Screen Printing Exposure Units

Your Stop for Name Brand Exposure Units

To reach your desired exposure level, an important step in screen printing, you can utilize an exposure unit. Designed specifically to help stencils bond to screens, an size exposure unit is a must-have in a screen printing shop.

Shop Our Individual Screen Printing Exposure Units:

M&R Exposure Units

Exposure made easy with the First Light tabletop UV fluorescent screen exposure unit, especially for beginner screen printers and those with minimal space. With five high-output UV fluorescent lamps, you’ll save money, reduce exposure time and increase production levels.

One of NuArc’s largest screen exposure units available on the market, the Helios Large Format is fit to take on virtually any exposure. With a specialized featured called the Job Recall, you’ll be able to repeatedly perform sequences that include: screen exposure, vacuum release, door closing, blowback and door openings. The model features a Dual 6 kW metal-halide lamps fit for screen sizes as large as 208 x 269 cm (82” x 106”).

Fit for a maximum screen frame size of 79 x 102 cm (31” x 40”) the MSP 3140 model reduces glass temperature, power use, and environment heating effects. For those conscious about the environment or just getting started with automatic presses, this is a good exposure unit to invest in. Without sacrificing excellent performance, this exposure unit comes at an affordable price and isn’t hard to operate.

NuArc’s popular MSP 3140 model has also been transformed into a computer-to-screen exposure unit, adding dual-purpose to its capabilities. Producing excellent results on both conventional screens and screens exposed to CTS imaging systems – it is easily operated.

Make room for the Starlight exposure unit.Best used as a tabletop or stand-mounted UV LED Screen exposure unit, it’s great for conventional exposures and can be transformed to a CTS exposure system (with the help of a optional CTS retrofit kit). Achieve quicker exposure times, better production rates, and energy saving capabilities. Compared to most LED models, the Starlight has three times as many LEDs per square inch helping to quicken your exposure times and provide better, finer details.

A step up from the original Tri-Light, this larger, shuttered-light version has a maximum screen frame size of 132 x 152 cm (52” x 60”). With one single keystroke, this easy to operate model can be controlled from the vacuum drawdown to the screen exposure to the vacuum release. Available in both 3kW and 6kW, consult a Garston representative for more details.

Compared to NuArc Tri-Light ST, the CTS model is a dual-purpose machine. The results are still the same, but it will expose your screens that are generated from a CTS computer-to-screen imaging system. You can use it with both screen types.

This model can handle screen frames up to 132 x 152 cm (52” x 60”). The rack will hold up to 142 x 163 cm (56” x 64”) as well as two 64 x 91 cm (25” x 36”) or four 58 x 79 cm (23” x 31”) screen frames at the same time.

**All Exposure Units are Special Order and must be ordered over the phone. If you are interested in any of our Exposure Units or have questions, please give us a call at 860-289-3040

Have a Question? Need a Quote?

Here at Garston, we always try to offer the most affordable prices on name-brand products. Are you looking at a particular exposure unit, but need more information? Or would you like a quote? Give us a call, and one of our customer service representatives will assist you.

Why Garston for Exposure Units?

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Affordable Prices

Keeping up with all of the new exposure technology can be overwhelming. But, here at Garston we keep our prices low and our products high-quality.

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To keep all of our customers satisfied, we always go the extra mile and provide you with the necessary information and guidance.

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Name Brand Products

Looking for products you can trust? Here at Garston, we only provide the best, well-respected and affordable name brands.

Types of Screen Printing Exposure Units


Multi-Source (LED)

Multi-source exposure units are less expensive and smaller in size. They contain multiple lights that will be scattered in multiple directions. This is a good exposure unit to use for most screen printing needs where you’ll be printing 1-2 color jobs and a simple graphic. Multi-source exposure units can provide the level of detail needed, and these exposure units are most consistent with an ultra violet output.


Single-Source (Metal Halide)

A single-source (or a single light) exposure unit will have less undercutting and very fine detail. You will need to have a good amount of contact between the positive and the glass, which this equipment can provide. In the case of metal halide exposure units, you should use a light integrator that will help constantly adjust exposure times. This way, when your light bulbs begin to weak over time, the system will adjust. On the downside, metal halide exposure units tend to be more expensive for operation and upkeep.

Finding the Right Exposure Unit

When you expose an emulsion or a capillary film to the correct light, it will eventually harden which helps bond it to the screen mesh. Eventually it will become water resistant, and the areas about the film positive will act as an obstruction between your stencil and the light. These protected areas will remain soft, and during the washout process, they will cease to exist creating open areas. These open areas allow for ink to pass through the mesh, creating the image we see on our substrates.

All of this, the screen printing process, is made possible by using the right exposure tools. All screen printers are on the hunt for the perfect exposure, and how does one achieve their desired results? By finding an exposure unit that fits your shop and your overall needs.

The time that you exposure your items depending on a few different factors It could be the characteristics of the emulsion or the film, the stencil thickness or even the thread diameter and count of your mesh. In relation to the exposure time comes the exposure unit.

Most screen printers work with multiple ink systems including plastisols, water-based and special-effect products. A lot of modern techniques for printing need different stencil systems that all have their own optimal exposures. In reality, if you lose the image detail during your exposure, there’s no chance in saving it on the press.

What Does an Exposure System Help With?

The exposure system you choose to utilize becomes the main factor in producing quality stencils. Each type of exposure unit will have its own specific spectral output, geometrics of light delivery and intensity levels. In other words, this simply means that each exposure unit will produce different stencil performances, edge definition, durability, resolution and repeatability. Good exposure comes from a good light source, but only certain parts of the entire spectrum of light will be used to expose stencils.

You may have a hard time understanding how exposure units can be on the more expensive side, but having the exact exposure you desire is especially important in the screen printing process. You should not take the process of choosing an exposure unit lightly.

Your Choices for Screen Exposure Units

Metal Halide Exposure Unit

When it comes down to it, you will need to decide between a metal halide unit or an LED exposure unit.

A metal halide exposure unit is used all over for screen printing. This type of exposure unit will use a high-wattage single-source bulb to quickly and accurately cure your screens. This single source of intense UV light helps to create stencils with crisp edges and highly detailed print runs. The only unfortunate part of owning a metal halide unit is that they can be costly. Upon purchase you may pay a lot out of pocket, and the same can be said for the upkeep of the machine. Since a metal halide bulb takes time to warm up, this can also cause the bulbs to burn out faster. Bulbs can range anywhere from ($200-$300), and some shops tend to leave their exposure units running all day long, which then can affect your shop’s electrical use.

LED Exposure Unit

An LED Exposure Unit is still a fairly new addition to the screen printing world. The UV Light inside of an LED Exposure Unit comes from light emitting diodes and not traditional light bulbs. These diodes are used to create exact wavelengths of UV light, making your wait time for exposure almost instantly.

Compared to a metal halide exposure unit, an LED Exposure Unit takes less power and requires no warm-up (saving you time and money). Some screen printers would claim that a LED exposure unit won’t create a crisp stencil such is the case with a metal halide bulb. Most manufacturers would claim that the stencil crispness between both models isn’t noticeable.

How To Choose Your Exposure Unit

When you begin to get serious about choosing an exposure unit, have a few test runs to compare stencil and print quality. This machine will be with you for years, so it’s best you invest in a model that does what you want it to do.

You will also need to think about the size of your exposure unit as well as the size of the screens you expose. Right now you may have a particular size that you use, but this can always change in the future, so you need to consider the image area size.

Another good tip is to also consider the power requirements of the exposure unit. Make sure your shop can handle its electrical demands. Of course, each exposure unit needs electricity, so if you are without – it won’t be possible to use!

Screen Printing Exposure Unit FAQ

Why Won’t My Stencil Wash Out?

If you are having a hard time washing out your stencils, it’s probably the result of over exposing your images. It could be from UV light getting into your shop and exposing your emulsions. Another possibility could be that UV light is making its way to the edges of your film positive, which will make your image not wash away. You need to make sure that your positives are held firmly against the glass of your exposure unit.

I Found a Pinhole on My Screen, Why Did This Happen?

Pinholes can be seen after exposing your screens – they are small imperfections that form as tiny, transparent dots. There are plenty of reasons why you are experiencing pinholes, and one could be from exposing your screen to dust. If the glass of your exposure unit has dirt or dust on it, these smudges could possibly block the UV light in your exposure unit, which will make portions of your stencil to wash away, thus creating these deadly pinholes.

What Bulbs Should I Use for My Exposure Unit?

With the proper bulbs for exposure, you’ll have much better results. Some screen printers choose to use unfiltered blacklight tubes, but try to stay away from acrylic – this can end up scratching your exposure unit, producing unwanted results (less than sharp screens). You can also consult the manufacturer of your unit for the recommended bulb type.

How Do You Use an Exposure Calculator With a Vacuum Exposure Unit?

You will calculate your exposure time, the same way you would without a vacuum exposure unit. You need to make sure that the room you choose to expose in is light safe, to avoid early exposure to your emulsion. Open the lid to your emulsion after every exposure, move the source of light, re-engage the vacuum, and then move onto your next exposure.

Garston, Sign Screen & Digital

Honest, Fair Prices on all Exposure Units

Better exposures lead to better stencils. Upgrade your shops productivity levels and output, by adding a quality exposure unit to your fleet of equipment. To learn more about exposure units or see which models Garston carries, give us a call.