Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tour of Chicago Silk Screen

Yesterday, the employees of Chicago Silk Screen were nice enough to give some Lill St students a tour of their facilities. One of the oldest screen printing business in the city, Chicago Silk Screen is downright fascinating. Did you know that practically everything is silk screened? Plastic buckets, glass bottles, and a lot of those giant vinyl banners! And each of these objects requires it's own special screen.

Alan Shust, CSS production manager and our wonderful tour guide, took us through their process.


This is a room-sized camera englarger used to create the films needed to burn the screen. Before digital printing became popular, this is how all films were created. CSS has two of these devices which can make films 4' x 6' and larger!

Stretching a giant aluminum screen! That little device is a "tense-ometer" so that they know that the screen is stretched properly.

The team at CSS coats their screens a little differently than we do at Lill St: because they are preparing screens that will be used to make thousands and thousands of prints, the screens need extra emulsion. It was fun to talk shop with the pros! Here, Fransisco is coating screens used to print styrofoam coffee cups!

The screens are then burns on this beautiful Vacuum UV light table! (Swoooon...)

And rinsed in the washout station (we should BE so lucky!)

CSS also has a department that takes the used mesh out of old screens restretches them.

Stretching wood screen must be SOO much easier with that pneumatic staple gun!

The basement... where silk screens go to be reborn!

All in all the tour was FASCINATING. Thanks so much for the employees of Chicago Silk Screen for being so hospitable and thanks again to Alan Shust for being such a fantastic tour guide! If you have any printing needs, we highly recommend these guys! (Check out more photos from the tour at my flickr!)

2 comments:

Nellie said...

A "tense ometer"?!!! There is NO WAY that is a real thing! People just name things.

Jade Graham said...

everything is silk screened? Plastic buckets, glass bottles, and a lot of those giant vinyl banners! And each of these objects requires it's own special screen. vinyl banners Chicago