Born in NC, raised in Moore County, Dr. Carl Blue is an Associate Professor for the Department of Graphic Communications at Clemson University. He obtained his BS in Communications with a concentration in Graphic Design from Appalachian State University (ASU) in 1985. After undergrad, he worked in newspapers, television, and a photography studio before leaving for three years in the US Peace Corps in Honduras and Uruguay as a teacher and small business trainer. Before returning to graduate school, he worked for seven years in the textile industry producing marketing materials and tradeshows. In 1999 he returned to ASU to complete a Masters in Industrial Arts with a concentration in Technical Communications in digital media. ASU hired him in 2001 as a Computer Consultant II, “Associate Webmaster,” responsible for maintaining university websites, designing department websites, and teaching faculty and staff courses in web development. In 2003 he was recruited by North Carolina State University (NCSU) to pursue an EdD in Technology Education. While at NCSU he was a TA of digital graphics and media communication courses and was an RA on two NSF grants. After graduation from NCSU in 2006, he was hired as Coordinator of Graphic Communication Program and Assistant Professor at the University of Northern Iowa in the Department of Industrial Technology. In 2009 he relocated to Western Illinois University to work in the Department of Engineering Technology as an Assistant Professor in the Graphic Communications Program. In 2011 he transferred to the University of Southern Maine in the Department of Technology teaching in their Technology Management: Information and Communication Tech concentration degree. Received tenure in 2015, and was appointed and served as Department Chair until 2019.

Developing A (CTS) Computer-To-Screen Application Using An Inkjet Printer to Apply A Stencil Directly to the Mesh In A Hybrid Screen Printing Processes

Dr. Carl Blue, Clemson University

This research explores an inkjet, computer-to-screen imaging system for the preparation of print screens for screen-printing without the need of film or emulsion. The equipment for preparing a screen-printing screen utilizes a MIMAKI UJF-6042 on-demand piezo head flatbed printer. In addition, a test target was developed to standardize the imaging process in order to gauge the amount of coverage that would sufficiently block out and hold a stencil allowing the ink to pass through a screen to create an image. The goal of the project is to develop a computer-to-screen imaging system that would produce screens ready for both spot color printing and four-color process printing using an inkjet printing system for generating stencils without the need of conventional film products.

One of the first considerations associated with the constraints of screen printing are the variety frame sizes and the need to adjust the height of the inkjet bed to print heads. Though the MIMAKI UJF-6042 on-demand piezo head flatbed printer that was not designed primarily for this function. It proved to be very capable to adjusting to the variability of frames to operate as a computer-to-screen imaging system for preparing of print screens in a screen-printing process. One factor that was crucial, the profile of the tensioned frame needed to be a flat plane. In addition, multiple inks and application consumables were available for testing however, this research explores direct inkjet applications of UV curable primer. Though this was a clear product once applied, it demonstrated the greatest potential to produce stencils for spot and four-color process printing.

The focus of the preliminary research was to print a single layer of inkjet UV cured primer application of a test target onto a variety of screens with varying mesh counts to test the amount of primer coverage that would sufficiently block out the plastisol ink that passes through a screen. Based on previous observations in testing screens with several inkjet colors onto the mesh, it was suggested by the OEM to consider testing primer only at varying percentages of application based on the primer’s better adhesion qualities could provide better results.

The preliminary research concluded that further testing would be desirable; investigate repeatability and compare to conventionally produced screen prints.Develop multiple four-color process screens and analyzing for moiré patterns. Develop a four-color process screens using a stochastic design. And test applications across a diversity of mesh counts.

In developing preliminary research that would utilize an inkjet printer for this computer-to-screen (CTS) system to apply a stencil directly to the mesh, multiple factors and characteristics associated with conventional systems for processing mesh screens in preparation for screen printing were acknowledged. Many of these characteristics centered on the time and costs associated with tradition the use of emulsion and film and all of the steps for transferring an image to a tensioned mesh screen. The innovation of applying a CTS process is the primary long-range goal of this project to replace the conventional system.