Screen Printing: Mesh Count & Mesh Diameter

I thought I would take a moment to comment on what is commonly referred to as mesh opening but is often overlooked when purchasing screen printing fabrics. I am currently writing an article about mesh count conversions, nomenclature, terminology and I though it was timely to talk about this just a little bit.

Many people don’t realize that choosing your mesh based solely on the mesh count is illogical and may cause great heartache in the end that could have been easily avoided. An important factor in mesh performance is the mesh opening itself. This is determined by the mesh count and the actual diameter of the thread used to weave the mesh. It is often referred to as a percentage but for simplicity we will just say that a smaller diameter thread will allow for greater ink flow.

Therefore a mesh count of 110 with a 70 micron thread diameter has basically the same ink flow qualities as a 125 with a 40 micron thread diameter. The difference is the 125/40 will be able to achieve a higher detail stencil without sacrificing ink flow. And a 135/40 would restrict ink flow a bit more than that but have a much greater ability to reproduce details. It will hold a thinner stencil and a more detailed stencil. It is also important to note that the thinner the thread used to weave the mesh, the more fragile the mesh will be. That is to say it will be harder to stretch and it will tear or become damaged much easier than a mesh with a thicker thread diameter.

So you can see where taking thread diameter into consideration would be advantageous. It will give you more power and a greater command of the screen printing process. Make sure to check out the articles “Detail And Halftones Using Higher Mesh Counts” and “Mesh Count And Thread Diameter Nomenclature”. And stay tuned to How2screenprint on Twitter and The Catspit Blog for the latest announcements of the newest articles added to the website. The new mesh conversion article will be added later this week.

Thanks for reading!

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