Registration pins

Registration is pretty hit-and-miss for me, and with four layers there’s four chances to make a mess of it.

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I was taught to register the paper using little blocks at the edges, but I found the torn edges of the paper a bit too variable, so got some of these little steel registration pins made by Ternes-Burton in Minnesota, USA, and a pack of tabs.

My process is:

  1. Mount the first screen in the press.
  2. Tape some tabs to the back of the first sheet of paper, and put the steel pins in the tabs. The tabs are mylar, and a tight, friction fit, so they hold the pins at any given position.
  3. Position the paper, with it’s tabs and pins on the print bed. The exact position of this first layer isn’t that critical, so I can easily eyeball it through the screen.
  4. Tape the pins down in place.
  5. For each subsequent sheet, place two tabs on the pins, with pieces of tape sticky-side up, then lay the new sheet onto them, using the first sheet as a position guide. Again, the exact positioning here isn’t critical. Take the sheet off the pins carefully and stack ready for use.
  6. Pull the first layer, being careful to not squeegee over the pins themselves. It won’t damage the screen right away, but it’ll wear, and makeĀ  a bump if nothing else.
  7. For the next layer, Take the pins off the print bed, and fit them into the tabs on the first sheet of paper. Make a registration print onto a sheet of clear PVC, stuck to the print bed with a tape hinge at one side.
  8. Carefully position the paper so it is lined up with the image on the PVC, and tape the pins down firmly.
  9. Pull the print.
  10. Do subsequent layers the same way.

This image shows that my registration still is far from perfect, but that is because of the PVC lineup stage, and an absence of trapping. What isn’t clear from this one picture is that all prints from this run are pretty identical – the same mis-registration on each one. Previous runs have been so variable, just attempting to line up using blocks for the torn edges of the page, so this is genuine progress.

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