Pre-fabricated aluminium screen printing frames are available commercially, but with a few tools, the right materials and a little know-how; you can make your own. Whether creating original designs in your spare time for a one of a kind T-shirt, or preparing materials for a budding business, knowing how to make your own aluminium frames may save time and money.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Length of square aluminium tubing
- Hacksaw with blade to cut aluminium
- 4 Spring clamps
- 80 to 100 grade sandpaper
- 110 Monofilament mesh
- Frame Adhesive
Measure and cut aluminium tube for frame sides. A frame is sized according to the job for which it is intended. A standard frame for T-shirt printing measures 11 inches wide by 14 inches long. Mark aluminium tubing with a marker for each piece of tube to be cut; there will be two pieces that are 11 inches long, and two pieces that are 14 inches long.
Cut angles on tubing. Each length of aluminium tubing requires a 45 degree cut at each end, so that they can be joined to form the frame. Use a protractor to measure and mark a cut line at each end of the tubing. Saw along cut line with a hacksaw. Repeat measuring and cutting process on each length of tubing.
Clamp frame. Match up the cut ends of one piece of 11 inch tubing and one piece of 14 inch tubing. Clamp the pieces together at the corner using a spring clamp. Match up and cut the end of the remaining piece of 11 inch tubing and remaining piece of 14 inch tubing and clamp together using a spring clamp. Line up the two clamped sections to form a frame shape. Clamp the two unsecured corners with spring clamps.
Drill screws into the frame. Align the screw at an angle which will allow the screw to enter the first piece of tubing and penetrate both pieces without exiting the second piece. Drill the screw into frame. Repeat the drilling process on the remaining corners. Remove spring clamps.
Lightly sand the exterior sides of frame. Light sanding using an 80 to 100 grade sandpaper creates enough of an abrasion for the adhesive to bond to the aluminium but will not gouge the metal.
Cut the mesh. Use sharp scissors to cut the mesh to stretch over the frame. Mesh should measure one inch wider than the frame all the way around.
Adhere mesh to frame. Line up short side of the mesh to the short side of the frame, fold the one inch mesh allowance over the exterior of that side of the frame. Hold the mesh in place and use squeegee to apply frame adhesive to the frame, pushing the adhesive through the mesh. Allow it to dry. Apply the frame adhesive to the opposite side in the same manner and allow it to dry. Continue with the remaining two sides.
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