I have had a frustrating time in the last few days struggling with a machine.
I excitedly purchased a Yudu screenprinting system after reading some reviews that touted it as the savior for those of us who are running out of our no longer manufactured Gocco supplies. Like the Gocco, it is a self contained screenprinting device and it has the added bonuses of being bigger, geared towards printing on fabric, and it's screens are reusable.
I thought I'd have no problem transitioning from Gocco to Yudu but I was very disappointed.
Before I started printing, I watched a few tutorial videos, perused the Yudu user forums and read the manual. I completed every step slowly and thoughtfully but ended up with imperfections in my three separate attempts.
I spent two whole workdays trying to conquer the Yudu and ended up with unsatisfactory results. I printed 20 "foxy like a crafter" tote bags and most needed touching up by hand and in the end, probably only 6 of them are good enough to sell.
I'm planning on returning the machine later this week.
Here is a ranty rundown of all the annoying details for those of you wondering about the specifics:
The application of emulsion is probably the trickiest part of the process, the screen needs to be wet (but not too wet and not too dry) and then the emulsion is applied in a sheet like a giant green sticker that needs to be smoothed out. My emulsion didn't stick perfectly in all three of my attempts. It was drippy once and un-stuck to the screen once and generally irregular in my last try.
The waiting between steps was expected but annoying and always took longer than the manual suggested.
The machine is pretty clunky. It's very large and feels a bit cheap. For example, the little door flap that holds the screen in the drying rack never stays shut and the top frame part did not hold the screen in very securely. The screen fell out onto the floor once and I spent the next half hour plucking bunny fur out of the ink.... nice.
Once I finally got to start printing on my halfway decently burned screen, I ran into problems getting an even application of ink. I tried to apply an even pressure across the squeegee but I always ended up with un-inked spots which forced me to have to squeegee again thus losing line crispness.
All of the aforementioned grumbles were not insurmountable and I thought that I could get over them with some practice. Then, I realized that my screen needed to be washed between every 7-10 printings because the ink started to dry. Seriously, no. Washing the screen between printings is such a sad waste of ink and time (especially considering the screen needs to be dried after washing too). Yudu ink also only comes in tiny bottles that are prohibitively pricy.
The worst part for me was when I finally had started pulling acceptable prints, I noticed a pink haze had begun to show up around my images. The ink I was using was red and I speculated the screen was wearing down with use and letting a little ink through the blocked parts. I'm not really 100% sure what caused the haze though.
I stopped for the day feeling beaten and went to clean the ink off the screen hoping to pull a better batch tomorrow with the same screen. Sadly, while I cleaned the screen, one or two tiny details of the emulsion lifted off rendering it un-reusable. Reusability was one of the main draws to me for trying the YuDu.
I think the Yudu is a great concept but ended up being not such a great product. It has huge potential but didn't make the cut in my book. I wouldn't recommend it and especially not if you want it for making more than a handful of prints at a time.