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The Imprinted Sportswear Show in Long Beach or ISS Long Beach is a must see if you are in the screen-printing business. I’ve been going there for 3 years and learn something new each time. The show is for small businesses and large. All types of vendors are there from clothing manufacturers, ink suppliers, and equipment companies.
Things that I have gotten out of ISS:
Many vendors will have discounts on production supplies. For example, I picked up deals on screens and squeegees.
Try before you buy
I bet you’ve browsed all the blank t-shirt catalogs and websites but how does a photo help you? Go to ISS and see these blank t-shirts with your own eyes and feel them all. The best companies are there and you won’t have to order samples anymore.
Learn different printing techniques
Companies will be their explaining alternative embellishing techniques like sublimation and other heat press transfer methods.
Discover products that speed up production
They have devices for everything! They have machines to make stencils without needing a coat a single screen.
Make new contacts
I use to have a hard time getting my screens re-screened. At the show, I met the guys at STS Industrial Solutions and I go to them to get my screens done all the time.
The vendors at ISS don’t want to bother with hauling these machines back to their main office. They can give you a deal on the show room floor but you’ll have to leave it with them until the show is over. Negotiate with them and then pick it up on the last day of the show. You’ll get a discount on the machine and probably save a lot on shipping costs if you were to buy it online.
Check out their website for ISS shows close to you.
Enjoy the show!
As if there were more than 24 hours in a day, I chose to coat screens at midnight. My emulsion of choice is Ulano Orange. Here are the reasons why I love it so much.
Long shelf life
Ready to use without needing to mix in anything.
Exposes in 40 seconds with metal halide lamp.
Works with plastisol and some water based ink (I haven’t tried WB ink with it yet).
I have no issues reclaiming screens even after 2 years.
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The photo is of the screens I coated late tonight. The drying cabinet is something I built a few weeks ago.
It’s one of the most unappealing tasks of screen printing. Setting aside time to reclaim screens is tedious, messy and can make you nauseous. It’s not something to ignore though. Without fresh screens, how can you print new stuff?
Many screen printers pick a day out of the week to dedicate for this chore. I print at night since it’s not my full time job. Cleaning or reclaiming screens after a long night of printing is the last thing on my mind so pick a day and stick with it.
Reclaiming screens today went very well. I cleaned a few screens that were exposed last week for a job. I also cleaned a screen from a job 2 years ago. I’m not proud to admit it but I moved and just recently reassembled my shop. I found this screen boxed up with other screens that were clean.
The chemicals I used today were:
Franmar Bean-e-doo Textile Ink Remover purchased from Franmar.
CCI ER 35 Emulsion (plastisol grade) Remover purchased from Ryonet.
Franmar d-Haze purchased from Franmar.
Here are the steps I take to reclaim screens:
1. While still on the press, I use Bean-e-doo to remove as much ink as possible with shop paper towels. This is important since any plastisol ink still on the screen will prevent the emulsion remover of effectively penetrating the screen.
2. In the wash out booth, I hit the screen with water on both sides. I then spray the ER 35 generously. Some tutorial videos claim you only need a little. I find this not the case. I let the chemical sit on the screen for a couple minutes. I start gently scrubbing the screen with a rough cleaning pad. The edges of the screen need more work since it gets thick around there.
3. Time to spray it down with high pressure water. I’m lucky enough not to need a power washer although it seems like a standard tool in print shops. If there is still some emulsion left I repeat the steps above and scrub a little more. I direct the water to those stubborn areas more thoroughly,
4. Once the emulsion is all gone, more than likely you will see an image from the last job. At this point, you’ll need the haze remover. This stuff is strong. Make sure you have ventilation and use it sparingly on the ghostly image. Spray the haze remover and let it sit for a minute and then scrub. Spray it off with water. You may need to do this twice.
5. The very last spray is the degreaser. This is to remove the cleaning chemicals off the screen. Try not to skip this or you’ll learn the hard way that emulsion may not stick to an improperly reclaimed screen.
6. Let the screen dry in a dust free environment.
Tip: While removing the ink from the screen on the press, use screen opener on the most stubborn left over ink. This will save time and water if you wipe it off instead of trying to spray it off. The downside is the strong fumes from screen opener.
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This is a past job using RyOpaque Plastisol Pink from Ryonet. I didn’t need an underbase and it printed solid. The ink costs more than standard plastisol but the time savings earned is well worth it. It was one of the most satisfying single color jobs I’ve had in a while.
My emulsion of choice is Ulano Orange. Using a 400w metal halide lamp, it only takes 40 seconds to expose. The coated screens come out thin avoiding heavy prints on the t-shirt. Shelf life is also very reasonable at about a year. I use it with plastisol ink but the instruction say it is compatible with water based ink as well. I haven’t tried it though.
I’ve had the Graphtec Craft Robo Pro Cutting Plotter (CE5000-40-CRP) for a few years now but it took a while for me to fully understand how to use it. I was more focused on screen printing and not vinyl work. I’m sure if I wasn’t so scatter brained I would have loved it more then as much as I do now.
What I have done with my Graphtec Craft Robo Pro:
- Cut vinyl stickers from vector art designs
- Cut card stock to make hang tags for t-shirts
- Contour cut a design with registration marks
- Cut heat press vinyl to embellish t-shirts
- Cut vinyl to use on screen printing frames as stencils
- Blades do get dull. You can buy replacement blades on Ebay for a great price.
- You can replace the Teflon strip but removing the old one is a headache. I removed the old strip using something like Goo Off. It’s take patience. The replacement Teflon strip is a bit expensive for what it is.
- Under the rollers is a metallic grit. The metallic grit SHIFTS OVER TIME!!! Always check to see that the metallic grit is in place under the blue markers.
- When using the cutter for a variety of projects, take your time. Sometimes the art has to be sent mirrored depending on what your project is. It’s never fun to waste materials.
Feel free to ask me questions.