Additional Craft Information:
If you have been experimenting with the Yudu Personal Screen Printing Machine by Provocraft, you may have run into several problems when trying to print your images on Tshirts. One such problem is getting thin lines or small type to come out right.
DIY Craft Essential #1: Washi tape
DIY Craft Essential #2: Needle nose pliers
Here are 3 of the biggest factors making it difficult to get fine details with out-of-the-box Yudu screens:
1.The mesh of the out-of-the-box screen itself is simply too low resolution to hold the image.
2.The squeegee used to pull the ink is poor quality.
3.The frame of the screen is too flimsy to hold adequate screen tension.
Most screen printers use one of three mesh counts: a low resolution, a medium, and a high.
Low resolution, around 110 mesh, is used for thick inks, light colored inks (like white and athletic gold), and for low detail prints. Their wider screen holes are easier to get thick ink through. The mesh is also less expensive than the higher resolution kind.
Medium resolution, around 160 mesh, is good for smaller type (down to about 12 point) and thinner lines (down to about 1 point). If you have a good method for making your stencils or a good screen exposure system, the medium resolution screen can serve most-purposes.
Higher resolution screens range from around 190 and go up. They are able to capture very thin lines and small dots, and when used in conjunction with automatic screen printing presses, can even achieve photographic quality images.
So what kind of screen comes with the Yudu? Not a medium resolution, but a low resolution mesh count, a 110. Even if the screen was perfect in every other way, a 110 mesh simply does not hold thin lines and small type.
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DIY Craft Essential #4: Spray paint
In the other direction, Provocraft has released the 220 mesh screen that you can buy a la carte. With that you can get higher detail for some of your projects, but that has a similar problem in the opposite direction. It is too high of a resolution to be a most-purpose screen, and it's harder to get good coverage in areas with larger fields of ink. Provocraft would simply have done much better to have chosen a 160 mesh screen in the standard set.
Like screen meshes, squeegee blades also come in a variety of types. While there are many aspects of squeegees, including handle characteristics, blade structure, and composition, my main point has to do with flexibility. Since the Yudu is designed for manual screenprinting, and it is for general purpose use, let's examine what makes a decently flexible most-purpose squeegee.
The flexibility of a squeegee is known as durometer. Most suppliers carry three durometers of blade, a soft (60 durometer), a medium (70), and a hard (80-90). While the softer is used for laying down a larger volume of ink, the harder varieties are used to achieve more detail and also for depositing a thinner layer of ink.
If you want to push most general purpose inks through a screen holding most general purpose images, the medium, 70 durometer, is your best choice. What durometer is the Yudu squeegee? Provocraft doesn't say, it's a lot less than 70.
But even if you re-stretched the screen with 160 mesh and used a professional squeegee, there is still another problem with the Yudu screen: screen tension.
Lower tension screens make for smeary imprints and lower quality images. Lower tensioned screens lead to a variety of screen printing issues because the mesh snags and drags along with the squeegee when you're printing. Even if the screen has a good stencil with thin lines, the line becomes smeared when the squeegee drags it along, making it blurry.
How good is the tension on the Yudu screen? Abysmal.
Given the limitations with the Yudu Personal Screen Printing Machine, you may wish to limit the types of prints you try. You may want to stick to thick lines (3 points or more) and large typefaces (20 point and up) in your designs. You might also upgrade the squeegee. While your results will vary according to your skill level, you should improve your prints. If you find the Yudu's limitations unacceptable, you may wish to use a different system with more versatility.