How to build your own exposure unit for screen printing

Written by jodi buttarazzi
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How to build your own exposure unit for screen printing
A florecent light bulb is used to make an exposure unit. (Light image by ladymodem from Fotolia.com)

Screen printing can be a fun hobby or a full-time business. All screen printing is done by using an emulsion liquid that requires a light source to burn the image onto the silk screen. A good light exposure unit will decrease the length of time required to produce your screen print designs. Building your own exposure unit is quick and easy and will last through many years of printing projects.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Light fixture
  • 2 full spectrum or florescent bulbs
  • One 30 inch by 1 inch PVC pipe
  • Two 12 inch by 1 inch PVC pipes
  • Four 4 inch by 1 inch PVC pipes
  • Two 1 inch by 1 inch PVC elbows
  • Six 1 inch PVC Ts
  • Two 1/4 inch nuts
  • 1/2 inch wire strain relief
  • One 8 inch three prong replacement cord (light duty)
  • One SPST toggle switch
  • Wire connectors
  • Two 2 inch by 1/4 inch bolts
  • Six 1/4 inch washers

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Open the casing of your light fixture to view the wiring.

  2. 2

    Remove the end cap on the light fixture. Make a hole that will fit the wire for the power cord.

  3. 3

    Attach the strain relief to the end cap of the light fixture. Reinstall the end cap on the light fixture.

  4. 4

    Attach the toggle switch to the side panel of the light fixture. Drill a hole that will fit the toggle switch exactly.

  5. 5

    Secure the power cord to the strain relief. Once secured, attach the black wire from the power cord to the black wire coming from the light fixtures transformer by twisting the exposed wire ends together and capping with an orange wire connector.

  6. 6

    Connect the white wire from the power cord to the white wire from the toggle switch. Secure with an orange wire connector.

  7. 7

    Attach the green wire to the green screw located on the light fixture. The green wire from the power cord is the ground wire.

  8. 8

    Center the light fixture over the 30 inch PVC pipe. Mark the PVC pipe where the holes need to be drilled to attach the light fixture to the PVC pipe. Drill the holes through both side of the PVC pipe and attach the bolt using two washers on both the top and the bottom hole.

  9. 9

    Feed the bolts through the light fixture and secure using the 1/4 inch nuts.

  10. 10

    Assemble the PVC legs using the T's and insert the elbows at the top of the leg and into the PVC pipe attached to the light fixture.

  11. 11

    Place the two florescent or full spectrum bulbs into the light fixture. Your new exposure unit is now ready to use.

Tips and warnings

  • Be sure to cap the connected wire with the orange wire connectors to avoid electrical shock.

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