If you have been experiment with the Yudu Personal silk Screen Printing Machine by Provo craft, you might have run into several problems when annoying to print your images on T-shirts. One such problem is getting thin lines or little type to come out right.
Here are 3 of the biggest factors creation it difficult to get fine details with Yudu screens:
1.The mesh of the silk screen itself is simply too low resolution to hold the image.
2.The squeegee used to pull the ink is poor class.
3.The frame of the silk screen is too flimsy to hold adequate silk screen tension.
Silk Screen mesh comes in a variety of resolutions (known in the industry as “mesh count”) from 33 or less all the way to 300 and higher. Commonly, among screen-printers who don’t do a lot of specialty effort, three mesh counts are used: a low resolution, a medium, and a high.
Low resolution (around 110 mesh) silk screens are used for thick inks, light colored inks (like white and athletic gold), plus for low detail prints. They are generally easier to get the ink to flow through and less expensive than their higher resolution counterparts.
Medium resolution (around 160 meshes) is used for smaller type (down to about 12 point) and thinner lines (down to about 1 point). If you have a good technique for making your stencils or a good burning unit (used for exposing your screens), the medium resolution can serve as a sort of most-purpose silk screen.
Higher resolution silk screens range from around 190 and go up from there. They are able to capture very thin lines and small dots, and when used in conjunction with automatic silk screen printing presses can even achieve photographic quality images.
So what kind of screen comes with the Yudu? Not a medium resolution, but a low resolution meshes count, a 110. Even if the screen was perfect in every other way, a 110 mesh simply does not hold thin lines and tiny type.
Like silk screen meshes, squeegee blades also come in a variety of types. While there are many aspects of squeegees, including handle characteristics, blade structure, and composition, our main point here has to do with flexibility. Since the Yudu is designed for manual screen-printing, and it is for general purpose use, let’s examine what make a decently flexible most-purpose squeegee.
The flexibility of a squeegee is known as durometer within the screen-printing industry. Most suppliers carry three durometers of blade, a soft (60 durometer), a medium (70), and a hard (80-90). While the softer is used for laying down a larger volume of ink, the harder varieties are used to achieve more detail and also for depositing a thinner layer of ink.
If a screen printer were to choose a most-purpose squeegee blade for the kinds of screen-printing you are likely to do with the Yudu, he definitely would need one in the scope of the medium or 70 durometer. If you want to be able to pull most general purpose inks through a screen holding most general purpose images, the medium is your best choice. What durometer is the Yudu squeegee? Provo craft doesn’t specify, but whatever it is, it’s less than 60 for sure, and 60 is not hard enough.
Finally, even if you re-stretched the screen with 160 mesh and bought a professional grade squeegee of medium durometer, there is still yet another problem that hinders quality screen-printing with the Yudu screen: screen tension.
While silk screen makers do have their own custom tensions for screens it may be sufficient to note that lower tension screens create for smeary imprints and lower quality images. They also create it tougher to do multi-color imprints, which is somewhat moot because the Yudu is not designed for it in all other aspects. Lower tensioned screens lead to a variety of screen-printing issues because, if the mesh is loose enough, it snags and drags along with the squeegee when the print is being executed. Even if the silkscreen has a good stencil with thin lines in it, that line is smeared and dragged along when the squeegee passes, causing a blurry image. How does the Yudu screen hold up when it comes to screen tension? Even fresh out of the box, the Yudu screen is way under-tensioned for even the most casual screen printer.
Given the limitations described with the silk-screens used with Yudu Personal Screen-Printing Machine, one may wish to limit the types of imprints they choose to try using the system. Many hobby screen printers have expressed a sense of success with the Yudu when they stick to thick lines (3 points or more) and large typefaces (20 point and up) in their designs. It also may be helpful to upgrade the squeegee to one using a professional grade squeegee blade. While your results will vary according to your skill level, it certainly will be easier to get more crisp images and achieve better success. If you find the aforementioned limits unacceptable, however, you may wish to use a different system with more versatility.