Screen Printing Tip of the Day: The Tri-Lock

When printing multi color jobs on an automatic press the fastest and most efficient way to get your job lined up and ready for print is using the tri-lock. The tri-lock is a specially molded piece of metal that slides onto the pallet arm and uses the corner and edge of the screen to create an even and uniform print on all print heads. The tri-lock is the best tool on the automatic press to get your print ready and as long as all steps are followed thoroughly you should have perfect alignment every single time.

Step 1: Light it up

  Before even picking up the tri-lock the process begins pre screen burning.  Using your light table be sure to align all your films to the same place on the registration marks and burn all your screens accordingly. Be as accurate as possible if one of your films is slightly off alignment with the others it will negate the use of the tri lock and you’ll have manually fix it. When you burn your screens the tri-lock holder on the burning table is used to again keep alignment and consistency in where the image is burned. This is the key to the tri lock.

Step 2: Lock Em’ In

  After your screens are burned and ready to be printed load them into the corresponding print heads on the press based on their color. The tri-lock aligns with each screen on the top left corner and the left side so you’re going to want to pull it up and tight into place and lock the screen in with the switches on the top of the print head. Ensuring proper placement will give you the results for a proper print each time, another thing to remember is zeroing out all print heads before loading screens to ensure consistency for the tri-lock to work effectively.

Step 3: Test Print

  Once all your screens are loaded, the tri-lock has been used with each screen and they’ve been locked into place and all the ink has been filled with squeegees and flood bars loaded and locked into place also you’re ready to do your test print. From here its as basic as running a normal job.  If used effectively the tri-lock will give you a perfect test print first try with the registration marks lining up with each screen. If minor adjustments need to be made based on small movements, from the light table to the burning process, use the micro registrations accordingly to give the desired print.

                Overall the entire process with the tri-lock relies on detail and a keen eye in burning your screens consistently. Locking your screens into place also is an important step and in making sure your registrations are zeroed out you’ll get the desired test print each time saving the headache of manually adjusting for each color. Be patient and utilize the tri-lock effectively to up your production and polish your finished screen printing product. Now you should be ready to make your custom t-shirts!



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