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more practice needed? blurred or smudged prints

7843 Views 9 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Fluid
I've been trying to practice using the press and I haven't been having much luck. I've been practicing using Pellons to practice on.

I have my off contact set as good as possible to 1/8th inch. I used a piece of 1/8th inch Plexiglas on the platen to adjust the off contact.

The problem I'm having is the print doesn't look very clear. Like it's blurred or smudged. The image on the screen itself looks great.

At first I thought it was because I was pushing down too hard on the squeegee so I lightened up. Then the image started getting too light in areas.

I don't think it's so much my squeegee technique as it is the setup I'm using to practice, so I was wondering if anyone could give me some pointers.

Possible problems that I think it might be:

1) The image is about 8 inches wide on a 10x14 screen using a 9 inch squeegee. The image may be too large for the screen and the squeegee might be too small.

2) Pellons are much thinner than a shirt and the extra height of the off contact is too much flex on the screen.

3) I just need a lot more practice.

4) All of the above. :)

If anyone can give me some better ideas on how to practice before I start destroying shirts I would really appreciate it.

As a side question, If I screw up on a shirt and I haven't cured it yet, is there anything that will wash the uncured ink out and save the shirt? My attempts at running it threw the washing machine weren't too successful. There was still a residual image left behind on the shirt.

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Hi Tony, I'm sure one of our screen printing experts should have some tips for you soon.

One thing you might want to check with a blurry image is the quality of your exposed screen.
Hello there,

I'm sorry I can't help with this problem because, the same thing is happening to me!!! Any advise out there?

I am doing a white on dark blue and a 110 mess and the image looks clear on the screen. Also, when I do a test on a sqare, it's beautiful. On a shirt it seems I need to flash and do one more. When I do the second pull, it's comes out blurry.

One more question. Why does the shirt sometimes stick to the screen. Even when the plate is cold?

please help... Have a nice day.
Bravo one,

I think I figured out most of my problem. It's basically the white ink. It's like trying to print with wall spackle. This causes a lot of problems because you have to press harder and it's harder to pull the squeegee.. Etc..

Find a way to thin out the white ink a bit.

They sell ink thinner, but to just practice with I squirted the ink in the screen a couple of times with that orange smelling screen cleaner and mixed up the ink real good with the squeegee. Right or Wrong, it worked. Of course I'm using ink thinner now, but for practice that worked fine.

For your situation it sounds like it might also be your off contact. My guess is it's a little too close, but I could be wrong.

What I would suggest is check your off contact and make sure you put enough adhesive on the platen. Also, kneed your ink for a bit with the squeegee. I don't know if this does anything or not but it just feels like it makes it a little easier to use, especially white ink.

It's not uncommon to have to put 2 layers of white on a shirt. The First production shirts I did had a white backing layer on a 50/50 blend, Red shirt. I could never get a nice even coat on the first pass because of red fibers poking threw. I had to flash and make a second pass. But at the time I didn't have a Laser temp gun so I ended up under curing all the time. This will also cause problems with smudging and the print sticking to the screen.

Pick yourself up a Raytek temp gun. I picked mine up on Amazon.com at a great price. Or you can go strait to the place that sells it threw Amazon. http://www.tooltopia.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=6789

Good luck and I hope this helps some.
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Stir your ink in the bucket before loading int he screen. You should do this with all inks. Make sure you flood the screen with a good stroke than print with a smooth decent pressure using the edge of the squeegee.
For your off contact you want the screen to peel/pop off the shirt about an inch behind the squeegee

Thinning your white ink back is not the best idea. Yes it will make printing a little easier yet your opacity will be tarnished. Try lowering your mesh count a notch or two and make sure you stirr real well before loading in the screen and printing.
bravo one said:
I am doing a white on dark blue and a 110 mess and the image looks clear on the screen. Also, when I do a test on a sqare, it's beautiful. On a shirt it seems I need to flash and do one more. When I do the second pull, it's comes out blurry.
What kind of a press are you using?
From what you've written about white ink, sticking to the screen, flashing and printing, sounds like your not using adhesive to hold the shirt secuirly and it may be moving slightly each time it sticks to the screen and causing your blur's..... or not using enough... if it doesnt line up exactly between prints its common to get ink on the backside of the screen around the edges...this will defineatly cause it to blur.... the shirt or pellon must not move during the process...... Good luck..
Forgot about that Chuck - duh also check the bottom of the screen, you may need to do a quick wipe.
Hey there,

I must say that it's nice to have some help in this world. I will try these tidbits and see what works.

Today I gave printing another shot and the results were much better but, I'm still not good enough. As long as there is progress I guess. I'm finding out that this takes time and detail. I love it.

Thanks for all the advise. I will let you know what happens. Stay tuned...?

Someone asked what kind of machine I'm using. It's a six colour two station monster... Hope this answers your question.:)

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One other issue could be your screen mesh is too loose. If that is the case you can get all sorts of deflection of the image when printing.
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