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Screen printing 2 colors not sharp

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Old November 13th, 2013 Nov 13, 2013 3:15:39 PM -   #1 (permalink)
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Default Screen printing 2 colors not sharp

I'm trying to do my first screen printing job and I'm having trouble getting a sharp, clean result. Since I'm new, I don't know if my trouble is in my technique of applying the ink, the type of screens I'm using, the way I did my artwork, or something about my press. I'm including pics of how I did my artwork, the burned screens, and the hazy result (which was actually the best result that I could get with multiple attempts). I ended up throwing away the shirts and cleaning up until I figure out how to do it better.
I am trying to print on red cotton t-shirts and my design is navy with a white outline. I'm using waterproof film with black dye ink using an Epson 1400. For both the white and navy I'm using 110 mesh screens. My press is a one station, 4 color Springer press.
Sometimes I noticed there is ink on the underside (shirt side) just outside of where the mesh is open. Is that normal? I kept cleaning it off after ever attempt but I'm not sure that it should be like that. Also in addition to the hazy look, it also seems very rough unlike what I expected. Maybe I'm just used to feeling vinyl though and that's normal?
We tried different application pressures and different techniques based on the countless threads and videos that I've seen. Maybe it's an off contact issue? Do I flood, lower the press, push the ink, lift, flash, repeat? I tried one push with and without a flash and I tried multiple pushes without lifting it up. They were all bad. I don't know but it's extremely frustrating to not get a good result or even a consistent bad result.
Any tips or help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks
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Old November 13th, 2013 Nov 13, 2013 3:33:57 PM -   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Screen printing 2 colors not sharp

SOunds like perhaps you are getting too much ink onto the bottom of your screen. This could be down to your flood. Try a lighter flood, with less ink going into the screen.

If your screen edges are sharp on your design, try pushing the ink without a flood. Make sure you clear the screen - you may need some additional downwards pressure. A girl friend of mine had a hard time clearing the screen when she tried.
 
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Old November 13th, 2013 Nov 13, 2013 3:55:40 PM -   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Screen printing 2 colors not sharp

Quote:
Originally Posted by 20vK
SOunds like perhaps you are getting too much ink onto the bottom of your screen. This could be down to your flood. Try a lighter flood, with less ink going into the screen.

If your screen edges are sharp on your design, try pushing the ink without a flood. Make sure you clear the screen - you may need some additional downwards pressure. A girl friend of mine had a hard time clearing the screen when she tried.
Thanks for responding. So I just lower the screen (without flooding) and pull the ink onto the shirt? Do I only pull once? If I lift and it's not good enough coverage do I lower it back and try again or flash and then try again?
 
 
Old November 13th, 2013 Nov 13, 2013 4:02:56 PM -   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Screen printing 2 colors not sharp

Quote:
Originally Posted by 20vK
SOunds like perhaps you are getting too much ink onto the bottom of your screen. This could be down to your flood. Try a lighter flood, with less ink going into the screen.

If your screen edges are sharp on your design, try pushing the ink without a flood. Make sure you clear the screen - you may need some additional downwards pressure. A girl friend of mine had a hard time clearing the screen when she tried.
I should've also said that the edges are sharp on my design and my husband tried too and it actually even looked worse, lol. I did notice that for whatever reason the top lettering looks way worse than the lion in the middle, and the bottom problems seemed to be not enough ink coverage. So it almost looks as if the top is a smeared mess, the middle looks ok, and the bottom doesn't have enough ink coming through. I'm having trouble with this press getting a consistent off contact from the top to the bottom. I tried using quarters on the four corners of the platen to level and set the off contact but when I re-tighten the bolts it changes I think. From the side, I notice a slight slope in the screen from the press to the outside (does that make sense?). The press I bought didn't come with instructions for adjustments so I'm trying to make it right, but that's a struggle as well.
 
Old November 13th, 2013 Nov 13, 2013 4:29:40 PM -   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Screen printing 2 colors not sharp

I was also just looking at other threads about multicolor designs and I see some people are talking about using different mesh counts for different colors. Using navy and white with this specific design, is 110 best for both colors?
 
Old November 13th, 2013 Nov 13, 2013 7:43:39 PM -   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Screen printing 2 colors not sharp

I would print this using a 156 mesh screen. Depending on the coverage you get with your squeegee technique at the very least you should be able to print/flash/print the white followed by one hit of navy.

Make sure when you flood the print that you use just enough ink to fill the stencil area. You should still be able to see the design after flooding. You aren't icing a cake you are merely getting ink into the print area. Use a push stroke and you will get crisper prints. Less ink goes on with a push stroke so white on red will be a definite print/flash/print.

Good luck!
 
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Old November 13th, 2013 Nov 13, 2013 8:52:51 PM -   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Screen printing 2 colors not sharp

Quote:
Originally Posted by StarDesigns
I would print this using a 156 mesh screen. Depending on the coverage you get with your squeegee technique at the very least you should be able to print/flash/print the white followed by one hit of navy.

Make sure when you flood the print that you use just enough ink to fill the stencil area. You should still be able to see the design after flooding. You aren't icing a cake you are merely getting ink into the print area. Use a push stroke and you will get crisper prints. Less ink goes on with a push stroke so white on red will be a definite print/flash/print.

Good luck!
Haha--yep, you had me pegged! Of course I was icing a cake with my flood. I had no idea that's not what I was supposed to do. I plan to try again tomorrow with a lighter flood and then no flood like 20vK suggested. Thanks so much! If that's not better then I'll wait for the higher mesh screens that I'm about to order right now.
This forum has been so helpful. Hopefully someday I'll have enough knowledge to help others on here like so many people have helped me starting out!
 
Old November 13th, 2013 Nov 13, 2013 9:33:16 PM -   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Screen printing 2 colors not sharp

how old are your screens if your screens are loose that can be a problem. are pulling and pushing? if you are you will have blurs do to the stencil drag. also do you have good glue on the shirt boards? just some simple things to think about. another is your clamp that holds your screen in is the bolts tight to the screen frame? but if your screens are loose you should pull because of leas stencil drag when you pull.
hope this helps
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Old November 13th, 2013 Nov 13, 2013 9:39:13 PM -   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Screen printing 2 colors not sharp

Quote:
Originally Posted by BRTdesign
how old are your screens if your screens are loose that can be a problem. are pulling and pushing? if you are you will have blurs do to the stencil drag. also do you have good glue on the shirt boards? just some simple things to think about. another is your clamp that holds your screen in is the bolts tight to the screen frame? but if your screens are loose you should pull because of leas stencil drag when you pull.
hope this helps
-Brandon
My screens are new. This was the first time I tried to use them. I was flooding with a pull and pushing hard to lay down the ink. The last person said not to over flood. I'm thinking that was probably the problem because I was flooding so heavily that I couldn't see the design. I didn't realize you could over-flood. Haha...I'm learning!
 
Old November 13th, 2013 Nov 13, 2013 9:54:05 PM -   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Screen printing 2 colors not sharp

What inks. Did you stir them well. Navy can tend to be thick in some ink brands like the white but the deposit won't be as thick as the white. If I where printing this since your not underbaseing the navy I would print the navy first then the white. Since your navy is a fill your having to try and push it in the white. You will get a better result printing the white last.
 
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Old November 14th, 2013 Nov 14, 2013 8:20:37 AM -   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Screen printing 2 colors not sharp

Looks like you may be smashing the ink into the shirt, You will have to print flash print the white , you may be able to wet on wet print the navy , Don't' try to get opacy on the first hit with the white merely think of it as a sealing stroke to hold down the fibers. then on you second pass hit it well but use a high angle . depending on how opaque the navy is you may need more than one pass, or you could under base the whole thing.
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Old November 14th, 2013 Nov 14, 2013 9:32:44 AM -   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Screen printing 2 colors not sharp

Quote:
Originally Posted by sben763
What inks. Did you stir them well. Navy can tend to be thick in some ink brands like the white but the deposit won't be as thick as the white. If I where printing this since your not underbaseing the navy I would print the navy first then the white. Since your navy is a fill your having to try and push it in the white. You will get a better result printing the white last.
The white and black plastisol is from screenprintingandsignsupplies (came in the press kit that I bought) and the blue I bought from catspit. Catspit didn't sell navy so I mixed the blue from them with a little of the black until I got the color I wanted and then my husband and I both stirred it for about 15 minutes to make sure it was thoroughly mixed. I hope it's ok to mix plastisol to get the color you want. When I try again today, I'll try reversing the print order too. Do you print the navy, then flash, then print the white? I hear people talking about wet on wet but that seems like it would just put the other color all over your screen (unless I'm missing something).
 
Old November 14th, 2013 Nov 14, 2013 9:54:14 AM -   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Screen printing 2 colors not sharp

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimcr
Looks like you may be smashing the ink into the shirt, You will have to print flash print the white , you may be able to wet on wet print the navy , Don't' try to get opacy on the first hit with the white merely think of it as a sealing stroke to hold down the fibers. then on you second pass hit it well but use a high angle . depending on how opaque the navy is you may need more than one pass, or you could under base the whole thing.
Thanks! I'll try that too.
So printing the navy on wet white, do you not smudge white ink all over the shirt side of the navy screen?
 
Old November 14th, 2013 Nov 14, 2013 12:30:08 PM -   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Screen printing 2 colors not sharp

you must flash the white under base you cant print on top wet. but if your colors are not touching or need to blend then you can print wet on wet. but I always flash because it looks crisper.
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Old November 14th, 2013 Nov 14, 2013 12:34:36 PM -   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Screen printing 2 colors not sharp

There is all these ideas but if you all look all the blue is a fill. If they print the white first then then the blue has bee raised not allowing the stencil to form a gasket there fore letting it leak out making it loll like an over flood. Simply switching the print order will fix the problem.
 
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