When bringing screen printing in-house, the most popular question from customers is how and what they will use to make screens. If you are just beginning screen printing in-house, it is heavily recommended that you rely on a 3rd party for producing your screens. There are different types of third party sources we would recommend, which are dedicated screen makers or screen printing companies in your area that print on T-shirts. The reason we recommend producers of printed T-shirts is because they are not only the most common but will not see you as a threat to business (as long as you aren’t in the saturated market of T-shirt printing).
There are a litany of resources on YouTube and google for how to make screens which can be broken down into the following processes with niche equipment. To begin, you will need the screen frames. You can easily purchase them by size on a screen printing accessories website. They may also be pre-stretched with the mesh you require. The mesh is the material you stretch over the screen that needs to be matched with the ink you plan on using, which is to say the thread count should match the viscosity of your ink. Once you have the screen and mesh ready, you will need to apply the emulsion that is specified in the TDS for your ink. The emulsion should be coated on your screen.
You will also require an image that must be printed on film. The image must be opaque. To reach the required opacity, you will need to use a digital printer that is more advanced (and more expensive) than your average printer. You will also require imaging software, such as Adobe. The image of your print on your film should be sized 1:1. Once you have your image you will need to burn it onto the screen using an exposure unit. These units typically use intense lights and vacuum seal the screen onto the projector of light. Once your image is burned onto the screen, you must use a pressure washer on the screen to remove any residue.
Then you’re ready to print!
Learn More About Screen Printing
If you would like to learn more about screen printing, from beginning to advanced tips, visit our Screen Printing 101 guide. If you have any questions about Systematic Automation screen printing machines, browse our products and applications pages to learn more or give us a call at (860) 677-6400. We will be happy to assist you.