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How to make a 4 color screen printing press

By December 3, 2013 building, design, diy, projects, video 17 Comments

After doing the screen printing how-to, I started looking into multiple color printing, which led to the need for a printing press. Although it is possible to print multiple colors (1 color per screen) without a press, it’s very difficult and will probably have very inconsistent results. Personally, I knew that I’d never be likely to actually print a multi-color print simply because of the uncertainty about how it would turn out.

The advantage of a press is that it creates a repetitive process for lining up and printing with multiple screens, helping them stay registered to each other.

So, I found a set of free plans at PrintingPlans.com and used them as a basis for my own build. The big difference in my build is that I didn’t want to build a dedicated table for my press. Since I don’t have a ton of room, I wanted to be able to separate and store away my press when it’s not in use.

Have a look at the build and please let me know what you think or if you have any ideas for improvement, in the comments.

  • Robert

    awsome was going to build the one at printingplans that you based yours off but this is nice since I also dont need the table

    • Bob

      I’m so glad it was helpful! I used mine recently when clamped to my workbench and it worked perfectly, I was really happy with how (relatively) portable it is.

      • http://gravatar.com/zagame777 JustCruising

        yip I print from home with a 9 month old baby and wife who has become a neat freak i basically have a little spot under the stairs to print so I have been doing basic one/two color prints with a home made press i build onto a old table, but now it is time to get a 4 color going and being in South Africa screenprinting presses are crazy expensive but now I will use the printing press plans and your video to make one, I will keep you updated, enjoy your day

  • http://gravatar.com/zagame777 JustCruising

    any chance that you have all the dimensions for the wood used anywhere?

    • Bob

      Everything should be in the plans file from printingplans.com Good luck!

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  • http://gravatar.com/budiharto kopriliaril

    if I may ask detailed size timber to make the rotary table

    • Bob

      I followed the free plans at printingplans.com for the most part. That will be your best place to start.

  • Ken

    Very helpful “how-to”.
    Can you also make a video on how to make a frame for the mesh for screen printing?

    • Bob

      Thanks! Unfortunately, I probably won’t. These days, I use exclusively aluminum framed screens, and I don’t have the tools to make those on my own. I would highly suggest them, they’re much more rigid than wooden ones and not really any more expensive.

  • Ken

    How about wood frames, can you do a tutorial about making wood frames for silk screen?

  • Mike

    Saw your on air light and would love to do the project. I can’t seem to find the abs plastic you used. My local Home Depot and lowes look at me crazy when I asked for it. Can you please email me the product you used and where to get it from. I’m holding off on building the vacuum press until I can find the plastic.

    • Bob

      Hmm, that’s odd. I got it at Home Depot. Look near the windows and sheets of glass. At my local store, the plastic sheets are on the same rack as the pieces of glass.

      • Mike

        Ok thanks. How thick was it? I see 1/8″ acrylic sheets on the website. Is that the same?

  • James

    How much if I buy the materials and you create it and I come pick it up?

  • Brandon Carter

    Just a quick question. The screen sizes look around 20 x 24. I have some screens as large as 23 x 28, how would I compensate for this when building the 4 color press. Would I just make the arms a little longer or is it more involved that than?

    • http://www.iliketomakestuff.com I Like To Make Stuff

      I guess you’d just have to make them arms longer, and the platen further away to match.