Best way to silkscreen on 3d printered boxes?

Post your advice, tips, suggestions, etc...
Post Reply
Fusion916
Posts: 41
Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2016 2:29 am

Best way to silkscreen on 3d printered boxes?

Post by Fusion916 » Tue Apr 12, 2016 10:37 pm

Hi,

I print boxes for project enclosures for electronics, and after printing I would like to add a "silk screen"type layer with white text. I was going to just create a "stencil" type print and just use spraypaint, but the resolution of the letters printed is not good enough since the text needs to be relatively small. Any tips on what process I can use to add a silk screen layer?

jsc
Posts: 1864
Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2014 4:00 am

Re: Best way to silkscreen on 3d printered boxes?

Post by jsc » Wed Apr 13, 2016 7:37 pm

How about using photoresist paint, similar to how you would etch a circuit board (without the etching). That should be high resolution enough.

Rich
Posts: 38
Joined: Wed Apr 09, 2014 8:41 pm

Re: Best way to silkscreen on 3d printered boxes?

Post by Rich » Wed Apr 13, 2016 8:35 pm

Having screen printed for 40+ years, I don't think that it's the best alternative here. Lack of flatness will take all of the fun out of it. Look into "pad printing" instead. It's better for irregular surfaces. Depending on your needs, relatively inexpensive equipment can be found on Ebay, or look for a local outfit that has the capability. - Rich

Fusion916
Posts: 41
Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2016 2:29 am

Re: Best way to silkscreen on 3d printered boxes?

Post by Fusion916 » Fri Apr 15, 2016 6:46 am

jsc wrote:How about using photoresist paint, similar to how you would etch a circuit board (without the etching). That should be high resolution enough.
I would need to wipe off the non-cured paint with acetone, which would eat through PLA right?

Fusion916
Posts: 41
Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2016 2:29 am

Re: Best way to silkscreen on 3d printered boxes?

Post by Fusion916 » Fri Apr 15, 2016 6:47 am

Rich wrote:Having screen printed for 40+ years, I don't think that it's the best alternative here. Lack of flatness will take all of the fun out of it. Look into "pad printing" instead. It's better for irregular surfaces. Depending on your needs, relatively inexpensive equipment can be found on Ebay, or look for a local outfit that has the capability. - Rich
Im not sure what "pad printing" is, any examples on youtube to point to me?

jsc
Posts: 1864
Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2014 4:00 am

Re: Best way to silkscreen on 3d printered boxes?

Post by jsc » Fri Apr 15, 2016 8:07 am

Acetone does not attack PLA as aggressively as it does ABS. Extended exposure will weaken it somewhat and cause it to become slightly flexible. Anyway, I think photoresist "developer" is actually mostly sodium or potassium carbonate. I'm not experienced with the process myself, having only ever used toner transfer. And in fact, you can try a chemical toner transfer process, although I haven't had much success with my own brief attempt. Using glossy paper might improve success.

http://hackaday.com/2016/01/07/using-ac ... transfers/
viewtopic.php?f=14&t=3251
http://www.instructables.com/id/Heatles ... /?ALLSTEPS
http://hackaday.com/2016/01/12/even-eas ... sfer-pcbs/

Rich
Posts: 38
Joined: Wed Apr 09, 2014 8:41 pm

Re: Best way to silkscreen on 3d printered boxes?

Post by Rich » Fri Apr 15, 2016 5:22 pm

Im not sure what "pad printing" is, any examples on youtube to point to me?
Here's a promotion video from a company that sold a boatload of these things during the Recession.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1gFAkj6OqY
It was your basic get rich quick scheme. Yeah, right. I've seen a flock of these on Craigslist for cheap. Cool thing is that if to get tired of printing your models, you can print golf balls!
There's another process that you might consider and that's "Hot Stamping". Basically a heated die presses foil into the substrate. You see it often on plastic ballpoint pen barrels. here's a vid:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ir-QPI7KQcA

Rich

Post Reply