Confused About Screen Printing Squeegees?

September 3, 2009 at 5:29 pm 3 comments

International Coatings' Western Regional Sales Manager

Kieth Stevens, International Coatings' Western Regional Sales Manager

Recently, we had a customer inquiry regarding what type of squeegee he should use.  With all the choices available out there, it can really be confusing.  Some stores may be really good at explaining what the different hardness levels (durometer values) or shapes are for, but for the most part, many customers don’t know what type of squeegee should be used for which application.

Although we don’t manufacture or sell squeegees, our sales and product managers all have vast printing experiences. So here is International Coatings’ Western Regional Sales Manager, Kieth Stevens to shed some light on the subject.  Kieth has been in the printing industry for over 32 years, and his experience covers an extensive range of products, equipment, as well as working for and with small and large printing companies.  This is by no means a comprehensive analysis of squeegees, but enough to give a better understanding of what to look for:

“When asking for a replacement squeegee at your local screen-printing distributor you may not know that you have choices.

 First there are the various shapes that the squeegee blades come in.   Here are some of the most popular shapes:   Square (or straight edge) blades are for standard or regular ink applications and are the most widely used shape.  A round (or bullnose) blade shape passes more ink and is usually used for printing gel or puff inks.  Oftentimes, printers will use the round blade to experiment with special effects inks to see what results they can achieve with heavier ink deposits.  The V-shaped (also called double-bevel) blade is often used for printing on irregular or cylindrical shaped substrates.

 In addition to the type of shape or profile (square, round, V, etc.) of the blade, there are several types of squeegee hardness levels available. “Durometer” refers to the hardness of the squeegee blade – a lower number means a softer blade.  For example, a standard hardness is around 70 durometer (medium) which will work well for most ink applications. But if you want a greater deposit of ink to go onto the fabric you could use a 60 duro squeegee.  I have even used a 55 durometer (soft) blade for puff inks or gels, since these types of inks require heavier deposits.  

 If you want to print less ink than average you may want to try a 75 durometer hardness.  I have even used an 80 durometer squeegee for a 4 color process print with great results. 

 If you want to get fancy, you could even try a triple durometer type were they have sandwiched a 90 durometer between two 70 or 60 durometer blades.  These types of blades help keep a consistent printing angle on print jobs where consistent ink shear is critical. 

 Keep in mind that when squeegee manufacturers produce the blade material, the resulting hardness factor may vary by as much as 5 duros, so some manufacturers may sell the 70 duro as a 75 durometer blade and so on.  These slight variations should not make a big difference.

 Knowledge is power.  Have a great day!”

 Check back often to see what other screen print related topics we may cover or send us an inquiry.

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jessica Randal  |  September 3, 2009 at 10:28 pm

    This was very helpful. Your knowledge on the subjct is very impressive.

    Reply
  • […] 5                    SQUEEGEE: Select the squeegee with the proper durometer (hardness) and be sure that there are no nicks in the blade.  (See our blog on squeegees).  […]

    Reply
  • 3. squeegee supply ...canada - T-Shirt Forums  |  April 23, 2013 at 8:34 am

    […] the tools involved. some quick links i found to get you started Squeegees: How to Choose Them Confused About Screen Printing Squeegees? | International Coatings Blog Squeegee Selection and Maintenance | Printer's Edge __________________ […]

    Reply

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