Line Table Screen Printing and the Benefits
Line Table Screen Printing is mostly used in Asia, Africa, and South America. It’s a screen printing technique, where you have pallets next to each other, aligned like a table. This is quite an old technique, but a low-cost starter solution, to screen print T-Shirts.
Before the 90s we screen print mostly water-based inks, this changed in the 90s as Plastisol inks hit the market and changed the Screen Printing Industries, it is almost the standard ink today, in screen printing shops. Plastisol inks are much easier to print on rotary screen printing machines. Plastisol inks have a very short flashpoint. As a result, they dry much faster under a flash cure and it is easy to print the next color on it.
But today, the trend is clearly towards environmentally friendly water-based inks. Water-based inks need longer to dry under a flash cure because you need to get the water out before it can be overprinted again. And that’s where the Line Table has clear advantages. Look at today’s Oval Automatic screen printing machines.
they have much more space in between the printing heads, the result is, that the printed water-based ink, has more time to cool down before the next color will be printed. This is very important by water-based inks. To keep the pallets cool and ink itself in the screen should not warm up.
As per the line table, You start with a screen and print as many t-shirts as possible in one round. Normally someone follows with a “hot air dryer” (or other heat-generating tools, but best is with a hot airflow) to dry the ink. Once you are done with one color, you take the next screen and print the next color. in the meantime, the ink, you printed before and dried, has time to get back to room temperature. This means your ink, in the screen does not dry up as fast, when you hit the next layer of ink to the garment, and that’s one advantage of line table printing.
Line table platten are less hot.
As said The line table platens have time to cool down, also the platen never heats up like on an automatic printing machine.
Remember, water-based inks dry at ambient temperature, and plastisol inks do not.
This means for automatic rotary screen printing machines this incl. manual printing. That by using a flash cure, the palettes have the tendency to get too hot. This can cause by water-based screen printing inks, that dry out in the screen and create clogged screens.
Byline tables work differently, you mostly do not use a flash cure.
A hot air blower is mostly used for screen printing line tables. It is an inexpensive choice. But the disadvantage is that they often break quickly due to dropping or constant use because they are not really built for industrial use.
To avoid the dropping of the hot air blower. You can hang the blower high, like on a washing robe cord, along with the line table so that there is no chance of it falling down to the grown.
To archive a certain production output, you should have many, even more, if not hundreds of tables, to increase production.
But this also takes up a lot of space, where the automatic or manual printing machine will be much more space-saving.
And remember, Line Table printing, is a very low-cost entry, to start screen printing.
Line Table Screen Printing Benefits
- A Single Person can print very fast with many tables.
- It’s the perfect choice for water-based printing inks. considering, that the water-based ink, does not like too much heat.
- Line Tables are low Tech, nothing can really break or get damaged.
- Low-cost investment, compare to Rotary Printing Machine or Oval Printing Machine
Screen Print Table Downside
- However, for high production, you would need many tables, and this needs space, and then it gets costly.
- To cure the garment, they need to move once again to a dryer, which is not so efficient, as by a rotary press, where the dryer stands next to it.
- You have no off contact, with the screen. Off contact helps to release the ink from the mesh and produce a sharp crisp edge.
Screen Printing line table, is very often used in Asia, as mentioned to be productive you would need a lot of them and then you are able to get a very nice production. But thinking about a small table, this is only good for home use, or a real small production workshop.
Here is a construction plan, how to build your own Line Table Screen Printing.
SILKSCREEN PRINTING 10 STATIONS LINE TABLE PRESS PLAN
And here I find a nice PDF file, on how to build your Line Table, I’m not sure if this website silkscreenprintinginfo (opens in a new tab) is still operational.
But I save the download for this nice DIY line table build.
Line Table screen printing registration options
As for micro registration, the most used option, I have seen, are these three options. Where my perfect option is for sure the 3 one. Where you just push the frame in a corner and along the metal or wood bar. It’s the most simple way and with my experience printing with a line table, it has the best registration.
What about Glass Palette
I saw it here once again in this Forum (opens in a new tab), I never used it for my line table printing. But I did one for my transfer printing once, as glass is very easy to clean, be useful for its purpose. For sure you would need a thick glass.
To cure the garment, after table screen printing, they have to move garments, to a dryer, which is not so efficient.
Line Table Screen Printing facts
Table screen printing is better-called line table screen printing as we do not print only on one table because we have a line of tables (palettes) to print on. If we speak about line tables screen printing, as seen above (picture 2), we are only able to print on panels and not on finish garments. Where on the videos show, you can print on finished garments.
Line Table Screen Printing looks like an old way of screen printing, but it’s a great way to Screen print Water Base Inks, and it’s low cost to enter into screen printing.