing with and how detailed your artwork is. The mesh counts range from 15t which would be used for glitter printing, or highly absorbent surfaces, to a 200t which would be used for extremely fine and intricate lines, hand drawing and photographic work. The most popular textile mesh count for either Waterbased or Ink is between 32t and 65t, and a mesh 77t / 90t upwards would be advised for paper and card printing with a water based ink. FROM OUR FREE BUYERS GUIDE

Organic Products and the Soil Association

Thinking Organic ..

Over the last 20 years or so we have heard much about Organic farming, when going to the supermarket we are now presented with many organic options for fruit & vegetables, dairy, meat and other products.

Our industry too has been starting to change with ink products, chemicals and textiles which are Organic. Organic textiles are based on materials grown on organic farms, and manufactured without harmful chemicals. This is better for local wildlife, animals and people. Clients are increasingly demanding quality products that meet these standards.

You may have noticed certifications such as Soil Association Certification and GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standards) symbols appearing on certain ink products and chemicals. The symbols mean that products have been through a stringent certification process to ensure that the products are made using Organic methods and techniques.

Soil Association

Who are the Soil Association?

The Association was founded in 1946 by a group of farmers, scientists and nutritionists with the overall objective of campaigning for healthy, humane and sustainable food, farming and land use. The Association is a UK charity it is not a government body but has gained a worldwide reputation for driving and campaigning for Organic standards. The Soil Association played a leading role in the development of the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and since 2006 have been certifying businesses to the GOTS standard.   (source – Soil Association website)

Why choose products which are Soil Association approved?

So you are confident that the inks / chemicals have been manufactured and processed to a strict criteria. Organic products are not just more socially responsible, generally better for all us but provide unique commercial opportunities.

Can I put the Soil Association Organic logo on my products if I have used Soil Association approved inks?

T Shirts bought from a garment distributor and printed with Soil Association approved ink does not make the T Shirt approved. To gain and competitive edge and appeal to this growing client market you need to become certified in order to use the symbols. The certification covers not just the inks and chemicals used, but also the environmental management the way waste water is treated as well as other factors. Both the Soil Association and the GOTS symbols are registered trademarks which can only be used by certified companies with approved products.

 

The purpose of this article is to give a simple summary it’s a big area and we will be writing more articles on the topic, for more information we highly recommend that you check out the Soil Association website and consider the certification process for your products or business.

http://www.sacert.org/LinkClick.aspx

http://www.soilassociation.org/

We sell a number of products which are certified from manufacturers such as FujiFilm Sericol and Magna Colours.

Sericol Texiscreen Aqua AJ Waterbased Screen Printing Inks

Sericol TexCharge TC Discharge Waterbased Inks

Magna Colours MagnaPrint Discharge ULF Inks

Permaset Permatone Inks are certified by the Soil Association – The Supercover range is NOT certified.

After I wash my shirts a few times, the ink starts to come off.

After I wash my shirts a few times, the ink starts to come off.

Wicked_poster_step6This means that you have not cured your garment correctly. Plastisol inks need to be heated to a pre-determined temperature for a certain duration of time, usually somewhere between 45-60 seconds. This would be to either to flash dry or to use a conveyor dryer. Different inks, or special garments may need their timing fine tuned. The temperature and times will vary some job to job, so always do a wash test. A great way to test to see if the ink is cured or not is to pull on the t-shirt. If the ink sticks together like plastic or rubber, then it is cured. However if it cracks and you can see the t-shirt under it, you need to increase your curing time. via Wicked Printing Stuff, your home for screen printing equipment and supplies – FAQs.

Dummies Guide to Screen Printing | Wicked Printing Stuff

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 write a high level process overview, to give you a little insight into how to get started. If you are a hobbyist, artist or commercial printer, the processes are pretty similar. We are going to work through the process of taking a blank garment to producing a garment with a printed logo………………..more details

via Dummies Guide to Screen Printing | Wicked Printing Stuff.

Proper cleaning preserves your screens Part 5

Screen cleaning&reclaim

The exorcist – how to get rid of ghosting on your screens

When you have finished your screen print run there are a number of next steps.

If you plan to use the design again then you need to wash the screen down. This will remove the ink from the screen but leave the exposed image. If your ink is water based a simple hose down is sufficient but a solvent ink will need screen wash. Make sure to use the right process for the ink involved.

‘Reclaiming’ is the act of striping the stencil from your screen in order to create a new stencil and start the printing process over again. If you are not going to print a design any more it’s time to reclaim your screen so that you can use them for something new.

Remove all tape from the mesh. Apply stencil strip with a cloth to both sides of the screen. Using a power washer to clean the screen thoroughly on both sides. Your screen is ready for reuse.

If there is still an image left on the screen this is called ‘ghosting’, this is an example of a screen with ghosting.

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If there is any ghosting of the screen you can use a ghost remover / haze paste to remove them.

Haze Paste remover is a great solution if you have any ghosting left on your screen which is common when using waterbased inks as they dye the mesh.  Our range includes the premium MacDermid Autohaze will deals with the most stubborn stains.

The finished  screen after using this product  Haze Paste..

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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?

Main banner

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!

How much space do you need for Weiss screen printing carousel?

Has your business expanded and you need to automate the screen printing process?

Exactly how much space do you need?

This diagram shows the exact requirements

 

The Ergo-Printer 2013 model can be used as a low volume manual or high speed semi-automatic. Using two automatic heads, one operator can print 300 pieces per hour and two operators can print 500 pieces per hour. 4-colour process work can be printed at 300 pieces per hour with two operators.

via weiss screen printing carousel.

 

What screen printing ink should I use? Water, Plastisol or Solvent

Are you confused which screen printing ink to use?

Inks &aditives

You do need to spend a bit of time assessing which is suitable for your product and we would be glad to help and advise you. This is a little starter to you can do some more research on our website.

Waterbased Screen Printing Inks

  • An ultra safe product suitable for use on children’s clothing including babies
  • Suitable for use in school and colleges
  • For paper screen printing
  • Can be air dried.

Plastisol Screen Printing Inks

  • Will print on any porous surface
  • Easy to print with
  • Eco Versions available
  • Great colours on dark garments
  • Specialist Inks like glitter

Solvent Screen Printing Inks

  • Will print on non porous surfaces like metals and glass
  • Suitable for unusual substrates
  • For professional use

That gives you a start so you can start choosing the right ink for the right job. But remember we are only a phone call away should you want advice

The Ink is not giving a 100% coverage over my print?

The Ink is not giving a 100% coverage over my print?

Wicked_poster_step5

Check that you have the proper off contact for the job at hand and that the screen is parallel to the platen. Typically you want your screen to be about 2 pennies or an eighth of an inch off your application.

If that is ok, assess the squeegee you are using – is it too soft for the ink type and mesh count too high?

Plus always remember to flood the image before you print.

via Wicked Printing Stuff, your home for screen printing equipment and supplies – FAQs.