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Printing on Acetate/Film for Screen Printing

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  • Printing on Acetate/Film for Screen Printing

    Hi Guys,

    I have been a long time lurker on this Prepress forum for some time and I think I finally have a interesting topic to discuss.

    I'm researching a possible replacement for our old image setter (Herkules PRO). We are mainly using the old beast to produce films that we use for screen printing. One interesting solution I have come across would be using a Epson/Cannon large format printer that could print on to acetate/film with a sort of opaque black ink, creating a positive in a very easy and quick way.

    So to open the discussion, has anyone had any experience with a printer like this, maybe a little background into what would be the best printer. Our largest screen printing frames are 36 inch so ideally we need to be looking at a large format printer, the Epson 9900 44inch came up in my research. I have worked with this machine before and I never had any issues with it. If anyone has any thoughts or ideas about this please let me know. I am also looking into software options for the RIP, but for now I am just trying to gauge if this would be viable option for us.

    Thanks again,

    Not_a_Designer

  • #2
    We use an HP 42" model to make our film positives. We went with that as it has a Photo Black in it along with the colors which we use for other stuff. We also use the OEM film to go with it so that we get good ink adhesion and coverage. The films don't last like your image setter films do, and your screens have to be absolutely dry. These are aqueous inks you're playing with, which don't react at all well to water. They are pretty much one-and-done. No issues with registration.
    Mind you, it's not as tack sharp as an image setter, but with the OEM film it's not possible to tell the difference without a loupe.

    We don't use a rip with this. It interfaces well with both Mac and PC and will print direct, though it tends to like imagery in a layout program more than directly from Photoshop, but it isn't often we get anything sent to use for silkscreen from Photoshop. We usually say ''no'' to that as we aren't set up for halftones.

    Halftones are a trick. You do have to find a printer that will print them. Most to all of the modern plotters think that they can print better than halftones so will ignore software prompts to print them. For that, you WILL need a rip.

    Check into a leasing option. Get yourself a sample roll of film you think you want to use and ask the printer rep for a demo. Then run it through your process and see if it works.
    Last edited by PrintDriver; 10-19-2017, 12:51 PM.

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