For those with only basic knowledge regarding screen printing, complex processes such as reclaiming screen printing frames can be quite daunting, frustrating and even downright infuriating. However, with the right tools, the right equipment, and the right knowledge, reclaiming screen printing frames can be as easy as 1, 2, 3. Here's a basic step by step guide:
Step 1- The very first step to reclaiming your screen printing frames and mesh is to remove any excess ink from your screens.
Step 2- The second step is is to remove emulsion. In order to remove the emulsion and any remaining ink used on your frame, we recommend using a dip tank filled with emulsion remover. Place your screen printing frame into your dip tank, making sure that it is fully submerged underneath the special fluids that will remove the ink, emulsion, and let it soak for a few minutes.
Step 3- After your screen has soaked in the dip tank remove your frame, place it in your washout booth and you should notice that the inks are already beginning to fade and come away from your frame. It should run away naturally, meaning you shouldn't need to rub or scrub at this stage. When it becomes necessary to scrub the emulsion after soaking the frame in a dip tank it means you need to add fresh chemicals in your dip tank.
Step 4- Here you can go ahead and begin spraying away the ink/emulsion from your frame. It should spray away relatively easy after soaking in a dip tank.
Step 5- If you don't have a dip tank, you can also reclaim your screen printing frames manually with a spray bottle, scrub brush and a little elbow grease. The pressure washer however, takes seconds, whilst the manual method of using a spray bottle, scrub brush can take 5-10 minutes. Dip tanks, wash out booths, and pressure washers make the process much quicker and easier.
Step 6- Once you're satisfied all of the ink/emulsion has been removed from your frame there may be a remaining ghost stain of the old design you printed. In that case you will need to dehaze your frame.
Step 7- The last step (and a very critical step) is degreasing your frame and mesh. Degreasing is a mild soap that will take any remaining chemicals off your mesh so that emulsion will adhere to the mesh when you recoat your screens. If you do not degrease your mesh your emulsion may have pinholes and premature breakdown. It's a simple easy step that ensures great stencil quality.
And that's it. Set your screens in a dry area mesh down to dry so that you may recoat them with emulsion for your next print job.