person pushing a squeegee

Some squeegees are harder, some feel softer. Why is that? Squeegees have different durometers. Durometers measure the hardness of the blades. Specific print jobs require harder or softer blades. Let's learn about the different durometers, their uses, and how to maintain them.

The durometer or hardness level directly indicates how thick or thin an ink deposit can be. Softer squeegees will leave a thicker ink deposit, while harder squeegees will leave a thinner deposit of ink. 

ScreenPrinting.com offers four different types of squeegee durometers — 60, 70, 80, and 70/90/70.

WHAT DUROMETER SHOULD YOU USE?

80 durometer is hard and leaves a minimal ink deposit. Its best for designs going through higher mesh counts with lots of complex details or fine halftones where a thin ink deposit is needed for design clarity.

70 durometer is by far the most popular and versatile in the garment industry. It’s a great, general purpose blade for everything from spot colors to halftones. Majority of printers use the 70 durometer as their first squeegee blade.

60 durometer is one of the softest blades available. It allows for a thicker ink deposit through lower mesh counts. The durometer is ideal for special effects like puff, glitters, shimmers, and high density applications.

70/90/70 triple durometer gives you the benefits of the 70 durometer blade edge, allowing for a good deposit of ink. With the 90 durometer spine, it allows for greater pressure to be applied during printing with minimal squeegee blade deflection. This squeegee blade allows for more ink to be laid down compared to an 80 duro blade.

RELATED: HOW TO PRINT WET-ON-WET HALFTONES

hand pulling an ergo force squeegee off a rack

Photo by Golden Press Studio.

MAINTENANCE

Achieving the best screen printing performance from a blade is dependent on the selection of the correct squeegee for the job and proper squeegee maintenance. Squeegee blades need to remain sharp for optimal print quality. When printing, try to keep track of how often the squeegee is used. Over time you will see that a sharp squeegee edge will start to round off due to the abrasion of printing. A rounded squeegee edge will not cut the ink. It will start to hydroplane or glide over the ink, leaving an uneven ink deposit.

The squeegee should always be wiped clean and dried once you're done printing. Ideally, the blade should be allowed to recover from the ink and chemicals for 24 hours before going back into production. Having a few squeegees for your most used durometers in your shop is helpful so you can rotate through them.

Hopefully you now have a better understanding about the purposes of each squeegee durometer. If you have any questions, please ask us through the chat. As always, keep powering the print.

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