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Screen Printing Technical/Ink Information

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Did you know?

Not all inkjet inks are created equal. The ink that you use in your film output printer is one of the most important products you will purchase as a screen printer. While many inks claim to do the job the truth is that it is that most of them fall short by a large margin. The best way to be sure that you’re using quality ink is to test it with a densitometer. What’s that, you don’t have a densitometer, well don’t worry because neither do most printers. However, the company that produces your ink should have one and they should be able to tell you what the density reading is for the ink they sell. If they don’t, it is probably a safe bet that your not buying quality inks. Keep in mind that opacity is not as important as you might think. The best inks will actually be slightly transparent but will contain UV blockers that ensure that UV rays aren’t going to make their way to your emulsion. As with any product you buy, the best way to ensure that your getting the best product for your money is to know what questions to ask the people that make and sell that product. And now you do!

Did you know?

Many of the issues that printers have with ink coverage have little to do with their ink. In fact most of the ink on the market today is designed for optimum coverage and opacity. So why then are so many people still having issues with ink coverage? Not always, but often, the answer is in the mesh choice and stencil thickness. Many printers don’t take the time to research their screen mesh to ensure that the thread diameter and mesh count are optimal for their ink type. This, in conjunction with the low-tension screens found in the average shop can really impede the ability of your ink to cover. Furthermore, many printers aren’t creating a proper stencil through which to print their ink. Liquid emulsion dried incorrectly or applied incorrectly can create a thin stencil or create a stencil on the wrong side of the screen. And using the wrong emulsion may mean that your stencil will be too thin even if everything is done correctly. The good news is that with just a little extra care given to mesh choice and screen prep most printers would see coverage problems disappear and profits reappear right before their eyes.

Did you know?

Water based ink may not be as eco friendly as you think. Some companies would have you believe that the water based ink products that they manufacture and/or sell are somehow better for the environment than plastisol ink. While it would seem obvious that ink that uses water for its base is more eco friendly than ink that uses a petroleum base, the logic just does hold up when you think through the process.Ê Water based inks begin to dry the second the ink is applied to the screen. In hot and/or arid environments water based ink may be completely dry in just a matter of minutes. For this reason any excess ink is usually washed away when the screen is cleaned and makes it’s way down the drain pigments and all. Plastisol ink on the other hand does not begin to cure until it is heated under a dryer. Consequently unused plastisol can be cleaned from the screen, placed back in the bucket and reused for future prints. If cleaned correctly a screen used to print plastisol should have no more than a slight ink residue that can be wiped away with a cloth and an eco friendly cleanser. No ink down the drain and more money in your pocket. Sure there are arguments to be made for both types of ink, and both really are great options. But if it’s eco friendly you’re looking for, don’t be fooled by green text and pictures of leaves.

Did you know?

Running your garments through your dryer prior to printing them may result in a better print. Many of today’s garments are at least partially made of synthetic fibers that alter in shape and/or release dye during the curing process. When these changes take place a print can become misshaped or discolored to a point where the job is no longer deliverable. To avoid this problem all you have to do is get the problem out of the way before you print. Of course you always want to make sure that you have the correct inks to help stop dye migration and that the garments you’ve chosen are right for the job. Think of this as a little extra insurance policy giving you the piece of mind that the job will turn out right.

P.S. It is always a good idea to get one or two extra garments when you are working on synthetics. This way you can cut them up and make certain that the ink you’ve chosen, and the dryer you have, will be compatible with the garment.

Did you know?

Many of the issues that printers have with ink coverage have little to do with their ink. In fact most of the ink on the market today is designed for optimum coverage and opacity. So why then are so many people still having issues with ink coverage? Not always, but often, the answer is in the mesh choice and stencil thickness. Many printers don’t take the time to research their screen mesh to ensure that the thread diameter and mesh count are optimal for their ink type. This, in conjunction with the low-tension screens found in the average shop can really impede the ability of your ink to cover. Furthermore, many printers aren’t creating a proper stencil through which to print their ink. Liquid emulsion dried incorrectly or applied incorrectly can create a thin stencil or create a stencil on the wrong side of the screen. And using the wrong emulsion may mean that your stencil will be too thin even if everything is done correctly. The good news is that with just a little extra care given to mesh choice and screen prep most printers would see coverage problems disappear and profits reappear right before their eyes.

Did You Know?

Not all 100% cotton garments are right for use with discharge ink. Many people don’t know that when some manufacturers are dyeing the fabric they can sometimes make major mistakes. When a garment manufacturer is dyeing a lot of fabric that should be the cherry red but instead come out prune purple they will often over-dye the fabric/shirts with black dye in an effort to save them from being totally wasted. Why? This is a great way of saving money for the manufacturer & can be a quick way to loose money for a printer.

When over-dyed shirts are discharged it is not uncommon to see the something like tie-dye when the ink is cured. This usually happens when the ink has not saturated the garment enough to remove the double layer of dye that the garment holds. The easy way to avoid this is to ask your garment supplier to make sure you are not getting over-dyed if you are doing a discharge print. It is also a good idea to make sure that there are not trace amounts of poly or other fibers in shirts that you are going to discharge. Flecks of dark colored poly will actually bleed during curing and can leave you with a spotted image on your shirt.

From: www.iconsps.com

800-981-7968

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