Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Pre-registration devices

I have spent the morning redesigning our layout grid for the Set-n-Go product line. Everyone here has an opinion, of course. What we all agree on is that every shop needs a pre-reg device. Either a home-made version or one purchased from a manufacturer. The one from a manufacturer are probably more accurate but they are all necessary.

Why? you ask. Because, as I have mentioned in earlier blogs, we are in this to make money. Not to play with screens and art.

What should one of these systems do?

The point of a pre-registration system is to make the location of your art to screen accurate from color to color. This is to make you faster. If you can load your screens onto the press, have almost immediate registration and never adjust the location of your platens, you will be faster. If you are faster, then you make more money.

This speed applies to one-color jobs as well. When you load a screen with a one color design, you want it to always be placed in the perfect spot to print. Not low, high, or crooked. Don't laugh, you have exposed an image crooked.

What should be part of one of these systems?

You have to start with the artwork. The registration marks on your artwork should be located in the same place on every job. One-color jobs too. These marks register colors to each other, square artwork, and they locate the art onto the garment. A template in your computer should have these marks that print onto all separations.

These marks then need to be on a fixture. This fixture can be a stand alone light table or on the glass of your exposure unit. The fixture should feature 3 points that your frame will seat against. Line up the registration marks from your art to the marks on the fixture.

When you are finished, the artwork will be in the same location on all screens. This is very fast in the darkroom and on press.

How does this make you money?

Time is money, right? If you spend time compensating for messed up screens then the labor cost for your job goes up. Even if you don't count your own labor (which is a whole different topic) wouldn't you rather be golfing?

For more information on these products check out: