OC a-Gocco!

3 Jun

After searching for a reasonably priced printer for garment labels today ($400+ for 1000 labels…what am I going to do with 1000 labels?), it occurred to me that I could invest those hundreds in a Gocco screenprinting kit and print my own labels on twill tape.

Print Gocco screenprinting kit

Print Gocco screenprinting kit image by Debi Cates

A Print Gocco is a compact Japanese printer that easily allows you to create multiple ink impressions of your designs. It’s similar to traditional screenprinting, but is much less complicated in that it uses pre-emulsioned master sheets that are ‘burned’ with the on board flash kit. It also has a much smaller platen, which seems much more manageable for smaller items. There’s also no squeegee-ing involved, which is great for me as I can’t ever pull it evenly. However, there’s quite a few negatives with Gocco as the flash bulbs are single-use and the Japanese company that manufactures Gocco, Riso, stopped shipping them around 2008. This means that a) the best source for supplies and the printer is eBay b) those supplies are going to be expensive c) one day, there will be no more supplies. There are movements for the saving of Gocco (such as www.savegocco.com, à la Polaroid), but the fate of Gocco beyond existing supplies is unknown.

I’ve been lusting after one for quite a while now, but it’s hard to lay down that much money for one as kits on eBay can run upwards of $175. To scrape by, I’ve been using cheap DIY methods like Mod Podge-ing organza stretched on an embroidery hoop, as shown below.

Embroidery hoop screen printing

Modge podge embroidery hoop screen printing by Scarlet-Begonias @ CutOutandKeep.net

The Modge Podge method isn’t very reliable and makes pretty messy imprints, since it relies on how steady your hands are when painting in the image. Additionally, the Modge Podge has an annoying tendency to dry lumpily, which is hard to squeegee with and will lead to ink squishing out from between the gaps. I’d like to print logos with text, so this isn’t ideal at all.

Then there is the Yudu Personal Screen Printer, which has a much larger platen and can handle larger items like t-shirts or tote bags. It’s much closer to traditional screenprinting in that it requires squeegee-ing and drying and washing off of the screen, but still in a self-contained unit that incorporates the exposing light apparatus (second worst thing about screenprinting is finding lights to expose the emulsion) and screen dryer. It’s also still being manufactured, but the huge price drop on the kit since its introduction probably means that there hasn’t been as much positive response to it as they had hoped, so it may also be gone before long.

I’m still looking at the Gocco over the Yudu since it seems to be a lot less complicated to use and the scale is more reasonable for my purposes. I keep thinking of things that I could use it for (Thank you cards! Business cards! Labels! Artwork! Blergh!) to convince myself that $200 is a pretty good investment.

Any thoughts, Gocco owners and aficionados?

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