Different Skateboard Printing Machines and How Do They Work
Are you interested in skateboard printing machines? There are different types of these machines, each with their printing process. While there are numerous variants of skateboard printing machines on the market, we can divide them into three categories:
Heat Transfer Printing Machines
UV Printing Machines
Want to transfer the graphics on the skateboard deck on your own, or just here to learn about the characteristics and the processes these machines implement? These machines use some complex technologies and materials to provide you with the best possible results on your skateboard deck. Knowing how they work may be beneficial for you in the long run.
Now, let's dive into the specifics of these skateboard printing machines and techniques, shall we?
Screen printing is the traditional method of printing graphics on a skateboard. Its main benefit is the low cost of the process itself, as screen printing doesn't involve any expensive and complex technology.
All you need is a frame on which you will stretch a mesh that will serve as a foundation for your graphics. This combination is called a screen. Then, you make a stencil by blocking parts of the screen where your graphics will appear as a negative image. After that, all you need to do is some handiwork! Put the ink on the screen and use a squeegee to form the graphics in the mesh holes.
This method is best for one or two colored graphics with not too much intricate detail. Lots of skateboards are made that way, so it is reasonable to use the screen printing technique. Don't use this technique if you have three or more colors in your graphics! For that, opt for some of the remaining two techniques!
Heat Transfer Printing Machine
Heat transfer printing machine is also known as a digital printing machine. It is in common use for printing skateboard graphics, and for a good reason. The machine is pretty effective when it comes to transferring graphics with more colors on the skateboard deck, and this is one of the main uses of the machine when it comes to skateboards.
The process can be divided into two parts:
Printing the graphics on the transfer paper
Thermally transferring the ink from the paper to skateboard using heat and pressure
We will focus on the second part, how the machine works actually. After we have our graphics ready on the transfer paper, we need to warm up the heat press. For most heat transfer cases, the temperature should be set between 350 to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Then, we need to adjust the pressure accordingly. The rule of the thumb is, the thicker the fabric, the less pressure is required.
After we determine the pressure level, we need to set up the time of the heat transfer process. The usual time for printing on skateboards varies from 25 - 60 seconds. Then, we put the skateboard deck on the plate and cover the paper with a thin cloth for protection. Now the heat transfer process can commence! We pull the handle down, and the process is almost complete!
We just remove the film while the transfer paper is still hot and the design should be on the skateboard deck!
Here is a short video of heat transfer printing machine in action:
The main downside of the heat transfer printing is the cost. You have to buy the machine, all the additional materials and the process itself isn't cost-effective, especially if you are printing a simple design. But, you can do so much more with the graphics, its colors and details, than with the screen printing method.
UV Printing Machine
We often use UV printing machines to print skateboard graphics on skateboard decks. This printing machine is a newcomer to the printing machine market. It combines both old and new, regarding UV printing technology and inkjet printing.
It works in a way that it prints the UV ink directly on the surface of any material, be it paper, plastic, or wood. Then, we cure the ink by a UV lamp to make the ink dry in an instant, forming an image.
Let's dive in more into the science of how does this machine work! First of all, the UV printing machine uses piezoelectric inkjet technology and does not contact with the surface of the substrate. It sprays the ink onto the surface with the help of the internal voltage of the print head. For this to work, we need software that will control hundreds of print nozzles precisely.
The UV curing principle is important for this process because it improves the speed of the ink drying process. Also, it reduces the costs for you or your business by improving productivity.
The advantages of UV printing machine over traditional printing machines are numerous. Most probably the biggest advantage is that you can apply this print technique on materials that are not strictly paper. Also, you can print in full color on materials such as wood and plastic, making this printing machine ideal for skateboards. The main downside is the cost itself, as this process is highly complex and uses expensive technology.
Here is a short video showing UV printing machine in action:
If you have any other questions or concerns about the best printing method for your skateboard graphics, feel free to reach us out through email or live chat. We can also help you design your skateboard for free with our Designer Tool!
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