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This is something I've been curious about for a while...

The majority of screen printing involves reusable equipment and relatively low cost consumables... but one of the places you can run up unrecoverable costs is printing mistakes.

What kind of mistakes, if any, do experienced printers here find themselves still making? Are smudged images and off-registered prints a thing of the past? Or still something you have to contend with? Get tired and burn an image backwards occasionally?

And if you do make mistakes occasionally... what do you do with the product? Keep it for yourself? Give it to friends and family? Charity shops? Sell it on clearance? Garbage?

How much of a problem for your business are printing errors, and do you have any advice to try and avoid common problems?

All answers welcome.
 

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Solmu said:
This is something I've been curious about for a while...

The majority of screen printing involves reusable equipment and relatively low cost consumables... but one of the places you can run up unrecoverable costs is printing mistakes.

What kind of mistakes, if any, do experienced printers here find themselves still making? Are smudged images and off-registered prints a thing of the past? Or still something you have to contend with? Get tired and burn an image backwards occasionally?

And if you do make mistakes occasionally... what do you do with the product? Keep it for yourself? Give it to friends and family? Charity shops? Sell it on clearance? Garbage?

How much of a problem for your business are printing errors, and do you have any advice to try and avoid common problems?

All answers welcome.
First, I am good so I do not make mistakes when printing.

Advice is to eliminate all mistakes before they happen.

Keep your work area clean.

Wash your hands more times that a surgeon.

Make your screens correctly and get the press set up right the first time.

Know your art and how to print it.

Run test prints before ever going into production.

Wash your hands again.

Start printing.

Check each shirt in each phase of the printing.

Cure the darn ink right.

Have your spot gun ready if needed.

Wash your hands again.

It’s not rocket science but it is craftsmanship.




On spelling errors.

Get the customer to sign off on all art before going to press.

Have someone else read all text to check for mistakes.
 

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Bad prints are pretty rare but they can happen even to the perfect people...
Most of mine have envolved the platen or screen loosining during a run... once had the bracket screws pull out of the platen from a heavy handed employee over tightening it once too many times... at 20.00 a gallon for cleaning fluid for the spot gun its cheaper to toss the shirt then clean off a whole print..
any tossed shirts are cured so the ink doesnt get on things an saved to do test prints on... when the shirt is printed everywhere an no room left they are sold...people seem to love them around here... shirts with test prints rightside up upside down sideways...with many different companys etc...
Bad prints can be kept to a minimum but they do happen, at least to us Mortals.......
 

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Good points Squirts but I beleive in preventing the problems before they happen. In the case of your pallets loosening, if you got in the habit of always checking your press before starting any print run, you could advert such problems. I guess I got in the habit of checking and rechecking when I used to fly. If a bolt comes loose at 10,000 feet, well there is not gas station to pull over and fix it.
 

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Preston said:
I guess I got in the habit of checking and rechecking when I used to fly. If a bolt comes loose at 10,000 feet, well there is not gas station to pull over and fix it.
Things still go wrong.... The NTSB posts daily Statistics on things gone wrong!
I'm a Pilot too.... As you wander thru the NTSB Files Whats the most common theme?
PILOT ERROR!..... I agree with you 100% in that attention to detail pays big dividends... However the Human element sooner or later can and will come into play!
I believe the industry standard quote is 2% in Contract Printing... thats 2 out of every hundred shirts.... I consistantly beat the industry standard... However Once in a great while... I dont... Reason..... PILOT ERROR! Theres an old saying in the world of Aviation.... "Solid Granite is totally unimpressed with the ratings on your Certificate or the Hours in your LogBook!" I guess the same applies here, If a press has a malfunction or a screen loses tension it cares less how many perfect prints we have made up to that point.. Wishing you a pleasant day.... Chuck
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the advice and information everyone; if anyone else has anything to add it would also be welcome.
 

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$#%& happens! It’s easy to control when you’re running the whole shop yourself. Once you have others running the shop, then it’s actually more of a function of setting up correct operations, systems, and procedures to avoid the costly errors. Even the best trained screeners make mistakes.

We’ve done some large runs w/ errors. If we can, I sell the shirts to a guy that moves them at a local flea market. If the business doesn’t allow us to sell the shirts… well, you can never have too many rags!
 

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I would think someone would have come up a solvent that would remove plastisol so you could just misprinted shirts and Wash them out.......hmmmmm wish I knew how to create it I'd be RICH
 

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I have a problem with using low mesh screens and pressing down too much when I squeegee. I end up with slight ghosting or smeared images once in a while. sometimes I won't take the time to really set up my off contact and set the press up perfectly so I will end up with problems when printing.

Shirts that are smeared get cured and then used for test printing. I used to give the customer the messed up shirts just to have, but I could see that being a problem and I could see it being bad for the business because you let a misprinted shirt out of the shop. I also reuse all the shirts that we use to register the screens for a job with for later test prints.
AFter the shirts are too full to test on anymore I either give them away or chuck them. They won't make good rags because they have way too much plastisol on them.

-Scott Lewis
Silk Screen Expressions
Hyzer Flip Disc Golf Apparel
 

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When a mistake happens, the first thing I look at is, can it be fixed...! Here's a way to re-register your t-shirt after a mistake and hopefully fix some screen printing errors.. Once you remove the t-shirt from the printing pallet its almost impossible to re-register it so the screen falls in the exact place you require.. Here's a little tip that might allow you to fix a batch of botched shirts.. First, grab a blank screen with no mesh. Second, you attach the clear film to the middle of the blank frame by taping each corner of the film to the corners of the frame. ( The film can be the colour you're going to print or of the colours you need to print around) Make sure the film is taught as this will be used as your registration. You can now slide your shirt around till you have it perfectly matched up.. Note: this can only be used on somewhat easy prints.. If this option is not viable you might need to order some new blank shirts.
 

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We have departments, so each project has many chances for error.
Usually a strike off catches errors to that point. We have occasional mishaps though. Prep will put a garment wrong way on a cart, loader misses it, human error in unloading stretching image, stuff like that.
We can go a few weeks, then get a couple.

That's why we get a 2 per cent overage sent for contract. If customer gets them all, no extra, they win.
 
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