by Karen Jones
Screen printing is a great option for anyone who wants to start their own business but doesn't want the hassle of having to open up a storefront and maintain inventory. Screen printers are usually "one-person" businesses that print designs onto T-shirts, hats, etc., on-demand when ordered by customers.
However, it's important to note that there is no standard price point as some artists charge more than others depending on their quality standards (and how much time goes into each piece). The rest of this article will explore costs associated with starting up a small-scale screenprinting business.
High chances are you have come across a t-shirt with some excellent graphics drawn all over it. That should give you a brief idea of what screen printing is in a nutshell. Screen printing, also known as silk screening, refers to pushing paint or ink through a stencil and a canvas to form some graphic. The canvas or the material being worked on refers to a substrate. It can be plastic, paper, glass, wood, or even fabric. As long as the material can be laid horizontally, it is highly likely to be a suitable substrate. The most common substrates are t-shirts.
A screen printer is a device you can use to print various designs on your choice materials. You can come up with tapestries, posters, logos, and decals through the device, to mention a few. There are many types of screen printers. Based on their functionality, we can have the cylinder, flat-bed, and rotary. The rotary screen printing press works well in web-fed operations and requires high speed, such as newspaper printing.
The cylinder screen printing press prints cylindrical substrates such as buckets and bottles. The flat-bed screen printing press is widely used in the toy manufacturing and textile industry. That is because it works very well on flat substrates.
The automatic presses are the fastest machines. They are the most effective for large-scale printing. That is because they can take advantage of the economies of scale. As the name suggests, the employees follow the entire printing process for the manual presses without any help.
In this article, you will get insights into, what determines the cost of a screen printer, factors to consider when coming up with the cost of a specific printing job, factors to consider when buying a printer, and the screen printing process.
How Much Is A Screen Printer: What Determines the Cost of a Screen Printer?
Here are the factors that determine the cost of a screen-printer.
Every printing job has its specifications. That means that the different projects differ in terms of cost. Many components go into the printing process. You, however, cannot factor in all of them when coming up with the charges for your customers. You, therefore, use the most significant expenses to come up with the cost and have a margin that ensures the business is making a profit. The factors include:
There is a lot that goes into screen printing, and it is important to have a high-level understanding of the steps involved.
The first order of business is usually planning. You come up with the right design. Without it, you will end up misusing your resources. CorelDraw and Adobe Illustrator are amongst the best vector design software in the market. They can help bring your client's ideas to life. After coming up with the right design, you pick an image and try to get its highest resolution to develop a vector file that you can use for printing. After that, you begin to separate the different colors and create a file for each.
A stencil will help you produce a screen print. To create a stencil, you need to make a positive film using the inkjet printer. What the printer does is that it lays black ink that is opaque on the film. The film allows UV light to reach the screen through the clear parts when there is exposure but blocks the UV light in the printed parts. In other words, what you are doing is printing an image of the different colors on a film. You require a film for each color.
Nowadays, there is a software known as RIP. The software ensures that the inkjet printer produces high-quality films.
So after making the stencils, you take a screen and apply photo-reactive emulsion to it. Examples of emulsions include dual cure liquid and photopolymer. The emulsion usually reacts to UV light. For that reason, after coating the screen, please place it in a dark place as you wait for it to dry.
When the emulsion dries, you place the printed film over the print screen and expose it to some UV light for about 20 minutes. That period of time may differ from one project to another. That is what it means to burn an image onto a screen.
Your artwork and the ink used for each project are the factors to consider when buying an emulsion.
You could use a hosepipe with high water pressure to wash the screens. The film blocks out UV light from getting to the emulsion on the printed parts. The emulsion did not cover hardens after exposure. So when you hit the screen with some water at high pressure, it comes off easily, leaving us with an uncovered screen.
This is the step most people think screen printing is all about. You secure the substrate and attach the screen print to the screen-printer. The screen printer pours ink onto the mesh, and the squeegee spreads it evenly on the material. Each color is pressed at its own time.
This involves using a flash cure unit or a tunnel dryer. That is for drying the ink and curing the shirt to ensure the print lasts for a long time.
From that entire process, you can see that it would not be economical to cater to single items. In the screen printing industry, you have to use economies of scale to maintain your profits.
Here are the factors to consider when buying a screen-printer.
It is always wise to think of the business's future instead of the now when buying equipment. It becomes a huge asset for the company. Understand your business before buying any equipment or pricing the printing jobs. Know your fixed expenses and variable expenses.
That will ensure that your business stays afloat. If, for example, the business is small, you could start with the manual press. However, if you consider scaling up shortly, go for the automatic machines.
With the combination of the proper procedures, experience, and the necessary equipment, you will have some perfect artwork. There has to be a minimum number of prints you can make in a project to ensure consistent profits and efficient use of the printing resources.
About Karen Jones
Karen Jones has always been a writer at heart. As a freelance writer and social media marketing consultant for the last decade, she's honed her skills in crafting catchy and interesting articles that reel in readers. She also enjoys traveling, which is where she gets most of her ideas for her writing. In fact, if you can't find Karen around her friends and family, it's likely because she's holed up in her home office working on refining her writing composition and printing press!