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Discussion Starter #1
Hi there fellas & ladies.

Still in the process of deciding whether I should purchase my apparel, and have the screens already done (much more efficient, save of equipment costs) or go out and buy the equipment required (2 colour screen printer).

After watching this tutorial: [media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ee_8IMx0uMo[/media] it seems a little more involved.

It has come down to this:

Getting the supplier to do it:

Pro: More efficient, don't need to invest in equipment
Con: Need to order much more apparel with prints done in every size across different ranges

Learning myself and buying the equipment:

Pro: I can make to order, and don't have excess stock of one size sitting around, can advertise more designs without having actually 'made' them - and then make to order

Con: More involved, setup costs etc

My questions are:

1. How much does it cost roughly to get set up with a 2 colour printing press, squeegee and all other necessary equipment?

2. Once you've made a 'screen', you can obviously re-use it a day, a week, a month later for subsequent orders?

3. What is the actual process from having the design in a PSD file (in my case, just a vector - they're either black/white in nature - so i'd say less hassle?) to actually getting it on the singlet/jacket etc. What sort of printer is required for this (another expense to think about - I only have a black & white laser!)

4. I see you need a heat source - how expensive is it to set up a bulb/UV box?

5. What other considerations are there? How economical is it (after set up costs) with regards to inks, screens, and other equipment I may have?

Thanks in advance,

Sam
 

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My questions are:

1. How much does it cost roughly to get set up with a 2 colour printing press, squeegee and all other necessary equipment?

A: I bought a used 4 color press on craigslist for $500 with some squegee and some ink. you dont need brand new to start learning.

2. Once you've made a 'screen', you can obviously re-use it a day, a week, a month later for subsequent orders?

A: yes but you will need the proper chemicals to clean it

3. What is the actual process from having the design in a PSD file (in my case, just a vector - they're either black/white in nature - so i'd say less hassle?) to actually getting it on the singlet/jacket etc. What sort of printer is required for this (another expense to think about - I only have a black & white laser!)

A: black and white laser works fine, just get that vellum paper or the transparency paper for silkscreens

4. I see you need a heat source - how expensive is it to set up a bulb/UV box?

A: i didnt watch the video but i think you're talking about burning the screen? you can buy used on craigslist too or some use those $10 halogen bulbs u get at home depot for lighting your garage if you wanna fix your car. check out youtube and you will find it.

5. What other considerations are there? How economical is it (after set up costs) with regards to inks, screens, and other equipment I may have?

A: i get my screens done for me cause i dont have the place and time to make them myself. I get them burned and cleaned at the same time, costing me @$20-25 with burn and new screen, for burning only i think i get charged about $8 per image

inks costs me about $25 per quart, screens u can reuse.

the hardest part for me w screen printing was cleanup and the mistakes you make when u print, i've always gotten orders for black shirts, white ink and i've messed up so much that i've given up a few times cause the whites were not turning out as i wanted.

i did my own design with for a 3 color shirt, figured i would try out 3 colors but found a place that would print them for me. when i calculated everything, it was actually cheaper to have them done.

oh yeah, with the black shirt white ink. i got an order for 200pcs i think, a friend ordered them from me (so he wanted the cheapest i could give him, which was cheaper than everyone out there) i made my money back $1200 for 200 shirts 2-sided and i still have 3/4 gallon of white ink :) overall it was a great experience for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the info - I hadn't thought about getting the screens done, and then printing myself. That could also be an option. How often do you need to clean them? What's their general longevity? 6 months, 1 year.. indefinite..?


Still in a bit of a 50 50 on which way to go..
 

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you have to clean the screens right after you use them. take the inks out and you can leave it to reuse with the same art. you can leave it like that for a while. i had some for atleast a year maybe almost 2 years now.

when you take out the (cant remember name) solution and clean the whole screen out, you should be fine too. you wont need to restretch the screen for a while, you can reuse it for maybe 20-30 times more? i havent gone that far yet so i dont really know and for $20 or less for a new screen, i rather buy a new one.

if you will be reusing screens and rescreening them, i suggest buying the aluminum ones instead of wood.
you have to watch the screens and with multiple washes, the wood will warp. with aluminum, its pretty much stays like that unless you drop it or put weight on it. so to me its a better investment, maybe $5 more?

what i would change if i can start all over? i've printed maybe about 1,000 shirts for fun and profit, but with the headaches of messing up and the customer not happy. i rather find a professional that can give me a good price for it and make some profit out of that or just design shirts. lol

i bought my first press cause i wanted to do my own clothingline and learn the process to take out "the middleman" but then i lost focus on making my own shirts and artwork in the process. silk screening is fun but you will have to print a lot to learn the whole thing. plus its a complete business, looking for vendors to buy your supplies, getting clients to order for you plus, trying to make a good profit and do you have enough time to print a 200 shirt order if you do get an order like that? hehehe

good luck and hope you have fun along the way like i did. :)
 

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Sam, printing is much more involved than you seem to understand right now. However, it can also be rewarding especially if you are artistic and will print your own design. You must also be patient enough to do the preparations and the clean ups especially if you plan to print just a handful each time. More so if it is just a shirt or two. I strongly suggest that you search for screen printing at youtube and watch the video series like the following

[media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4bIwpPGs180&feature=related[/media]
[media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PwqTu4xPFNk&feature=PlayList&p=F4AB0CFBC34DC702&playnext_from=PL&playnext=1&index=17[/media]

If you are just trying to see if screen printing is for you, especially for 1-2 color prints, you actually have options.
1) use what we call the eyeball method. You just have to be more careful but it works and is not difficult. You just place the frame on the shirt, hold it down firmly, and print. Lay the second screen by visual inspection, then hold screen down and print. A little primitive but you don't have to spend $400 or more for a press to find out if screen printing is for you.

2) You can try what we call the line table method. If you are using plastisol inks you can actually use a single platen [media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zyH_rOoxHnQ&feature=related[/media]
3) You can use the youtees way [media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-p_e--kIbtg[/media]
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The last vid restored my faith some what in it - doesn't look as complicates and as expensive. How good a printer to you need to print on the transparent material for the screen? I think once the screens are made, actually printing on the shirt/singlet is the easier part..

Still need to decide which will be better in the long run.. getting someone to do it for me is by far more efficient, but me doing it myself allows for fresher designs.. and more control over the amount I print..

hmmm
 

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The last vid restored my faith some what in it - doesn't look as complicates and as expensive. How good a printer to you need to print on the transparent material for the screen? I think once the screens are made, actually printing on the shirt/singlet is the easier part..

Still need to decide which will be better in the long run.. getting someone to do it for me is by far more efficient, but me doing it myself allows for fresher designs.. and more control over the amount I print..

hmmm
You are correct Sam, once the screen is made, printing is the easier part. Depending on your personality, cleaning may either be a simple step or a cumbersone chore. You are also correct in that printing your own allows for fresher designs and control over the quantity you print.

You may also consider printing simpler designs yourself and outsourcing more complicated designs. In such case, the youtees or line table setup may be more ideal. But you should probably go with youtees because you get a complete setup and Lee should offer some tech support. I go with the line table because I am more comfortable with it.
 
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