everhack Stuff I've been messing with, or just thinking about.


Thermofax Silk Screening

I just heard about this for the first time today from my mom of all people, a method of silk screening based on an old old outdated technology for photocopying called "thermofax". The exposure time is very fast, but does seem to require a particular type machine to do. I wonder if a laminator would do the trick? Here are some links and quotes with relevant information.. This seems to be all the rage among quilters and other fabric artists..


"The key is the unique RISO ScreenMaster mesh [pictured left] which is a ‘lamination’ of polyester mesh and a specially formulated plastic film - pre-coated enabling it to be handled and imaged BEFORE it is put onto a frame for printing without changing/ distorting the design.
By using a simple carbon design, commonly a photocopy or laser print, the fine thermal film [the pre-coated side on the ScreenMaster mesh] is burnt away during the thermal imaging process. The imaging process can be performed on a bench top in any light conditions."


"Here's a list of pens that have enough of a carbon content that they will react with Riso Film:

Black Sharpie
Pentel Color Pen
Tombow Brush Pen
Itoya Fine Point (non permanent)
Pigma Micron
Pitt Pen
Zig Calligraphy
Staedtler Pigment Liner
Rapidograph Ultradraw
Stabilo (all)
Ritmo Charcoal
China Marker
Staedtler 2b pencil
Sanford Uni-Ball
Black Crayon"


"An alternative to traditional silk screening, Thermofax screens can be made quite easily with images that have been copied using a copier machine. (You need the ink from a copier machine to successfully make the screen.) There are new thermal imagers on the market, or you can buy a refurbished Thermofax machine from Welsh products or go on eBay and bid against tattoo artists who use them for transferring tattoo designs. If you don't want to buy a Thermofax machine but want to have something transferred to a screen, there are also people who will provide that service for you."

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  1. Found more regarding laminators and Riso:


    The Screenfax is a machine made by the same people who made Print Gocco. It uses Xenon bulbs to flash the screen in a way similar to the photo bulbs in the Print Gocco, only more reliably and efficiently.

    It will make a screen at much lower per square foot cost compared to Print Gocco. Unlike the Thermofax, it will process screens of a much higher mesh count, allowing for much finer detail. With this machine you can even do larger screens, by flashing, moving the artwork, and flashing again.

    This was officially marketed as the Xpresscreen XEF913 Exposure Unit, though it’s the same thing as the SP-180, made by the Riso Corp in Japan.

    On a final note – one question I get all the time. Isn’t there anything else will process the screens? Something cheaper or easier to find? Could you use a laminator or even a clothes iron? The simple answer is no, these are the only ways at this time to make a screen using the thermal screen material. I’ve been using this process for 15 years and I haven’t heard of any cheaper or easier alternative. There is some inkling of a direct computer-to-screen screenmaker, but I haven’t seen it yet and it will certainly be at least as expensive as any of the options today.

    [update – Jan 24, 2009 – The Xpresscreen YouTube channel also has a video demonstrating the new direct to screen machine. Worth checking out though it doesn’t appear to be the same process as the Riso machines, though it’s hard to tell from the video. The machine is bigger than I expected and subsequently I can only expect it to be very expensive]

  2. What about all the tattoo stencil machines that have flooded the market? Will attaching a piece of Riso film attached to a black and white image work?

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