PrintFab as RIP for Silkscreen Films
Special requirements for UV exposure with printed films
When printing films for screen printing exposure, it is highly important that black ink is printed opaque enough to block the UV light and thus to achieve a good result when the screen is exposed.
For this purpose, PrintFab offers the possibility to significantly increase the amount of applied ink when printing with many Epson and Canon inkjet printers (compared to normal printing on paper). Especially with Epson printers, PrintFab can multiply the amount of ink by making several passes of the print head at a slower paper feed rate.
In addition, the black coverage can be increased by using special inks. The black cartridge can be replaced by a "UV Black" with better opacity for UV light or all color cartridges can be replaced by an "All-black" ink set. This allows even more black ink to be applied and - if necessary - allows to compensate for failed printhead nozzles. You can select which ink cartridges to use in "Multi-black" mode.
Adjustment of ink quantity
The amount of ink should be adjusted so that good UV opacity is achieved without ink running on the film.
Adjustment of screen frequency and screen angle
As already described, the exposure process is based on a black-and-white process; intermediate tones are produced by means of a so-called halftone raster. The raster size and angle must be adjusted to suit the screen printing mesh and the inks.
PrintFab only supports printing of monochrome artwork and therefore just offers a single setting for the screen angle. For multicolor prints, color separation must be done beforehand with suitable publishing software such as CorelDraw or Adobe Illustrator - see the "Printing color separations" section below.
Default 45 degrees, 50 LPI, eliptical
Angle 15 degrees, 70 LPI, round dots
Adjustment of tonal values (brightness reproduction)
In the process from printing a design via printing on film, UV exposure to the actual silkscreen printing, there are several reproduction steps during which the printing intensity can change. When printing the film, for example, the halftone dots typically become slightly larger (dot gain), making the motive darker. To compensate, the PrintFab brightness and contrast controls can be adjusted.
Printing color separations
For color screen printing, a so-called color separation is required, with which a colored motive is divided into several color separations for the respective printing plates. This can be done, for example, using software such as CorelDraw or Adobe Illustrator. These programs offer print dialog settings for the respective screen frequency and screen angles for the individual color separations.
Illustrator / Indesign
To ensure that the halftone settings of the application program are used by PrintFab, select "Halftone mode" = "Single Black (pre-halftoned)" (or "Multi black (pre-halftoned)" when using multi-black cartridges).
Printing of pre-halftoned images
The print motive can also be converted into a rasterized black and white image with image editing software like Photoshop; this is useful, for example, to achieve special halftone effects.
When printing pre-halftoned motives, make sure that "Halftone screen mode" = "Black (pre-halftoned)" is selected.
Suitable inkjet printers
The following table lists printers that are often used for printing films. Many additional models that are supported by PrintFab can also be used for this purpose - please ask us if you want to use a different printer model e.g. with the contact form.
- Canon PIXMA iX6800 / iX6820 / iX6850 series
- Canon PIXMA Pro 100
- Epson Artisan 1400 / 1430
- Epson EcoTank ET-8500 / ET-8550
- Epson EcoTank ET-14000
- Epson EcoTank ET-15000
- Epson EcoTank ET-16500
- Epson L1110 / L3110 (use PrintFab driver "Epson EcoTank ET2710")
- Epson L1300 / L1800
- Epson Stylus Photo 1400 / 1500W
- Epson Stylus Photo 3800 / 3880
- Epson Stylus Photo 4800 / 4880 / 4900
- Epson SureColor P400 / P600 / P800
- Epson SureColor P700 / P900 (coming soon)
- Epson SureColor T3100/ T3170 / T3170X series
- Epson SureColor T3200 / T3270 series
- Epson SureColor T5200 / T5270 series
- Epson WorkForce WF-1100
- Epson WorkForce WF-7210/ WF-7710 / WF-7720
- Epson XP-2100 series
- Epson XP-15000 series