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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all, i am fairly new to screen printing and im just starting to get the hang of it, but one issue im having is the ink cleanup...is it supposed to be such a crazy gooey mess? i have ink cleaner and ink wipes and im using pastisol ink, but its like trying to clean up glue or something! what am i doing wrong? i have cureable reducer which helps thin the ink, but its like a gigantic mess the second i open a tub of ink, sticks to all my stir sticks making sure they arent reuseable, spaying off my screens even with a pressure washer really has no effect on this super sticky THICK crap! can somebody shed a little light on the situation for me plz? much appreciated.
 

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You can get some flexible spatulas for baking they work great for getting almost every drop of ink out of screen back into your ink bucket. The plastic sqeegee for vinyl also work good. They also have disposable ink cleanup cards. Then some screen wash and a paper towel or 2 should finish the screen cleanup<----- this is what I do for screens to be reused later. Otherwise they have citrapaste ink cleaner. Lightly wet screen small amount of citrapaste lightly scrub and rinse. You can use the citrapaste for screens for reuse but the quicker the better and dry cause the water can start breaking down the emulsion depending on what you use. Firm wiping with screen wash works great for squeegees and tools. Citrapaste also works for this.
 
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I card off all the ink. Spray on Franmar's Bean-e-do (both sides), let it sit for a couple of minutes, wipe with paper towel, and rinse with water. The ink comes right off.
I am going to try some of the Franmars products. The one specifically that say enviro friendly as I might be moving shop to town and city requires this although I have visited other shops that use some of the products that they said no to.
 
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You know I believe it's only a mess if you allow it to be one. A LOT has to do with how you print. Meaning how much ink you have in the screen when you print. The viscosity/"runniness" and overall technique. I see printers who pull stroke all the way to the end of the screen past the image, then "scoop" the excess ink. Leaves a mess at the end and eventually all over. I see squeegees waaaay wider than necessary and too close the the outer edges of the screen. Causes excessive build up at the sides. And as far as clean up, scraping the excess ink out with a rounded spatula or similar is all needed. I use a small squeegee about 3" wide. So little ink left in the screen, no need for any further.

Reminds me of my nephew eating a bowl of cereal. Milk and cornflakes on the table, down his chin, on his shirt. Thought the spoon had a hole in it :D
 

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I am going to try some of the Franmars products. The one specifically that say enviro friendly as I might be moving shop to town and city requires this although I have visited other shops that use some of the products that they said no to.
Franmar is the cats meow. That is all I buy. The shop always smells nice when I am cleaning and relaiming screens. No solvent smells. This stuff really works. I use the beanie-do for the ink, de-hazing gel, onestep reclaimer, and ickee, stickie unstuck to clean the platens. Great products.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
That's exactly how I felt with the big squeegee...BUT I was doing a 13" Design so it made sense to use the bigger one, no? are you saying you use a 3" one on ALL designs?
 

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The biggest difference I discovered was to use T-shirts rather than paper towels to clean up the remaining ink - it was a revolution in terms of clean-up times and ease of clean screens!

Here's what I try to do:

~Always wipe up any spills / splatters off the frame and work area asap. This reduces your chance of fingerpainting all your equipment or new blank shirts when you accidently dip your finger in the ink spatter!
~always place ink pots down onto paper towels and wipe the pots up if you have any drips after placing ink onto your screens
~ At the end of a job, I'll use my squeegie to clean the screen as best I can, using disposable ink cards to clean the ink off the squeegie back into the pot and also then clean any excess ink left behind with the cards too - I normally use a couple of cards per colour clean up.
~ wipe up as much ink as possible with a wasted shirt and use the ink cleaner to shift any that remains on the screen. Also focus on keeping the screen frame clean of ink too.

I found trying to use paper towels was useless - just smeared the ink around, rather than absorbed it off the screen. Which is a shame, as I installed an automatic dispenser and bought a boxful of paper towels! At least I aways have clean and dry hands at the end of the day, though!

Wear disposable gloves if you have a pot of ink that looks to have more ink on the outside than inside!

Hope this helped a bit - let us know how you get on

Richie
 

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The first day I screen printed and then had to clean up... It was HORRID!
I had ink all over me,my clothes, All over my table, My screens were a mess. I couldn't believe what a mess I made. And after watching so many videos on clean up I should have been a pro. But you don;t know until you try!

The second time I was much cleaner and much quicker. I also used the citrus cleaner. It is awesome! A pair of gloves. I do not have the cards to remove ink. Just use the plastic scrapers from Lowes. They are wide and flat and easy to wipe clean for continuous use! Shop towels are a must! I put cleaner on one and keep it by myside for mistakes. I have only printed 4 xs now with plastisol and I started right out with white. After getting rid of the brand I was using I am much more comfortable and my shirts look great!

Probably not wise to learn on white. But I know that I will be printing that most, so dive in!
 

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Haa-haa! Excellent.

There are some days when I feel like an ink magnet. Seems like however conscientious I am, ink just shows up in places. Not making a mess isn't really hard though. Just gotta be careful. I check my hands multiple times during printing almost without thinking.

And white ink is probably best to learn on because it seems to pose the most problems.
And white shirts are because everything shows up on them and they're the least expensive to replace ;)
 

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And white ink is probably best to learn on because it seems to pose the most problems.
And white shirts are because everything shows up on them and they're the least expensive to replace ;)
Combine the 2 and it doesn't matter if you get ink all over your shirts!

Of course, no one would see the prints either, so maybe not the best idea :)
 

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Just remember that whatever color clothing you are wearing has a higher gravitational attraction to the complimentary color. You will never spill purple ink on a purple shirt, only yellow or orange. :D
Yeah, just like the only stray off-color threads you'll find on shirts are the same color as one of the inks you're printing. HOW DID I GET INK ON... oh wait, it's just a thread.
 

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I am going to try some of the Franmars products. The one specifically that say enviro friendly as I might be moving shop to town and city requires this although I have visited other shops that use some of the products that they said no to.
I started about a year ago and I have tried a few different companies. I recently found a company called GoodEarth that sells environmentally products for screen cleaning and emulsion stripping. We are using a a product that cleans ink and strips emulsion called Mondo Primo and it works fast and has lower odor that the other ones we tried.
 
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