5.31.2010

fresh from the Makery: YuDu, round two

After posting my initial review of the YuDu home screenprinting machine, I had the opportunity to do another primarily text-based invitation order. Now, the only reason I was willing to even try this project via YuDu after all the difficulty I had the first time around is because the client wanted, once again, silver ink on dark card stock (impossible with the standard flat printing I typically offer). Otherwise, I really don't recommend screenprinting for fine text - flat printing is always going to look crisper and if you want a little something extra in the printing department you might as well investigate thermography, engraving, or letterpress. Well, once again, despite claiming victory over machine in that first review, I ran into much of the same problems, mainly getting the emulsion on just right. My screen wasn't wet enough so I tried to spot treat it with my fine mist spray bottle but then the screen was too wet, my emulsion got all drippy, and half of my image wouldn't rinse out (meaning half of it wouldn't print). I ended up modifying the design so we could go with flat printing instead, feeling slightly defeated and disappointed that I wasn't able to provide this client with exactly what she was looking for.

However, right after that order, while her graduation announcement text was still half-assedly burned onto my 220 mesh screen, I started work on a wedding invitation order that included a patterned wrap with the right idea as far as design but whose colors were all wrong. So I bravely proposed using my YuDu to create a customized version in the form of a two-color butterfly pattern screenprinted on a lightweight colored wrapping paper, all of which I was able to match to the colors in the client's wedding palette after a couple of print proofs.



(What a difference printing the lighter color over the darker color makes, huh?)

I determined that it's really best to get your screen wet enough (but not too wet) before you apply your sheet of emulsion. So once again, I thoroughly wet my screen in the sink, let it drip dry for a minute or two, then dabbed it with a paper towel so there were no drippy areas. Of course, now the screen was too dry, so once it was on the YuDu, I took my wet sponge and went over both sides in both directions (horizontally and vertically across the screen). There's pretty much no way this will make your screen drippy but it will ensure there's water in each and every little hole. Applying the emulsion was no problem this time around, and I did it twice, back to back, since I was using both of my 110 mesh screens for this two-color job. There was some webbing on one of the screens but toward the edge, leaving plenty of space for my 8 1/2 by 11 inch design. I didn't fuss with the water bottle this time and that seemed to do the trick.



As you can see, my design is a lot bigger and bolder than the text-based project I blogged about before, so my 110 mesh screens worked just fine this time around (I highly recommend getting yourself a 220 mesh screen for anything with fine detail, although you can see the line-based butterflies printed as well as the solid silhouettes in this case). I still had a little bit of difficulty with the YuDu brand printing ink. I'm finding that the viscosity is really inconsistent depending on the color, and it annoys me that they don't have a cyan/magenta/yellow kit (which, with "k", or black, provide the basic building blocks of printing a full range of colors...yes, I am a certified member of the cult of CMYK). But, as we learned with the last order, non-YuDu brand inks, of course, work just fine. I actually ended up using a weird mix of colors and inks to match the "plum" and "grape" colors used elsewhere in this couple's invitation ensemble.



One thing I added to my YuDu arsenal this time around was yet another squeegee. YuDu must be reading the reviews (you may remember I was a little snobby about the pathetic piece of plastic they pass off as a squeegee in the kit that comes with the machine), because they've come out with a "pro" squeegee. The non-YuDu brand squeegee I bought for the last order was a little too flimsy for this one. The YuDu brand "pro" squeegee was a nice compromise between the basic squeegee that comes with the machine (which is completely rigid) and the squeegee I bought for the last order. Since I'm printing much larger areas of solid color with this order, I needed something a bit more rigid. The YuDu "pro" squeegee worked really well in this case.

Who knows how the next project will go. Just when you think you've mastered it, something goes wrong. But I'm sure, like anything, more practice will bring me a little closer to YuDu perfection.

4 comments:

Design in August said...

Rebecca, Your detailed reviews and posts on the Yudu have been so enlightening and so very helpful. Thank you! I've been looking into Yudu for a while now, specifically for printing invitation suites and announcements at home (the 220 screen seems like a good solution).

I am a designer/art director by trade and have always hired out the printing. Yet I enjoy the process (love love LOVE the dark room work of traditional photography).

My takeaway from your reviews is that there still is a good amount of sweat to shed over the learning curve, but quite simply... Would you recommend the Yudu? I'm pretty much ready to pull the trigger on the 30 day trial.

Thanks again for posting your thoughts!

Cheers!
Daiva

RBG said...

Hi Daiva - Thanks for your comment! It's funny because after only a year doing this, I'm honestly feeling a bit burned out on production (mostly all the trimming and assembly I do, not so much the printing) and would prefer to do more designing. But I love the screenprinting process - and the YuDu is really perfect for the round 2 examples - and while I have had some success printing text, I'm not sure I'd recommend it if that's all you plan to do. Screenprinting - even with the best equipment - is not the most precise process. I mean, it can definitely be done but in my opinion the YuDu is better for bolder graphics, patterns, and large text (i.e. posters and the like), etc.

I hope that helps!

Daiva said...

That certainly does help to manage my expectations. Thanks, Rebecca! Keep up the fun, creative work!

P.S. I too am positively *thrilled* that SYTYCD is back on the air. Already counting down the hours until tonight's auditions ;o)

java diva said...

What beautiful butterfly paper you created! LOVE the colors!