The article provides an in-depth look at screen printing squeegees, covering materials, durometer values, shapes, and maintenance. It offers practical tips and storage solutions, emphasizing the importance of proper care and usage to achieve optimal printing results.

Material Science

Squeegee Centrifuge Cast Machine

  • Polyurethane Blades: These blades exhibit impressive chemical resistance, wear-resistance, and retain elasticity over time, making them an industry favorite. The manufacturing could involve processes like casting in a centrifuge or using flat form tools.
  • Handle Material: Aluminum handles are corrosion-resistant, which is vital in a setting where inks and cleaning solvents are frequently used.

Durometer Dynamics

Durometer Tester

Durometer Scale: The scale ranges from 0 to 100, where a higher number indicates a harder material. In screen printing, common durometer ratings range from 60 (soft) to 90 (hard).

Price Range is shown on # Amazon

Layering

illustration of Layering OF SQUEEGEES singe dual triple by screenprintingnow

Triple-layer squeegees, with different durometer ratings for each layer, allow for a combination of rigidity and flexibility, optimizing ink shear and deposit.

Shape Specifics

WHAT SQUEEGEE SHAPES ARE USED IN SCREEN PRINTING BY SCREENPRINTINGNOW

Edge Geometry: The edge of the squeegee blade can be square, rounded, or beveled, each serving different purposes in terms of the amount and manner of ink deposit.

Colour coding

Different Squeegee Colors

Lack of standardized colour coding among squeegee manufacturers necessitates a durometer gauge, ensuring you achieve the precise ink deposit crucial for impeccable screen prints. Just compare these two squeegee manufacturers to see the difference, Pleiger Plastics Company USA vs. Trelleborg.

Maintenance Mastery

Cleaning: Specialized cleaning solutions and techniques can help preserve the squeegee’s integrity, removing ink residues without harming the blade material.
Sharpening: Regular sharpening helps maintain a crisp edge, crucial for achieving clean prints. Sharpeners come in manual or automatic models.

Screen Printing Squeegee Sharpening

Squeegee Sharpener

Screen Printing Squeegee Washing Machine

Alternatively, a variety of tools are available to maintain or modify your squeegee, ensuring it stays in top condition.

  • Screen Printing Squeegee Washing Machine: A dedicated automatic machine for swift and thorough cleaning of your squeegee.
  • Clipper: Utilized for rounding the corners of the squeegee, helping to prevent mesh wear.
  • Knife Cutter: Ideal for precisely cutting the squeegee to your desired length.
  • Squeegee Sharpener: Available in both automatic and manual versions, perfect for keeping the edges of your squeegee sharp and ready.
  • Manual Edge Grinding Tool: A manual tool designed for refining the edges of your squeegee, ensuring a smooth glide across the screen.

Ideal storage

Ideal storage: for a Screen Printer’s Squeegee entails ensuring the edge remains untouched. Illustratively, a freely hanging squeegee epitomizes safety. Storing them for easy identification not only aligns with lean production principles but also invites either purchasing or crafting specialized fixtures for secure placement.

squeegee handle stand by himself


Squeegee Standing Independently

Simple Squeegee Holder made from wood

DIY Version

Usage Techniques

Squeegee Stroke Push or Pull
  • Printing Pressure: Too much pressure can cause the squeegee to bend, affecting the ink deposit and image clarity. Finding the right pressure is key for quality prints, in general, however, one can say that the squeegee should not bend, which is unfortunately seen too often, often with the background white.
  • Angle and Speed: The squeegee angle and the speed of the stroke affect the ink shear and deposit, requiring a good understanding for optimal results. The straighter the squeegee is held, the less colour. A normal 45-degree angle is optimal. But you have to try it out because which printing ink is used and EOM on the mesh play a decisive role here.

These same rules apply to manual and automatic printing.

Sustainable Shifts

Eco-Friendly Models: Squeegees made from recycled materials (see image below) or with replaceable blades can help reduce waste, aligning with eco-conscious practices.

Environmentally Friendly Recycled Skateboard Screen Printer Squeegee

While recycled materials for squeegees appear promising, they are often permanently glued, making aluminum handles more economical.

With aluminum, you can easily replace or rotate the squeegee, extending its usability if it’s still in good shape.

# Aluminum Screen Printing Squeegee

Customization and Innovation

Ergonomic Designs

Ergonomically designed handles can significantly reduce fatigue, especially in a high-volume printing setting.

Plastic squeegee holder
EZ Grip Screen Print Squeegee

Technological Advancements Double-blade

Action Engineering claims: “Boost printing speed by 30% with the Double Blade Squeegee for automatic Screen printing, optimizing ink penetration and print quality.”. My personal experience is, that it can help to clear the mesh in one stroke. But if you gain 30% production speed, sounds a bit overwhelming. Source

Budgeting and Cost Management

Considering the cost of replacing or maintaining squeegees and budgeting for quality tools is vital for both hobbyists and professional screen printing operations.
The squeegee, though seemingly straightforward, holds a realm of complexity and mastery that, when well-understood and well-navigated, can significantly elevate the screen printing art and craft.

Additional Tip

After perusing this article, aluminum handles should emerge as your preferred choice. A handy tip: metal holders are typically secured with screws. Before mounting your squeegee, lightly grease the screw threads. This precautionary step counters the seizing effect prolonged exposure to water or other solvents has on the screws, making future unscrewing endeavors much simpler.

Be sure not to miss the Squeegee Tip of the Day!

Questions & Answers to Squeegees

What is the best Squeegee Handle for Screen Printing

A Squeegee Handle Stand by himself

We always advise going for an Aluminum Handle, as it is easy to clean and last a lifetime.

Screen Printer Squeegee are made from

Squeegee Centrifuge Cast Machine

Good squeegees are made with polyurethane ((PUR and PU) is a polymer), which has the advantage of chemical resistance, wear-resistance and retains its dynamic elastic properties.

Why Squeegees have different Colors

The colour indicates the durometer it should have. But as we have no worldwide standard concerning squeegee, it’s up to the Manufacturer what colour code he gives for the durometer.

What squeegee shape is best for screen printing

The squeegee shape, insurance the amount of ink it lay down. We in screen printing, use mostly the round or sharp squeegee. Round for more ink deposit and the sharp for less deposit.

What means durometer by a squeegee

Durometer Tester

The durometer indicates the hardness of the squeegee, so harder it is, so higher the durometer. Screen printer work in a range of 65 soft to 90 hard.

How are Squeegee are sold

Squeegee Roll

You should be able to buy # squeegees for screen printing in meters, or properly cheaper in rolls.

The squeegee, though seemingly straightforward, holds a realm of complexity and mastery that, when well-understood and well-navigated, can significantly elevate the screen printing art and craft.

Should any queries arise, feel free to share them in the comments section below.

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35 years of screen printing have taught me a lot. I would like others to benefit from this as well. I strive for accuracy, use professional writing aids, and personally review all content. Affiliate links marked with (#) support my work without incurring additional costs. If you have a question or suggestion, please leave a comment. Thank you for your support!

Over the decades, I've had the privilege of printing for a range of clients, from startups to recognized brands like:

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