Anyone here do pad printing? I got so many questions about the cliche aspect. How do go about making them?

Anyone here do pad printing? I got so many questions about the cliche aspect. How do go about making them?
I know I need a UV Exposure unit, do I just print the design onto transparent transfer paper, put it on the polymer plate under the exposure unit and call it a day? What the frick are halftones, do I need exposure paper?

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  1. 4 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    This isnt the 80s, youll never compete with the chink companies that pump this shit out way faster for 1/10th of your cost.

    • 4 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      Except in making watch faces. I already run a company that makes 19k gross/14k profit per month selling watch bullshit. I've partnered with a few people who sell watchface designs and they make pretty good money for printing their designs and shit

      • 4 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        That sounds tantalizing. I work next door to a printing company and personally work on 2 micron capable cnc machines. What’s the gambit? How do I use my boss’s tools for my own gain?

        • 4 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          Be his friend, and ask if you can use the equipment after hours. Works for a friend of mine who works at woodworking specialty store that makes cabinets, has access to all woodworking tools and boss trusts him enough not to frick shit up afterhours.

          I got into it watch bullshit because of an estate sale and bought some old boomers garage FULL of shit for 3k, and had tools, boxes and boxes of faces, parts, books and other shit. Didn't know anything about watches except that it was day 3 of the estate sale, they wanted shit gone, and I haggled them down from 10k to 3k.

          Went to a laser engraving place near me a few months back to ask questions about pad printing, and the old lady who ran their pad printer has done a total of 2 production runs this year, and was going to buy their shit but it was OLD equipment and they used lasers to engrave their cliches. Also didn't help that she was saying lasers can't get as fine detail as UV; and UV equipment seems cheaper than going the laser route.

          • 4 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            I already have free reign of all the tools because I am the only one in the shop that is able to make him money, and keep the other employees on mark so they can also make him money. I left for a few months and the entire time I was gone he was losing money, he told me this directly.

            I also have access to laser cutters, but ours aren’t as fine detailed as what would be needed for printing, but may come close, Lasers that get down to the tolerances my machining tools can do would probably cost an arm and a leg.

            I am considering doing my own projects with the tools at hand, probably access to around 200k in tools that I don’t have to spend a dime on, but could crank out stuff in my off clock time.

            • 4 weeks ago
              Anonymous

              >reign

              that's what a king does. You're thinking of what a horsie rider holds in his hands.

              t. pedantic butthole/part time grammar nazi

      • 4 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        > I already run a company that makes 19k gross/14k profit per month selling watch bullshit
        Thats good, you should understand the concept of opportunity cost then.

        • 4 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          Right now, the 14k profit is purely based on what I sell outright. The people who I've partnered with selling their watchface design I take 30% of their listing cost as "my cost" which isn't included in my original gross/profit per month. So they sell their watchface design for say $20 and I'm making 6 off that. Some are $5, some are $75+. Then it gets put into actual watchface where I put everything together. Was there a better way to handle it when I started? Probably but I had more time than money, and the opportunity presented itself with having other people design and manufacture the watchfaces, so with every sale I'm "losing out" on $14+. My line of thinking is, if I spent ~$1000 to get pad printing working, and start designing my own faces, slowly phase out the other designs I can potentially get at least $1000 extra a month, so $1000 one time + ink & cliche costs to make more down the line.

          Theres places that will sell you pre-etched cliches. I would start there. Halftone screen is to control ink pickup/transfer. Tell them what you print specs are and theyll recommend the correct line count.

          Pad printing is tricky as frick, but once you get it going you can print things that cant be printed any other way, by the millions.

          I've thought about the pre-etched plate route, but everywhere that I've been able to find cost between $10-$20 to make one plate. If I was doing 1 or 2 designs I'd go that route, but even at like 40 plates, wouldn't it make more sense to just do it myself, and also open up a line of business making the watchface plates for others as well?

          There's also a makerspace near me that has Glowforge Pro, xTool D1 Pro, and a xTool RA2 Pro Rotary Laser for use for $20 an hour. But from what I've heard, laser equipment can't get as fine tuned as UV. I do prefer to have my own equipment rather than renting space; just an autistic trait I picked up from my dad it seems.

          Sorry for the rambling, thanks for the info about halftones.

  2. 4 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Theres places that will sell you pre-etched cliches. I would start there. Halftone screen is to control ink pickup/transfer. Tell them what you print specs are and theyll recommend the correct line count.

    Pad printing is tricky as frick, but once you get it going you can print things that cant be printed any other way, by the millions.

  3. 4 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    What are you doing for inks?

    • 4 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      No clue, still doing research on them, thinking about Tampoprint or some other shit, but not sure.

      Still just curious about the plate making process.

  4. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    What size halftone sheet do I need for a watch face?

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      Probably none. Its only used for larger solid areas to control pickup/deposit. Thin tiny watchface lines probably wouldnt benefit.

      Buy a preburned cliche. Figure out if you can make the whole thing work and then buy the necessary equipment to burn them. What is typical run size? You will need fixturing as well to hold/place the watchfaces accurately.

      • 3 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        Sorry, what do you mean by preburned cliche? Like going through some company to get a plate made? I've thought about it since it's only like $20-$30 USD.
        Typical run size would be 100-200 per batch, more depending.
        Fixturing - Thought about just using a polymer clay to get the mould, then fire it in my oven. Alternatively, I have a lot of scrap wood and some strong small metal c-clamps to hold it to the tray. Even thought about getting a friend to 3d print some shit and screw it into the tray.

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