Printers often cut corners in the process of reclaiming the screen to reduce costs. However, skimping on the adequate procedures can actually damage the printer screens prematurely, resulting in far more expensive repairs and having the process be far less efficient. Check out the following six step-by-step guide to reclaiming your screen in an effective way!

Step 1: Remove The Printer Ink

Remove the ink from the mesh and scrape off any excess ink to try and salvage it for potential future use. The secondary step is to remove any trace of the ink using an ink degrader. An ink degrader is essentially a “spray and wash” solution that is applied to the screen and it works to break down the resins and pigments within the ink. The solution will allow the ink to come off easily.

Step 2: Rinse Off The Ink

Now that the ink is far less sticky from the ink degrader solution spray, you can gently scrub the ink and rinse off the remaining ink. This process should be relatively easy as it should spray off without hassle, but there may be more stubborn areas that require more scrubbing or more ink degrader solution to be applied.

Step 3: Remove The Emulsion

The emulsion is a tough glue-like substance that is UV sensitive. When there is an image placed onto the emulsion and exposed to UV light, a negative image is then created which is the stencil used to leak ink onto the substrate. Use emulsion remover, also known as a stripper, to take off the stencil and emulsion. 

Step 4: Remove Stains Or Haze

Whether the screen was underexposed, you used the wrong chemicals or made a different mistake, there’s still a good chance you can rectify the screen. If there are stains, a haze or ghosting, use a haze remover to remove them. Ensure you’re careful when using the remover to ensure you’re not applying too much, as the product can eat away at the mesh surface.

Step 5: Degrease The Screen

Degreasing is a necessary step as it removes any invasive or mild chemicals remaining on the screen. Use a mild soap to degrease and apply the soap to a soft cloth to apply to the screen.

Step 6: Dry The Screen

Water droplets from the rinsing or greasing process may affect the screen and quality of future print images. To ensure this does not happen, ensure the screen and frame are dried right after the degreasing process. After this, recoat the screen with emulsion and you’re ready for the next print project.

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