Skip to main content

How To Make Printing Ink

  Introduction Printing ink is so much more than just the black stuff that you put on a page. It has been around for thousands of years, and it's been used in everything from newspaper presses to digital printers. As you can see, we're not talking about offset printing ink which is oil based. I want to have a little fun and talk about how you can make your own ink for your printer.  At home! Ready? Ingredients You will need the following ingredients: Soot (5 tbsp) : This is as purest as it gest. You can make the soot yourself by holding a glass up to a flame. This will allow you to slowly accumulate the soot. Water (2 tbsp): For the base of your ink, use distilled water so that you don't introduce any impurities into the mix. Distilled water is also easier to clean up than tap water because there are no minerals or residue left behind from tap water. Alcohol (2 tbsp) (grain alcohol): This ingredient works as a preservative for your ink and allows it to last for several mo

Troubleshooting An Automatic Blanket Washing System

Troubleshooting blanket wash systems for web
Troubleshooting an automatic blanket washing system is not rocket science, but there are a few elusive facts to be aware of when trying to figure out why your blankets are not cleaning up on the washes.  Here are a few things to be aware of when troubleshooting your blanket washing system.

First of all, you must understand how an automatic blanket washing system works.  Quite simply, it is designed to spray solvent and water onto the blanket and have it cleaned off by a brush or cloth.  The devices are simple in design but have nuances that must be monitored closely.  To start, here is a problem that is common to most systems and manufacturers still need to find a way to effectively deal with.

Dripping On The Web
Sometimes the upper lines that evacuate the solvent will get plugged.  When this happens, you simply have to clean out the lines.  Some will take a wet-vac and suck it out the end.  Since it is basically a sludge that forms from the blanket piling, you can count on the hoses getting plugged from time to time.  This is something that manufacturers of these devices have yet to perfect.

The following problems relate directly to the blanket not cleaning up properly. 

Wrong Setting On The Brush Or Cloth
Just as the rollers inside the printing unit need to be set properly, so too the the brush of the blanket washing system needs to be set.  For many printers this can be around 1/4" or more.  You need to consult your manual to find this number.

Spray Bar Is Plugged
This could be for multiple reasons, but here are a few possibilities.  First of all, the water source must not be one that could cause any kind of scaling or residue left in the lines.  You may want to consider the quality of the solvent you use as well.
Many solvents are made to work as an emulsion and so if you find sludge grease like material inside the spray bar, you likely have the paper backtracking into the system and building up in your lines.  Ensure that there is a proper mix of both to keep this under control.

Worn Brush
This can last as long as 5 years, but once the hairs of the brush start laying down, it's time to replace your brush.

Improper Installation
From time to time the automatic blanket washing system should be removed and cleaned.  Sometimes it is not properly installed again.  Ensure that all locks are in place and that it is secure.  This could greatly effect the setting against the blanket.

Pump Not Functioning Properly
After checking the spray bar for any buildup or plugged holes, ensure that your solvent and water pump is working properly.

Use An Approved Wash
Some solvents work better than others.  Some have a higher volatile organic compound rate than others or a higher flash point.  Whatever the case, the approved solvent you choose will determine the settings that the automatic blanket cleaning system manufacturer can use.  He can apply more solvent if the settings are right.  Consult your manufacturer website for this information. Finally, I highly recommend an online troubleshooting guide.  Or another source I have referred to hundreds of times when troubleshooting on an offset printing press and it should be in every press room library. It's the Guide To Troubleshooting For The Web Offset Press. It lists in detail causes and solutions and has saved my butt many times!

Related posts:
Web Press Troubleshooting Guide


Popular posts from this blog

A Color Blindness Test For Offset Printers

This is a color blindness test.  Though these pictures can tell you if you suffer from color blindness, it should not replace an actual diagnosis by purchasing the real Ishihara Color Blindness Test which consists of several plates that diagnose various forms of color blindness. If you would like to skip my story and go right to the color blindness test, you can here . I work in the offset printing industry and purchased these plates to diagnose a pressman to see if he was able to perceive color well. At first, I took it upon myself to teach him some the basics of ink and water balance . Before long though, I discovered a hurdle that even he wasn't aware of. One that would stop him dead in his tracks in the printing industry. He was color blind. Color blindness doesn't necessarily mean only seeing black and white. I don't profess to know all different types, but there are some that are more subtle to discover than others. Here are some different types

Scumming – Causes and Solutions

When it comes to offset print scumming , I will assume you know enough about ink and water balance to know how to make it go away.  I would like to go into some of the deeper reasons as to why scumming can happen and what remedies can solve this plague.  First of all, let’s define scumming. Definition In offset printing , when the non-image areas of a plate become receptive to ink, that’s scumming.  Too much ink or not enough water is not a definition.  Those are cause s.  Since the causes are so many, that definition is broad enough to encompass most reasons.  Causes of Scumming Let’s now look at a few causes of scumming beyond the simple ink and water balance solution. Plate is sensitized by piling. Dirty metering or water pan roller. Poor plate development. Poor ink strength. Bad roller settings. The Right Tools You need the right tools to combat this issue. Scumming usually starts invisible to the naked eye. Be sure you

The Offset Printing Process Flowchart Explained - In Detail

The Offset Printing Process Flowchart Explained - In Detail This is the step in the flowchart is where the customer is most involved with the offset printer.  He must clearly communicate his finished product and provide all the resources possible to achieve it.  Then the printer can proceed with it's own preparation for production. Once the final product is visualized, the offset printing manufacturer must order all the necessary raw materials to make the final product.  Here are just a few examples, depending on the process: Ink Paper Glue Stitching Press chemicals Boxing & packaging materials Alongside the raw materials ordering, the graphics and layout will be prepared in this offset printing process flowchart.  Special software is used for pagination and layout that will put position the images into a format that allow the printing press to print the pages in order and in the right format. Here are some examples of software used i