So I'm in the middle of a full cabinet restoration of a HS2... so this means the graphics on the back of the head and cabinet needed to be redone. Through the awesomeness of great peeps like knockerlover I had a screen to work with.. so I avoided that huge expense. But I had to work on my own from there. The great news is... Screen Printing is pretty common, so there is tons of youtube help out there. Plus, bryan_kelly did a great video when merfeldma made screens.
Bryan's video -
Plus, it seems like Matt will still make screens if the need is there, so those in need.. consider reaching out to merfeldma and see if he can help. The large screen for the backbox is quite large, and I imagine would be a lot harder to do DIY. Maybe a local shop would make the screen for you... dunno.
In my case, the screen I had was not from Matt. My screen had both the Warning text and smaller patent text on the screen. Great! Problem was... they were bot on the same screen! And I already had the stringers on the bottom of my cabinet.. so no way to fit the big screen on the lower cabinet.
Here's the big screen, staged on the backbox.
So what did I need to do the backbox?
1 - Painters tape
2 - The screen w/text
3 - Clamps to hold the screen in place
4 - An 18" screen printing squeegee
5 - Paint
6 - Mineral Spirits
7 - Gloves and tons of paper towels
8 - Bin or box for all those paint covered towels you will have
So Bryan helps you by pointing you to the paint to use. I used the same he did... The NazDar Nazdar 59000 series Gloss Enamels in Medium Yellow. Mfg# 59-134 - Problem is you only need a few tablespoons worth.. but you gotta buy it in a kilo can for $40+! Best deal I found was at Dickblick https://www.dickblick.com/products/nazdar-59000-series-enamel-plus-gloss-screen-ink/ - With coupon at the time it was $38.xx
You need a squeegee that is ideally larger than your area to print, but still fits in your frame. For this frame, an 18" wide fits the bill. I used the 18" 70/75 durometer squeegees from DickBlick - https://www.dickblick.com/products/blick-70-75-durometer-squeegee/ - about $33
See the blue tape?
The purpose there is to keep paint from getting to the edge of the screen where the emulsion block may not be complete to the edge... but also, to keep paint out of that corner! Simplifies cleanup. Just keep the tape out of your area where you are going to pull your squeegee.
You want your screen off your surface to be painted.. so as Bryan does in his video... tape a nickel under each corner of the frame. This gives the screen space to spring back off the surface.
I recommend PRACTICING on another surface before printing on your prep'd cabinet... why? You don't want this outcome...
And then have to sand and repaint your cabinet (again) like I did.
Some tips I would pass on..
1 - Prep!! This job can be messy... make sure you have everything you need staged and handy before cracking the paint open.
2 - Measure, measure, and re-measure. Do not assume anything. In my case, the screen imagine was slightly non-square inside the frame. So squaring the frame on the backbox was not enough! I had to adjust for where the text REALLY was. I used white marking pens to make easy marks on the painted cabinet and frame to help me line things up. I measured everything FIRST, and made alignment marks so when it was time to line up with paint out... it was smooth and fast.
3 - More paint = more cleanup... but less risk of not filling out the print fully.
4 - this paint seems to drop, drop, everywhere... keep towels handy to clean up the inevitable spots you will get on your gloves as you work. Make sure you aren't blindly touching things! Keep checking those hands for paint and wipe clean... else.. yellow everywhere.
What I did...
1) Clean your printing surface of an dust/debris
2) Grabbed some disposable plastic spoons from the kitchen and a small disposable cup. Don't forget your gloves Pulled about 4-5 spoon-fulls of paint from into the cup. This stuff is SUPER thick. The paint can be thinned to help with the small detail. Refer to the visuals in Bryan's video... but it doesn't take much at all!! Just a splash really. Mix with spoon.
3) Setup my test print surface.. I printed on masking paper laid out on a flat surface. Secure the screen so it doesn't move with clamps
4) Using the spoon, make a nice fat line of paint along one side of the graphics on the screen. Keep it out of the graphics, but you want a decent line.. maybe 1/2 to 3/4" wide line of paint the full length of your graphics
5) Flood the screen. For this, using your squeegee pull the line of paint all the way across your graphic with the squeegee at about a 45deg angle and WITHOUT pushing the screen down. The goal here is to spread the paint across the graphics to 'fill' the screen.
In my first print.. I had some challenges getting all the characters filled in.. my failure was forgetting to flood the screen inbetween prints.. so I basically ran out of paint. After a print, flood the graphic area again by pulling the puddle of excess ink back across the screen. I also make sure the area was basically covered with the thin layer of ink uniformly.. and not just the letters. You can pull again if you don't get the full thing covered. As long as you don't press the screen down firmly.. you can work without getting ink on the printed surface.
6) Now, make your print pull. You want the squeegee to push the screen down, and scrape the ink. You can push or pull.. but pulling seems more straight forward to do. Hold the squeegee at a sharp angle.. about 70deg.. you use the EDGE of the squeegee. Press down firmly and make a steady pull across the full graphic in one pass. When you get pass the graphic area, you can stop. You'll have a puddle of paint at the end.. that's fine. Some try to scoop it up with the squeegee to move back to the other side. The end of their stroke, they make a scoop motion. Don't sweat it.. you can just use the puddle to flood the screen back in the other direction.
7) If your screen is secured fully... you can even make a second flood and pull pass in place. In theory, you shouldn't need to... but you may find it helps.
There are lots of screen printing videos online you can watch. Just remember a few things... we are using a very high count mesh in these detailed prints (probably 230 mesh) - so we aren't putting a ton of ink through. Most stuff online is about shirts.. and they have some specific needs regarding soaking through, etc. Second, we are using a solvent based ink, not a plastic or water based ink like they usually do in shirts. Again this differs in the topics of how much paint, etc. Because of this, we shy towards the 'less ink' and stiffer squeegee vs the basic shirt prints.
I liked the ryonet videos as they seem very detailed - This video shows him flooding and his technique on print passes -
You can pull the screen immediately and check your work. If it looks good, move the screen to the real cabinet... setup with your alignment markets and secure the screen in place. I liked using clamps in each corner around the edge of the head. My screen is wood, and was warped a bit, so this helped hold it flat.
Don't forget to make another flood pass.. and make sure the graphics area has that thin cover of paint
9) Make your print pull... remember.. press down good.. you need the screen making uniform smooth contact. I made two pull passes. Then remove the clamps and hope for the best!
You can't leave this stuff sit... so as soon as you finish your pass... move aside and start cleanup. Wipe or scrape out as much excess paint as you can. Using paper towels and mineral spirits.. wipe the screen until your towel is full, then get a new one... and keep repeating until you only get thin amounts of paint in the towel. Then clean the text area of the other side of the screen the same way. Then come back, remove the tape barriers you made... and continue cleaning until you get no paint in your towels. Then keep cleaning both sides This will take awhile Keep going.... do not leave any paint in the screen else you could ruin it. Who wants to ruin a $200 borrowed screen? Clean... clean.. and clean. I probably used half a roll of paper towels cleaning.
Don't forget to clean your squeegee! The edge of the squeegee is the working surface.. so don't set it on things to nick it or dent it.
Up next... don't have the screen you need... let's make one!