Question about where to find learning material

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TheIrons84
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Joined: Wed Jul 01, 2015 11:48 am

Question about where to find learning material

Postby TheIrons84 » Wed Jul 01, 2015 1:02 pm

I recently bought one of the home screen printing kits from a company. It had emulsion screen, ink, transparencies, exposure board, etc.

First let me say that this is my first post here, and it looks like a place where I can get some good info. I have always been an artist, and I am also a tool maker. Basically, that is a glorified machinist. I am very proficient at CAD / CAM programs, so drawing with a PC is not foreign to me. The few designs I have made worked great as far as the creation of the screen. Artwork is not the problem; the printing process is.

The first thing I noticed is that I am using emulsion screen, which must be taped to the garment. This doesn't really give a good way to lift and flash, and come back down in the exact same spot. I know that there are several reasons for this. When studying about this, I discovered the pros use actual aluminum frame screens that can be hit with emulsion and then wiped clean, to be used numerous times over and over. I don't know much about this process and I need to learn. It is pretty obvious that I am wasting my time with the green emulsion screen sheets that probably could be taped to a frame somehow, but I'm not sure it is worth doing.

Another problem I have run into is that without the ability to lift the screen (with a press), I can't flash. I don't have a flash machine, so I was using a heat gun. I ended up just about melting a dry fit shirt I was trying to dry the ink on. So this is when I realized that a heat gun was a poor choice. It also highlighted the problem of needing a press, to be able to lift the screen for the flash and properly reposition it. I was trying to flash to get good, uniform coverage of ink because I could see I would need at least two coats (light color, dark garment).

Not only as it relates to flash, but the curing of the ink in general - Obviously, I cannot properly and uniformly heat my ink to get a good set and give me the durability I need using an iron or even a heat gun. I need the uniformity of a heat press apparently.

I want to do this as a hobby, and maybe get into doing it for a little side money. I want to create my own t shirts, and if people like my designs I can offer them for sale..but not until I get the bugs worked out of the process. Nobody wants to buy a shirt that will fade out after a wash or two because it wasn't done right. On top of that, I need to quit throwing money at things that are not what I really need, and focus on the right way to do it.

So looking at start up set ups, I found Catspit Productions. It was then I started looking close at the presses, and discovered the guy building the four station press on youtube. I could do this, and save a ton of money on a press. I know it isn't exactly commercial, but it will cost very little and if it happens to work and start being productive, I can step up from there.

I use my machining CAD/CAM software to start mys designs, and the DXF over to Corel Draw, where I fill in my letters and designs. What I need is a heat press, maybe a flash dryer, and some screens that have the type of emulsion that can be removed and reapplied. I also need the emulsion and cleaner, and I guess maybe some plastisol ink.

I have been using Speedball ink, which I think is water based. If I can get better durability and easier use out of plastisol, I will do it that way.

The main focus of this post is to hopefully be pointed in the direction of some reading material or videos. I started to watch the Catspit youtube channel, but I don;t have time to watch all 400 videos. lol. If there is a book or a list of pertinent videos I need to watch, that would be awesome. If I need to watch all 400, then I guess I better get started. Either way, some direction would be awesome.

Thanks


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Catspit Productions
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Re: Question about where to find learning material

Postby Catspit Productions » Wed Jul 01, 2015 1:21 pm

Thanks, glad you found my forum and websites. I appreciate your watching my videos.

Okay first let me say that if you don’t want to be spending money where you don’t need it and you want to make this easier then think twice about building a press. Unless you fabricate it out of metal it will not hold registration for long. Building a press out of wood just invites trouble. Although for some types of printing and levels of work it may be fine. But if you want to know that you can lift the screen up and set it back down and have it be in registration then a bench top press would be the best value. It may cost more to buy but in the long run it will save you time, money and heartache. My 1 color, 1 station is $315 delivered to your door with a lifetime guarantee as long as you own the press. I have free shipping on all of my Ranar equipment. When you compare costs, labor and results you should see the $315 is well spent.

http://catspitscreenprintsupply.com/ran ... ess-p-110/

Now I’m not trying to up sell or sell at all really. Rather I’m being honest about the situation. Wherever possible it will behoove you to get the right tools for the job. Such as the aluminum screens. For about $22 you can get a 110 mesh screen that will print like nothing you have ever seen before blowing away the easy screen print sheets and the like. Also use a proper squeegee so the ink will print and sheer properly for you. But yes, you will have to learn how to coat screens with emulsion and so on…. and it does take some space with running water as well as a drain.

As for the videos, no, you do not have to watch all 400 of them. But go to my channel page and get on the video uploads page. Then go back to the first video I uploaded and start watching the videos from there. You will see there is a natural progression that covers the basics and gets more complicated as you move forward in the video timeline. At a certain point you will see that you have covered all the fundamentals and I start doing more detailed videos on different subjects that further your education in screen printing.

https://www.youtube.com/user/CatspitProductions/videos

Plastisol inks are easier to use but they require a bit more equipment to cure for wash safeness.

http://www.catspitproductionsllc.com/intro-to-inks.html

Anyway I hope that gives you some sort of direction ;)

Let me know if you need further assistance.
Jonathan Monaco
Catspit Productions, LLC
Learn how to screen print tee shirts!

http://catspitscreenprintsupply.com/
http://www.youtube.com/user/CatspitProductions

TheIrons84
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Jul 01, 2015 11:48 am

Re: Question about where to find learning material

Postby TheIrons84 » Thu Jul 02, 2015 8:34 am

Awesome. Great reply. Thank you. It is great to talk to you (in person - so to speak) about this.

I had by concerns about a wooden press, but I have been thinking about what actually would change and cause the registration issues. I'm sure that any area of play could cause this. I think about the lazy susan piece, which is the metal hardware pivot that spins,and I bet it isn't perfect and has some play. When you talk about registration, you mean the ability of the press holding the screen to be able to put it back down in the exact spot every time, correct? I have also seen where people use some type of locating pins on the corners of homemade presses. I'm sure this could be done as well, but probably a lot of effort to get it right.

I could build the press out of metal just as well, but it is more time and effort than I care to mess with. I see your point on buying one. The only thing I am not crazy about is the single station. I would only be able to do one color with this right? I mean I'm sure that different colors could be done but I am not sure how, and even then, it would be one shirt at a time, killing any chance of efficient production.

Thanks again for the help.

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Catspit Productions
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Re: Question about where to find learning material

Postby Catspit Productions » Thu Jul 02, 2015 5:55 pm

Thanks, and you're very welcome. It's my pleasure to help out where I can.

Yes, registration is the presses ability to place any given screen down on the pallet in the exact same position every time. What causes the issues with wooded presses are the connections like screws, bolts or what have you. With repetitive motions in the hundreds or thousands the wood holding these connectors becomes "bored" out and lose. So it's not the metal parts themselves necessarily, rather it's the fact that the wood will give and become lose over time due to wear on the connections of wood to metal. Also metal flexes more and returns to its original shape where wood will not.

Building a wooden press for a 1 color print job is not so bad as long as you do not need to double print. But when we look at a wooden 4 color press there is so much more that can go wrong. Now I'm not saying it's impossible to do. What I am saying is that for the time and money involved in building a home made press your better off buying one.

Also you can build other pieces of equipment you'll need much easier with less concern such as:

washout booth
exposure table
drying box
screen racks
flash cure
maybe even a belt dryer

So there are things you can build and some items that would be totally fine home made. But the press is the most important part of the equation when it comes to the printing and it's the machine you will spend most of your time working with. It can make or break you.

And, yes, you are correct. The single station 1 color press will only allow you to do one color imprints. If you want to do 2 or 4 colors then these presses would be in order:

http://catspitscreenprintsupply.com/ran ... ess-p-205/

http://catspitscreenprintsupply.com/ran ... ess-p-405/

But as you can see they cost a bit more. The 2 color version has 2 spaces for 2 more heads so you could go with that one and then get 2 more heads later down the road when you are ready.

Ultimately in a commercial situation where time is money you will want to buy all commercial equipment to make the most of your labor time. I hope that helps out a bit more ;)
Jonathan Monaco
Catspit Productions, LLC
Learn how to screen print tee shirts!

http://catspitscreenprintsupply.com/
http://www.youtube.com/user/CatspitProductions


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