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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, I'm just getting started and I've been practicing for the past four days. My prints on actual t-shirts are extremely inconsistent. The more I think about how to hold the squeegee the worse it comes out. lol. My best prints are when I just drank a beer and just do whatever feels natural and don't think about. Then I'll have ten screwed up prints after that trying to recreate my good print.

I've taken to just printing on 11"x17" sheets of paper. That way I can rapidly practice for very minimal cost. Then I'll take a big shirt and print like ten prints all over it.

All the printed materials I have all say to hold the squeegee at 45-60 degrees. All the online materials, and some of the posts on this forum, say 80 degrees. (or 10 degrees for the people who view straight up and down as 0 instead of 90).

If I hold the squeegee between 70 and 90 (straight up and down). I get very unpredictable, messy, and uneven prints. I also can not get the squeegee to clear the ink at those angles. Meaning the stencil area is still covered in a thin layer of ink after the pass.

The only way I can clear the ink good is with angles between 40 and 60. I get a shearing noise with a bit of a pop at the end (a load pop if the screen is really high).



I use a push stroke. It just feels more natural to me. I scrape the ink towards my body with the screen up. Then lower, place the squeegee behind the ink clump, and print until I get several inches past the bottom of the stencil.


Since it seems like a lot of people use really high angle, like 75 and 80 from what I've read in other posts. I just wondered if there is some factor I'm not seeing. My prints at that angle turn out bad.

I've read some other posts about getting the pop at the end. Do you make a shearing noise when you print also?
 

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I was re-trained to use a push stroke several years back. It works a lot better for me. It's also less strain on your wrists. You can use a high angle to print white on black or to get a heavier ink deposit, but it's very tricky to master. Sometimes you can double hit the white and not need a flash. For regular prints you can use a less aggressive angle- like 60-45 degrees.
As always tightly tensioned screens helps tremendously.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The thickness the two quarters. My mesh counts are 110 and 156. I'm having the same problems with both. Though it is slightly easier to get a good print with 110.

My inks are from Lawson. This is the only ink I have ever used, so honestly I can't compare it to anything else. I would say it is thicker than pudding. It's easy to move away.

What off-contact distance do you have and what is your mesh count? Is your ink thick or is it soft and pliable like pudding?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I find that if I press down softly with the squeegee till I feel the screen touch the shirt before I start pushing the squeegee forward, the better and more consistent the results.

I've also noticed that when I get a really good print, it looks different through the stencil in the mesh. I can now tell if it was a good print before I lift the screen.

I have have spent much of the day today printing test prints all over shirts and on paper. lol. I'm getting a little better.

Before I was needing 3 or 4 passes to get really good coverage and then it ends up looking like raised bubble print on a business card and feels really rough and jagged. I got it down to 2 or 3 passes by speeding up. I was pushing the squeegee super slow for the first two days.

I'm getting to wear I can get it with one or no more than two passes and it looks much better.

The shirt I bought are like the cheapest anvil shirts. The surface of the shirt is pretty coarse. I have ordered some more anvil shirts, but two different kinds of more expensive ones. I think I'll get more even coverage with one stroke using nicer shirts.
 

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Try stirring up your ink; cut a hole in a piece of cardboard, stick a drill bit thru it, and place on top of your can and stir up the ink at a slow pace until it's not so stiff.

What kind of frames are you using? Retensionable, wooden, stretched aluminum?

You will notice that the screen looks different when you make a good pass, because the screen will be clear of ink.

You can also try adding a touch of reducer to your ink to make it a little smoother.

And that shirt will make a difference when printing. Just keep practicing, you'll get it. Sounds like you're getting better already~
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for your help.

I've gotten to the point where I notice a big difference in the screen if I did it right. I have a jar of something called "Soft Hand Extender." Is that what you mean by reducer?

A friend told me he make a little wooden paddle to use with his drill to stir the ink. The cardboard shield sounds like a good idea also.

Try stirring up your ink; cut a hole in a piece of cardboard, stick a drill bit thru it, and place on top of your can and stir up the ink at a slow pace until it's not so stiff.

What kind of frames are you using? Retensionable, wooden, stretched aluminum?

You will notice that the screen looks different when you make a good pass, because the screen will be clear of ink.

You can also try adding a touch of reducer to your ink to make it a little smoother.

And that shirt will make a difference when printing. Just keep practicing, you'll get it. Sounds like you're getting better already~
 

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Also, to achieve great prints you need highly tensioned screens. What kinds of screens are you using? A screen with low tension is going to make it harder for you to get a nice amount of ink on the shirt because the squegee sorta starts digging into the screen. A high tensioned screen with the right contact distance will lay down an even amount of ink on top of the shirt, instead of driving ink into the shirt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Do the rest of you general use angles between 45-65 for the push stroke?

I'm still trying to get good at this. I can make perfect prints on a piece of paper and near perfect on a pellon. However on actual shirts it's a different story. I get some of the mesh to clear, but in many places their will be squiggly lines of ink in mesh that match the t-shirts weave. Meaning that ink deposited on the highest points on the weave, but not the lowest. So parts of my mesh will look like a negative image of the shirts weave.
 
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