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Capillary Film

                Capillary Film

Capillary film comes in the same three chemistries as liquid emulsion, but
is 100% solids applied to a plastic sheet.  One of the reasons to use
capillary film is high resolution printing.  Another reason is 3-D ink
printing when the capillary film is sufficiently thick.  Film properly
exposed and washed out does not develop the pin holes like liquid emulsion,
and can be dried much faster by using a heater fan.  If you use a fan
on liquid emulsion, you will probably get a lot of pin holes, and pin holes
cost time and money to repair.

Film is sold in different thicknesses.  The thickness in microns corresponds to
the mesh counts as listed below.

Mesh Count

Capillary Film

Typical Printing



3-D and other specialty inks



Light colored inks on dark



Dark inks on light colored



Half tones, details, underbase



Four color process

Capillary films and emulsions are dyed to prevent the exposure light from
reflecting and distorting the image size.  So called capillary films that
are clear without dye are not capillary film.  Capillary film produces
a very predictable ink film thickness.  The thickness is more controllable
than with liquid emulsion, and you do not have to deal with messy liquid emulsions
that drip and run.   Shops that use screens that are not retensionable
should be particularly interested in capillary film for the uniform stencil

Capillary means water to water.  The film is pre-wet and applied to a screen being
flushed with water so the water on the film is drawn with the film to the mesh.  Film
without color has to be applied to liquid emulsion on the screen as an adhesive
and color agent to cut down on light refraction.  Control over the stencil
and therefore ink thickness is also surrendered.

The capillary film thickness can be built up by laminating films.

For more information, see the following articles:

“Applying & Laminating Capillary Film”
“Advantages of Capillary Film”
“Laminating Stencils”
“How to Build Thick Stencils”

A must-see video is:

“Capillary Film Increases Profits”

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