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Fixing in on Mesh-to-Frame Attachment

(May 2007) posted on Tue May 22, 2007

Decisions you make during the screenmaking stage can have a major impact on the success of the printing process. Learn about the choices you face in frame selection and in securing your mesh to the frame.

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By Eric Klein


No matter which method of adhesive removal you use, once you’ve reconditioned a frame, you will need to treat it as if it were brand new. That means you’ll need to check the gluing surface and edges of the frame for nicks, cuts, or any sharp protrusions that could cut or puncture the fabric during the stretching and gluing process. The use of a solvent to clean the gluing surface also is recommended for non-wood frames. The solvent should evaporate rapidly and leave little to no residue. Oily solvents, such as mineral spirits, lacquer thinners, or safety solvents, are not appropriate. Solvents such as acetone or isopropyl alcohol (99%) are very good choices and will leave the frame clean and free of any material that could compromise the adhesive bond.


Stretching and gluing with rigid frames

The frame is ready for the screen-stretching phase once it is clean and prepped. Just like frame types, you have many styles of stretching equipment from which you can choose (Figure 3).

The two main categories of stretching devices are mechanical and pneumatic systems. The type of system you use will be determined by the number and sizes of the frames you plan on stretching, as well as your budget.


Within the pneumatic category are air-bar and individual-clamp stretching systems. The air-bar systems tend to be less expensive due to the fewer parts they involve, but they normally don’t stretch mesh as uniformly as a system based on individual pneumatic clamps. The individual-pneumatic-clamp system can compensate for inconsistency in mesh loading, while air-bar systems can’t. However, both types of pneumatic systems allow for the fabric to stabilize since constant pressure is put on the fabric during the stretching process. Another  benefit to pneumatic systems is the fact that most can pre-bow the frame, resulting in even more consistent tensioning among screens.


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