(Topic ID: 132357)

What do you need to silkscreen plastics?


By dr_nybble

4 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 12 posts
  • 5 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 4 years ago by tdddddd
  • Topic is favorited by 6 Pinsiders

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    #1 4 years ago

    I tried printing decals on my laser printer and also airbrushing some opaque paint onto PETG. Neither look very good when illuminated. I have a Silhouette Cameo cutter so I am thinking to try stencil screening instead. Original plastics were silk screened so I figure this is going to produce better results.

    What mesh size frame should I buy or does it matter for stencil screening? And what kind of ink? Any advice is appreciated!

    #2 4 years ago

    Does anybody have experience to share? I guess the mesh doesn't matter for stencil based screening.

    These inks can print on plastic: http://paintspot.ca/products-page/jacquard/jacquard-screen-printing-ink/

    Should I be looking at the regular or opaque inks? Pretty expensive, I don't want to get the wrong kind.

    #3 4 years ago

    I do not have experience with silkscreening but I had good results with printing out clear laser jet waterslide decals in color and then applying a white waterslide backing.

    When illuminated they appear to be about right.

    Good luck.

    #4 4 years ago

    I tried that and didn't get good results. The image just seems too thin and washed out. I do have the toner density cranked to maximum, it looks great until illuminated from the back -- then it is a pallid cousin to the real plastic.

    Someone else mentioned printing from an inkjet onto photo paper and then adhering that to the plastic with 3M adhesive spray. I don't have an inkjet printer any more but was tempted by the Canon Pixma Pro 100!

    #5 4 years ago

    Photo paper might be too thick to allow any light to filter through.

    Did you use clear decal paper for the colored part and then a separate solid white for the backing?

    #6 4 years ago

    I silkscreened some larger plastics and they turned out pretty decent, but I replaced them as soon as they were available from Marco. Here's what I learned:

    1. Cut and refine the shape first, before printing on it
    2. Use the finest screen you can get, for better detail
    3. I got a Blick silkscreen kit, which came with C, M, Y and black inks and mixed colors myself.
    4. Print reverse images on the underside of the plastic
    5. Print black first
    6. The inks are meant for paper, so give them extra time to dry between colors. Don't get fabric inks.
    7. Always finish with a white shape that covers all the printed area - it helps even out the look and translucency.
    8. It's an expensive, messy and time-consuming process and you may consider having Ponoko.com or some other online service print you some reverse stickers printed on clear adhesive acetate and trim them to the correct shape

    #7 4 years ago

    TopMoose, did you do stencil based printing or emulsion based?

    EEE -- I did use clear decal paper for the colour and affixed white decal to the back.

    #8 4 years ago

    I used photo emulsion. It adds about eight more steps to the process but produces better results.

    #9 4 years ago

    I looked in to doing this myself.

    The big hurdle for me is finding someone that knew how to screen plastic, which inks to use and what order to print them in.

    You'll need someone that can laser cut once you have it printed on a sheet.

    There are companies out there that do runs of certain games, but unless its super popular or you throw a pile of cash their way, they probably arent interested in running them

    #10 4 years ago

    For me I am trying to recreate a single slingshot plastic for "Top Score". I have hand-cut the PETG it is pretty easy to work with.

    I have already vectorized the artwork so I can cut accurate stencils on the Silhouette Cameo.

    The Jacquard inks are heat curable and they state suitable for plastics -- just wish I knew whether to order the opaque inks or the standard inks.

    I think I will give it a shot and report back on the results....

    #11 4 years ago

    I would think opaque - it will probably have better, more even coverage and even though you're printing in layers, they're very thin layers, so the light wouldn't get completely blocked. Good luck!

    #12 4 years ago

    Some good silkscreen info here. Follow the Junkyard playfield repair project.

    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/insert-border-silkscreens-any-interest-as-a-product#post-969556

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