Baselayr Complete emulsion is the answer for high-production shops and printers that expect the most out of their emulsion. It requires a dialed-in darkroom and works best when paired with a vacuum exposure unit. Here’s a guide for getting the most out of Baselayr Complete Emulsion.
WHAT IS BASELAYR COMPLETE?
Baselayr Complete is a high-performance, high-solids emulsion made for shops that need the most out of their emulsion. Baselayr Complete was specifically created to work with the most demanding ink types. You can print all water-based, solvent-based, discharge, silicone, plastisol, and UV inks with this emulsion — it’s designed to perform.
Made with high detail and high resolution in mind, images will easily rinse out and screens will painlessly reclaim when the stencil is properly dried and exposed. Exposure units with higher wattage LEDs like the V-Series or Y-Series are recommended.
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DIAL IN THE DARKROOM
No emulsion will work perfectly without a perfect darkroom. Dialing in a darkroom can be a bit of a challenge depending on the individual space. More than anything, the darkroom space should be warm and dry. Keep humidity under 40% — ideally around 30% — and the temperature around 75°-80°F.
Another factor to consider is light. The darkroom needs to be completely UV-light safe in order to expose the best screens. Block out all light from doors, windows, etc. Replace lights with UV-light-safe bulbs. These are usually yellow or red.
Once the space is dialed in, it’s time to choose the right equipment. As mentioned above, Baselayr Complete performs at its peak when using a high-powered exposure unit with a vacuum lid. Baselayr exposure units use around 405 nanometers (nm) range of LED light.
Note: Don’t have this darkroom capability? Check out Baselayr Long Lasting. It’s a more forgiving emulsion that will still expose tons of detail but doesn’t require a souped-up exposure unit or dialed-in the darkroom.
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While Baselayr Complete is a presensitized emulsion, printers can purchase a separate diazo to gain even more detail when exposing screens.
Complete is a pre-sensitized emulsion, meaning it doesn’t need diazo to work. Diazo is the answer for printers looking to push the boundaries of detail resolution or needing a stencil to hold up during a long print run.
Properly burned screens should expose well and last a long time. Adding diazo to Baselayr Complete will create an even better stencil and help the screen to hold up during long production runs. If printers are still having trouble with stencil longevity, it might not be the diazo. Check the other processes in the darkroom first: setup, exposure time, coating techniques, and more. Dial in these other operations before blaming the diazo.
Testing is important with emulsion. Make sure the emulsion coats well and creates a good stencil. A thinner coat is best with Baselayr Complete. A 1X1 coat will maintain the best detail resolution. A 2X1 coat is best for plastisol ink, while a 1X2 coat is best for water-based ink. Need a heavy ink deposit? Go for a 2X2 coat. Remember, the thicker the emulsion coat, the harder it is to resolve details.
Pro Tip: It’s easy to create a thicker coat of emulsion with thin thread mesh. Pull back a little when coating the screen. Tilt the scoop coater back a bit to maintain a thinner coating.
Exposure times can vary depending on emulsion thickness, light source, and mesh or thread counts. Test exposure times, and dial them in using a 21-step calculator. Exposing step 7 on the calculator means the emulsion is perfectly exposed. If the calculator washes out past 7, it’s under-exposed. If the screen doesn’t reach 7, it is over-exposed.
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Baselayr Complete can do it all. Halftones, discharge ink, solvent ink, and the list goes on. Dial in the darkroom and test exposure times to burn the perfect screen.