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Printing Directly to Drafting Film
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Mylar Stencil Film Supplies:
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Printing Stencil Films With Inkjet and Laser Printers

Printing With An Inkjet

One of the beauties of matt drafting film is that it can be printed on with an ordinary inkjet printer. The surface of the film has been treated so it can accept a wide variety of media including pen, marker pencil and printer ink.

There are however a few things you should keep in mind when printing onto this type of film.

Although the surface of the drafting film accepts ink very well, some pooling of the ink can occur on the surface of the film if the ink load is too high. When this happens, you can get some smears of ink on the film as it comes out of the printer. You can avoid ink pooling by following a few rules of thumb. Make sure that your artwork is made up of thin lines.

Don't attempt to print large areas of solid black. Print in "Economy Mode". this will yield lighter but still very visible lines to follow when cutting the stencil. You will find "economy mode" somewhere in your printers dialogue box .Vector software such as Corel Draw or Illustrator are excellent tools for creating suitably thin line work for stencil design.

Avoid placing more than one sheet of film in the printers paper tray at one time. Sometimes, and with some printers there will be a tendency for the printer to suck up two sheets of film at a time instead of one. Dislodging stencil film from a printer is sometimes a hell of a lot harder than removing jammed paper, believe me.

Although printer ink will dry nicely onto the drafting film, the dry ink sits on top of the film and the image can still be rubbed off or smeared with your hand. To avoid rubbing off the image while you are cutting the stencil, work with the printed side facing down so your hand is rubbing against the non printed side

I recommend printing the word "UP" somewhere on one corner of the design so you will know the difference.

Printing With A Laser printer

Drafting film is a sort of plastic (Polyester) right? and a laser printer prints by making enough heat to fuse a black powder to the surface of the film. Heat and plastic are not always compatible.

Your average, run of-the-mill drafting film will buckle when fed through some domestic laser printers. The problem is,not knowing which printers will and which won't distort the film.

I have a "Brother" mono laser printer. When I feed film through my printer it always distorts the film. Not a lot, but enough to make it unusable. I have tried other brands of printers that don't buckle the film. It really depends on the make and model of the printer.

Some laser printers have settings that control the fusing temperature of the printer powder. There is a type of drafting film that is called PPC film. This type of film has been speacially treated so that it does not distort when fed through laser printers.

It is in fact made for plan printing. Plan printers are just oversized laser printers, used for printing house and engineering plans. Unfortunately you have to hunt around to find a source for PPC film. It isn't readily available in craft or stationary stores. I have located PPC film at some architectural copy centers in my locality. If you want this type of drafting film, you could try looking up "plan printing" in your local business pages or online.

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