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Screen Printing Frames: Wood vs. Aluminum, Which to Choose and Why

Posted by Jeffrey Gononsky on

Holden's wooden screens for printing All screen printers and screen printing presses know that poor quality equipment and poor preparation can cause loss to their business.

When it comes to screen printing, the mantra is “good printing begins with good printing screens and frames.” But how do you determine which screen printing frame is best for your business?

There are different types of printing screens and frames available in the market, and you need to make a proper choice before you buy the printing screens. By knowing about the different types of screens, you will be able to choose the best fit for your project. 

So, let’s get started!

Wood vs. Aluminum Screen Printing Frames

Wooden Screen Printing Frames

This is the most budget-friendly option available when it comes to the selection of frames. The wooden frames are cheaper than aluminum frames and screens. The low-cost advantage of wooden frames is suitable for established businesses as well as businesses that have just begun their work. 

However, one of the major disadvantages of the wooden frame is the lack of strength and durability. Sometimes the wooden screen can come out of the box already warped (not with Holden’s of course!). In addition to this, the wood screens deteriorate significantly over a period of time. The wooden screens are also not a good choice for spot cleaning as the rinsing and washing of the screen degrades the wood. But despite all these disadvantages, you can have a wood screen in your shop if you use the same screen again and again. 

Wooden screens and frames are good for those projects that require simple prints, and that don’t require extreme accuracy. So with all these advantages and disadvantages, it's up to you to make a proper choice about whether you need a wood frame or not.

Metal Screen Printing Frames

Aluminum screens are a more reliable screen as compared to the wood screens. 

Although they are more expensive than the wood screen, their strength and durability pays for the price. They are able to hold more tension as compared to the wood screens. If you choose aluminum screen,  they are much lighter and easier on your printers. The best part about metal screens is that they can be stripped and rescreened if needed. 

Retensionable Screen

These screens are good for projects with fine details and which require higher tensions. The retensionable screen allows you to increase the tension of your screen as per your requirement. 

In addition to these advantages, retensionable screens and frames can also be fitted with a specialty screen mesh. The only disadvantage of this screen is that it is costly as compared to other types of screens. 

Screen Printing Mesh

In the past, the printing screens were made up of  silk screen; thus, they got the name ‘silk screen printing.’ But in recent years, printers use polyester screen fabrics.

These were some of the options you needed to determine the type of printing screen you need for your business. But in addition to this, the type of mesh also determines the quality of your screen printing. 

The following are some of the points that you should keep in mind when making a choice for a screen with regard to mesh. 

  • Mesh count is based on the standard numbering system. For example, a 43T mesh count screen will have 43 threads running down and across each square centimeter. 
  • It is said that the higher the mesh count, the more detail can be achieved during the screen printing process.
  • In addition to this, higher mesh count means that less printing inks will get deposited on the fabric.
  • If you are printing with a water based ink, the ink will dry out faster on finer mesh screens. 
  • To eliminate this process of ink drying out faster, you can use ink additive to your water based inks.

The decision to which mesh count to use lies ultimately with you. But it is advisable to take into account the above-mentioned points for  smooth and high-quality screen printing. 

Getting the Screen Cleaned

Follow these points for reclaiming and getting screen cleaning:

  • When it comes to the screen, everything depends on the quality of the screen. Good quality screens can be expensive, but they can be cleaned easily and also they can work well for a longer duration.
  • Different chemicals are needed to clean the screen, and you need to use good quality screen cleaners so that your screen can work efficiently for a longer period of time. 
  • Before you begin to remove photo emulsion, you need to remove as much ink as possible with the screen printing squeegee. If there is any additional ink left, you can remove it with a plastic sheet or wax paper.
  • Clean your screen as soon as possible. The longer water based inks and plastisol ink sits on the screen, the more difficult it will be to get the screen cleaned. Also, there are different emulsion removers in the market that you can use to remove the excess ink from the screen.
  • You can also use dip tanks to clean your screen. 

Every screen printer wants its business to boom higher in the market. For amazing business growth in screen printing, you need a good screens and frames for screen printing. 

At Holden’s Screen Supply, you can help you get different materials and supplies for screen printing. It’s not a very difficult process, all you need is a good quality material that can give a smooth finish to your screen printing. We offer unlimited supplies and equipment for screen printing. All our screen printing products are available at affordable market prices. If you want to know more screen printing and everything related to screen printing inks, you can join our mailing list

Whether you are an industry leader in screen printing or just a newbie entrepreneur starting your screen printing business, we can help in all steps of screen printing by providing the best quality screen printing materials. To know more about our screen printing products, their costs, and shipping info, contact us at- https://www.standardscreen.com/