Screen Printing Bottle Machine/Jig

DaveP

New Member
Hi all,

I'm looking to screen print directly onto glass champagne bottles for a small batch cider producer. I see on the net (eBay, Alibaba, etc) that cheap manual machines/jigs for this purpose are readily available, but look a bit on the flimsy side, looks like they're cobbled together from lightweight metal used in photocopiers or the like. Also, many can't take a 90mm diameter bottle. It also looks possible to build them, but I don't really need an engineering project at the moment. Just wondering if anyone knew of a "proper" manual cylinder/bottle screen printing jig that was available from somewhere in the UK?

Thanks in advance,

Dave
 

hankscorpio

Moderator
Staff member
If it's only small batch then consider locating a screen printer around your area. A lot will do it white label at trade prices. So you can still get it cheaper, add a percentage for yourself and the end client still gets it cheaper than going direct to the screen print themselves.


Cost of machine, learning curve, limited run etc, might not be worth it.
 

DaveP

New Member
I don't personally have experience of this but is the below (no idea on cost) the sort of thing you're finding on ebay etc

If they are then you should have no issues with the strength of the frame etc, that's a sturdy frame.
This is is the type of thing available on ebay (there are a few variants). All looks a bit cobbled together and fiddly:

I'd prefer to pay a little more for something better put together, and not a dodgy grey import
 

DaveP

New Member
If it's only small batch then consider locating a screen printer around your area. A lot will do it white label at trade prices. So you can still get it cheaper, add a percentage for yourself and the end client still gets it cheaper than going direct to the screen print themselves.


Cost of machine, learning curve, limited run etc, might not be worth it.
For full disclosure, I'm the cider-maker. So it would be for numerous small batches over the years. The cost of paper labels gets prohibitive in runs of below 400 bottles, so printing directly onto the bottles seems a smart choice. The ebay machines cost about the same as a manual machine to apply roll labels, and after the initial outlay the costs would be lower, I reckon a kilo of ink would do 1000s of bottles.

I used to do a lot of screen printing in my youth so learning curve doesn't bother me, and it all seems even easier with the advent of inkjet printers to produce the transparencies (it was all hand cut stenplex stencils and photo opaque paint in my day). Sourcing a suitable ink/mesh/stencil combination is fairly simple. Just need a solid jig to run it on. I see on youtube that these can be made with many hours of time and drawer runners, but surely they're a commercially available thing over here? But looking for manual, rather than auto/semi-auto.

Champagne bottle weigh 600-1000g each, so prospect of ferrying them back and forth to a printer would blow the economic case for doing it.
 

Levi

Moderator
Staff member
This is is the type of thing available on ebay (there are a few variants). All looks a bit cobbled together and fiddly:

I'd prefer to pay a little more for something better put together, and not a dodgy grey import
As long as the welds have been done properly that design will be pretty sturdy as long as you're not trying to hit australia when you 'close the lid'
 

hankscorpio

Moderator
Staff member
Shipment direct to printer. Apply the labels. Ship them on. It's one extra stop.

You should really look into it. I think it would be far less cost.

What happens if your machine goes down? Commercial printers have back up machines, and backup print partners.

I really think operating your own machine will have a lot more issues and has the drawbacks.
 

DaveP

New Member
Shipment direct to printer. Apply the labels. Ship them on. It's one extra stop.

You should really look into it. I think it would be far less cost.

What happens if your machine goes down? Commercial printers have back up machines, and backup print partners.

I really think operating your own machine will have a lot more issues and has the drawbacks.
Thanks for the input, but I'm fairly set on the idea. I think the cost of a printer setting up one screen would make it totally nonviable. Breakdowns aren't a concern, it's basically a hinge and a couple of rollers. Possibly easier to fix than tractors...

I was just asking if anyone knew a UK supplier of such equipment, no need to be quite so undermining.
 

hankscorpio

Moderator
Staff member
no need to be quite so undermining.
What?
Nobody is being undermining - I worked in a print buyers as a designer for 5 years

I'm a former screen printer 2.5 years.
Prepress experience 5 years
InHouse designer (outsourcing print) for 9 years
Print manager for a large multi-national company for 1.5 years
Graphic Designer/Print buyer for 5 years

All my experience of 23 years - I've seen lesser print runs come through me personally for small quanity.


Personally - I don't know of anyone in the UK - I'm based in Ireland.

If you're buying 2nd hand you're likely not going to get a servicing contract, and that can be expensive, some parts can be specialised.


I don't want you to feel undermined, I simply offer my experience - which centres on exactly what you're looking into doing.

I've seen dozens come and go through me personally - and it's far more cost-effective to set up with a local print shop.


Case I would refer to as an example is
We decided to trial an envelope stuffer - that is the pages would collate, and then fold, and then automatically stuff into an envelope.
The machine was expensive, the time to setup was lengthy (nobody to run it full time), the machine was 2nd hand and no service contract. (the new machine was mindblowingly expensive). And the few amount of envelope jobs we had like that - just didn't add up to invest in the technology.
It was far more cost effective to send to a specialised envelope service who can fulfill, far better equipment, quality, dedicated teams. etc.


Sorry if that is undermining.


There are some suppliers

You could maybe get in touch with them - they would know suppliers and might be able to help out.
 

Levi

Moderator
Staff member
Thanks for the input, but I'm fairly set on the idea. I think the cost of a printer setting up one screen would make it totally nonviable. Breakdowns aren't a concern, it's basically a hinge and a couple of rollers. Possibly easier to fix than tractors...

I was just asking if anyone knew a UK supplier of such equipment, no need to be quite so undermining.
How is suggesting an alternative approach you may not have thought of, due to NO EXPERIENCE of the task at hand, being undermining.....

I think you might find out that what you're thinking about doing is going to be a little harder than you think it's going to be...
 

hankscorpio

Moderator
Staff member
How is suggesting an alternative approach you may not have thought of, due to NO EXPERIENCE of the task at hand, being undermining.....

I think you might find out that what you're thinking about doing is going to be a little harder than you think it's going to be...
It might work out. It might not.
Bottle breakages (or other spoilage) will be on them.
Hand it off to a professional crowd and any breakages/spoilages are on them. It's literally risk-free.

Taking it all on themselves is opening up a world of unforeseen issues.

But best of luck - I've provided two suppliers of screen printing equipment in the UK. Seems specialised. And best to go to the market and ask some people in the business already.

What do I know, only almost quarter of a century working in the print industry.

Very undermining for someone to volunteer their free time to help a stranger out.
 
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