Screen printing stencils

Every time I search for laser screen printing stencils, I either get the idea of using a laser printer to produce an image which is used with photosensitive emulsions, or a link to the Instructable that uses a laser to pierce paper or cardstock.
I suppose what I’m really looking for is a non-vinyl , laserable film that can be transferred to the screen with either pressure or heat.
Has anyone come across such a material yet ?

I’ve just had some good screens made by Thermofax, a firm in UK, and I’m very happy with the product.
I think the technology is based on the same films that used to be used for Roneos and the Gestettner machines, both stencils being ‘cut’ with a spark discharge. The comparison with the laser is obvious, so it will be ideal for me when the GF arrives.
The film is carried on a fine mesh(probably silk), and is waterproof, so I can use water-based inks.
I may answer my own question !
Shellac based iron-on films were designed for knife cutting.
Why not use them for laser cutting ?


Do those films have a backing? In other words, if you cut a design with many tiny pieces, can you keep them in registration?

Please do post a followup if you solve this problem. I currently do shirts with a vinyl cutter and heat-transfer films but if I could laser up a silk screen I’d love to try that too.

Speaking of shirts this laser material might interest you. I post it in every shirt thread I bet… I am DYING to try this stuff.


I’m very curious to have the smell of lasered shellac described to me. Bookmarking this thread. Oh, also interest to hear how the stencils go, too.

Yes, they do.
But that link you’ve posted would seem to be the answer. Instead of treating it as a iron on colour, you laser cut the design, then iron it onto the silk screen fabric, and it acts as a resist to the ink.
Brilliant. I bet the manufacturers never spotted that possibility !
:smiley: :smiley:
EDIT Worth reading the link on the Laserflex site to the description about the differences between vinyl and polyurethane films, of which the laserflex is the latter.
I’ll start looking for other sources of laserable pu transfer films now.
2nd EDIT I see the laserflex film is also good for transferring to polyester fabric, so other than silk can be used for the screen.


Hot bugs.
(Possibly :smiley: )


Just be sure to check that the material of your screen will hold up to the temperature needed for the heat-pressed material. I used some heat-transfer material to patch a hole and put lettering on a lawn-mower bag a couple of weeks ago, and I had to use my most low-temp heat-transfer material… and even so I nearly melted the flimsy bag! It was free, so I was not too worried, but good screens can be pricey.


Good point, jbv.
Fortunately I’ll be able to test the process with small sample before investing in any quantity.

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Just what I need for Maker Faire booth shirts. Thanks.


First stop at Maker Faire: the @marmak3261 booth! :grin:


I’m working on a variety of materials and objects to be able to process quickly that demonstrate personalization. So folks can give me something to scan or their name or whatever to cut out of a transfer and then they have it to take with them. Will do fidget spinners, some mini LED edge lit sign kits all ready to go. Just engrave and cut the name place and they can take it to the learn to solder booth and put it together. Might be ambitious but if I can keep each operation to three minutes for three people I should be able to crank out a few things like this. Still open to ideas!


How about engraving the backs of scrabble tiles and ceramic dominoes followed up by a quick infill with some quick-drying paint?

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Dog tags - either for pets or for people. Also luggage tags. You can get aluminum blanks pretty cheaply from The Ring Lord. I use those in my basic laser class so folks can take home something they did (they personalize them before uploading them to the laser) and is personalized.


Wow, great selection and prices!

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He’s a great guy. I use him for all my ring work. Really good quality and he’s fast.

On the dog tags I did notice a bit of lengthwise size difference in the last set I bought but it’s on the order of 3 or 4mm. Easy enough to sort out by grabbing a stack and lining them up against one another and pulling the long ones out (there were far more long ones than short ones). The engrave template I use and the placement jig I made for the bed accounts for the two sizes and I set the engrave to be good for the smaller size - there’s an extra mm or so on either end than when engraved on the longer ones. For the price the lengthwise precision wasn’t critical to me (whereas he’s always spot on for ring diameters and gauges).

The aluminum business card sized blanks are great for luggage tags or cool iterations of your business card. I’ve also used the wrist band blanks and those are a neat way to make a wrist cuff with custom engraving.

Plenty of stuff to keep you busy :slight_smile:


Another vote for anodized dog tags. They are relatively inexpensive in bulk, and take up a lot less space per item than wood or acrylic. Single-color engraves are pretty much bomb-proof and perform really well at low power/high speeds. A durable takeaway.


[quote=“marmak3261, post:10, topic:7317, full:true”]
Just engrave and cut the name place and they can take it to the learn to solder booth and put it together. [/quote]

The learn to solder booth had a 45 minute or so line most of the times I saw it last year. And I don’t know if they would let you use anything other than their kit.

NY had a “build a drone” booth operated by Radio Shack. Line for that was 3+ hours every day all day. I don’t remember if they had a basic soldering booth from Google or not. The Chipsetter name badges were absolutely everywhere though.

A few random laser cut animal shapes should do well for customizable options. You could step that up a notch (design time permitting) and make them have a generic component to the outline so that they can interlock side-by-side. Then a family can pick out animal representations (similar to the recent trend of family window decals) for each member, and add a name to each.