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Go-go-gocco!

30 Jun

My lovely Gocco arrived a few weeks ago, and it’s been such a great tool to have. It’s so much fun and terribly easy to use that I’ve decided that it’s just about the best investment I could make for a tiny business’s printing needs.

Print Gocco kit

This is the kit I bought off eBay, image by eBay seller import_express445106

So far, I’ve printed tiny muslin bags, business cards and mini Moo-sized cards that will debut at Bloomfest on the 23rd. I’d like to purchase some kraft paper merchandise bags and print our logo and QR code, but that’s for a bit later.

Printing Orderly Civilians business cards on the Print Gocco

Printing Orderly Civilians business cards on the Print Gocco, front and back, two at a time

New Orderly Civilians business cards on chocolate cardstock

Finished business cards drying in the sun

Muslin bags printed on the Gocco

Mini muslin bags for rings and necklaces

Mini moo business cards

Moo-sized mini business cards

I’m really pleased that I decided to go with the Gocco over the Yudu as it’s much smaller and thus more suited to the items that I will be making. As I’m doing very repetitive projects, I also find that the stamping (or pressing down) action of the Gocco is much easier than repeatedly pulling a squeegee across a screen. I was also pleasantly surprised at the fineness of lines that is achievable on the Gocco which allows for beautifully legible type. However, (as seen in the image above) the screens tend to expose a little unevenly, giving an imperfect and distressed look, which isn’t all that bad in my opinion.

I purchased the PG-10 Super Gocco model because I liked the idea of a repositionable platten and the registration plate that it came with, which allows exact placement of multiple-stage prints and was cheaper than the PG-11, which has the same features plus a lamp housing that is supposed to be better angled to expose the edges of the screen. If you’re interested in purchasing a Gocco, here’s a great chart that breaks down the various models. Here’s a video that shows the registration process with the PG-11:

One of the cons of Goccos is that the master screens aren’t reusable and cleaning isn’t very easy. The inks require a special cleaner (although I’ve heard that one can use Goop hand cleaner or vegetable cooking oil, but I’ve not tried either) and it’s really not fun or easy as the screens are cardboard and hard to rinse out. I also tend to load up my screens so I can print multiple projects at different times with one master and the ink blocking that keeps colors separated tends to get saturated with ink and comes off in the cleaning process, which is a bit wasteful. I’ve also ruined part of a master by forgetting to put a piece on paper on the part of the sticky pad that I wasn’t using at the time, which led to the non-printing film on the mesh being pulled off the mesh and rendering that part unusable.

Here’s a great video on YouTube created by Etsy that shows how to use a Gocco for a simple, hand illustrated card:

I havent tried a hand-drawn print, yet and usually I lay out the screen in Adobe Illustrator before printing it out on a laser printer. The image to be exposed needs to be drawn with carbon-based ink, which most inkjet printers don’t use, although HP inks supposedly do contain carbon. I haven’t tried it out because our HP printer is quite old (8 years and counting!) and doesn’t like to print straight lines anymore, so it’s off to Kinkos I go.

What are you printing with your Gocco?

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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