As you may know already, you can’t screen print without a squeegee. It floods the screens, moves the ink in a push or pull fashion, and transfers the design from stencil to garment. While the mechanics of it all can seem pretty simple, there is actually quite a lot that goes into deciding which one is right for the project. We’ve compiled some helpful tips that can help narrow the search for your squeegee needs.
Types of Squeegees
While there are many types of squeegees out there, screen printers typically stick to either wood or aluminum ones. Wooden is cheaper, and aluminum has been found to be the most beneficial. Since screen printing means that you’ll be working in a wet environment, it's important to note that wet environments = wood warping. We suggest aluminum because it will not warp, you can apply more force to the print and it can be more comfortable to hold in comparison.
Durometer Hardness With Squeegees
You may be asking “what in the world is a durometer?” Durometer is essentially the scale used to determine the hardness of the squeegee blade. The durometer level blade you need is all dependent upon your screen printing project. For example, if you are going to be doing a much more detailed print (aka higher mesh counts) then you will need a squeegee with a higher durometer. The same goes for the flip side, if you are working with lower mesh counts is going to require the usage of a lower durometer squeegee. The lower the durometer levels and the lower the mesh count means that there is going to be more ink that needs to be deposited on the print. Higher detailed projects typically mean less ink distribution so that plays into why you would need that high durometer squeegee.
Kind of sounds like durometer is our new favorite word doesn’t it?
The Gritty Details
The printing edge of a squeegee is going to be the most important aspect of a squeegee because this is what is used to manipulate the ink. The speed you go, the amount of pressure applied and even the angle you are screen printing at can have an effect on the garment being printed on.
Proper Maintenance of Your Squeegees
Reaching your full screen printing potential means that you must take care of your squeegees and use the correct ones for the correct jobs. When you are printing we suggest rotating your squeegees often, but this is all going to be dependent upon the ink you are using and the solvent systems that are involved. When you do this, you have successfully achieved a more uniformed printing quality and it helps lengthen the life of your precious squeegees. To lengthen this lifespan even more, make sure to wipe clean and dry the blade once you’re finished using it. Then allow it for a rest period of at least 24 hours before you use it again or decide to re-sharpen it. By storing these squeegees in a room temperature space, it helps them to maintain their durometer levels. If stored in spaces below a certain temperature (like < 60 degrees F) then it can cause these squeegees to harden which will increase their durometer levels.
Here at BOLT Screen Printing we pride ourselves in creating quality custom apparel that brings your vision to life. We have assembled a team of professionals, who strive to understand your goals and assist you with out of the box advertising and branding techniques. We combine our knowledge of all things apparel with your project goals in order to provide killer gear and a stress-free experience.
With an ambition to create premium quality vintage threads, Bolt was born. From our passion of creating the best clothing for our clothing store Opolis and our customers expressing the desire to see their designs on our high-quality apparel we knew the next step would be to open Bolt. After being in the industry for over 13 years, we've perfected the process of turning amazing ideas into even better results. Contact us today by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or giving us a call at 405-493-9557!