How-to Build a $30 DIY Screen Printing Exposure Unit

A lot of people have been emailing asking me about the exposure unit that I use in this calculator. To be honest, it’s not pretty, and it’s far from being a ‘unit’. But it works and it’s super cheap to make and again, it works.

I run a fairly small operation at home where I print anywhere from 100-300 tees a week. I’ve been using this exposure ‘unit’ for almost 3 years and never had the need to buy one of those expensive foam packed vacuum generated ones. Granted, the prints I churn out are limited to A3 size and aren’t as high end, meaning it doesn’t have super fine details or halftones, but this works for me, and I believe it’ll work for you, too.

Here are some images of what I use and how I set up for exposure. I use a 500W halogen tube and flood lamp which you can get for under $30!

The only thing you have to keep in mind is the consistency of the distance between the unit and frame. If you’ve set it up like how i have (clamped to a work table) and the distance is say, 3ft, well make sure that all your exposures are done exactly like this. The further away the light source is to your frame, the longer it takes to expose the image.

*Tip: Keep a fan on that blows between the frame and exposure unit during exposure. The heat that comes out of those 500 watters ain’t a joke.

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