December '14

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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source to burn the image from the film onto a screen coated with emulsion. As far as frames go, they run the gamut—from wood to retensionable aluminum. When it comes to light sources, three types are available to screen printers: multibulbs, single bulbs, and LED units. The multibulb fluorescent units use fluorescent tubes, which provide a specific light spectrum designed to work with screen print- ing emulsions. Do not make your own unit with the fluorescent lights from your home. It will not work well. In the case of a single bulb, it provides that same specific light spectrum to expose screens and generally holds finer detail. The newest technology is the LED exposure unit, which uses a multitude of LED lights to create the proper light spectrum. For a screen printing startup, consider a multibulb fluorescent unit for its affordability and ability to hold reasonably good detail. Whichever unit you choose, make sure it has a vacuum to hold the film with the screen. CHOOSE A PRINTER There are many types and styles of manual printers in the market- place, but they're ultimately all designed to complete the same process. Some print better than others, but the job at hand is to enable a printer to print single- or multiple-color designs onto gar- ments quickly, efficiently, and in registration. Look for a printer that's ex- pandable. This could be a printer that expands from a single color to four colors or four colors to six colors. It's less costly to expand this way as opposed to buying new equipment because you outgrew what you orig- inally purchased. Given the designs and types of garments that are printed today, start with a four-color printer with four stations for load- ing, flashing, and cool downs. Also, consider a printer with microregistration for a quicker and easier job setup. Above: When choosing a printer, pick one that offers the densest black in your price range. (Image courte- sy Lawson Screen Products) Below: Before buying equipment, test it in your distributor's showroom and call other decorators for references. (Image courtesy the author) 76 | PRINTWEAR D EC E M B E R 20 1 4 SCREEN PRINTING STARTUP EQUIPMENT

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