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Optimizing Ink Lay Down: Understanding Squeegee Dynamics

Squeegees come in various shapes and sizes. They are all designed to sheer ink from the mesh then transfer the ink to the garment. I’m not going to get too deep here as there is so much to cover and the manufacturers will send me tons of letters defending each size, shape, durometer, etc.

For most work I use 70 durometer square edge squeegees with 2 inches or less of blade extending from the housing. Set at angles between 75 degrees and 65 degrees, this does the job perfectly for textile printing. Proper screen tension (tight) and proper squeegee pressure does the job of sheering the ink.

Take a look at high-end squeegees such as Stretch Devices constant force squeegee. Its blade is so small, and it’s angled at 65 degrees (close to it). Clamped into the printer at 90 degrees and the rubber is auto set to the proper print angle. Yes, I know it takes a very level platen to take advantage of this great idea (not all can), but hey, right is right. If we can’t create a perfect environment now, at least we know what we are shooting for. That crazy shaped housing is focusing the pressure down the tip of the blade where it belongs.

There are many different squeegees to choose from. Sandwich squeegees are also a great alternative. Example 70/90/70 where the printing end of the blade is a 70 durometer backed by a 90 durometer to add rigidity further reducing the need for heavy squeegee pressure. Using a blade like this also allows you to flip it around when one side gets dull.

The next time you see your blades doing the Limbo on press back off the pressure, it's not helping your printing.

 

 

(c) Freehand Library Article / AccuRIP / Separation Studio NXT / Spot Process / Dmax / Amaze-Ink / DarkStar

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