Functional Off-Contact For Great Screen Print Results | Deep Dive With Colin  |

Understanding Off-Contact: It's More Than Just Distance

When it comes to screen printing, off-contact isn't just about how far your screen sits from the platen. The real magic happens with functional off-contact, which ensures your screen snaps off the ink deposit cleanly and quickly. This reduces the chances of fibers from your shirt being pulled up with the ink, leading to cleaner prints.

Adjusting Off-Contact for Different Screens

The optimal off-contact distance can vary:

  • Low Tension Screens: May need a bit more off-contact, around 3/16 of an inch.
  • High Tension Screens: Might only require 1/8 of an inch or less.

Practical Steps for Functional Off-Contact Manual Adjustment

  1. Check Current Off-Contact: Lower the screen and observe the gap. Check to see if there's enough space for your screen to lift off your garment.
  2. Adjust Off-Contact with a Shim: Something as simple as a piece of cardboard or a cleanup card can increase off-contact effectively. You don't need much to increase significantly higher.
  3. Support Structure: Place a support (like a coin) at the end of your platen to keep the screen level and maintain consistent off-contact
  4. Test Print: Always test after adjustments to ensure the print quality is improved without compromising registration.

Final Thoughts

Ensuring your off-contact is properly adjusted can significantly improve your print quality. Experiment with different shims and support structures to find what works best for your setup.

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