Monday, May 25, 2009

Yudu FAIL


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.

29 comments:

Kim Bagwill said...

I'm so sorry it didn't work out, but think of all the good that came out of it by warning unsuspecting artists like myself from buying one and having an equally hard time. Take heart, if there's a market for it, someone will design it.

hellojenuine said...

ugh, what a disappointment. :( your bags are lovely though!

marceline said...

Boo, how disappointing. I have enough trouble getting good prints on a gocco so this is good to know.

Christine said...

You were really looking forward to a Gocco replacement and thought you found it in the Yudu. I'm sorry it didn't work out. That totally sucks!

miriamdema said...

sorry it didn't work out as well.

ya know, it's really not that hard to screen print- even in an apartment setting. just scale everything down to the size of the gocco or yudu and it will be tons cheaper.

DangAndBlast! said...

Useful info -- I'd been debating whether or not to get one, waiting to hear reviews... I think perhaps I won't. Speedball straight-up screenprinting seems like the probable way to go... cheaper, too...

Julie said...

this month's BUST had an add for tis machine and I thought it looked a bit shotty. thanks for the word of warning!

Jess littlebunny.etsy.com said...

oh no! i was looking into one of these but definitely going to steer clear now :[ sorry it was a bust.

melanie said...

Thanks for the review! It's so interesting - I had not heard any negative reviews yet but it seems from yours that this machine is not up to par. Sigh. The gocco set the bar pretty high, didn't it? So sad! It's also very sad about the bag design - I am a huge fan :) Hopefully it'll work out some other way! (I'm going to cross my fingers that I'll have time to stop by your booth at Renegade and see other awesome things!!)

blackberrycrafts said...

Shame the Yudu didn't live up to expectation. I love the foxy crafter bags, they're great!

Fog and Thistle said...

So frustrating and disappointing!

o'reilly ink said...

What a bummer! I was thinking of buying one, glad I didn't. I love the foxy bags, though. Very cute!

Cicada Studio said...

Great to know. Through my past experience with silk screening, I know emulsions, etc can be a fussy process. But you bring up some other valid points which would certainly be irksome and take the fun out of it. Seems more likely that a standard silk-screening kit might be the way to go after all.

brittni of papernstitch said...

well you just saved me a $300 investment. i have been contemplating purchasing a yudu for more than a month and after this review, i certainly won't be getting one. its a bummer because i really wanted to like it.
-brittni

into the trees said...

at least you got a few of those adorable bags out of the experience! the fox! best!

PaperMichelle said...

This is so sad to hear. I've been buying up gocco in bulk because I'm terrified of running out and then not having an alternative. I was hoping, like you, that this would be our solution. I think I'm moving to speedball screenprinting like some others have suggested.

I hope we all find an adequate solution soon!

MarmeeCraft said...

Oh, I had not heard of this machine before.......It sounds very complicated and messy....but I LOVE the bags you made!! :)

Sam said...

I add my voice to the others and say thanks Elise for being such a game guinea pig. Now we can all cross that off our list and keep searching for a worthy Gocco replacement.

Magical Goat said...

Oh lord! If only I had read this sooner :0 I've been waiting about 20 days for my Yudu machine to arrive here in the Netherlands (after paying an extra €122 for priority shipping) .
I also saw the ad in my BFF's Bust magazine. Yudu's customer service department gets a fat ZERO from me. If things turn sour with my Yudu, I'll also try the Speedball kit(?).
Thanx to everyone here for sharing their crafty experiences/nightmares.

Elise of Argyle Whale said...

I'm happy to have suffered with this beast if it has saved so many of you the trouble!

I think I will try to set up traditional screenprinting. I just bought a book on how to do it properly.

Kristin said...

I'm sorry to hear you had such a bad experience with your Yudu. I've been looking at various blog reviews (because they're so much more informative than the "official" tutorials).

The one blog that really stood out imho was Erin Bassett's http://erinbassett.typepad.com/creativite/yudu/ (not affiliated, just liked what she's done with hers).

Kristin said...

One thing that might have worked against your design was the screen itself -- it might not be fine enough for your line art. Many of the designs I've seen have been thicker lines, or shapes.

Just a thought. Not a criticism in any way, I think your designs are adorable!

caretail said...

Thanks for the review... I've been debating on this and your breakdown helped me narrow my choice on something else. p.s. cute bags!

learntoscreenprint said...

I'm sorry that Yudu gave you so much trouble. Would you like to review my screen printing tutorial? I'll send you a free copy if you are interested.

aliy said...

if you still have your yudu send me an email aliy@aampedonline.com

I had many similar problems but have discovered the trick to making it work.

The thinness of the line work isn't the problem. I have printed some really detailed things.

Maybe I should write my own blog post about this?... eh

crankydinosaur said...

thank you! i was maybe thinking of getting one but now i definitely won't - i'll just stick to the gocco and the traditional (read: real!) method.

i learned to screen print in school the traditional way so when i saw this i was wary. i'm just gonna save up for a real exposure unit - it's really the only super expensive thing everything else: inks, screens are fairly affordable and 20 times easier to reuse.

if you need tips doing the traditional method feel free to e-mail me. i love to help a fellow artist.

ps. i found this blog entry by googling "yudu sucks"

haha

Kill Taupe said...

Thanks for sharing this. I wish I had read it before I bought mine! I've gone through about $30 of emulsion sheets and not a single one has burned correctly, or when I attempt to rinse off the exposed area the design was ruined. The Yudo appears easy to use, but its so easy to make a costly mistake. Emulsion sheets are freaking $20 for two of them. Ugh.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, I am new at any screen printing. I agree that the process of applying the emulsion is a little more difficult than they make it sound and does take alot of time to dry. Also noticed that you really need to make sure the inks are sealed. I sent a friend to get me more white ink at Michaels and it did not come out very good. It took me a little while to figure out why, but I believe the ink was old (which explains the sale) I so far have run about 24 shirts and about 20 came out very good and the other 4 I will wear. It does take a little time to get them right, but for the most part it is a pretty cool machine. Good luck and be patient....

Anonymous said...

The YUDU screen printing system is a package of expensive garbage. As if the starting supplies that come with it are scant enough, they will be glad to send you more at marked-up prices (if you haven't had enough by this point). There are suckers born every minute as the saying goes, unfortunately I was one of them. Steer clear of the YUDU.