Screen Printing Darkroom – Learn the BasicStefan Mertes
How many times, I went to screen printing shops, who have very expensive screen printing machines and a look at their Darkroom, been just a disaster...
Here is my latest example of a Darkroom what is copy past too many workshops I visit.
Screen Printing Darkroom
A Darkroom, means not that you have to work in the Dark. There is no need to paint the wall black, it’s not a gathering place for people who are tired and need a nap or even play hide and see.
The Darkroom is the one most important Room in your workshop.
Here it starts, to produce printing frames, what will last in production. Where you get the most out of your artwork. If the frames are done well, you have the joy to print smart and beautiful. And it dedicates if your production runs smooth, or if you have break downs and production nightmares.
The Darkroom, is a climate controlled area, with a humidity level of 30-40% (MAX 50%)! The first tool, what have to be in this Room is a Hygrometer.
It’s a low cost tool, what you will find in much hardware store. The reason why you would need one, is that your Emulsion, needs to be dry. And as Emulsion acts like a sponge and absorb water from the Air, you better make sure, that your Humidity stay’s below 40%. A Hydrometer is a quick indicator, to show you what is going on.
If you are from an area, where the humidity is low all year, that’s great. As you would not need the next tools to control the humidity level and save some money.
To control the Humidity Level
, is mostly used an Air Conditioner or dehumidifier, the size of these units depending, on your room size in cubic meter (m3). Ask an expert, what would be the right unit for your room. You would need them running 24Hours, as you prepared screens will stay properly overnight to. If you use an Air Conditioner, use the settings to remove humidity “Dry”, not the “Cold”. As we do not need a cold room, we just need a dry room and these settings will save a good amount on your electricity bill.
Keep the Room closed! How many times I see, that companies install an Air Conditioner and then the entry door, stays permanently open. It does not make sense, close the doors and windows!
Not only you would like to have a low humidity level in your Darkroom, you want it Dusk Free too. Wet Emulsion, seems to act like a magnet to Dusk. Use an Aspirator to get the Dusk out, but please, do not use a Water Aspirator, use a dry unit. I have seen it with my own eyes, that people, invest in a dehumidifier and then use a water aspirator, to remove the dusk. =) THERE IS NO WATER IN THE DARKROOM.
Your Darkroom! Paint the walls white, install yellow safety light, with low or better non UV radiation. You need to see well, in this room. White walls don’t create UV, that’s a reason, why you don’t need dark painted walls, like in a dance club where you meet your first time girlfriend. Darkroom Safety comes with proper light to!
To dry your Emulsion
You would need a heater, mostly used in a Box, where you dry your screens. Don’t overheat your frames, 30-40C should more than fine.
This will help you to create better long-lasting frames, because:
- no dust in emulsion = fewer pinholes
- proper humidity level = better frame developments, durable Emulsion, more easy reclaiming
- the Right Light = much better working area, no exposure to frame before development
- Emulsion needs a humidity level of 30-40%
- Darkroom is a climate controlled area
- A Darkroom is a Dusk Free Zone
- Light is very important, but without UV radiation
- The must-have, basic tool is a Hydrometer