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Alternate Use for a Flatbed Printer

Discussion in 'Flatbed Printers' started by garisimo, May 9, 2013.

  1. garisimo

    garisimo Member

    Oct 14, 2009
    Hi all (especially Artbot, who seems to be the master of reconfiguring printers) -- do you know if there is a way to use your uv flatbed as a direct-to-screen printer, where you could print the stencil onto the screen (eliminating the need for films, and possibly the exposure)? I've seen dedicated ($$$) systems for this, but thought there might be a way to print the emulsion and then expose (or print and expose in one go).


  2. omgsideburns

    omgsideburns Very Active Member

    Apr 15, 2008
    If it's a UV flatbed you wouldn't even need to expose afterwards.. :Big Laugh
  3. artbot

    artbot Very Active Member

    Feb 18, 2010
    Houston TX
    i've seen those systems on alibaba here and there. seems that many of them print some kind of solvent. i've considered messing around with it for some very basic screens for
    art production. i'd assume you could just use several coats of uv ink as the resist.
  4. parrott

    parrott Member

    Jan 2, 2008
    Vol Nation
    Very interesting concept. Not sure how you would do this as the emulsion used to coat screens is very thick. I don't think you would be able would be able to pass the emulsion through the heads and if you could, I don't know if you could lay down a thick enough coat. I could be completely wrong, but these are the first things that come to mind when considering this. Would love to hear more about this as it is a great idea. Great post!
  5. iprint

    iprint Member

    Feb 22, 2012
    I used to etch zinc plates back in art school (print making major) and have often wondered if uv ink would hold up to an acid bath. Could be fun!
  6. artbot

    artbot Very Active Member

    Feb 18, 2010
    Houston TX
    i think the thing is to print a negative black mask on the emulsion, expose, and this wash out the screen. the ink should slip off with the unexposed emulsion.
  7. rjssigns

    rjssigns Major Contributor

    Jun 4, 2007
    Home Office
    If it is short run screen jobs would it be possible to print directly? I've seen people use flat beds to print on everything from shirts and old barn boards to door mats. If it fits under the carriage they print it. Durability would be the question.
  8. Donny7833

    Donny7833 Member

    Nov 6, 2006
    Bluffton, SC
    I'm assuming your talking about printing onto an un-emulsified screen ("eliminate the need for exposure"). I agree with RJ, durability would be an issue. When I was in screen printing, we would coat the screens with multiple passes on both sides of the mesh depending how thick you need the stencil to be. If you're looking to replace the emulsion with UV ink, you would be printing on one side of the mesh, how well that would adhere, who knows. However, I would imagine it might work for very short runs.

    If your talking about using the UV black as a negative/positive on an emulsified screen, that may work. The direct print systems I worked with in the past were water based (high pigment load) systems. UV ink by nature has a lower pigment load to allow for a full cure, you may get some ghosting if the ink allows any light at all to pass through. For that matter, will the UV light exposed during the flatbed printing process harden the emulsion any way? Time to experiment and add to the knowledge base.
    Last edited: May 10, 2013

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