1st new printing technology in decades


The Diaphragm Stratagraphy Process from DiaStrata, Inc.

This site is an information resource on the Strataprinter printing system: the first really new printing technology in decades. It has links to operational instructions (machines), production techniques and market opportunities (schemes) and a method of viewing and purchasing DiaStrata Strataprinter products. This site also gives information on the process of invention and product development as an educational resource using the Strataprinter and products developed for the Strataprinter as examples (musings). Interested business people and educators can use this site to learn about the inventor, DiaStrata, Inc., licensing Strataprinter patents and contracting demonstration lectures for art and technical school programs.

(ed. - The products and services on this Web site are no longer available for purchase)

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The Strataprinter can take a product from idea to application on your desktop.

    Welcome to the inventive, creative world of a new technology. From the icons above you will be taken through the "creating, making and using" of the Strataprinter.
    Before beginning this informative and entertaining journey, you may have some questions. The following list will hopefully stimulate your appetite for even more answers.
    Michael Sullivan Smith, inventor

    What is the Strataprinter?

    The Strataprinter is an innovative silkscreen printing device designed for high quality decoration of arts and crafts, novelty souvenir and industrial products. Its unique approach to screen printing uses atmospheric pressure instead of squeegee pressure for printing. For the first time in printing history multiple color printing in a single impression and extremely high definition detail printing are possible. The patented Strataprinter integrates screenmaking, printing and automation control into a single desktop system. It is the easiest-to-use, most versatile printer ever made.

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    What does it do?

    The Strataprinter prints highly durable baking epoxy inks onto mosiac tiles, identification nameplates, dial and clock faces and novelty dog tags. It prints regular inks for plastic credit card and luggage tag decoration and for miniature art prints on paper.

    With the Strataprinter multi-color single impression printing is possible. No other printing technology has this capability or can make this claim. The Strataprinter has printed as many as twelve distinct colors all in the same impression.

    The Strataprinter made history at "Woodstock II" in 1994 with the introduction of the first full color, screen-printed event dog tag. Over 50,000 were sold.

    Within 8 months of the first sale dozens of printed dog tag designs were selling at such diverse retail outlets as: MTV; Columbia House Catalog; MOR Music Television; West Point Gift Shop; Kennedy Spaceport; VA Hospital Canteens; and mall T-shirt shops. All of these dog tags were produced utilizing: materials costing no more than 35 cents each, a printing machine small enough to fit on a kitchen table, and a unique process that allows all of the colors to be printed at one time in just a fraction of a second at over 300 impressions per hour. Only the Strataprinter proved capable of doing this.

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    How does it work?

    Technically speaking...

    The following is described in patents for the Strataprinter:

    A screen, highly tensioned to a precisely measured limit, is sealed in a printhead that creates a seal with the surface to be printed on. The screen is stretched down to contact with the surface when atmospheric pressure is exhausted to a measured level of vacuum. It is held in contact long enough to transfer ink on the screen to the surface. The stretch of the tensioned screen is controlled by a balance between the resistance to elongation and the level of vacuum draw exerted on the sealed printhead. Pressure and time adjustments for printing are controlled in a solid state, sensor-based device attached by pneumatic tubes to the printhead. The same control unit and printhead used for printing are also used for fixing the image on the screen, thus allowing them to performing all pre-press and printing functions.

    The unit that controls all these functions is the Strataprinter Control Module. There are four currently available auxiliary devices that are operated by the Control Module.

    • An exposure lamp
    • A specialized print station designed for printing of tags, nameplates and glazed tiles
    • A hand-held device that allows remote printing
    • The Strataprinter Air-pad module that emulates the function of a silicone pad printer designed to give the Strataprinter 3-D printing capabilities

    The printing process is as easy as 1, 2, 3

    1. Expose the Screen...

    The artwork is printed-out onto a transparancy using a computer printer or a darkroom camera. Screen preparation for the Strataprinter is simple. Strataprinter screens come individually packaged as photosensitive cartridges. The cartridge screen is automatically tensioned by "snapping" it into the Strataprinter Printhead. Simply tape the art to the screen and expose it in the Strataprinter Exposure Module. The exposure is automated by system controls in the Master Control Module. Together the cartridge and printhead act as a vacuum frame for precise, high definition screenmaking. Finally, the exposed screen is developed with an air brush spraying a mist of tap water.

    2. Apply ink to the Screen...

    Many artistic techniques can be used for inking the Strataprinter screen. Strataprinter inks packaged in convenient air syringes permit the fast, easy, and accurate application of many colors to the screen in a technique similar to painting. With the Strataprinter all colors can be printed at the same time.

    3. Print!

    The ultra-efficient Strataprinter printhead and solid state control sensors have finally made "vacuum" screen printing a reality! The remarkable Strataprinter Printhead has been designed into a variety of manual and semi-automatic machines for printing on virtually any shape or material imaginable Use the Strataprinter's basic printing module for tags, tiles, magnets, nameplates, dial faces and other small flat objects. Use the Strataprinter's pad transfer module for printing irregular surfaces. You can even print with nothing but the printhead, holding it in your hand for printing in remote locations.

    The Strataprinter is a totally new concept in printing and the most versatile screen-printing machine available today. Every day exciting new applications are being discovered for the Strataprinter.

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    Do I need it?

    You should know about the Strataprinter if you are doing any of the following:

    1. designing durable products that will be decorated or customized
    2. researching printing as a component of crafts production
    3. in need of an economical way to add color to a metal or glass product
    4. looking for a way to provide cost-effective detail in miniature prints
    5. applying processes for printing high density human readable information
    6. engineering applications for controlled deposits of functional fluids
    7. investigating new technologies accessible enough to base a business on
    8. searching for a hands-on teaching tool that incorporates all aspects of printing technology and is easy-to-comprehend and interesting to use

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    When can I buy it?

    The Strataprinter is a new, emerging technology. It passed from development into limited production in 1992. Systems not used for internal production were placed in industrial applications. There are about two dozen Strataprinters in existance. The twelve to eighteen systems presently on hand are reserved for placement in educational institutions. Based on the response to these placements, full production and availability could be scheduled for as early as November of 1998. When the systems are generally available they should sell for about half the $10,000 US price a commercial sale costs presently because of limited production.

    One of the main reasons for this web site is to attract investment interest in DiaStrata and/or interest in licensing Strataprinter technology. For more information on this opportunity click here or use the "inventor" icon above. But be aware: the only reason the Strataprinter is not broadly available is because the inventor finds it more fun to invent than to negotiate. So, PLEASE, be familiar with this complete site and have all your questions answered before making an inquiry about investment or licensing.

    If you are an educational institution, you may be able to purchase a Strataprinter system right now. Systems are being packaged with installation and demonstration appearances by the inventor in certain geographical areas. Contact DiaStrata for details.

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    What can I buy now?

    (ed. - these products are no longer available.)

    Another reason for this site is to introduce you to the products of the Strataprinter. In time we hope that products printed with the Strataprinter will be more broadly available. For now, your interest in and purchase of printed products helps grow the technology and bring this availability closer to reality.

    DiaStrata continues to develop new printed products. Many of these are limited edition tests. Literally hundreds of unique, colorful printed images are to be found in the catalog pages of this site. Just pick out what you want, put the code down on a piece of paper and send it with your check to the address at the top of the "products" page.

    We also do commercial and wholesale orders. Many of our products can be custom imprinted for special events and occasions. We have done memorable printed dog tags or mosiac tile magnets for religious gatherings, bicycle rallies, sports events, rock concerts, veteran reunions, air shows and even wedding anniversaries. Please inquire about lot pricing. Remember that every purchase, no matter how large or small, advances the technology. Thank you!

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