The squeegee is the tool used to push the ink through the mesh onto the substrate (whatever you are printing on) and whilst it might seem an unimportant thing compared to components of the screen printing process don’t be deceived by its simple appearance. The wrong squeegee or a damaged one can cost you in ruined printing.
So what does a squeegee do
- Bring the screen and substrate together
- Push ink through the open design areas
- Shear the ink
- Remove excess ink
- Control the release rate
Quite a lot of work for a humble looking piece of kit
Did you know squeegees have different bendibilty or hardness and this has a proper technical name with standards. Known as durometer or shore. You need different degrees depending on your ink. If your ink is a specialised one that requires more force to get it through the mesh, metallic ones are candidates, then you need a harder squeegee.
|Solvent Based Ink||Harder|
|High Speed Automotic Process||Harder|
|Light on dark/more ink coverage required||Softer|
The squeegee must be undamaged and sharp because it actually has to ‘cut’ or shear the ink otherwise the ink is smeared. So proper maintenance is important, cleaning them after use is very important. You can tell if a squeegee needs replacing or sharpening by the ink left on the screen. There should not be any! Certain inks like solvent based or UV inks do damage the squeegee over time and again this effects the sharpness of the print. Squeegees can be sharpened.
‘D’ Cut Squeegees are used for T-Shirt and textile printing, the tapered edge allows maximum ink deposit onto your garment. They are also ideal for plastisol ink when printing light on dark. Square edge blade allows for lesser deposit of ink and is used widely on higher mesh counts and finer prints. There are other shapes but these are only relevant to industrial use like printed circuit boards, adhesive and paste. If you want to know more about the science of squeegees have a look here http://www.gwent.org/gem_screen_printing.html
Aluminimum is more expensive than wooden but lasts longer.
So our mantra is the right squeegee for the right job, Check out our range and please don’t hesitate to get in touch for an explanation or advice on which squeegee to buy. Our staff are always ready to help and as Oli says “When the sunlight enters my room every morning I awake with a cheesy grin knowing today, today will be a good day. Someone, Somewhere will be squeegeeless and I can help their cause. I get a lot of satisfaction from this and that is why I enjoy working at WPS.”