Thursday, November 4, 2010

Still playing with the Yudu Machine and Cranking Out some Dragon T-shirts

Continuing to test the capabilities of the Yudu screen printing system, already figured out that the art to be reproduced needs to be quite opaque and bold to reproduce well. Thus used a Sharpie pen to darken the outlines on the transparencies shown above.
Attaching emulsion screen to damp mesh screen.
The unit's drying rack features two slots, so 2 mesh screens can be dried simultaneously. It usually takes a couple of drying cycles for the emulsion to dry in the humid Florida weather. Once the emulsion dries, the clear protective film peels off without much effort.
After 8 minutes of exposure to bright light, the unexposed emulsion can be rinsed off easily enough from the printing screen in a shower equipped with a hand held sprayer.
Printing screen right after rinsing off unexposed emulsion.Notice how the exposed emulsion has turned blue compared the original green emulsion.The Yudu inks are available in small bottles that feature thin nozzles with a twist cap that dispense the right amount of ink on the screen in a controlled manner.
Flooding the screen with black ink. Please note that you would want to use both hands to evenly spread the ink on the mesh screen. I just took my right hand off the squeegee for a moment just to operate my digital camera and take this shot.
Mesh screen ready for printing.
View of the ink-loaded printing screen from below.
Ta-da! adult size t-shirt with my stylized dragon kanji.One thing: you might want to pay extra attention when securing your transparency with the printing design on the light table. Somehow I taped this dragon transparency backwards, so the text and Chinese character came out in their mirror image. Just noticed it after printing this t-shirt and watercolor paper print. At least the darkening with the Sharpie marker worked, and all the details came through satisfactorily in that regard.
Even managed to print a T4 size shirt for my nephew.
Pros: Machine and emulsion sheets were quite easy to use as intended. Printing several shirts one after another with the same design was possible with a single ink color. The water soluble ink readily washed off printing screen.
Cons: The machine itself takes up a lot of room. Size of the print is limited by the size of the emulsion sheets available which are smaller than the mesh screens. Rather high cost of the supplies needed. For tips on how to save money using the Yudu system, you might want to read this article.

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