Use the Right Tool for the Job

August 26, 2010 at 11:30 pm Leave a comment


At our seminars, we get a variety of printers.  Some have printed for a long time, some just started or are thinking about starting.  Some  run successful large print shops with multiple automatics, some have a garage-based printing business.  Often, we hear stories about how some try to shortcut processes or printing steps with home-made devices.  Here is John Levocz, our North-East Regional Sales Manager with more on using the correct tools for the job:

” Have you ever used a screwdriver as a pry bar or an ice pick?  It usually does not work well but we always seem to use tools for projects that they are not intended for just because they are handy.  The same holds true for screen printing.  Use the correct tool for the job and it will get done correctly, more efficiently, and be less costly in the long run.

Have you ever substituted a 156 mesh when you know you should have used a 110 and then complained that the ink was not opaque enough and re-ran the job with a 110 to get the look you wanted?  This takes time and money.   Stock some standard mesh counts like 86, 110, 156, 230 and so on.  This will allow you to pick the proper mesh count for the job so you can run it right the first time.  Remember, printing an athletic jersey is not like printing a cotton tee shirt.

Have you ever run water base ink and had your emulsion gum up and break down?  Not all emulsions are created equal.  If you are running a water base ink, make sure the emulsion you choose is water resistant.  These emulsions are designed to withstand water so they will not break down.  Better to do it correctly the first time than to be in the middle of a job and have to re-burn a screen.

Have you ever tried to get by with a cotton white* when printing a 50/50 garment so you could get the job out that day?  It won’t work and you will only have to re-run the job.  Order the correct ink, a low bleed ink*, and run the job with confidence.

Don’t use your squeegee as a hammer to register your screens.  We have all done this and then we complain that the print has streaks due to the nicks in the squeegee blade.  If the blade could talk it would say:  what do you expect?  I am not a hammer!

 The list can go on and on but the point is, use the proper tool or product that is required for the job at hand.  Gone are the days of just printing white or only cotton shirts.  Face the facts:  you are now a job shop being asked to print a wide variety of print styles on a wide variety of garments and materials.  Check with your supplier to see what tools and products they have to make your life easier and less costly in the long run.


*For more on white inks offered by International Coatings, click here or go to


Entry filed under: General, Printing Tips. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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