How to Select the Right Frame or Mesh for Screen Printing Machine
Understanding what mesh count is and what size to use on your printing project is a vital knowledge before you can successfully run your printing business. Here is a primer for you so that you can understand the concepts well.
Basics of screen mesh count
Mesh count means how many fibers there are in a square inch of a screen. So if a mesh has 40 mesh count, it means there are 40 fibers in a square inch of the screen.
The higher the mesh count, the smaller the opening size on the screen. And the higher the fiber count is, the more beautiful the print quality gets because of a smaller quantity of ink coating coming through the fibers.
Which mesh to use
As a beginner, it’s a great idea to have a guideline of mesh count to use for a project. Although with more practice, you’ll know which one to choose and not depend on a directive.
- For glitter/shimmer inks, use 25 to 40 mesh count. The ink bits are coarser and cannot pass through the more delicate mesh layer.
- Athletic jerseys, or number designs have better coloring with 60 mesh count as this allows heavier ink deposit.
- For heat transfer, or puff inks, go for 80 to 86 mesh count.
- Go with 110 to 160 mesh count for maximum jobs. Bold colors on darker fabrics, color bases. Larger ink deposits, or image printing can all be benefitted largely with this mesh count and it’s also widely used globally.
- Although 110 – 160 range is used for image printing, if the ink is light and you’re printing on a dark surface, go for a 180 to 200 range if you want the light colors to pop
- For softer texture – 230 to 280 mesh count is great. This range allows very finely detailed color droplet and the final outcome is very sharp. But as the deposits are smaller, the color will not be rich.
Choosing a frame
The most common frame types are wood and aluminum. However, Aluminum frames are better than wood as the former cannot be damaged by dipping in water and pigment. They can be stretched as needed and cleaned as well.
Other factors to consider
Try to experiment with varying mesh types, and you can find the best count range for your project. But keep in mind that the tone and texture also depend on the fabric and emulsion type as well.
Water-based inks get dried fast so you need to wait for less time. Denser colors take time to have the emulsion set so if you’re using a lower mesh count, allow for some time to let it set properly.
There are some guides to choose your specific mesh, but as you have more experience, you’ll understand which one to use for your task. Keep experimenting, and you can see better outcomes with time.