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Issues with printing?

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Issues with printing?

Postby vidar » Mon Oct 25, 2010 5:34 pm

Ok, I'm not sure if the issue is with my equipment or me. I'm guessing it's the latter...

Here's the process I went through. Let me know if I missed a step....
I'm using the Speedball Screen Printing Kit for Opaque fabrics...

It came with a screen on a frame, and I purchased a few more screens (with frames). I know, ambitious for my first one, but I wanted to do a 3-color design (all separate colors, no blends).

I coated the screen with emulsion, in a dark bathroom (hard to work in the dark). I let it dry for several hours, checked on it, and it was dry so I stored it in the closet while I did the others. I printed my designs on the acetate paper and set up my 500w halogen light. I checked with Speedball and they said with that specific light, I would need about an 8 minute exposure. So, I set the acetate on the screen, exposed it with the light for 8 minutes (roughly...I missed hitting my timer on my phone by about 30 seconds, so i just counted the last bit). I washed out the screen and everything looked really good. I was actually kinda impressed when washing the emulsion off the screen to see the image come out.

I then got the t-shirt set up on the table (I have no platen, just what came with the basic kit, plus I purchased a few more opaque inks), laid the screen on top of the shirt, all lined up pretty. I then poured some of the yellow ink above the part of the screen that had the pattern. I flooded the screen with the ink (the light pull of the squeegee) and then went back over with some force. I actually did this twice as someone had suggested it, I re-flooded and pulled hard again. I then took the screen off the shirt and had the ink there, but it looked like a shirt that had been faded and washed several thousand times. I know some places die to get that look, well, I was hoping for a nice vibrant yellow! Oh well, maybe I just screwed up something, so I started the second shirt while that one sat and dried. Had a similar effect, but parts of it seemed to have a lot of ink. I decided to just let it dry and see what happens.

Well, as expected, the ink faded pretty quickly, and I'm not quite sure why. I know that they are supposed to be heat cured, but I wasn't sure when doing multiple colors as to when I should do it. So, I let it sit. Then, many days later I decided to keep practicing with it. I thought I would try the yellow again. As expected, the screen didn't sit in the right spot (stupid me) but even though, the color just wasn't bright. It was very faded still. I used a heat gun to heat cure the color anyway and thought maybe it was just a bad batch of yellow. So, I move on to my next color (red) and had similar results. The edges and certain parts looked faded or like one of those t-shirt transfers from an inkjet printer that has washed partly away. So, I heat cure it, try a second coat, and was off by just a smidge again. I really need to have something inexpensive that I can set up as registrations for these screens. Anyway, I go to the last color, white. It was also off by just a bit, but where the white hit the red on the last pass, it was nice, vibrant, bright white. Still is on this shirt. I heat cured it and was amazed. However, where it was just on the black fabric, it was almost "spotty". It was very transparent almost. Hard to describe. I could always take a photo of my end result if that would help.

So, at this point I'm looking for suggestions on the following :

What can I use to better line up the screens on the shirt. Something with hinges I've seen
Is the ink an issue that I'm using for it not adhering to the black cotton shirts?
Now that I did the run, I tried to use some of the emulsion remover and only got "most" of the emulsion off (near the centre of the screens). How can I get the rest off easily? Have I just buggered all 3 screens? I know they aren't cheap
Pretty much open to any advice on what I've done wrong....
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Re: Issues with printing?

Postby Gamma6 » Sat Sep 27, 2014 12:04 pm

Id try switching inks, speedball isn't the greatest ink for printing cause their inks aren't very opaque when printing on dark fabrics. I use matsui inks and I'm pretty happy with their product, granted the drying time is a bit long but it comes out great with a soft touch on the shirts.

Stay away from speedball in general, it's grade D in my opinion.

I broke one of their screens the first time I put in my press.
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Re: Issues with printing?

Postby Gamma6 » Sat Sep 27, 2014 12:08 pm

Also for lining up the image, I put lines on my platten to line up the screen. You can also use a piece of poster board to make a messuri tool, cut it to the size of the print side of the screen and then make lines dividing the poster board that way your image is lined up correctly for your burn.
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Re: Issues with printing?

Postby Dynamik Graphics » Sat Jan 17, 2015 1:40 am

Hmmm...would help if I knew what color shirt you're printing on. If it's a colored garment, light colored inks like yellow almost always need to be underbased with white in order for them to appear vibrant. Another method I always used if I were printing just a one color job is exposing the one screen, printing two strokes, flashing, and then printing another two strokes. This typically yielded the same result as underbasing, but realistically, the rule of thumb is:

Dark garment with light ink = underbase with white
Light garment with dark ink = no underbase

However, in some cases, I actually WANTED a faded look; if I were printing a design that was distressed on a dark garment, I would intentionally only print two strokes; some of the garment color would still show through, adding to the "tattered" look.

One more bit of advice:

If you're using the Speedball inks I think you're using, then my advice would be to find another ink.

I know they're cheap, but they're water-based and not plastisol. When my wife first got into screen printing (it's contagious, I guess :lol: ), she used Speedball. Almost every print washed out or severely faded after only one wash. We even tried extending the cure time and heat-pressing the print afterwards. No change.

IMO, they're just crappy inks. It doesn't help that they dry pretty fast at room temperature, so the moment you're done printing, you've got to make a mad dash to reclaim the screens.

PLUS, Speedball inks had an annoying tendency to break down the emulsion after prolonged contact, eventually contaminating the ink during print strokes. (White ink would turn pink!)

Ever since then, my wife has been using plastisol inks from KolorMatrix. 100% satisfied with the results, too. :mrgreen:

One more jab at Speedball, and I promise I'm done complaining about them: Light colored inks like yellow, red, or fluorescent pink looked atrocious even when printed on an underbase.

Hope I didn't rain on anyone's parade, but my personal experience with Speedball has been nothing short of a screen printer's nightmare.
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