Prepare Screens with EXOstencil® and an OKI pro9541WT
How can EXOstencil® and an OKI Pro9541WT simplify the screen preparation process while minimizing environmental waste and toxins? Learn how Neenah Coldenhove’s EXOstencil® screen prep paper can make your life as a screen printer so much easier!
Environmental Waste and Toxicity in Screen Printing
Screen printing creates a lot of waste and requires hazardous chemicals. Screen printing uses chemicals, solvents, inks, thinners, and much more in the setup, printing, and cleaning processes. Fume exposure from screen printing can cause a variety of health issues, from sinus irritation to respiratory problems or, if exposed long enough, cancer.
In addition to toxicity, screen printing is not often an eco-friendly option. To create screens, many screen printers must clean used screens for reuse, this includes the process of washing them out with water and a chemical-based soap. This creates a lot of water waste.
When setting up a new screen with the traditional method, printers must use a chemical emulsion, UV light and water. The chemical emulsion can be toxic to people and the environment if not used and disposed of properly.
Environmentally Conscious Screen Printing
Neenah Coldenhove has consistently been an environmentally conscious and eco-friendly manufacturer of premium papers. They limit their environmental footprint by constantly improving their production methods to limit effects on the environment.
Knowing this, there’s no surprise that Neenah Coldenhove has worked to develop a method for creating screens that minimizes the environmental waste and chemicals used.
Neenah has created a special paper for laser printers that can not only reduce the environmental effect of screen printing, but also setup time. It’s a “win-win” in our book. The Neenah Coldenhove EXOstencil® paper was engineered with the OKI 9541WT printer in mind but can be used with other laser printers.
Increase Efficiency in Screen Printing with EXOstencil® and an OKI Pro9541WT
Make the screen printing process faster, easier, and safer without chemicals with EXOstencil®. This paper was specially designed for use with an OKI pro9541WT laser printer but can be used with other laser white toner printers. However, the 9541WT has the largest print area available and works best for screen printers. EXOstencil® is an environmentally friendly, “chemical free” alternative to traditional screen prepping processes.
Using the OKI Pro9541WT to print on EXOstencil® Screen Prep Paper is a “chemical free” way to make and reclaim your screens. It offers an easy, environmentally alternative to traditional screen printing frames.
It eliminates the need for chemicals, emulsions, and drying time. Thus, significantly reducing the time it takes to prepare a screen. EXOstencil® can reduce screen prep time to as low as 10 minutes.
How to Use EXOstencil® Screen Prep Paper
EXOstencil® is a two-step paper system using an imaging sheet (brown grid) and a transfer sheet (red grid). There are essentially 3 major steps to creating your screen. First, you’ll print your image, then you’ll apply adhesive, and finally you will press the stencil to your screen. Detailed steps are listed below.
Print Your Image
- Make a negative stencil-right facing image of the art to be screen printed. Include any alignment marks needed.
- Use the ‘heavy paper’ setting to ensure fusing of the toners and ’high resolution’ settings to ensure a continuous toner application. If not using an OKI® printer, then print the image with red or blue toner may result in a better image
- Inspect the EXOstencil® Sheet for areas of damaged coating resulting from mishandling (these areas will create voids in the stencil).
- Load the EXOstencil® Screen Prep Paper with the brown grid on the back so that the image will appear on the plain, unprinted side of the paper and with the short dimension feeding into the printer (grain long). If using an OKI® printer, printing with white toner provides better results.
Note: If not using an OKI® Printer, inspect the printed sheet with intense back lighting to ensure continuous toner application as voids in the toner will result in voids in the stencil. Pinholes indicate printer settings need to be adjusted to increase toner application. Toner adhesion can be tested by gently rubbing the image with a tissue. If toner comes off, a different printer setting may be required.
Marry Imaging & Transfer Sheet to Apply Adhesive
- Position the brown grid transfer sheet face down over the printed image.
- Position the image paper transfer sheet face up on the bottom platen of the pan.
- Press: 25 seconds at 170-180°F/77-82°C with medium pressure (30-50 psi/2-3bar).
- Separate papers in a smooth, even motion while still hot, taking care to not burn fingers.
Transfer Image to the Screen
- Place your screen on the heat press, with the frame facing down.
- Position the image face down on the screen to ensure all images align. Keep the image about 1″ from press edges for best adhesion.
- Press: 2 Minutes at 400°F/204°C, 60 psi/4 bar. If not using an OKI® printer, start at 2 minutes at 350°F/177°C.
Note: Obtaining desired adhesion may be challenging with some laser printers.
- Allow the transfer paper to cool by waving the screen in an up and down motion.
- Peel the transfer paper away from the screen in one smooth motion.
- Block the edges as you would with any screen.
- Apply tape to spot repair any non-printed voids.
- Lastly, use the screen stencil as you would an emulsion stencil.
Cleaning Your Screen
Pressure wash with at least 1500 PSI (103 bar), ensuring that the stencil is removed from all pores. Some harmless staining may remain.
How Can EXOstencil® and an OKI 9541WT Help Your Screen Printing Business?
Traditional methods of creating a screen can take upwards of one hour per screen (or per color) and at times, isn’t profitable for everyone. With Neenah Coldenhove’s EXOstencil® Screen Prep Paper and an OKI 9541 white toner printer, you can cut the screen prep time down to 10 minutes per screen.
Not only will EXOstencil® cut your screen prep time drastically, but it eliminates the need for chemical emulsions and adhesives. Therefore, making your screen printing shop more eco-friendly and less toxic while also increasing productivity and efficiency.
EXOstencil® can be used with any laser printer, it doesn’t have to be an OKI digital transfer printer. However, the screen prep paper was developed with the OKI pro9541WT printers in mind and works best with them. If you don’t already own an OKI printer, EXOstencil® may be another reason to consider one. Not only can you minimize screen prep time and reduce chemical usage, but you can also utilize the OKI to print smaller runs of a garment or more complex and colorful designs.
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