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How to Print

                         How to Print

Spread your fingers across the squeegee for even pressure, and pull the squeegee
from the far end of the screen towards you.  The best screen printers
use light pressure, and get the ink through the screen by mesh count, screen
tension, squeegee angle, squeegee speed, squeegee sharpness, off-contact distance,
and how ink is prepared.

A squeegee should never be pushed.  People who push typically are using soft screens
and peanut butter-like ink.  Pushing allows them to use their upper body
weight and strength to force the ink though the screen.  Pushing that
hard is a good way to have color registration problems, heavy ink deposits,
and fatigue.

When printing, there are three aspects to printing technique.  They are squeegee angle,
pressure, and speed.  A lower angle deflects more ink down, and a higher
angle less.  Angle is important to the opacity and feel of the image.
Too much pressure, and the ink will be driven into the garment rather than
cut off and laid on the surface.  Too much pressure also forces the ink
deposit to flatten out leaving an image that is larger and thinner than created
by the stencil.  A faster speed deposits less ink, and a slower speed
more ink.

On the first pull of a squeegee on a job a flood stroke might be appropriate.  A
flood stroke is where the squeegee is pulled across the screen without touching
the mesh.  The purpose is only to fill the image without pushing the ink
through the screen.  Then on the second stroke the mesh is deflected to
close the off-contact distance so the bottom of the mesh touches the item being
printed.  After that first print a flood stroke should not be necessary.  Printing
repeatedly with flood strokes puts too much ink down and slows production.  There
are a lot of ways to control the amount of ink printed, and flood strokes like
squeegee pressure should not be used.

To read more on this subject, see:

“The Three Most Common Problems”
“Printing on Black without Flashing”
“How to Print a Cap”
“How to Print High Density Ink”

See the video:

“Screen Printing Health & Safety”

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