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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am printing my own shirts for my upcoming website and I have had some ready problems with consistently printing shirts perfectly. Basically, some of the time instead of the entire design being printed solid and dark, part of the design will be barely printed or sometimes parts dont print at all. I do plenty of runs across the screen with the squeegee, 3-5 usually. I am using a 1 station 1 color press.

If you look at the image, on the left side there are supposed to be two cords but they dont even print. I attached the printed version and the actual vector version of what it should look like.



 

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First check the screen, is it open in the side areas? I noticed that you are also loosing detail near the top of the graphic. Get a can of screen opener to clean out the screen.

Second, I would guess that your screen off contact is set two high. When you bring the screen down over the shirt, it should be about the thickness of a quarter above the shirt. Check all four corners. If it is too high, you won't be able to put enough pressure on the screen to make it touch the shirt, esp. on the outside edges.

Third, use a sharp squeegee, do a flood stroke by holding the screen a few inches above the shirt and drag a thick coat of ink over the design. Do this only once.

Place the screen in the down position and do a firm push or pull stroke over the design. Make sure you apply just enough down pressure to make the screen touch the shirt.

You could do a dry stroke to clear out any extra ink in the screen.


If the image didn't print, the screen is plugged or it didn't make contact with the shirt.
 

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Are you flooding before the print stroke? Might help. Since the cords are on the outer edge, I'm wondering if you've got high off-contact and reasonably high screen tension, and the squeegee just isn't making contact on the outer edges. Your screen is definitely washed out properly? It's definitely a print and not an exposure problem?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
The screen itself definitely is washed out where that part of the design is. The top part didn't expose as well, so that is why that part didn't come through. My off contact is small, much less than a cm, probably the size of a quarter or two. I am just using a cheap table top 1/1 press from Ryonet. Also, screen opener will not mess with the emulsion will it?

Oh and yeah I was flooding it before each print. Just seems like on several different screens, no matter how hard I push or how many strokes I do there are some details on the outsides that don't print all the way.
 

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...screen opener will not mess with the emulsion will it?
Screen opener won't trash your dried emulsion. Sometimes when you rinse out a screen and leave it to dry, a thin transparent film will slide off the emulsion and plug the screen near an edge. You can see it if you hold the dry screen up to a light source. It doesn't always happen, but when it does, screen opener and a tooth brush will do the trick.
It's hard to see once you put ink in the screen.

Oh and yeah I was flooding it before each print. Just seems like on several different screens, no matter how hard I push or how many strokes I do there are some details on the outsides that don't print all the way.
Next thing I'd look at is the width of your squeegee vs the design size.

I bet you have a 12" wide squeegee and your design is almost the same. The edges of a squeegee may bend a little, esp. near the frame where the screen has less travel. A 14" might help you, but for now, try thinking of your design as a left and right side. Move one stroke farther to the left so your squeegee edge is at least an inch past the edge of the design, then place the next dry stroke it an inch past the right. (this may create other problems, but it will prove if you can print the edge or not)

If you make contact with the shirt, the ink will pull through, leaving an open screen.

If you are doing a pull for the print stroke, try a push. I can put a lot more down pressure with less effort and edge deflection.

If your screen is open, all you have to do is get it to touch the shirt for the print.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Next thing I'd look at is the width of your squeegee vs the design size.

I bet you have a 12" wide squeegee and your design is almost the same. The edges of a squeegee may bend a little, esp. near the frame where the screen has less travel.
Actually I think this might be what it is, if its not the emulsion problem. My designs are 16" wide and my squeegee is 17" wide. I will have to try this first, and then if it doesnt change how the image prints I will need to order some screen opener.

Thanks a lot guys.
 
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