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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My wife has printed a couple shirts using a 10x14 speedball frame and backer board. I wanted to surprise her by building a line press. For some reason I was thinking my screens needed to be smaller than the platen so I made 7 10x14 frames with screen I bought off Amazon to match the speedball frames she already had.I went to screw down the platens today and attached index brackets to one of the frames. The screens are comically under sized to be able to print anything on a shirt unless someone wants a belly logo. :)

The platens I made are 16x18 because I read that was a good size. What size screens should I make now? I'm thinking 18x22. Would that be a good size?

I don't understand why the line press isn't more popular in the US. I can only find one commercial one station one and that guy wants more for it than the cheap 4 color one station rotary's costs from Amazon. No where can I find a online source for the Thailand registration brackets. I think the 3 point registration system with L brackets will work great.
 

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20x24 and 23x31 are the most common sizes for screens. It would probably be a better idea to just buy the pre-stretched frames rather than build your own, unless you need them to fit in specific brackets. This way you know the mesh is stretched to the correct tension evenly. for consistent prints and registration. Nothing wrong with building your own, just keep a tension meter handy and stretch the mesh evenly so the openings don't warp and mess up the prints.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the advice, I would love to buy screens but I'm doing this on the cheap and I'm not doing it to start a business or sell shirts. Just to do some fun and creative stuff, a little bit more than the speedball frame and board allow.

So far-
$5 L brackets
$2 Screw Eyes
$12 50" x 3 yds mesh (probably more than I'll ever use)
$5 screen spline
$15 18" squeegie (cut in half)
$15 50 transparency sheets.
Free wood scraps, enough to build a line press

I've already got a heat gun, I know inefficient but it gets it done.

The wife has a speedball starter kit with lamp and inks and emulsion. So for under $100 we'll be able to make some multi color prints for fun for friends and family. I may even make some for my 4x4 club or other groups that I'm involved with.
 

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We all have to start somewhere...lol. We've been printing for 9 years and started out on a single color/single station press with a heat gun! Watch your ink and you'll see it change colors a little as it cures, just keep the other eye on the shirt so you don't burn it. The fabric will scorch pretty quick.

We thought the same way you did wanting to do shirts for existing customers. It worked out that way for about 2 weeks...fast forward and we have 3 presses, 2 sublimation printers, a large format eco solvent printer, 4 vinyl cutters, co2 laser, embroidery machine, mug press, 4 heat presses, a pad printer, and more. We very RARELY turn a job away and do 99% in-house from apparel, wraps, promo items, signage, you name it. It was rough starting it from absolutely nothing, but now we have so much work it can be a little overwhelming at times. I wouldn't trade it for anything and would do it all again if I could go back....
 
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