There are various printmaking techniques, but one of the most common is screen printing. You will need certain pieces of equipment in order to use this method of printmaking. This article will discuss some of the essential pieces of equipment.
If you are just making custom designs at home, then you will need a manual printing press as opposed to an automatic press. Since people most commonly make their own t-shirts, then a flat printing press or T-shirt printing press will be in order. However, odd-shaped items like coffee mugs can be printed using screen-printing machines too.
These printing presses also vary in the amount of colors they can utilize. Four-color and six-color designs are your options. If you are making custom t-shirts at home, then a four-color press should suit your needs just fine.
You will also need small pieces of equipment for use during screen printing. You will need to use a squeegee to wipe the ink over the screen and force it onto the substrate. The type of squeegee you use largely determines the resulting quality, and they're available in various sizes and durometers.
Most importantly, you will need a screen or stencil. This will hold whatever graphic you are trying to put on the substrate. You can make your own screen as long as you have fine mesh and a stiff frame available.
There are various types of ink you can use for screen printing. Water-based inks are very common, but they take time to dry. Another option is Plastisol. It offers the advantage of an immediate curing time.
Depending on the type of ink you use, you will need a curing or drying method of some sort. If you use a water-based ink, you will need a textile drying unit or drying rack to give the ink time to dry after being printed.
You could also use Plastisol as mentioned earlier. It will dry immediately when exposed to a temperature in excess of 320 degrees Fahrenheit. In order to use Plastisol however, you will need a flash curing unit.
These are some of the most important pieces of equipment for screen printing. The screen itself is one of the most important since it will hold your graphic or design. You will also need some method to dry or cure the material depending on the type of ink you choose to use. Make sure that you also get a quality squeegee since it will largely determine the quality of the resulting print.