Intro: Wood Block Printing With the ShopBot
I have been a TechShop member for a little over a year. I can't say enough about how much I love the studio atmosphere and being able to watch, learn and collaborate with others. I spend most of my time in the Textiles area and do quite a bit with the laser. For this project, however, I wanted a nice deep cut on the block to make printing easier and therefore used the ShopBot.
Step 1: What You'll Need
- Block Printing Ink
- Surface to roll ink ond
Step 2: File Preparation
I started with simple vector drawings in Illustrator. You can download them and use them as you please. I did neglect to reflect the Texas shape and so my prints are reflected. That was a great learning experience!
Next you'll take your line drawings into VCarve to create the file to cut on the ShopBot. I won't go into details on that as there are many variables based on the wood you select, bits you have, etc. I have included my file as a sample but please check ALL settings if you plan to use it. You don't want to ruin your ShopBot!
Step 3: Preparing to Print
Place a small amount of ink on a flat surface. I used a piece of scrap masonite so that I could throw it away afterwards and not worry about cleanup.
Roll the brayer through the ink multiple times to put a nice even coating of ink on the brayer. Carefully roll the brayer in your block only getting ink on the raised portions.
Step 4: Making a Print
Fold your fabric or place scrap fabric underneath your printing surface in order to provide a small amount of cushion. Place your block where you'd like the imprint made being very careful not to move the block once it has contacted the fabric.
I used a wood mallet to pound on the block but found that simply tapping it with my hand was just as effective.
When you lift the block the fabric might stick a bit so hold your piece down. Admire your work! Repeat :)
I can't wait to create more blocks to create more textiles to create more objects! Hope you will too!