Screen printing information on mesh size

Details

Basically: high mesh count = higher resolution, less ink deposit, low mesh count = lower resolution, more ink deposit.

When printing on paper, for example, you don't need (or want) a lot of ink and you often want a detailed image - so you use a high mesh count. When printing on dark fabric you want more ink, and that comes at the cost of not being able to have quite as much fine detail in your image.

There are standard mesh counts for textile printing that are used most of the time, but it does vary depending on the substrate being printed on, the design being printed, and the ink being used.

More about screen printing mesh size:  Different mesh sizes are used for different applications in the screen printing process.  Mesh size is measured by how many threads of mesh there are crossing per square inch.  For instance, a 110 mesh screen has 110 threads crossing per square inch.  The higher the mesh count, the finer the threads and holes are in the screen. The size of the mesh has a lot to do with how detailed your image is and how thick the ink you are using is.  If you have an image with extremely high detail, a lower mesh screen won’t hold the high detail. The fine lines or dots in the image will simply fall through the holes in the mesh not giving you a correct representation of what your image should be.  Also if you are using a thinner ink, the ink will also flood through the larger holes and soak onto your shirt or substrate making your image blurry as the ink bleeds.  On the other hand, if you are trying to print a thicker ink (such as white) through to high of a mesh screen, barely any ink will print through the mesh.  You will notice that different companies have different sizes available.  If the mesh count is fairly close, such as the difference between 155 vs. 156, 196 vs. 200, or 81 vs. 86, the difference is so negligible and small that it will not matter in your final results. Since there are many variables involved in silk screen printing we can’t tell you exactly what mesh sizes are used for what applications.  However we can give you a general outline of what sizes to use for certain types of printing.

Your basic and most standard mesh sizes are 110 and 156.  110 mesh lays a fairly thick layer of ink down.   It’s great for block text letters and larger spot color designs.  It’s also a recommended mesh for white flash plates because many times you will only have to make one print impression which speeds up production time.  156 mesh also lays down a little thicker layer of screen printing ink but offers you some higher detail ability in your image due to the finer mesh.  Also if you are printing with a little thinner viscosity colors of inks, you may want to use the 156 mesh so not too much ink is passed through your screen.  Lower mesh counts like 40-86 are used for shimmer and glitter inks.  These inks have particles in them that will not pass through the typical mesh sizes.  Therefore you need a lower mesh count with large holes in order for all the particles to pass through properly.  Shimmer plastisol inks have finer particles in them so you could probably use an 86 mesh while glitter inks have much larger particles so it would be recommended to use a 40 or 60 mesh screen.  200 and 230 mesh are used for finer detailed images and thinner inks.  These mesh sizes can hold larger half tone dots but are not recommended for four color process prints or fine detail half tone printing.  Also graphic and solvent based silk screening inks that are much thinner should be used with these mesh sizes.   Also if you would like a softer feel to the ink on your shirts you can print through these higher mesh counts which will let less ink through the screen giving you a much softer feel on the shirt.  This can get tricky however, many times a duller distressed look is wanted for the artwork but if bright vibrant colors are desired (especially white) you will have a hard time getting the opacity thick enough using these higher meshes.  305 mesh is used for extremely high detail textile printing and fine halftone four color process and simulated process prints.  (Learn more about process printing here.)  Fine half tone dots need high fine detail mesh in order to hold and expose on.  Higher meshes such as 355, 380, and 400 are used mainly for graphic printing with UV inks.  UV inks are extremely thin and many times are used for high detail printing on signs, banners, or CD’s.  Using a higher mesh allows the automatic printers used in UV printing to regulate the amount of ink passed through the screen.   

Exposure Notes:  Different mesh sizes hold different amounts of emulsion, due to how big the holes in the mesh are.  For instance a 110 mesh screen will hold much more emulsion then a 305 mesh screen.  While the difference isn’t extreme, you will have to vary your exposure times slightly for different mesh sizes.  A finer mesh screen that holds less emulsion will expose faster then a lower mesh screen that holds more emulsion.  However, the difference is small so you may have to only vary as slightly as 5-10% in either direction and depending on mesh size in order to get maximum exposure performance.

How To Choose The Right Screen Printing Ink

Details

The number of different screen printing inks out there is mind boggling, but it’s really important to make sure you’re choosing the right one before you start your next printing job.  There are lots of things that come in to play, the most important being what it is you’re printing on. You can’t use the same ink you use for T-shirt printing that you do make your own poster. Plus, every ink has a different effect, feel and look. But rest assured, because today I’m going to go over the screen printing ink types and help you figure out which one will work for you.

First decision, are you printing on tshirts, posters, or something else? If it’s not tshirts, skip this section.

Screen Printing Inks For T-Shirts

Plastisol Screen Printing Ink – This is the standard ink for printing on t shirts, it’s plastic based and requires high heat in order to cure. If you’re doing this at home and you don’t have a conveyor dryer, I wouldn’t suggest it because if it doesn’t get cured properly the ink will wash out, crack or peel off of the shirt and you definitely don’t want that. However, if done properly this ink will hold up for quite some time, possibly longer than the actual shirt.

Water Based Screen Printing Ink – If you want an easy to cure, fast drying, super soft feeling t shirt then this is the ink for you. Permaset Aqua offers a line of screen printing inks that are fairly cheap, but I say go big or go home. Go for what the big boys use and you won’t be disappointed. Ryonet offers a line of water based inks that are great for many uses. The other cool thing about water based inks is that you can dry and cure then with a simple heat gun like this one.

Discharge Screen Printing Ink – These inks are pretty cool. Basically how they work is when you apply the ink, it removes the color from the shirt, and replaces it with the color of the ink, which leaves the shirt feeling like it doesn’t even have ink on it. Personally I love this printing style but it’s tough to master and requires a lot of chemicals and mixing so if you’re a newbie I wouldn’t suggest it just yet. Also beware of what type of shirt you’re printing on with this method because it works best on 100% cotton and if you’re using a blend then the results might not come out how you’d expect, it’s fun to experiment, though!

Glow In The Dark Screen Printing Ink – This type of ink isn’t actually different, it’s just fun to use for some designs so I wanted to mention it. I’ve used the Speedball brand and gotten great results. Check it out right here if you’re interested.

Screen Printing Inks For Posters(or any paper products)

Water Based Screen Printing Ink – Water based inks are the best for printing on paper because they soak in and don’t require any curing, they can just air dry. This is the method I use and would suggest for anyone who wants to print their own posters or other paper products. Speedball has a great line of inks meant for paper that I highly suggest.

Screen Printing Inks For Other Stuff

Are you printing on something other than paper or fabric? You can screen print on just about anything, so the possibilities are endless. But before you try it do a little research and find out what kinds of inks are best. Check out some screen printing forums and ask for advice from the pros, it could save you a ton of money and a ton of trouble. Sometimes you won’t have to buy a completely different ink, sometimes it will only require adding something to the ink you already have, or drying it in a different way. It all depends on what you’re doing, I would attempt to write it all here but this article would be never-ending if I did that. Use Google to your advantage and you will find what you’re looking for =)

Silk screen printing business start up packages

Details

The silk screen printing business opportunity is great for stay at home moms or for a person looking for a second income.  Everyone owns a shirt, so why not make money from it using our press.  Screen printing can be done on t-shirts, sweatshirts, mouse pads, stickers, binders, and much more. 

Our goal is to help you profit in the screen printing business without a large investment (which is required by other companies).

You get real equipment, supplies (ink, emulsion, squeegees, etc.), and a Start kit that takes you through the silk-screen process step-by-step (assembly, burning the image on a silk-screen, printing the t-shirt, and more).  Learn how to start up silkscreen printing business and make money.

Dingword offers you a series of silk screen printing business start up kits which can meed your different demand. From 1 color silk screen printing start up machine kit to 6 color silk screen printing start up machine kit, you can choose from different prices and various combines.

We have 5 Silk Screen Printing business start up Kits for you to choose from :

1: 1 Color 1 Station Screen Printing business start up Package


2: 4 Color 1 Station Screen Printing business start up Package


3: 4 Color 2 Station Screen Printing business start up Package


4: 4 Color 4 Station Screen Printing business start up Package


5: 6-color 6-station  Screen Printing business start up Package

 

How many screen mesh counts should I use ?

Details

When you start out screen printing you can probably get away with using the same screen for most all of your projects but as you advance and start to demand superior quality results from your work you might want to consider using different screens with different mesh counts for different kinds of projects.Honestly, I use the same mesh count for most of my projects and the same mesh colour, 110 and white. On occasion I choose a higher mesh count for printing small text prints that I use for my labels but still that’s only 156. Otherwise, my projects are predominantly on fabric so I use a 110 mesh count on most occasions. (I once borrowed a screen from someone which was at least a 300 mesh count and I struggled my whole way through printing my work because I was using a fabric substrate - almost pulled my hair out!) But I do recognize that my readers will be experimenting with all sorts of screen printing applications so here’s a short list of what you might want to use for a specific project.

This could also help you trouble shoot if you run into problems with your print quality- you can look here to see if you are using the right mesh count. Here it is. Have fun and Good luck!

Mesh Recommendations by Application

Graphics printing

  • Line artwork 230 –305
  • Halftone screens up to 70 lines/in. 305–380
  • Halftone screens from 70-133 lines/in. 380 –420
  • Objects (plastics, etc.)
  • Opaque areas 255–305
  • Halftone and fine lines 305–420

Garment printing

  • Glitter 25–60
  • Flock adhesive 45–125
  • Puff-up colors 55–125
  • Overprint 80 –110
  • Pigment ink printing,areas/lines 110 –175
  • Plastisol transfer 125–305
  • Universal fabric 125
  • Plastisol direct 125–305
  • Pigment inks, half-tone 155–255
  • Sublimation transfer 195–305

Textiles, flat films

  • Heavy décor fabrics (terry cloth, denim) 45–123
  • Smooth, dense fabrics (table cloths, curtains) 110–155
  • Light, porous material 195–305

Ceramics

  • Glaze printing, coarse, embossed effect 15–55
  • Glaze printing, medium to fine 55–155
  • In and under-glaze (direct printing) 110–255

Decals

  • Areas/lines 195–380
  • Fine lines/half-tone 255–420
  • Gold and luster inks 305–420

Glass

  • Automotive glass
  • Black surrounds for rear/side windows 125–195
  • Antennas 195–255
  • Silver paste (defroster) 195–255

Architectural glass

  • Windows, doors 55–195
  • Mirrors 195–305

Cosmetic bottles

  • Inks 195–305
  • Precious metals 305–380

Beverage

  • Bottles, glasses 125–305

Household

  • Ovens, etc. (masks) 110 –175
  • Ovens, etc. (lines and half-tones) 195–255
  • Lampshades, furniture 125–255

Advertising

  • Shop signs 110 –195

Printed circuit boards

  • Overlay solder mask 30 –45
  • Photosensitive solder mask 60 –175

Membrane keypads and overlays

  • Insulation lacquer 90 –175
  • Silver conductive paste 125–175
  • Adhesive 125–195
  • Transparent windows 305

Screen printing material- "Emulsion" or "Stencils"

Details

"Emulsion" or "Stencils"

The words emulsion and stencil are used interchangeably in screenprinting.

Applying the emulsion is the chemical process of transferring image to a screen. The function of the emulsion (or stencil) is to cover the non-printing area of the screen. The stencil process works due to the use of a light sensitive material that hardens when exposed to ultraviolet light. The stencil material must be of a material that is impermeable to the screen printing ink.

Materials used for stencils include plain paper, shellac or lacquer coated paper, lacquer film, photographic film, and light-sensitive emulsions. Stencil types available include: hand-cut film, photographic film, direct coating, direct/indirect photostencil, and wet-direct photostencil.

The stencil is composed of either a liquid product that is poured onto the screen mesh or a film product. There are two types of photographic film, presensitized and unsensitized, available for use in the preparation of stencils. Presensitized film is ready to use as purchased, while unsensitized film must first be treated with a photosensitization solution.

In preparing the stencil, the film is exposed to a positive film image in a vacuum frame. It is then developed in a solution that renders the unexposed image areas soluble in water. The soluble areas are removed and the remaining film is bonded to the screen fabric.

There are four stencil application processes, hand cut, direct stencil and indirect stencil (application of a film):

Hand Cut

A hand-cut film stencil is made by hand cutting the image areas from a lacquer film sheet on a paper backing. A liquid adhesive is then used to bond the stencil to the screen fabric. Once the adhesive has dried, the film's paper backing sheet is removed.

Direct Stencil

In the direct coating process, a light-sensitive emulsion is applied to the entire screen using a scoop coater and allowed to dry. The screen is then exposed to a film positive image. The non-image areas of the emulsion harden upon exposure. However, the coating in the unexposed image areas remains soluble and is removed with a spray of warm water. Several coats of the light-sensitive material are applied and smoothed to achieve a long wearing screen.

Some of the characteristics of direct stencils are:

  • Most are water soluble
  • Wear better than indirect stencils
  • Cheaper to produce than indirect stencils
  • Two different types of direct stencil solution
    • Water-resistant stencil solution
    • Solvent-resistant stencil solution

Within direct stencil processes yellow and orange colored fabric is used for the screen mesh. The color prevents light from bouncing when the stencil is exposed to UV. If light bounces or scatters the exposure is uneven.

Indirect Stencil

The preparation of indirect stencils combines elements of both the photographic film and the direct coating methods. An unsensitized photographic film is laminated to the screen and then sensitized by the direct application of a photosensitive emulsion. The exposed stencil is processed in a manner similar to that used in the preparation of stencils produced by the photographic film and the direct coating methods. The indirect process produces highly durable stencils that are used in applications where high print quality is required.

Indirect Stencil process consists of using a coated acetate film which is cut into the exact shape of the artwork and adhered to the screen using water then is dried by heat. Some of the characteristics of Indirect Stencils are:

  • Produce excellent definition & finer detail
  • Best for Water-based ink printing
  • More difficult to remove from screen mesh, requires high pressure water rinse.

Wet-Direct Photostencil

A recent development in stencil preparation is the wet-direct photostencil process. To prepare a stencil using this process, a film positive is held in direct contact with a wet photopolymer emulsion. The emulsion hardens when exposed to UV light. The unexposed areas of emulsion are then removed yielding a very durable, high quality screen.