Learning the trade of screen printing never stops. No matter if you print in your spare bedroom or are outgrowing your 8 color press, there’s always more to learn. Want a crash course? Here’s the 5 most helpful blogs for screen printers of all types in 2021.
Photo by Golden Press Studio
CHOOSING THE RIGHT PRESS
Finding the perfect screen printing press can be overwhelming. With all of the information out there, you can easily get turned around and confused just by the sheer number of options. Luckily, many printers have gone through this exact process before.
Space and budget are both huge considerations when buying the right press for you. Next, think about production volume: are you going to be printing long multi-color runs, or just 25 shirts at a time? Lastly, consider whether you want an automatic or manual screen printing press. Based on the two other factors, you’ll be able to decide which press is right for you.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a look at this blog. It’s packed with information to help you choose the right press for your shop.
HOW TO CURE PLASTISOL INK WITH A FLASH DRYER
A flash dryer is a versatile piece of equipment and can be used in many ways, no matter how small your shop is. Curing with a flash dryer takes a little bit of experience to dial in, but can be another way to cure prints without a conveyor dryer.
In this blog, Josh Wells walks you through properly curing garments with a flash dryer. All you need is a laser temp gun or donut probe and a flash unit to get the job dialed in.
ALIGNING FILM WITHOUT A TEMPLATE
Aligning film transparencies is a vital part of the pre-production process. If your films aren’t all in line, your print may appear off-center, crooked, or misplaced. Nobody wants that (unless it’s intentional). There’s one sure-fire method to make sure your films are lined up.
In this blog, Ronald Peters shows you how to align your film transparencies perfectly with just a T-square. Your registration mark will always fall in the same spot on your screen and—by extension—the design will always fall in the same place on your screen. Creating consistency in your workflow will make your entire screen prep process more reliable.
HOW TO PREP A SCREEN FOR WATER-BASED PRINTING
Prepping a screen for water-based inks can be a little more tricky than plastisol. The print deposit is thinner, the ink dries on the screen over time, and the ink can potentially break down emulsion faster than plastisol ink would. Because of this, you need a good screen to get a good print.
You’ll need to choose the right mesh and emulsion for your job, and prep and coat your screen properly. Once that’s all done, you’ll need to dial in exposure times. Seems like a lot to keep track of, right? Let’s go through the process of making a screen so you’re prepared for your next water-based job.
PREVENTING PINHOLES AND FISHEYES
You’ve coated a screen for screen printing, exposed it, and rinsed it out. You might notice tiny holes in the screen where there shouldn’t be. Why is this? Pinholes and fisheyes are annoying, and slow down your process.
In this blog, Ronald Peters touches on why pinholes and fisheyes happen, and gives tips to stop them before they cause problems on your screen. By following these tips, you can minimize pinholes and fisheyes before they turn into a production-stopping problem.
You could spend hours reading and watching educational content about screen printing (and many have). No matter how advanced your shop is, there’s always more to learn. From design to reclaim, you can find helpful tips and information in blogs and videos to help you hone in your process and dial in your shop.