Lone Mountain Printing is a high production water based only screen printing shop, and the pride and joy of Bozeman, MT. The motto for their shop is “Apparel Worth Wearing” which, owner and operator, Colin Shane, explained means that “if it isn’t worth wearing, for me, then it isn’t worth selling.” This is a motto that has taken Colin from his humble beginnings all the way up to a ROQ automatic press and a top industry spot in the state.
Colin’s early journey into screen printing looks a lot like many others. “I was working for a screen printing company for about six weeks when the owner decided to close his doors. He gave me the opportunity buy him out, but the price wasn’t good,” Colin said. Upon further research, Colin found that purchasing a kit through ScreenPrinting.com was more cost-effective. So, he started Lone Mountain Printing, in June of 2010, in a one car garage with a 6 color, 4 station Riley Hopkins and BBC little buddy JR dryer.
“In 2014 I had a thousand piece order I had to print by hand and a two thousand piece order that had to be printed by hand, and after those two orders I realized I didn’t want to be printing those big orders by hand anymore,” Colin said with a laugh. “I was talking to Ryan about finally stepping into a ROQ because I had so many orders coming in and he mentioned the new ROQ rental program right off the gate. So I decided to be one of the original beta testers of the ROQ rental program. It’s helped me grow my business and to get more toys, without stressing on cash flow.”
Now a powerful ROQ YOU XL 12P08C is pressing out Lone Mountain’s thousand shirt orders, and Colin couldn’t be happier. “I’m extremely happy, and I think it should be the go-to press choice for any shop unless they are really cramped for space because it’s more versatile. You’re going to be able to print 7-8 colors on it, otherwise you have to calculate adding a flash and cool down and that reduces your colors.” Colin’s designs speak volumes to this versatility, featuring high-detail simulated process designs with vibrant colors.
But it’s not just the ROQ automatic press that makes Lone Mountain’s shirts stand out. “We made the transition to 100% water based printing in April of 2015. Mostly because I wanted to separate myself from my competitors. I had to find a way to make my product better. When Lone Mountain Printing adopted the motto of “Apparel Worth Wearing” we realized that no one wanted to have a bullet proof sheet of plastic on a t-shirt. “We wanted a soft and easy to wear print,” Colin said, explaining what motivated their change to water based only printing. “I got inspired when Virus first came to the United States. Then the Green Galaxy stuff started to get going and I got involved with the development of the Green Galaxy products. I met Bobby (Green Galaxy) at SGIA back in 2014, right after my RQO was installed. I was already using the Clear Core and Comet White and he told me that their pigments were coming out soon, so they sent us a sample of the Fusion Mixing System. We started using it about eight months before it was released to the public.”
The process of learning and adapting his process for water based printing on the ROQ press wasn’t easy, Colin said. “It was just learning to get things right, quickly. Whether it was registering, or making sure it was printing properly with simulated process. Just reducing the amount of time that ink was in the screen. Printing water based on an auto is about making adjustments and understanding efficiencies. Knowing how to quickly realign the next job without running into too many production delays.” He said that getting past the learning curve was worth it though. “We can be more flexible on how we print things now. Our clients haven’t complained about the change, it hasn’t really affected them at all. They adapted with it. From a cost point of view we use less ink and are saving more money over time.”
He gave some advice for printers looking to start printing water based ink on their ROQ automatic press. “First thing I would tell them is to have patience with it. Being patient is going to give you a better print, rather than rushing through and making mistakes. Don’t get me wrong, I get frustrated and then every swear word comes out of my mouth, but you have to take a step back and fix things. Be willing to learn and adapt it as you go. The biggest thing is playing around. Come in on a Saturday. The only way to learn is to have fun with it.”