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Topic: Screen hinges & mesh->print surface distance? What works for you?  (Read 723 times)
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aliengrace
« on: October 16, 2006 05:28:16 AM »

Hello, these questions are as a result of headscratching from getting down the nitty-gritty.  All these variables & tricks we have to think of!  I'm sure there are others who are wondering too, as quite a lot of tutes don't even mention these things.

Hinges - do you use them to lift your screen up between prints and hold the screen still?  Hinge clamps, or hinges with removable pins? If so, what about when there's a whole lot of fabric that would be squashed up against the hinge? How to avoid this?  Is there another way without hinges?  What about professional-type t-shirt presses with arms, does anyone know a way to rig one up diy?

The distance between the mesh and the printing surface - how much do you find you need to leave?  For fabric?  How is the distance maintained?  Do you ever need to vary the distance?

Thanks!  Cheesy  (happy that after a couple of weeks floundering with trying to expose a decent screen, I can finally get onto printing issues... don't give up hope if you've been having emulsion probs too!)
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entriq
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2006 08:10:57 AM »

There is a great deal to try to explain about the process of screenprinting.

A professional t-shirt rig uses a "platen" to hold the shirt, and this allows the print area to be on the platen, but the rest of the fabric drapes over the sides of the platen so it doesn't get in the way.  The side of the shirt being printed is on the top side of the platen, and the other side of the shirt is underneath the platen. 

The distance between the screen and the fabric will depend on a number of factors.  One of those factors is how tight the screen is stretched.  The tighter the better.  In most cases you want the screen to come into contact with the fabric only at the point the squeegee is being applied.

You can DIY a rig for printing shirts.  Using a screen and hinges is the typical way, but unlike flat stock printing, you'll want to emulate the platen idea of the commecial units.  This will allow that drop off gap near the hinges.  There are books that show some ways to do this.  However, you can buy a cheap, one-color shirt setup pretty cheap (less that a few hundred dollars from what I remember) as well.  It might not be the best quality, but it would be a nice start.
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entriq
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