Decisions you make during the screenmaking stage can have a major impact on the success of the printing process. Learn about the choices you face in frame selection and in securing your mesh to the frame.
By Eric Klein
The allure of CA adhesive is its speed. The curing speed comes from the second component in the system, the activator. Activators are normally either acetone- or heptane-based products. Activators come as sprayable aerosols and in liquid forms that can be wiped on. Can the adhesive be used without the activator? Yes it can, but it will take a few minutes to cure depending on the viscosity of the product and the thickness in which it was applied on the mesh and frame. The CA system tends to be very brittle compared to most catalyzed systems and can leave sharp edges when cured if not properly trimmed. There are flexible versions of CA, but when the manufacturer adds material to make it flexible, the trade off is adhesion strength. The solvent resistance of CA adhesives to some chemicals is good (not as good as catalyzed systems), but again, to ensure compatibility, you should test the adhesive with the chemicals you use.
CA glues have short shelf lives—as short as a few months. They must bestored in a cool, dry place. Storing them in a refrigerator will greatly improve their shelf life. CA can be used directly from the refrigerator but its viscosity will be slightly thicker while cool. The adhesive also can be stored in a freezer, but it must be allowed to warm to nearly room temperature before use.
Just as for catalyzed systems, automated glue-dispensing machinery is available for CA adhesives, too. But in most cases the material is applied by hand allowing the material to flow through the esh onto the surface of the frame. Then it is spread out with the help of a plastic scraper and the activator is applied. Note that when using any of these adhesive systems, adding weight onto the fabric inside of the frame helps keep intimate contact between the of the frame and the fabric and promotes a stronger bond.
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