Having recently received a Print Gocco B6 HiMesh Set, I scoured the web trying to figure out (1) if it was worth the cost in the first place and (2) how exactly it works. Now that I've made my first print, I thought I would share how it actually works and what I discovered.
Edit: This was written back in 2004, I believe. Since then Riso Corporation has decided to discontinue production of it. Find more information + how to help here: www.savegocco.com
Before we start, I am not a Gocco expert nor do I want to be held responsible for any incorrect information here. I just wanted to give you a general overview so you understand how it works. If you get one, read their instructions completely + watch their instructional video! Don't rely on this pitiful page for your expertise. Okay, now that we're all happy + hopeful, here goes...
A few basics, the mechanics of how it works:
How the ink is applied to the paper: This is the part I understood the least before I had this in my hands. But it is like a cross-breed between a stamp and silkscreening. The ink is pushed through a mesh screen like screen printing, but you just "press" the screen down like you would a stamp. The ink is transferred by your applied pressure rather than with a squeegee pulling the ink across the screen.
What can you print: This particular kit allows you to print on paper with an image size of about 3 1/2" by 5 1/2". You can get accessories so you can print on fabric but I haven't done and it's not included in this kit so I'm leaving it out. You either draw using a pen with carbon in the ink (they provide one) or you assemble your image and then xerox it so you have a copy with carbon in it. If you xerox your image, than you can obviously draw using any marker or pen, or print out images from your computer, etc...
How much does it cost: This kit runs about $125. When I was looking on the internet, the cheapest price I cam across was from Welsh Products. (Go there to see what all comes with the kit.) But do your own research, maybe you'll find even cheaper!
Now that you have it, what do you do?
STEP ONE: Design your image
STEP TWO: Expose the screen
You place your image on the bottom grey pad (which
is slightly sticky).
If you are using a xeroxed design, insert the blue
filter into the printer top.
Insert one of the provided screens into the printer
You close the top of the unit and make sure that your
image is correctly placed by looking through top.
the image and screen are loaded properly you place two bulbs
into the flash unit hood.
The hood is then placed on top of the unit. At which point the Gooco sandwich layers are: flash hood, plexiglass top, blue filter, screen, xeroxed design, grey cushion bottom.
Press the top of the Gocco down and hold for 3-4 seconds. During this time the bulbs will have flashed but you hold it for a few seconds longer since the heat from the lamps continues to transfer the carbon from your design to the screen.
STEP THREE: Ink the screen
Each screen has a plastic top flap underwhich the ink is placed. Lift the plastic flap of your screen. Squeeze the provided ink onto the screen. Alternately, you can mix up your own color (as I did) and use a palette knife to spread it onto the screen. You are provided tubes of basic colors (red, yellow, blue, black, brown, green + white.) Note this is an image of the screen after it has been printed so the ink has already spread out, but you just squeeze the ink onto the screen.
Once the ink is on the image, you can remove the original design from the bottom. Replace the screen (without the blue filter) into the top of the printer, putting the arrow into the notch as before.
STEP FOUR: Print images
Place the paper you are going to print on onto the grey foam pad. (They provide a registration guide you can use if you were doing a multi-color print.) You now have the following layers (from top to bottom): plexiglass top, plastic film from top of screen, ink, exposed screen, printing paper, grey foam pad.
Lower the top of the printer and press down for 3-4 seconds. During this time, because the ink is sandwiched between the plexiglass insert in the Gocco top and the paper on the bottom, the ink is pushed out through the exposed screen. Again, all you do is apply a bit of pressure and the ink is transferred to the paper.
Lift up the top of the printer and you have your print! It's that easy. From exposing the screen to my first print, it took me only about 30 minutes. Now that's quick! (Note the image below shows a poor quality print, I took the picture after I was done and the screen should have been reinked--but you get the idea!)
STEP FIVE: Storage + Clean-up
They say you can save + print from the screens again so you can just slip it into a ziploc and place it in a cool place (like your refrigerator). I printed off just 25 but they say you can print 50-75. You can also scrap off the leftover ink and reuse it later.
That's it! Compared to silkscreening, it's quicker + less messy. For printing cards and small prints, I would recommend the Gocco.
For this print that I did, I printed onto heavy textured stock so the image wasn't super crisp. Though since I went back into each one and added drawn + other collaged elements it didn't matter. You do also have to be sure your lines are think enough to print. I would say no smaller than 2 centimeters in width--just based on my experience.
Oh! And your supposed to use some special solvent to clean up the ink. It smells like its oil based but I was able to eventually wash it off with soap + water.
Hope this is helpful!