Thermofax - what is it, please?

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CarolineA wrote
on 2 Mar 2011 6:28 PM

I'm a newbie to this so please be gentle.

What is thermofax?  I have not come across it here in Australia, and wonder if its similar to Print Gocco, though the photos I have seen suggest its a much bigger screen. But then close ups can be very misleading. Or is it also known as Riso (?), something I've heard about but not seen?

Does it have advantages over regular silk screen printing? It seems that a good silk screen would be more useful and versatile, but this is sheer conjecture.

I'm like a kid in a chocolate factory with all these new techniques to try!

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Muppin wrote
on 3 Mar 2011 11:52 AM

Hi Caroline-

Thermofax and Gocco are based on the same principle.  Using heat, a carbon copy is fused to a special mesh film, and when the carbon paper is pulled away it leaves a screen through which you can make a screenprint.  It's actually the same film in many cases, made by Riso, but the Gocco version makes very tiny prints using flashbulbs.  The Gocco has been discontinued, so many fans have stocked up on the supplies.  In Australia, you have a great supplier who says he has supplies that will last a while.  Thermofax screens are usually the size of regular paper.

Thermofax machines used to be all the rage many years ago to make carbon copies for schools, etc, but since many schools now use traditional copiers, many of them ended up in the trash.  There are some that have survived, and you can even find some online, but they are very expensive. Thermofax machines are not just used by artists, but tattoo parlors as well, to help place tattoo outlines on people, so their demand is high.   It's often worth it to just have screens made fo you by a service, and many of those services can be found in the pages of Quilting Arts.

I've used both regular silkscreens and Thermofaxes, and I find Thermofax screens easier to clean, store, and they are a bit sturdier than the fabric silkscreens I have used.  That's just my 2 cents!  haha

Good luck on your new techniques!  Feel free to post some of your work!

Cheryl / Muppin

 

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Posts 38
CarolineA wrote
on 3 Mar 2011 11:58 PM

Thank you for such a clear explanation! The Riso system is quite expensive here, and also not the easiest to get hold of, so I think I shall be experimenting with silk screen printing and stencils for the time being.

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Muppin wrote
on 4 Mar 2011 9:25 AM

No problem, Caroline!  You can always have someone who has a ThermoFax make you a screen, which is very economical, and they can be reused many times.

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