Tech Tip Tuesday: What is the viscospatula designed to do?

The viscospatula is deigned as a simple but efficient tool to assist you in establishing a consistent and reasonably accurate viscosity when mixing inks for use in your pad printing machinery. You will notice the five smaller holes at the wider end of the spatula. The speed at which your ink runs from the top hole (number one) to the last hole (number five), is the measure of an ink’s viscosity.

REMEMBER: The thinner the ink, the faster it will move from the first hole to the last.

Method of use:

  1. Mix the ink in a coffee size cup using the spatula and add thinner until the ink is at the viscosity that appears correct.
  2. Dip the spatula into the ink until “A” is covered.
  3. Remove the spatula from the ink until the spatula is no longer submerged in the ink.
  4. immediately when the ink tuns out of hole “A” begin counting. Once the ink passes hole “B”, the number you have counted to is your reference count.
  5. This same procedure can be used to maintain consistent ink viscosities for any inks you use. Once you have an ink working properly on a particular application, use the viscospatula to identify it’s viscosity setting and establish a point to mix the ink at the next time that you need to perform a similar setup.

When the Viscospatula is new, it will naturally take longer for the ink to travel down the hole number five. This is due to the pores in the plastic still being open and creating a slight bond with the ink. Once the viscospatula has been broken in, a time of 10-12 seconds is a reasonable time and should work well with a plate that has been etched to a depth of approximately .001″. As a general rule, the deeper the plate etch depth the thicker the ink should be; however, remember that the plate depth has definite restrictions, and etch depths that are too deep will create certain types of printing problems.

Check out our Ink Consumables at There you can also find more information about Engineered Printing Solutions custom solutions, standard pad printers, industrial inkjet, consumables and other auxiliary equipment. Email or call 1-800-272-7764 if you would like more information.