Frequently Asked Questions

 

Fabric Panels

FAQ: How To Stretch A Fabric Panel (with color guide and recommended tensions)

Murakami Smartmesh   -   SAATI Hi-Tex/Hi-R   -   SEFAR PET 1500  -  Fabric Color Chart

FAQ: Why Should I Use Shur-Loc Panels?


The Best Prints Start With The Best Screens.
One of the most overlooked tools in many shops is the frames and mesh that is used to print most jobs. Whether someone has invested thousands in roller frames or is still using wooden frames with 10N fabrics on them, almost everyone will agree that good quality prints start with consistent screens. With a Shur-Loc mesh panel, we precision cut the shape of the mesh to match the optimal tension for the mesh that is being used. This means perfect softening, tight corners and just enough deflection curve built into the mesh to keep that frame performing at its best for as long as possible. Simply put, Shur-Loc panels go on faster, easier and last longer than any other mesh system on the planet. This means the best possible prints, longer press times and more money in pocket.

Do Panels Cost More Than Static Frames Or Bolt Mesh?
While panels may look more expensive when you compare them to mesh by the yard, there are quite a few other costs associated with bolt mesh that most users forget about. When traditionally stretching, users need locking strips, mesh clips, special tools, wrenches and quite a bit of wasted mesh. It’s also wise to factor in the additional time and shipping costs of bolt mesh verses panels as well. Your stretching department can also tension frames in a faction of the time that it takes with bolt mesh. Once you add up all the factors, that “more expensive” panel doesn’t cost so much more than bolt mesh.


FAQ: Making Your Panels Last Longer

Always Tension Your Mesh To the Proper Tension Level.

One of the biggest mistakes printers can make is falling into the ‘maximum tension’ trap. More tension does not always equal better prints. Optimal tension for the mesh you are using will give you better prints. This is the theory that is used to design every Shur-Loc® fabric panel. When mesh is over-tensioned, the threads quickly lose their elasticity and begin to break down. Keeping mesh at the proper tension level will help you avoid this premature breakage.

Does All Your Mesh Panels Tension To 35N?
The simple answer to this is, no. Mesh comes in many different counts and thread diameters. Each one of these has been given a specific tension range by the manufacturer to perform at its optimal level. Consulting a tension chart is the best way to determine exactly what tension the mesh you are using should be tensioned to.

What If My Mesh Is Over Tensioned?
Over tensioning mesh will lead to the mesh breaking down faster than usual. This would lead to the threads losing their elasticity and the knuckles of the mesh breaking down prematurely. Prints will lose their definition faster and issues like moire and ghosting could become an issue.

What If My Mesh Is Under Tensioned?
Under tensioning mesh will produce many issues with the quality of prints. The mesh is designed to be opened a certain amount to allow inks to pass through and be applied to the garment. If the mesh is under tensioned, these openings will not be large enough and not enough ink will pass through. This is the common problem that many users face with static (or stretch and glue) frames. Low tensions usually require increased off-contact and higher squeegee pressures. Both of these can lead to lower quality, inconsistent prints.

Watch your chemicals...
There are a number of chemicals that should never be used with Shur-Loc® panels. Most of these have active ingredients that include: “tones” like Acetone or ketone, MEK, naphthas, esters, ethers or toluene. These chemicals attach the PVC strips on the edge of the panel and can cause them to soften or swell. Once this happens, the adhesive inside the panel may fail, causing the mesh to release.

It’s also important to watch for alkaline being left on the mesh. Many dehazers and degreasers contain alkaline to help clean the mesh more efficiently. These types of cleaners will leave a white residue on the mesh that will slowly cause pinholes to develop in the panel. Once the threads becomes weak enough, they will break. You can avoid this by lightly spraying down your mesh with a 50/50 mix of white vinegar and water.


FAQ: Should I Use White Mesh Or Yellow Mesh?

White mesh has not been dyed. Yellow, Amber or Orange colored meshes have been dyed. The dye in the colored mesh prevents light from travelling through the threads as easily while exposing. White mesh can be exposed more easily with a weaker light source, but may not have the same stencil edge quality as an equivalent yellow mesh. The darker the dye color, the longer the mesh will take to expose. The dye colors may vary by brand, but the end result is the same for each of them.

Generally, white mesh is used on lower mesh counts with thicker thread diameters. Yellow mesh is more commonly found in higher thread counts and thinner thread diameters. Mesh counts under 110 are usually found only in white. Mesh counts from 110 to 200 are often found in both white and yellow. From 230 and above, most meshes are only available in a dyed coloring.

For the most part, either white or yellow mesh will print well for most users. The question of which one is right for you could be as simple as looking at the job you are doing and deciding which one will work best for your needs. Either way, Shur-Loc® has a vast selection to fit every need.


FAQ: What Do The Stamps On My Panel Mean?

When you first see a Shur-Loc® Fabric Panel, you might be a bit confused on how to tell the difference between all the numbers. We make this easy by identifying each panel in a number of ways. Knowing what to look for makes choosing the perfect mesh for the job easy.

A large amount of information is contained in a very small area of the fabric panel. Located in the corner, you will see a series of stamps that help you identify the mesh and size of your panel. The first stamp contains the frame size, style and mesh count. In the image above, this would be a 355 mesh for a 23x31 M3 frame. The 355 part of the mesh indicates that there are 355 threads per inch in this mesh. The second number identifies the thread diameter of each thread. The diameter of the thread is measured in microns. In the image above, they used a 34 micron thread to weave a 355 thread per inch mesh fabric. If you need a larger opening, or better coverage, you could try a 31 micron thread in the same mesh count. This will increase the opening of your mesh almost 10%. The thread diameter also dictates the amount of tension the mesh will take. The thicker the thread, the higher the tension, based on the threads per inch. Many mesh counts have several thread diameter options.

The second line contains the serial number of the panel, which tells us what mesh is used, when the panel was made and the roll of mesh that used to make it.



Squeegee Clean



FAQ: What Chemical Should I Use In The Squeegee Clean?


The Squeegee Clean is designed to be an ink remover for your squeegees. The chemical you use in it should match the type of ink that your shop uses. We recommend using the SaatiChem IR-26 due to its versatility and dilution ratio. One quart of IR-26 can be mixed with 2 quarts of water to provide the perfect amount of cleaner for the Squeegee Clean.

Many other ink removers will work just as well with the Squeegee Clean. When choosing a chemical, select one that has very low sudsing or foaming characteristics. Please consult your MSDS sheet to verify that the chemical you are currently using is not caustic to aluminum as this can lead to damage to the Squeegee Clean’s box. Also, consult our PDF sheet “How often should I change the chemicals in my Squeegee Clean?” before using a chemical that will be difficult to dispose of.

Please make sure that you are not using a chemical that is caustic to aluminum as this can lead to premature breakdown of the main box of the Squeegee Clean.


FAQ: How Often Should I Clean My Squeegee Clean?

We recommend cleaning your Squeegee Clean every 30 days. This doesn’t mean discarding the contents and starting over, but you certainly can if you wish. The clean out process for the Squeegee Clean is actually very simple. You will need the following: a 5 gallon bucket, an old t-shirt or fabric, a bungee cord, a phillips head screwdriver and something to rinse the box with.

 - Place the t-shirt loosely over the bucket (so there is an indent) and secure it with the bungee cord.

 - Loosen the mounting screws from the Squeegee Cleaner and lift it off the table.

 - Carefully pour the contents of the box through the shirt into the bucket. The shirt/fabric should capture the solid waste from the box and the liquid will run through.

 - Rinse the box with a pressure washer or hose. At this time we recommend inspecting the box to ensure there is no damage to it.

 - Remove the shirt from the bucket and discard in compliance with your local laws.

 - Pour the contents of the bucket back into the Squeegee Clean.

 - Add new chemical mix to bring the fluid level back up to the recommended level of 3 or 4 quarts of mixture.

Your Squeegee Clean is now ready for another 30 days of cleaning squeegees and flood bars.

Please make sure that you are not using a chemical that is caustic to aluminum as this can lead to premature breakdown of the main box of the Squeegee Clean.


FAQ: Can I Replace The Brushes On My Squeegee Clean If They Wear Out?

Are The Brushes Replaceable?
The brush system on the Squeegee Clean is fully replaceable. This is not to say that you will ever need to replace them, but the entire system can be removed, changed out and replaced very easily.

Can I Change The Brushes Myself?
Yes, you can change them out in your own shop. It’s a relatively simple procedure that involves a few steps to remove the shaft from the cleaner box, remove the retaining bolt and washer off the shafts, pull the old brushes and spacers off, then replace them with the new kit.

How Long Do The Brushes Last?
The brushes in the Squeegee Clean should last virtually forever. The most common issue with the brushes is the “bending” of the bristles in one direction. When properly rotated, the brushes spin inward on the device. After some time, the brushes may start to bend in the opposite direction. The brushes can be removed and reinstalled on the opposite side of the Squeegee Clean to push the bristles in the opposite direction.

Are There Any Chemicals That I Shouldn't Use With The Squeegee Clean?
The brushes are virtually indestructible, but that doesn’t mean that the entire Squeegee Clean is. We recommend staying away from any chemicals that are caustic, or that affect aluminum in a negative way. If your shop's needs demand the use of stronger chemicals, we do have a stainless steel box option available.



Shur-Chek 130 Tension Meter



FAQ: What Does "Bi-Directional" Mean?


When considering the purchase of a tension meter, it’s important to compare apples to apples. Looking at a typical “value line” tension meter, they are usually a uni-point meter or a meter that only takes an average of the mesh at a given point. This gives you an estimate of the mesh at that point, not a true tension reading for the mesh.

What sets the Shur-Chek 130 apart from other meters in this price range, is that it is a true, bi-directional meter that gives you both the warp and weft directions of the fabric buy taking a sample of the threads going in one direction only.

For best results, zero the meter on the glass standard before use. This should be done daily or each time you use the meter. After it is zeroed, place the meter in the center of the fabric with the dial facing the long tube. You can tap the mesh a few times to make sure the meter has settled at the proper tension. Normally, this would be the warp direction of the fabric.


FAQ: How Do I Redeem My Free Calibration?

One of the many benefits to purchasing the Shur-Chek 130 Tension Meter is that the first calibration is included with the purchase of the meter. To redeem this offer, simply call us and let us know that you have a meter that needs to be calibrated. We will issue you an order number and have you send the meter to us for inspection and calibration or repair, if needed. Once you have your order number, send your meter to the following address:

Shur-Loc Fabric System
ATTN: METER CALIBRATION
14517 Fryelands Blvd SE
Monroe, WA 98272

Once the meter is received, we will inspect the meter for additional damage. If any is found, we will notify you before any work is done. If no damage is found, the meter will be cleaned and calibrated to AGD/NIST specifications and returned to you as quickly as possible.

The free calibration does not include shipping from our location to the lab where certification is performed or the cost of any repairs that are needed due to abuse or accidental damage.


FAQ: How Do I Know When To Calibrate My Meter?

A good rule is to have your meter calibrated once a year to once every 18 months. If your meter begins to malfunction and read improperly, you may over tension mesh, causing premature breakage or under tension the mesh, which leads to poor print quality. Either way, a tension meter that is not calibrated correctly will start costing you money everyday.

When the Shur-Chek 130 is properly calibrated, the indicator should point at the 20N mark on the gauge. When placed on the glass standard, it should complete just over 2 1/2 revolutions to align with the zeroing dot. If the bezel needs to be moved more than 10° it may be time to have the meter checked and calibrated.


FAQ: What Should I Do If I Drop My Meter?

99.9% of the time, a dropped meter will not read correctly. There are many intricate parts inside the meter that require careful handling and any sudden jolt or torquing of the parts may cause the meter to become damaged. A drop of only a few inches can lead to internal damage of the gears and jewels inside the meter, which will cause inaccurate readings and mis-tensioned fabrics. If your meter is dropped or shows any signs of not reading correctly, please contact us to have it checked.



Accelerator Tensioning System

How To Use The Accelerator X Tensioning System

FAQ: Which Accelerator System Is Right For Me?


We've made determining which Accelerator Tensioning System is right for you about as simple as possible. With three styles available, the first information you need to consider is how larger is the biggest frame you plan on stretching on the hardware? If you are a smaller shop and will only be working with roller frames under 23"x31", then you should highly consider purcashing the Accelerator X series hardware. If you have roller frames with a square bar on one end, you will want to purchase the Accelerator X Kit For Square Bar Frames. If you have all roller tube frames only, you will want to use the Accelerator X Kit For All Roller Tubes. If you have a mix of frames, we offer a complete kit for just $499.95 that will do nearly every size and style of roller frame up to 23"x31". If your shop requires a 25"x36" frame, you will want to step up to the Accelerator 2. The heavier duty hardware will allow you to stretch the larger format frames without any issues or uneccessary fatigue on the frame and hardware. The 2 series hardware will comfortably stretch frames up to 36"x36" in size. If you have jumbo or oversized frames, please contact us for availability and pricing on the SA series hardware.