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Printing a Film Positive

Posted by Jason Cabaniss - Outside Sales on 12/21/2015
Often when your are exposing a screen and do not quite get the burn you had hoped for the first response is the blame the unit or perhaps the emulsion.  If a proper positive is made from the start then your rejection rate will drop and your efficiency and quality will improve.  

With all the screen printing equipment that you have in your shop, your inkjet or laser printer that you use to print your film positives is often overlooked in importance when compared to your screen printing press, dryer, flash unit, and exposure unit.  But its importance should not be taken for granted.  A bad positive can cause major delays in getting an order out.  

The purpose of a film positive is to block exposure sources of light from curing the images emulsion during the actual exposure. With this in mind, a film positives will always work best when they are fully transparent and opaque. You will want to startup the software you're using, (Corel, Photoshop, Illustrator), and adjust your paper size to match your film positive paper size. Film positive paper comes in either sheets or rolls,  Ensure that you select the check box to print registration marks on your film positives so you can use them to align and register screens. These registration marks will help to line things up and register your screens neatly on your platen.  

Once you are happy with what you have, preview your saved file by using the Print Preview feature in your software.  Look for anything that you believe might give you issues.  I will often step away from the screen for a few minutes so that I can look at a job with fresh eyes - it helps me see things that I may have missed from simply sitting in front of the screen too long.  Print the job on your film and you should be ready to go.

Without the proper film positives, printing entirely black laser film or inkjet positives can be incredibly difficult. There are numerous types of film positives you can use, and they can vary from one to the next   Inkjet Films are made from clear plastic bases; some may be waterproof while others are not.  Most of these films work best with inks that are dye based, rather than some pigment based ones. To make film positives with Inkjet films, RIP software is not necessary.  Laser Films are less easy to control and are not quite as popular as inkjet films. The toner is often affected by the age of the cartridge and can only be controlled so much by the printer settings. The heat of the fuser often leads to larger images becoming distorted.

Texsource Screen Printing Supply offers all types of positive films in various size sheets or roll lengths, in stock, ready to go.  We offer the lowest prices and same-day shipping on all in-stock supply items.  Call us today for all of your screen printing supply needs.

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