when i first started screen printing, i was just using wooden frame speedball screens and just placing them over the shirt. i had no idea about off contact, registration or flooding… i just plopped some dye down and scraped. none of my multi-color stuff lined up at all. finally i found a very cheap 6 color, 2 station ryonet silver press on craig’s list, but where would i put such a monstrosity. of course, i needed a cart. i evaluated several on the market, but i also wanted a light-tight screen cabinet and drying rack as well, so i decided to build.i started off with these plans but made some slight modifications along the way to include the cabinet. since you can find the plans above, i won’t elaborate on what i did other than the mods i made to create a light tight cabinet. i wanted to use 20×24 screens (i think that is the max size my press can handle) and so i wanted the cabinet to fit two screens laying in the drying position. this means the inside of the cabinet would have to be at least 24″ deep and 40″ wide. i had to account for the upright supports on either side and the middle support to hold the screens so i made the top surface 48″ wide. i wanted to make the cabinet tall enough to hold 7 screens per side or 14 all together so i figured 2″ per screen (the frame is 1 5/8″ thick and i figure the other 3/8 for spacers or “shelves”). you can calculate all the dimensions from there if you’d like. i made the sides out of sheets of plywood and the doors out of a sheet of plywood that i cut in half at a 45ª angle so there would be some overlap for light tightness. i used piano hinges for the doors and built a frame around them (again, for light tightness). once built, i filled all the gaps in the doors and the other joints with dark silicon calk. to get the silicon calk not to stick to the doors, i wrapped them in cling wrap. i used a clasp to hold the doors shut. to test the light-tightness, i put a very bright lantern in the cabinet and, in my very dark garage, looked all around the seems for any light escaping. after several iterations of “check for light”/”seal up leaks” i was finally satisfied i had something light tight. now, light-tight doesn’t necessarily mean air-tight, but it does mean that there won’t be much air flow which would be bad for drying screens. for this, i added two circular vents (on the top back right, one the bottom front left) that attached to flexible dryer vent ducts. the exhaust duct i just wrapped around to serve as a light baffle. the intake duct i created a collar made of plastic tarp and attached to a carpet blower i had sitting around. the carpet blower provides air circulation, but i think, even on the lowest setting, that it may be too forceful. one time i dried a screen right under the intake vent and the emulsion ended up with a very strange pattern and was mostly unusable. for the “shelves” i used small 1/4″ dowels sticking out about 1 5/8″ from the sides and from a center support. this means the emulsion part of the screen doesn’t rest on anything and give plenty of circulation. to get the dowels in there mostly straight, i used a doweling jig from lowe’s (i usually shop at the depot, but lowe’s was more helpful in this case). i have found many uses for this since then as well (though, really, i likely just need a drill press). these dowels make it easy to slide the screens in and out of the cabinet. all over the cabinet i have attached various tools. i installed a power strip which i plug into a retractable extension cord when i’m using it. i’ve also installed a ton of various hooks. the best thing i installed was a magnetic tool bar. this thing is perfect for scissors, pliers and, especially a socket wrench for adjusting “off-contact”.
the cart and cabinet work great. my only complaint is that when i made the cabinet hold 7 screens per side, i also wanted a small shelf above the cabinet, so the thing is really way too tall for printing. to get my registration dialed in, i have to climb up on a step stool in order to look straight down on my registration marks. other than that, the monster is great. when i need it, i wheel it into place and when i don’t, i shove the whole thing nice and neatly out of my way.