Scribbles & Drips (scribblesanddrips.com) specializes in vehicle wrapping, lettering, large-format signage, and, most recently, screen printing of garments – a natural add-on to the custom design shop. William Neyer started the company in his basement in 1998. Soon thereafter he moved into his uncle’s garage but outgrew that space by 2011 when he built a new 1600-square-foot facility to house his expanding business.
As Scribbles & Drips’ customer base increased, so did requests for screen printed apparel. “A lot of our customers were interested in screen printing because we already had artwork for their vehicles,” says Neyer. “So, we decided to take those existing graphics and put them onto T-shirts.”
Having no prior screen printing experience, Neyer began farming out T-shirt orders. Then, on the recommendation of his cousin, he and his wife attended training courses at Vastex International to learn the screen printing process.
Prepress equipment eases screen prep
In 2014, Neyer invested in a screen printing shop equipment package, which he set up in his uncle’s garage. His purchase included a V2000HD six-color/four-station press, a RedFlash flash cure unit, an EconoRed I infrared dryer, an E-200-2331 screen exposure unit with a Dri-Vault cabinet, a 36-inch washout booth, and a screen rack that holds up to 24 screens.
The training and equipment package launched Scribbles and Drips into its screen printing venture. Neyer hired a part-time assistant, Doug Fenstermaker, who had previous screen printing experience and has since been promoted to screen print manager.Advertisement
To prepare screens, Fenstermaker coats them with emulsion and dries them in the Expos-It E2331 ultraviolet screen exposing unit. The machine has six 40-watt fluorescent bulbs and a digital timer for exposure and vacuum control.
“The vacuum draws down quickly and securely, allowing for good screen-to-film contact,” notes Fenstermaker. “Our exposure time is about 10 to 12 minutes per screen, and we coat them a little thicker than normal.”
The exposure unit is mounted to a Dri-Vault VDC-513610 screen drying cabinet capable of drying ten 51 x 36-inch screens. Heated air circulates through the pressurized cabin, drying the screens in less than one hour.
Fenstermaker cleans screens with a 36-inch -wide washout booth that accommodates a variety of frame sizes. “The booth has a frosted acrylic back panel, which you can backlight to see through the screens more clearly,” he says, “ensuring that everything is washed out of the screens properly.” Clean screens are stored in the screen rack, where Fenstermaker also dries coated screens if the drying cabinet is full.
Expanded press improves flexibility, capacity
On average, Scribbles & Drips receives screen print orders of approximately 24 pieces, with occasional orders for several hundred pieces. To offer more color choices and increase vibrancy using specialty ink, Neyer upgraded the V2000HD press from six-colors/four-stations as purchased, to eight-colors/four-stations by adding two modular print heads.Advertisement
“We were printing a lot of simulated process designs, and most of the designs required black, white, and an underbase, which immediately used up three of our colors,” explains Fenstermaker. “That left only three other colors to work with on a six-color press.”
Adding the two printheads allows him to print a greater variety of T-shirt designs in a wider range of colors. Additionally, he can set up several jobs consisting of two or three colors simultaneously.
“Right now, I have two jobs set up on press: a two-color left chest and two-color back for one customer, and a two-color left chest and two-color back for another customer,” says Fenstermaker. “So I’m using all eight printheads, but I have the front and back set up for both orders.”
To facilitate printing on different garment areas and types he purchased specialized pallets for legs, double sleeves, pockets, oversize garments, and a jacket hold-down. “The jacket hold-down is handy when you’re printing jackets with an inner liner,” he says. “It keeps the job in registration and helps prevent the jacket from moving and separating from the liner.” Fenstermaker also favors the double sleeve pallet, especially for large orders, because it allows him to print two sleeves at the same time, halving production time.
Automatic head rotations prevent over-flashing
Between colors, he activates the foot pedal on the RedFlash flash cure unit with AutoFlash, to automatically rotate the flash head into place over the pallet. After a preset dwell time, the unit returns to home position until the next pallet swings into place.Advertisement
“Often, shops run into problems because the flash unit remains over the pallet, and the operator forgets to move it,” says Fenstermaker. “With the AutoFlash, you can set the unit’s timer for how long you want it to stay over the pallet so you don’t over-flash the shirts.”
After printing, Fenstermaker places the shirts on the EconoRed conveyor dryer, with its 30-inch-wide conveyor belt and a 4300-watt heater. Both the temperature and heater height are adjustable to maximize heating efficiency. “If we have an order that’s a combination of T-shirts and sweatshirts, we can easily slow down the belt speed and raise the height of the heater to avoid burning the hoods,” says Fenstermaker, who estimates that it takes about 40 seconds to run a T-shirt through the drying chamber.
At times, he has a backlog of T-shirts coming off the press: “By the time I turn around with another shirt, the first shirt is still on the dryer,” he says. To double his drying capacity, he plans to add a second, modular heating chamber and extending the conveyor belt, which can then be run at twice the speed.
Screen printing business growing, complements vehicle wrapping
In 2016, Neyer built a 9000 square-foot facility for his vehicle wrapping business and moved his screen printing shop from his uncle’s garage to the building formerly used for vehicle wrapping.
Today, screen printing constitutes about 10 percent of his business, but orders have picked up in the last three years, and the shop is poised for expansion. In anticipation, Neyer has a V2000HD four-color/four-station press and a RedFlash R28 flash cure unit on standby to operate alongside the press and flash cure unit already in use.
Screen printing also allows Neyer to service his customers on a more regular basis: “We’ll print T-shirts and tank tops for them in the summer, and then we’ll see them again in the fall for sweatshirts and hoodies,” he says. “On the other hand, when we letter a truck, it could be three to five years before we see the customer again.”
Watch Jay Busselle, Adrienne Palmer, and Jeremy Picker dive deep into DTG printing data, popular styles, and opportunities.
Apparel Decoration Trends for 2021 Part Two
Jay Busselle, marketing director, Equipment Zone, interviews two experts in apparel decoration trends: Adrienne Palmer, editor-in-chief of Screen Printing magazine, and Jeremy Picker, creative director and CEO of AMB3R Creative and Screen Printing Editorial Advisory Board member. Both share their insights on decoration trends, apparel styles, and some powerful data for DTG printing. Plus, Picker gives an exclusive look at his 2021 trend report. This is a follow-up webinar to Equipment Zone’s DTG Training Academy virtual event.
FESPA Global Print Expo 2021 Travel Update: Restrictions Lifted for Vaccinated from “Very High Risk” Countries
UPS CMO Kevin Warren to Be Keynote Speaker for January EFI Connect Conference
Roland DGA Completes Online “Application Page Library”
Meet the 2021 WISP Award Winners: Brandi Schieber
Printing United Alliance Cancels 2021 In-Person Expo
With This Open Google Sheet, Screen Printers Can Sell Off Excess Inventory
Photo Gallery2 months ago
33 Funny Memes That Screen Printers Will Understand All Too Well
Case Studies4 months ago
How a Professional Wrestler Began Supplying Screen Printed Apparel to the Wrestling Community
Thomas Trimingham4 months ago
Three Things Every Screen Printer Should Do Right Now
Business & Industry3 months ago
Datacolor ColorReader EZ Portable Tool
Photo Gallery2 months ago
13 Misprinted T-Shirts for the Screen Printing Hall of Shame
Photo Gallery3 months ago
11 Photos That Show What It Takes to Be a Screen Printer
Headlines1 month ago
WATCH: Screen Printer’s Viral TikTok Video Approaching 10 Million Views
Photo Gallery1 month ago
13 Iconic Band T-Shirts That Will Strike a Chord with Screen Printers