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View Full Version : OT: Part time job "Screen Printing"



Liger Zero
04-06-2009, 11:30 AM
Ok I work in the evenings as a turret-lathe driver and screw-machine baby-sitter. Fun stuff, typical machinist-type work.

However my car is dying and given that The Wife Unit requires special shipping and handling arrangements for the time being it's time to trade in. Vehicles, not wife. I have a contract that says I can't upgrade her without losing 2/3rds of my stuff. :D

Decided to pick up a part time shift at a local print-shop. They do screen-printing, pad-printing, hot-transfer printing and all kinds of other neat stuff.

Starting tomorrow I'll be running the manual screen-printer and learning ink and screen making. 20 hours a week, considering my "background" my pay is two significant digits plus some change. Plan to bank this money and buy a mobility-dis-enhanced Wife-Friendly transportation mode.


I'm a quick study when it comes to technical stuff, but I was wondering if anyone here has any practical experience with screen-printing or can point me to a technical resource on screen printing. I'm doing the google scan but currently all I find is ads for screen printing companies and supplies.


This should prove interesting! Other really cool thing is I get to burn one screen and make my own T-shirt design as a "perk" of working there. Now I'll be able to make a "Captain Robau Boner Brigade And Marching Band" shirt to wear to the new Star Trek movie. :D :D

RTPBurnsville
04-06-2009, 12:21 PM
Sounds like a fun job.... I had a printing class and lab in college years ago doing most of the things you mention. For reference try the local library as most of the techniques from years past are still valid today. The big book stores might also have something, but my luck lately is that they mostly sell books for people that don't do anything real or fun. Intersting topics like CNC, casting, metal treating just got me blank stares on the last couple trips. If you have a university library close, check it out as they usually have all kinds of info on such things.

Ink is like grease and oil in that it gets everywhere except where you really want it. :)

Liger Zero
04-06-2009, 12:39 PM
One thing that helped me get the job is they have a bridgeport and a lathe.

They "occasionally" need a piece for a fixture made and stuff like that. Low-tolerance ham-handed "I ran a bridgeport in Highschool 30 years ago" kind of work.

I am far from a master machinist or toolmaker... but I do know a few tricks, more than the lady who is currently running them.

She's running everything "by the book" she's got a machinist's trade manual on the work-bench full of bookmarks.

Another point in my favor no pun intended... I can sharpen drill-bits and I know someone who sharpens endmills for beer. When I told her that, you could see the dollar signs flashing in her eyes. Major cost savings right there.

As I said this looks to be a fun job. Has the potential to teach me a few things. :)

vincemulhollon
04-06-2009, 12:43 PM
I'm a quick study when it comes to technical stuff, but I was wondering if anyone here has any practical experience with screen-printing or can point me to a technical resource on screen printing.

Your local "tech school" probably has a printing program and probably has a library. Remember you don't need a library card to walk in or browse. Most times, if you pay taxes in the metro area, you can get a free tech school library card to check books out, no need for signing up for classes.

Of course if you did sign up for classes, note that machinists make OK pay, and press operators make OK pay, but a Genuine machinist whom is also a Genuine press operator will make absolute fat stacks of cash working press maintenance at a big printer.... at least that was the case a decade ago here in SE WI USA.

Liger Zero
04-06-2009, 12:47 PM
Your local "tech school" probably has a printing program and probably has a library. Remember you don't need a library card to walk in or browse. Most times, if you pay taxes in the metro area, you can get a free tech school library card to check books out, no need for signing up for classes.



This is something I'll have to look at, in addition to the Big City Library. Cowtown here doesn't have much beyond a huge stack of political books, books for old ladies, and political books for old ladies. :p



Of course if you did sign up for classes, note that machinists make OK pay, and press operators make OK pay, but a Genuine machinist whom is also a Genuine press operator will make absolute fat stacks of cash working press maintenance at a big printer.... at least that was the case a decade ago here in SE WI USA.

Waaaaaaaay ahead of you. Getting the wife back up to speed and ensuring we have a vehicle takes priority. :)

andy_b
04-06-2009, 03:01 PM
what you need to do is design an ultrasonic print head to spray the designs down instead of wasting all those screens. :)

seriously though, i never worked in a production screen printing shop, but i had friends who ran a small screen printing business and we also used to make shirts in highschool. judging by your previous posts and enthusiasm, i would say that in one day you will understand 90% of what is involved in screen printing. the main thing will be what type of print film they use (determines how it is applied to the screen and how it is "developed"), and making sure multi-color designs stay aligned. the biggest pain of the entire process is cleaning up at the end of the day.

andy b.

Liger Zero
04-06-2009, 03:08 PM
Darn right I'm enthused! Two things motivate me: Learning stuff and money.

That's what keeps me going back to the machine shop. Now that the nonsense has been done away with it's a great place to work.

Sadly there just isn't enough work right now to justify overtime... other people there need paychecks too. :)

I'm thinking once I get established at the print shop it would be beneficial to swap cards, let the print shop know the machine shop can do complicated fixtures (after all they have many talented machinists there) and let the machine shop know about the print shop... never know when you might need something pad-printed!

JRouche
04-06-2009, 07:05 PM
I use screen printing to make stencils for metal etching. Here is a really good article. Several pages of info. JR
http://www.richardgreaves.com/PGuidebook/guidebook.htm

Thruthefence
04-06-2009, 10:34 PM
I'm a corporate aircraft mechanic in my 'real' job, and several years ago one of our pilots, who have alot of spare time some days, set up a t-shirt silk screening deal in a spare workroom at the hangar. I think someone gave him the equipment; anyway, he began by making stuff for friends, Super bowl party shirts, kid's birthday parties, posters & so forth. All personalized, with references to the family, ect. I can't imagine how many copyright laws were broken in those days. He got to be pretty good at it, and one day we were flying one of our bosses' business buddies, and he was wandering around the hangar & saw the "production room", and he had Jim make something for the business, as a giveaway, it turned out very professional looking.I for one was surprised by the detail you could get. And he got paid well for it. Word of mouth got around, and he started getting jobs from the wealthier folks ( if you fly in a Corporate Jet aircraft you've got money ) and soon, he had his wife trained to work while he was flying trips in the 'real job'. He would make stuff like "The DOW, 20,000 in 2000!" with the little Monopoly man riding on a rocket.( those were the days, huh??) I guess they handed them out at company picnics.Eventually he bought a sort of computerized embroidery sewing machine, & made patches, hats, ect; tho not at the hangar, he rented a store front in a strip mall, and actually had a BUSINESS. He finally got called by Southwest Airlines for a job, (the dream of all pilots) and had to leave the area, so he sold out. The little shop is still going, but I think it's all crap from China, now. I have no idea how much 'real' money he made at it, but he was always busy. I wish I had paid more attention at the time.

boslab
04-06-2009, 11:24 PM
i used to manage a screen shop in the 70's, sinage tee shirts and stickers, there were about 5 full time screen operators, the screens were manual, ie you spread the ink with a squeegee across the screen, as you press the squeegee the screen deflects so that it touches the vynil on the bed of the press, they were all vac bed screens, usually there will be on or two guys who make up the screens, expose the gel to UV wash off, dry etc mainly because the get good at it and can do it fast, you will notice that small printing shops have to work quick, anyway
Ink viscosity is important, too low and...smuge and bleed [colours not staying where put], too high and it clogs the screen.
Temperature plays a part so shops without good H&V struggle, esp early morning as you have to thin the ink to get it through the screen, then everything warms and poor printing.
registration is important, look for the colour overlap if you are not useing reg marks.
The inks pigments and screen we had were all from SERICOL, as were solvents, UV cure is common, its fast for vynils, you get to like the smell, good luck
mark
http://www.fujifilmsericol.com/About/about.htm

Liger Zero
04-07-2009, 02:54 PM
Way back in the dark ages when I drove injection molding presses I ran hot-stampers as well. Set the injection mold in motion, pick parts from the chute and print 'em on the fly.

Today, I dusted that information off and spent the day setting up hot-stampers (three of them) to run this afternoon.

Tomorrow, I get to mix ink. :D