Posts tagged ‘screen printing’

Image Washing Out After Exposure?

Be careful not to use excessive water pressure as this can also tear parts of unexposed emulsion.

Kieth Stevens is the Western regional sales manager for International Coatings. He has been teaching screen printing for more than 10 years and is a regular contributor to International Coatings’ blogs. Kieth is also the recipient of the prestigious 2014 Golden Image Award Gold Winner, which is given out by SGIA (the Specialty Graphic Imaging Association.

International Coatings manufactures a complete line of Centris™ non-Phthalate screen printing inks, including a wide variety of whitesspecialty inksspecial effects inks,color matching systemsadditives and reducers.  In addition, International Coatings also manufactures a line of AXEON™ non-Phthalate, non-PVC special effects inks. For more information on our products, please visit our website at www.iccink.com.

July 20, 2017 at 9:57 am 1 comment

Screen Printing Startup Equipment, Part II

M&RComboHere is Part II of John Levocz’ article, published on Printwear, on what printers need for a start-up (Read Part I on our blog):

CHOOSE A PRINTER

There are many types and styles of manual printers in the market place, but they’re ultimately all designed to complete the same process. Some print better than others, but the job at hand is to enable a printer to print sing;e or multiple-color designs onto garments quickly, efficiently, and in registration.

Look for a printer that’s expandable. This could be a printer that expands from a single color to four colors or four colors to six colors. It’s less costly to expand this way as opposed to buying new equipment because you outgrew what you originally purchased. Given the designs and types of garments that are printed today, start with a four-color printer with four stations for loading, flashing, and cool downs. Also, consider a printer with micro-registration for a quicker and easier job setup.

Buying a printer is like buying a car. Visit your distributor’s showroom if possible and take a test drive. Do the micros move smoothly? Does the press spin freely with minimum effort? Remember, if all goes well, you’ll use it all day. As for the references of other decorators who use this equipment. If possible, call them to get their opinion. As long as you’re not in direct competition, most are willing to answer a few questions regarding the press they purchased.

FLASH CURE UNIT

Along with the printer, you need a flash-cure unit. This equipment enables you to flash your under base, so you can print on dark garments and specialty pieces. A flash cure unit is an essential piece of equipment in your shop. These units operate at high temperatures to gel the ink before moving to another screen, especially on designs that cannot be printed wet-on-wet.

Considering the high operating temperature, an automatic-style flash is a good option. This type of flash stays over the garment and moves away after a specified time to eliminate burned shirts and, even worse, burned platens on your press that would have to be replaced. In my experience, I can almost guarantee that if you opt to not get an automatic flash, you will get distracted and burn shirts and platens.

DRYERS

After the printing is complete, the garment now needs to be cured or dried. Standard plastisol inks require 325 degrees F at specified times for a proper cure. You can have the best artwork and nicest design, but if the ink washes off the first time your customer cleans the shirt, you won’t be in business long. Proper curing is an important part of screen printing and should not be overlooked.

For a startup business, I recommend an electric infrared conveyor drying system. These dryers convert infrared energy to heat to cure the printed garments. As with presses, many dryers are expandable in length, so the dryer can grow with your business. If you saved some money in other areas look for a 36 belt width. This allows for a press on each side of the dryer as your business grows. And with all the different types of material printers are asked to decorate these days, good airflow is a must. This airflow helps eliminate scorching and shrinkage and solidly cures the decorated garment.

John Levocz, International Coatings’ Northeast regional sales director, has been in the screen printing industry for more than 30 years and has broad experience in graphics and textile printing. John is a contributor to International Coatings’ blogs and holds print seminars all over the country.

International Coatings manufactures a complete line of Centris™ non-Phthalate screen printing inks, including a wide variety of whitesspecialty inksspecial effects inks,color matching systemsadditives and reducers.  In addition, International Coatings also manufactures a line of AXEON™ non-Phthalate, non-PVC special effects inks. For more information on our products, please visit our website at www.iccink.com.

June 13, 2017 at 5:24 am 3 comments

Screen Printing Startup Equipment

VastexComboStarting a screen printing business is an exciting venture, but like most startups, determining what you need can be an intimidating process, especially if you’re new to the industry. With more than 30 years of experience, here is John Levocz’ take (published in Printwear) on what equipment is needed to start a profitable screen printing business.

GETTING STARTED

You don’t have to be an artist to get started in screen printing. In fact, there’s a variety of companies that can provide stock art programs to help you create basic designs, which are printed onto a clear film. Start by researching these companies online and speaking with your equipment distributor to find the right program for you. Many laser and inkjet printers are available, so it’s helpful to review options with your distributor.

Choose a printer that gives you the densest black possible in your price range. This dense black on the clear film is used to create your screen. Remember, the blacker the print and the cleaner the film, the better. To create the screen, you need a screen frame along with an exposure unit or light source to burn the image from the film onto a screen coated with emulsion. As far as frames go, they run the gamut–from wood to retentive aluminum.

When it comes to light sources, three types are available to screen printers: multi-bulbs, single bulbs, and LED units. The multi-bulb fluorescent units use fluorescent tubes, which provide a specific light spectrum designed to work with screen printing emulsions. Do not make your own unit with the fluorescent lights from your home. It will not work well. In the case of a single bulb, it provides that same specific light spectrum to expose screens and generally holds finer detail. The newest technology is the LED exposure unit, which uses a multitude of LED lights to create the proper light spectrum.

For a screen printing startup, consider a multi-bulb fluorescent unit for its affordability and ability to hold reasonably good detail. Whichever unit you choose, make sure it has a vacuum to hold the film with the screen.

Stay tuned for Parts II and III or read it on Printwear.

John Levocz, International Coatings’ Northeast regional sales director, has been in the screen printing industry for more than 30 years and has broad experience in graphics and textile printing. John is a contributor to International Coatings’ blogs and holds print seminars all over the country.

International Coatings manufactures a complete line of Centris™ non-Phthalate screen printing inks, including a wide variety of whitesspecialty inksspecial effects inks,color matching systemsadditives and reducers.  In addition, International Coatings also manufactures a line of AXEON™ non-Phthalate, non-PVC special effects inks. For more information on our products, please visit our website at www.iccink.com.

 

May 30, 2017 at 12:35 pm 5 comments

Apparel Sourcing Show

Kieth Guatemala

Come join Kieth Stevens as the Diseri Booth/Stand # 27-31, at the Apparel Sourcing Show in Guatemala.  He will be holding a Screen Print Seminar tomorrow, May 25th, from 10-11:30 am at La Union, 3rd Floor Mezzanine.

Be sure to stop by!

Kieth Stevens is the Western regional sales manager for International Coatings. He has been teaching screen printing for more than 10 years and is a regular contributor to International Coatings’ blogs.

 

International Coatings manufactures a complete line of Centris™ non-Phthalate screen printing inks, including a wide variety of whitesspecialty inksspecial effects inks,color matching systemsadditives and reducers.  In addition, International Coatings also manufactures a line of AXEON™ non-Phthalate, non-PVC special effects inks. For more information on our products, please visit our website at www.iccink.com.

May 24, 2017 at 3:44 pm 1 comment

Can I use sunlight to burn my screens if I run a small shop with minimal equipment?

Yes, I used to do this when our exposing unit was too small for the screen, or if the bulb had burned out and we couldn’t wait for a new one.

As an aside, this is a method I generally do not recommend, but if you have no other options, it is possible. To begin, use spray adhesive on the film and then press it onto the shirt-side of the screen to be burned. Make sure that the adhesive is sprayed evenly so as not to leave spots of heavier deposits on the film. The trick to this method is not to expose the other side of the screen (squeegee-side) while it’s being handled under the sun.

To avoid exposing the other side of the screen, I’ve used a cart on wheels that is at least as big as the screen. Cut a piece of foam that is at least as thick as the screen is and fits on the inside of the screen. Cover the foam with black T-shirt material, then lay the screen with the substrate side up and place the film in position. Don’t forget to put the film face down.

Now place a piece of glass on top of the screen that is at least as big as the screen and place some weighty object, such as a quart of ink, to push the glass, film, and screen down onto the foam beneath. Be sure to put the weight around the design on the film so that it can be exposed evenly by the sun. The weight will promote the best contact between all the layers. Now simply cart the screen to where you want to expose it.

Another tricky part is getting the right emulsion exposure. You may think that on a cloudy day, the UV rays aren’t passing through, but they are, and on a sunny day, they can be even more intense. Then there is the midday overhead sun which is much stronger than the afternoon sun in regards to the amount of UV available for exposure. I strongly recommend not using a pure photopolymer emulsion as those are just too sensitive for this technique. It may take some experimentation to get the exposure just right.

Kieth Stevens is the Western regional sales manager for International Coatings. He has been teaching screen printing for more than 10 years and is a regular contributor to International Coatings’ blogs.

International Coatings manufactures a complete line of Centris™ non-Phthalate screen printing inks, including a wide variety of whitesspecialty inksspecial effects inks,color matching systemsadditives and reducers.  In addition, International Coatings also manufactures a line of AXEON™ non-Phthalate, non-PVC special effects inks. For more information on our products, please visit our website at www.iccink.com.

May 18, 2017 at 1:29 pm 1 comment

Mother’s Day Decorating: Screen-Printing Ideas

Mother's Day 2017

In a recent article posted by Printwear Magazine, John Levocz gives us some interesting screen printing tips and ideas for preparing designs this Mother’s Day.

 

For Mother’s Day prints think outside of the box and use specialty inks to create designs that shine. Moms love bling.

Glitter inks

Remember to print glitter inks through coarser mesh counts to let the glitter flake pop. Check with your ink manufacturer for the recommended mesh count. I recommend a 24 mesh count for the best results.

Shimmer inks

Shimmer inks use a finer metallic particle and can be printed through higher mesh counts (86–120 count) to create a shimmer look.

Remember when printing glitter or shimmer inks to adjust your dryer to achieve full cure temperatures. The metallic flake in glitter and shimmer inks will reflect the heat away from the garment. Usually, a slower belt speed will do the trick. Remember to test before going into production.

Reflective inks

Reflective prints also give designs pop during low light conditions when hit by a bright light. Check with your ink manufacturer for proper mesh counts and curing temperatures as a variety of different reflective inks are currently on the market.

Gel-gloss inks

Overprint gels are another way to enhance standard prints by adding shine or a wet look to a print. Most gels can be printed through an 110 mesh count screen. Remember to reach the recommended full cure for optimum clarity of the finished gel print.

Foil adhesives

Using foil will help you create a shiny design in an almost endless color pattern. Most foil adhesives are printed through a 74–110 mesh count depending on the design.

All of the above inks and methods can be used in creating designs for shirts as well as hats, cotton gardening gloves, cloth calendars, and aprons for Mom’s special day. By using your imagination, you can create endless designs on a variety of substrates.

John Levocz, International Coatings’ Northeast regional sales director, has been in the screen printing industry for more than 30 years and has broad experience in graphics and textile printing. John is a contributor to International Coatings’ blogs and holds print seminars all over the country.

International Coatings manufactures a complete line of phthalate-compliant screen printing inks, including a wide variety of whites, specialty inks, special effects inks, color matching systems, additives and reducers.  For more information on our products, please visit our website at www.iccink.com.

May 10, 2017 at 2:29 pm 2 comments

How do I avoid the white spots that pop up on my garment after curing?

Printwear Questions (6)

This was a question posed by a Printwear reader, and here is Kieth Stevens’ response:

This issue happens at times when using a white underbase ink that contains a blowing agent. The blowing agent helps improve opacity and control dye migration. However, the blowing agent contains microbeads that inflate when cured, and some may pop, leaving a hole in the inks printed on top. To help mitigate this issue, use a quality white ink that does not contain a blowing agent, or flash the white a little longer to get the blowing agent to begin puffing earlier. Over-curing the ink may be another cause for the popping as well.


Kieth Stevens is the Western regional sales manager for International Coatings. He has been teaching screen printing for more than 10 years and is a regular contributor to International Coatings’ blogs.

International Coatings manufactures a complete line of Centris™ non-Phthalate screen printing inks, including a wide variety of whitesspecialty inksspecial effects inks,color matching systemsadditives and reducers.  In addition, International Coatings also manufactures a line of AXEON™ non-Phthalate, non-PVC special effects inks. For more information on our products, please visit our website at www.iccink.com.

May 9, 2017 at 5:16 am 1 comment

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