Sign & Digital Graphics

Start Here October '19

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68 S T A R T H E R E 2 0 1 9 Screen Printing visible area with a lot of foot traffic. Rent in these areas tend to be more expensive per square foot. Others take the approach of finding a more afford- able area to set up a shop. The advantage of this approach is your money goes further. Many people also start out printing in their basement or garage. While the location is a preference, hav- ing the right amount of space is key. How much space you need all depends on the equipment. More space is always better because it gives you options. Ideally, you want to position your print- ing press close to your dryer, so you can pull your shirt off the platen and place it directly onto the dryer's conveyor belt, taking as few steps as possible. In the most efficient shops, printers do not have to take more than two steps. That is how close the press and dryer are. The ability to have different rooms will also help, particularly with cleaning and preparing screens. Since emulsion is light sensitive and you have to work with water, being able to create a separate room is a big advantage. (Photo courtesy of Ryonet) Down to Printing Once you have the equipment and space, you are ready to start printing. While the process of screen printing is not hard, there can be a learning curve. I always recommend beginners keep a bottle of aspirin nearby, as things do not always go as planned. You might mess up an exposure time, get pinholes, or struggle with registering a multicolor job. Just realize that every single printer has struggled with the same issues. Many still do. It is important to remember that screen printing is an art and a science. While there is a clear process you should follow, there is no "right" way. Certain methods and techniques work for some, while you might find a different way. What matters most is the end result. Did you print a fantastic shirt your customer loves? If so, you're on your way to suc- cess. Compact equipment that pulls double duty with a built in dryer helps make small startup spaces easier to maneuver. (Photo courtesy BBS Industries) (Photo courtesy of Ryonet)

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