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Hi everyone, I was about to order some more squeegees when I noticed that they have different durometers. What is this, and what is the difference between a 60, 70, and 80 durometer blade? When is one more useful than another?
 

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The squeegee blade is part of the squeegee that actually does the printing. Blades were once made of rubber or neoprene (synthetic rubber), but today most blades are made of polyurethane, a flexible, highly dense plastic. Polyurethane is easily formed yet resistant to most solvents, and it can be colored, which allows manufacturers to color-code their blades according to their durometer, or hardness. Durometer, a term used to describe the hardness of a rubbery-type material, is measured according to a standard known as the Shore A scale. Occasionally you may hear someone use the word Shore to describe the hardness of the blade rather than durometer. Both really mean the same thing.

There are many different types of squeegee blades on the market. They differ from one another in three important qualities:
  • 1. Durometer
    2. Shape or profile
    3. Width
Virtually all squeegee blades used in screenprinting today fall somewhere between 50 and 90 durometers. The durometer of a blade can make a big difference in the prints it produces. Softer blades (50-60 durometers) will tend to lay down much more ink than harder blades. They also do a better job of printing on rough surfaces like fabrics. The mesh in your screen is another factor that can determine your choice of a squeegee blade. As a rule, the coarser the mesh the lower the durometer of the blade you'll want to use. For printing most sign materials, which tend to be comparatively smooth-surfaced and not very absorbent, you would do well to select a squeegee blade in the middle range, somewhere around 70 to 80 durometers. The harder the squeegee the lower the ink deposit. The very hardest blades (90 or more durometers) are used for printing fine detail work and halftones. They are also used for UV printing where a light ink deposit is preferred.
 

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As a side note, you can also get multi-durometer blades, like a 75/90/75, which means the inside is a little harder than the outsides.

"75/90/75 durometer blade means that your blade has softer edges for smooth printing application but a stiff center for a rigid blade angle."
 

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The squeegee blade is part of the squeegee that actually does the printing. Blades were once made of rubber or neoprene (synthetic rubber), but today most blades are made of polyurethane, a flexible, highly dense plastic. Polyurethane is easily formed yet resistant to most solvents, and it can be colored, which allows manufacturers to color-code their blades according to their durometer, or hardness. Durometer, a term used to describe the hardness of a rubbery-type material, is measured according to a standard known as the Shore A scale. Occasionally you may hear someone use the word Shore to describe the hardness of the blade rather than durometer. Both really mean the same thing.

There are many different types of squeegee blades on the market. They differ from one another in three important qualities:
  • 1. Durometer
    2. Shape or profile
    3. Width
Virtually all squeegee blades used in screenprinting today fall somewhere between 50 and 90 durometers. The durometer of a blade can make a big difference in the prints it produces. Softer blades (50-60 durometers) will tend to lay down much more ink than harder blades. They also do a better job of printing on rough surfaces like fabrics. The mesh in your screen is another factor that can determine your choice of a squeegee blade. As a rule, the coarser the mesh the lower the durometer of the blade you'll want to use. For printing most sign materials, which tend to be comparatively smooth-surfaced and not very absorbent, you would do well to select a squeegee blade in the middle range, somewhere around 70 to 80 durometers. The harder the squeegee the lower the ink deposit. The very hardest blades (90 or more durometers) are used for printing fine detail work and halftones. They are also used for UV printing where a light ink deposit is preferred.

Time to order new Squeegees. I never new their was a difference as three came with my package and I just use which ever one is clean at the time. So from what you posted, if I am using 110 mesh printing on fabric I should get squeegees between 50 to 60 durometers??? Is this correct?

Katrina
 

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Time to order new Squeegees. I never new their was a difference as three came with my package and I just use which ever one is clean at the time. So from what you posted, if I am using 110 mesh printing on fabric I should get squeegees between 50 to 60 durometers??? Is this correct?

Katrina
I think the most common, for general use, with a 110 mesh would be a 70 shore squeegee :)
 

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I agree with Marcelo. Understand that with a smaller number like 50, you are getting a softer edge, which means that the squeegee may drag when you move it across the screen. You want some softness so that the ink deposit is nice, but you want it stiff enough so that it creates a nice, sharp image when pulled across the screen. I try to stick with triple durometer squeegees ( ie 75/90/75), so that the outside edges are ( the two 75s) are soft, and the middle (the 95) is still hard enough to give me a nice pull without too much drag.
 
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