Inkjet Film for Screen Making

Inkjet printers can be used as a replacement for a high priced imagesetters and low quality laser printers. Epson's use a room temperature mechanical, piezo technology of precise electrical pulses that cause the ink reservoir wall in the head to compress, projecting ink through the nozzle. Programmers can also control the exact placement, size, and shape of each dot then shape with the millions of ink droplets they eject in each square inch. For screen printing, we need a one color printer, not an 8 color printer.RIP programmers can increase ink deposit to make the transparent ink designed for CMYK printing of multi-color photographs opaque enough to block UV light.

Canon and HP printers use thermal heads that heat the ink to 500°F over and over, producing a vapor bubble in the ink reservoir (bubble jet). When the ink expands, droplets are ejected through the nozzle. This cannot be increased with RIP programming. One of the side effects of the high heat is that the cooling phase alters critical nozzle alignment.

To make screen printing positives with an inkjet printer, you must have an absorbent coating on clear film. Ulano Pigment Inkjet Films are designed to make positives. Dye inks are 100% liquid and can be absorbed by a swellable coating like the gelatin in indirect stencil films. Pigment inks require a micro porous coating with microscopic cavities that can absorb the resin coated pigment particles with natural capillary action.

Ulano Pigment Inkjet Film is compatible with dye or pigment inks.

Often, nano porous or micro porous coatings are mistakenly called water proof. If you lick your fingers and pinch a piece of film, you will make one side sticky as it absorbs the moisture with capillary action. Dye inks re-wet and bleed if you get water on them. When the majority of inkjet printers used water based dye ink, suppliers started selling the more expensive micro porous coating as "water proof" to printers who wanted to pay for a safer coating in case their staff spill something on the positive. Pigment Inkjet Films are made to absorb water based inks, but they are not waterproof, rather they are "bleed-resistant".

Operating Specifications
Required temperature for optimum performance 60° – 80°F (15° – 25°C)
Required humidity for optimum performance 40% – 60% RH
(Note: High humidity will prolong the drying time or the ability to absorb ink)

Pigment Inkjet Film

The newest printers use pigment ink instead of dye ink because it resists fading for up to 99 years. This improves family snapshots, but doesn't help the making of UV opaque positives. The nano porous structure of the coating controls the ink spread for image sharpness. Pigment ink particles are coated with a resin so they can be controlled with piezo print heads.

Modern inkjet inks used for positives are water based and still need time to evaporate and dry. Ink manufacturers need to balance nozzle maintenance and the desire to have an ink that dries fast after printing, so a positive can be used to make a screen. Glycol or glycerol humectant additives in the water based carrier that are used to to keep the pigments in suspension, retard drying, and prevent nozzle blockage need to evaporate the same way stencil coatings need to dry.

Imagine a nano porous coating as a jar of marbles. Pigment or Dye ink is absorbed into the coating by capillary action and stains the microscopic particles in the coating. It appears to be dry to the touch, but the liquid carrier still has to evaporate. A benefit of the nano porous coating is that the positive can be stacked and handled very quickly. If it is a humid day, the ink might not dry and the vacuum of the exposure unit can pull the wet ink out of the film coating and stain the stencil during exposure, because the positive has lost some ink during the process, it shouldn't be used again.

Pigment Inkjet films are coated on 5 mil polyester. The coating loves water which is the carrier for the ink. The polyester side is very shiny and doesn't absorb water. You can test the film for the coated side by wetting your fingers and pinching the film on both sides. The coated side will get sticky just like capillary film. Rolls are coiled with the coated side out, ready to go into the printer.

Product Fact Sheet
Pigment Inkjet Film  PIJF 100 sheets per box, 4 boxes per case
Prepackaged Sheets   Product Code Sheet Size Sheet Size (metric)
USA A "Letter" Sample   PIJF81/211-5 8.5" x 11" 22 x 28 cm
USA A "Letter"   PIJF81/211-100 8.5" x 11" 22 x 28 cm
Euro A4 Sample   PIJF21297CM-5 8.27" x 11.69" 21 x 29.7 cm
Euro A4   PIJF21297CM-100 8.27" x 11.69" 21 x 29.7 cm
USA "Legal"   PIJF81/214-100 8.5" x 14" 22 x 26 cm
USA B "Tabloid"   PIJF1117-100 11" x 17" 28 x 43 cm
USA Super B "Universal" PIJF1319-100 13" x 19" 33 x 46 cm
Euro A3   PIJF29742CM-100 11.69" x 16.54" 29.7 x 42 cm
Euro B3   PIJF3550CM-100 13.9" x 19.69" 35 x 50 cm
USA C   PIJF4356CM-100 17" x 22" 43 x 56 cm
Euro A2   PIJF42594CM-100 16.5" x 23.4" 42 x 59.4 cm

Rolls   Product Code Roll Size Roll Size (metric)
14" x 100'   PIJF141200 14" x 100' 35.5 cm x 30.4 m
17" x 10'   PIJF17120 17" x 10' 43 cm x 3 m
17" x 30'   PIJF17360 17" x 30' 43 cm x 10 m
17" x 100'   PIJF171200 17" x 100' 43 cm x 30.4 m
24" x 30'   PIJF24360 24" x 30' 61 cm x 10 m
24" x 100'   PIJF241200 24" x 100' 61 cm x 30.4 m
36" x 10'   PIJF36120 36" X 10' 71 cm x 3 m
36" x 100'   PIJF361200 36" x 100' 91 cm x 30.4 m
42" x 100'   PIJF421200 42" x 100' 106.6 cm x 30.4 m
44" x 100'   PIJF441200 44" x 100' 112 cm x 30.4 m
50" x 100'   PIJF521200 50" x 100' 127 cm x 30.4 m
54" x 100'   PIJF541200 54" X 100' 137 cm x 30.4 m
60" x 100'   PIJF601200 60" X 100' 152 cm x 30.4 m
64" x 100'   PIJF641200 64" x 100' 162.5 cm x 30.4 m