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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have done quite a bit of browsing and it looks like I can get a basic 1 color screen printing starter kit for $300. Is this as basic as it gets? What else will I need?

Screen Printing Starter Kit

Originally I wanted to make some shirts for myself and some folks in my motorcycle club, but then I started to think about other applications. My boys Cub Scout pack, annual BBQ we have, etc. They don't need to be the best screen prints ever, but I would like them to look decent.

I have 2 other hobbies that keep most of my play money tied up, so I want to keep cost to a bare minimum while still pumping out good looking t-shirts/sweatshirts/hoodies.

Thoughts, feedback, etc. is appreciated.

Thanks, Bobby
 

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You'll need to make your exposure unit, unless you have one. If you use the heat gone, you'll have to make sure you you get it all the way cured. I'm pretty much making my own press unit, exposure unit, but I'm spending the money on the flash dryer they offer.
 

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Watch that video or take a screenprinting class or call Ryonet for more info.

You will need to spend time learning how to screenprint which will include ruining shirts and wasting paints & supplies so if you have other hobbies taking up your time and money, you might want to just pay a local shop to print the shirts for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I appreciate suggesting the easy way out and having someone else do it, but that's not my style.

What is the starter kit missing?

Thanks, Bobby
 

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This sounds like overkill if you are new to this. Why not use the Hunt Speedball water based kit with starter water based inks? It is a lot cheaper and the Diazo emulsion is easy to use. I think that Dick Blick Art supplies has the kit. Ken
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
This sounds like overkill if you are new to this. Why not use the Hunt Speedball water based kit with starter water based inks? It is a lot cheaper and the Diazo emulsion is easy to use. I think that Dick Blick Art supplies has the kit. Ken
I did a google search, but didn't come up with any kit, do you have a link to where I can see/buy this kit?
 

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All I can tell you is I bought a $1,000 starter kit. Now I'm up to over $2,000 in screen printing stuff and about $500 is t-shirt (they first $150 worth of t-shirts mainly became practice to get better at it.)

Tomorrow I'll be ordering at least another $100 in supplies.

I think any worthwhile hobby is going to be expensive and constantly cost money.

I hope to be making money off this hobby by this time next year. My goal is to break even in a year.
 

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You can get the speedball kit for around $50 at Michael's craft store. You can make an exposure unit with a 500 watt halogen light, or there is one on the sight you were in. I took the screen from the speedball kit and make a simple screen press using a couple of hinges with removable pins. Take the pins out to expose and clean the screens, put the pins in to print. It's a cheap way to start out.
 

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Ok. Lets ditch this whole $1000 idea and $300 for that matter. I got a simple kit from speedball for about $45 on ebay. It came with some inks (water soluble which is the best way to go when starting, in my opinion), a screen, some ambiguous directions which did include a nice chart for exposure times, squeegee, and emulsion. I'd buy a couple extra screens because when you ruin a screen for being stupid you dont want to wait a week for a new one to come in the mail. If you have shop near you you can save on shipping. thats a big savings right there.

To do my emulsion work i use my bathroom since it often has the least amount and smallest windows in the house and i bought a red light bulb for $3.

For t shirts I went to my local salvation army. Wednesday is family day which means big savings. You can buy shirts for a $1 usually. also you can test run on old shirts in your house.

I think spreading the emulsion and getting the right exposure time is the hardest part of the whole operation so I went to a local screen printer and asked him to do the screen for me. Best $40 I ever spent.

I could go into more details, but the point i wanted to make was that I was making shirts while investing less than $100 dollars. Less than $60 if you have better luck with emulsion than me.

Now I am starting to research more and see what direction I want to take my new hobby in. Also since making my initial purchase I have found a ton of how to's about making my own equipment which would make the hobby that much more cheap and rewarding.

A great how to:
No Media Kings How to Silkscreen Posters and Shirts
 

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I appreciate suggesting the easy way out and having someone else do it, but that's not my style.
The suggestion was that you take the time to educate yourself so that you at least somewhat know what you're doing, and outsource if you don't want to do that.

By comparison the easy way out would be expecting other people to educate you without doing a modicum of your own research.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The suggestion was that you take the time to educate yourself so that you at least somewhat know what you're doing, and outsource if you don't want to do that.
That's what I am doing, educating myself with the knowledge of others that have done silk screening. I would be willing to bet everyone here (yourself included) learned in a similar manor.

By comparison the easy way out would be expecting other people to educate you without doing a modicum of your own research.
I agree, good thing this site is here to allow me to research this topic. Keep up the good work! :D
 

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i bought that speedball starter kit for about $60 on ebay. . . those bottles are tiny(only a couple of screens can be coated properly with that sized emulsion) so after I bought some more emulsion, and a couple more interesting color inks, and made an exposure unit, i had spent almost $200, and I thought I was done. . . I have been making shirts for my friends and a small network I've built on the internet. . . and my supply cost is close to $700 just getting up and moving. . . flash dryer for curing inks being the most expensive peice, but well, you do need it if you want to wear the shirt more than once! also, the sqeegee included does not get the job done, and im interested in the mastermind who can evenly coat a screen with the bottle and the squeegee like they tell you to do in the instructions. . . those accesories that become almost required to do a good job also add up. . . be careful. . .
 

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Fast forward to 2010!! I am currently reviewing the "YuDu" screen printing machine available at Michael's, Joanne Fabrics, Dharma Trading. It's price varies from $199.99 to $300 depending on where you buy it. It allows you to burn your own screen and dry it right in the machine, ans then print your garments etc. Do you think this is a good buy?
 

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@Brian - I own a Yudu. It has its advantages and disadvantages. The advantages are: you have an exposure unit, screen drying box, and shirt platen all in one unit. The disadvantages are: you are stuck using proprietary screens, their screen mesh count goes up to only 110 count, the bottles of ink are small and not cheap and their screens are not cheap either. The exposure film works well, but is expensive, since they sell it by the sheet. Its an ok product to start with....but like other people say you may be better off going to Home Depot and Micheal's and making a cheap rig to practice on.

When I first started out I used scrap wood, bought screen and stretched my own frames, got some hinges, a 500 watt light used to expose the emulsion, I used speed ball emulsion, and speed ball ink. All in all I spent less than $50 and I was able to experiment without sinking a lot of money into anything.

Yudu will never say it on their website, but it is possible to use regular printing products on their machine. I've used fast developing emulsion and speed ball ink on their unit with decent results.
 

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Thank you for your response. I was about to ask if it's possible to use other inks,emulsions etc on the screen. I'm thinking of using Permaset waterbased inks and the emulsion thats used by my friend in his business.
I think i'll invest in this machine. Did the drying time for the emulsion work for you or was it longer?
 

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It was really accurate. I used some really fast developing emulsion and 4 minutes was to long and I accidentally over developed the screen. I've even bought the largest aluminum screen made with 350 mesh count & was able to develop it with a little finesse. Of course I couldn't use that frame on the Yudu, but the point being I was able to use other products on their proprietary device. Its not a bad unit. The key to the Yudu like any other screen...even though they have a built in dryer to dry the screen, wait at least 24 hours to use the screen to allow the screen to cure. I've jumped the gun, all anxious just to print something and it was to soon and the screen emulsion started breaking down because I used it to soon.

And beware of their DVD....They might have changed it since I bought mine; its horrible....I had a hard time watching it. :)
 
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