Screen Printer

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Screen printers use stencils to transfer designs onto clothing, posters, cards and a range of other materials. Stencils are placed on tightly woven mesh screens and a roller or squeegee forces ink Future Growth Decline through the exposed section of the mesh to print the desired pattern onto the media. Screen printers are responsible for preparing the stencils, mixing inks,ensuring that stencils, inks and objects to be printed are all aligned correctly and operating the printing and drying machines. They must also ensure that printing machines and screens are thoroughly cleaned after each job to avoid contaminating the next printing job with residual inks.

A printmaker etches designs onto metal plates to produce prints. Printmakers prepare ink and printmaking surfaces and transfer images to print material. They cut designs into wood or linoleum, create digital designs, prepare screens for screen-printing and execute lithographic prints. Printmakers prepare ink and printmaking surfaces and transfer images to print material by using a press or other printing method.

ANZSCO description: 392112: Prepares stencils, and sets up and operates power-driven or hand-operated screen print equipment.

Alternative names: Surface Designer

Specialisations: Screen Printing Stencil Preparer, Textiles Printer

Knowledge, skills and attributes

A screen printer needs:

  • creative and artistic flair

  • good eyesight with normal colour vision

  • to enjoy practical and manual work

  • good problem solving skills

  • good interpersonal skills

  • to be able to work under pressure

Screen Printing
(Source: Wanneroo Uniforms)

Duties & Tasks

Screen printers may perform the following tasks:

  • prepare stencils to be printed by handcutting, photographic or electronic methods

  • choose, mix and match coloured inks and load ink into printing machines

  • load paper, fabric, plastic or other material onto printing machines, making sure that objects to be printed are lined up correctly and, if there is more than one colour, that the colours are properly aligned

  • control machines and check the quality of printing

  • keep records of work completed

  • put the stencils onto a mesh fabric-printing screen and operate the printing machine, then dry the printed items by loading them into drying racks or dryers using hot air or ultraviolet light

  • unload printed items from drying racks and stack them

  • remove waste, clean and maintain machines, and maintain and care for equipment including cameras and lenses, screens, stops and filters

Working conditions

​Screen printers in Australia work in studios, workshops and factories that are generally located in the  metropolitan regions. These environments are generally well lit and ventilated. Operating printing machines can be noisy and involves some risk of injury, requiring safety standards to be followed. Screen printers work on their feet for long periods, and frequent bending and lifting may be required. Many of these workers are regularly required to work overtime to meet print deadlines. Shift work may be required in some workplaces, which can include nights and weekends. Protective clothing, such as overalls, is often required.

Using water based inks
Using water based inks
(Source:
Permaset)


Tools and technologies

Screen printers can spread ink over stencils either by hand or using special printing machines. Printed materials are then dried by placing them into drying racks or by using dryers which either use hot air or ultraviolet light to speed up the process. Screen printers must mix inks using specific ratios and quantities to produce a sufficient quantity of desired colours, computers, calculators and detailed records of previous printing jobs can be used to assist in this process. They must also use solvents and other cleaning equipment to remove waste and ink build up from machines after each job.

 
Education and training/entrance requirements

​To become a screen printer you need to complete a formal qualification in printing and graphic arts.

You can complete a traineeship. The screen printing assistant traineeship usually takes 18 months to complete and is available as a school-based traineeship.
You can complete an apprenticeship. The screen printer and stencil preparer apprenticeship usually takes 36 months to complete.


Did You Know?

How to design a Tee shirt for school

How to Design a T-shirt for School

(Source: Greek Corner Screen Printing & Embroidery)

One hint....

Double and triple check spelling.

Save yourself the embarrassment and expense of misspelling a simple word or name. Before approving your artwork, proof-read spelling and grammar… twice. Better yet, have two others proof the grammar and spelling also. It is very embarrassing to finish passing out 200 shirts only to find out you misspelled the name of your school. Trust us, it HAS happened.

When you have a list of student names you are printing on the back of the shirt, have each student look for and proofread their name. What’s the only thing worse than misspelling a student’s name? Accidentally leaving off their name! Trust us, it HAS happened. Don’t let it happen to you.

Screen Printer

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