Screen Printing Workshop Highlights

It's official: Open Lab Idaho members are now rocking stylish custom screen-printed t-shirts, thanks to Juliana from Bricolage! We wanted Open Lab Idaho t-shirts, but decided that sending our logo off to have them commercially printed just wasn't the hackerspace way, so Dave invited Juliana down to teach us how to screen print our own shirts. After receiving a copy of our logo, she prepared the screen and brought all of her gear down to show us the rest. Details after the break!




[caption id="attachment_148" align="alignnone" width="550" caption="Cole positioning a shirt for screen printing."][/caption]

Step 1.  Position the shirt for printing. This part is tough because you have to eyeball it. We shot for printing the logo 4 inches down from the neckline. A mild adhesive spray is used to tack the shirt down, just in case a reprint is needed.

[caption id="attachment_153" align="alignnone" width="550" caption="Flooding the screen."][/caption]

Step 2. Flood or "recharge" the screen. Mild pressure at a 15 degree angle is used to move the ink into the screen for printing.

[caption id="attachment_151" align="alignnone" width="550" caption="Printing to the shirt. Look at how much fun he is having!"][/caption]

Step 3. Pull the screen down to the shirt. Use moderate pressure with only a couple of degrees on the squeegee, and pull the ink across the logo.

[caption id="attachment_152" align="alignnone" width="550" caption="Teh epic moment of truth! Zomg!"][/caption]

Step 4. The moment of truth! Pick up the screen and see how it looks. If needed, reflood the screen and reprint, or leave the print partially unfilled for the distressed look.

Step 5. Hang the shirt up for a few minutes. Ours sat for about 20 minutes before we moved on to curing.

Step 6. Cure the ink. Use a clothes iron to apply direct heat to the print for about 20 seconds.

Each member that could make it down printed off their own shirt, and then took turns printing for the members that couldn't make it. During the course of the workshop, our electronically-minded members noted how similar screen printing t-shirts is to printing "PCBs," or printed circuit boards. This workshop was blast, because it gave Open Lab members a chance to move outside of the usual electronics projects and into the unknown. We would love to see more workshops and projects like this in the future, because we love anything DIY!

[caption id="attachment_154" align="alignnone" width="550" caption="Dave being safe! Be careful there buddy..."][/caption]

Several of us expressed interest in building our own screen press for use by Open Lab members, so keep an eye out for that project, and eventually more t-shirts! Many thanks to Juliana for putting the workshop on for us, and teaching us the history and practice of screen printing!

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March Meeting Highlights

Open Lab Idaho forges ahead at it's second official monthly meetup! Many members showed up early in the afternoon, and stayed until very late in the evening. The board got more details ironed out, and some basic network infrastructure was planned and installed. We saw projects of all types, from drip-irrigation systems to bi-pedal walkers built with 3D printed parts. Also present were a couple of Linux projects, a controller adapter for MAME in an NES console, a giant 3D printer that had to be delivered in a pickup, as well as a homebuilt multi-touch surface. We are looking forward to seeing your project at Open Lab Idaho next month, no matter what it is! Check out all of the pictures after the break!

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Open Lab Idaho Official Logo Announcement

Posted March 18, 2012
Category Open Lab News
Open Lab Idaho,

I am pleased to announce that the board and executive teams have chosen an official Open Lab Idaho logo! Originally, we had not defined how the logo would be chosen, but Dave sent out a call to our members, asking for logo ideas. We received nothing less than an overwhelming response; 40 logos to choose from! Several logos saw quite an evolution as different members modified and added to existing designs.

A few weeks ago, the board decided to vote internally on the logo submissions, and choose the best three for a vote by the membership. We ended up narrowing 40 logos down to 4, and began discussing the pros and cons of each. It quickly became clear that while all four were great options, one in particular met widespread approval by the board and executive teams, in addition to individual members in personal queries. The board and executive teams also wished to reduce the amount of time spent in flux with no logo, prompting them to select an official logo by majority vote. Read on after the break!

We chose the official logo for several reasons.

1. Crowdsourced. Many Open Lab Idaho members contributed ideas and design work to this logo. It represents the work of a large part of the OLI membership.

2. Modular. This selection isn't just a logo, it's a family of modular logos that can be rearranged and reworked, depending on the application. While we will have a core official logo, we found that this family of logos (See below) would grant OLI members the ability to modify the logo, based on where it will be used. Derivative works, interpretations, and 3D prints are inevitable!

3. Communicates. This logo family effectively communicates that we work on mechanical (gear) and electronic (chip) projects, in a scientific and innovative atmosphere (flask). The flask could also represent chemical projects when OLI travels that road. I personally tested the 3-Logo variant outside of OLI, and found that people immediately understood OLI's purpose after seeing the logo.

[caption id="attachment_63" align="alignnone" width="599" caption="Three-logo Variant."][/caption]

4. Professional and Timeless. The official logo is equally as professional and timeless as logos from successful companies and organizations such as Nike, Apple, Ubuntu, and Aperture Science. It isn't trendy, and should remain pleasing in appearance for years to come.

[caption id="attachment_60" align="alignnone" width="600" caption="The core logo in banner form, with the Ubuntu font."][/caption]

5. Clean and Simple. This logo looks great in large and small applications. It is simple enough to embroider on a polo shirt, shrink to the size of a dime, or print in simple black and white. It is also has no orphaned pieces, which will make vinyl cutting and 3D printing much easier.

[caption id="attachment_61" align="alignnone" width="600" caption="The core logo, in descending sizes."][/caption]

The board and executive teams would like to extend their gratitude to everyone who submitted ideas and designs for this project. We will always be needing artwork for posters and announcements, and many of the logos submitted would work perfectly for such applications. Even if your logo wasn't selected, we will most certainly need it in the future.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me (FuelCell250) via personal message on the forums. If desired, I will be more than happy to relay your messages to the board and executive teams. Official logo files will be made available in PNG and SVG vectored formats shortly. Thanks again Open Lab Idaho!

[caption id="attachment_62" align="alignnone" width="600" caption="The official Open Lab Idaho logo and font family."][/caption]