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Solids are KILLING ME!!

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Old August 9th, 2013 Aug 9, 2013 8:04:39 AM -   #1 (permalink)
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Default Solids are KILLING ME!!

I am having one HE|| of a time getting a good solid image. I have tried several things and once in a while I will get a decent print but I have thrown more shirts in trash on this job than what was ordered!!! Anybody have any ideas?

American Apparel 2001
ViperONE (I tried 5 turns, 7 turns, 9 turns...no real difference)

I have pretreated and printed other images all week without any really issue but this is ridiculous.
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Old August 9th, 2013 Aug 9, 2013 8:43:53 AM -   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Solids are KILLING ME!!

what is the weight of his shirt? your pics range from pretreat issues to nozzle issues, which is difficult to trouble shoot. what has me leaning towards this being a "shirt" issue, is none of the pics have a solid white; there are a lot of pinholes, which would probably be fine except that the white is poking up through the red.
 
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Old August 9th, 2013 Aug 9, 2013 8:50:46 AM -   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Solids are KILLING ME!!

Its a 4.3oz shirt. I have had perfect nozzle checks and like I said I have printed other shirts that came out great but they didn't have an image as solid of these. Maybe I can try to print onto a heavier shirt to see if that resolves some of the issues but I hope that's not the case since I have just outfitted my store with a TON of American Apparel 2001 and 2102 shirts!
 
 
Old August 9th, 2013 Aug 9, 2013 8:55:31 AM -   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Solids are KILLING ME!!

i don't like American Apparel, but it's for personal reasons. they have nice shirts, but i find that they cost quite a bit more than the other brands i'm using that are comparable. since there were issues with the lighter weight CH shirt, i wonder if the weight is a factor. there's just not enough thread "support" to hold a solid print.

i will be printing on some Keya 150 and they are 4.4oz, so i'm curious to see how they compare to the 6oz style.
 
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Old August 9th, 2013 Aug 9, 2013 9:05:40 AM -   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Solids are KILLING ME!!

Let me say this...I do not like American Apparel's business ethics or the owner's morals etc etc but I like the fact that I can "sell" the Made in America feature and they have a tremendous color selection with deep inventory....not to mention they have a DC within 90 minutes of my store. I love the way CH shirts print but I just cant continue to support a company that makes things so difficult to work with. Keya is another great shirt but they have fibrillation issue, inventory issues and limited styles. I have been using LAT shirts for kids and women's v-necks lately and they have printed quite well also. I have printed hundreds of shirts on AA 2001's but they usually are never full color solid prints like I am struggling with now. This is really a job for screen printing or vinyl imo..but I should be able to print this without issue on the NeoFlex.
 
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Old August 9th, 2013 Aug 9, 2013 9:35:46 AM -   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Solids are KILLING ME!!

the issue is with the white underbase, and if you don't get a good underbase, your color output will suffer; including the flaking you are getting on the red area. in my opinion, your pictures pose some of the trickiest trouble shooting out there. i've had fibrillation with my non-pretreated Keya shirts, but not with the ones that i pretreat and print with white ink.

i also like Canvas and Next Level. my last job with Canvas was kind of like the Gildan issue. i'd say over half pretreated and printed fantastic, and then the others did kind of what Gildan does where the pretreat just soaked in. so far the Next Level tri-blends have printed great, which tells me that their knit is really tight. they are still cheaper than American Apparel, so you might try some of their ringspun options.
 
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Old August 9th, 2013 Aug 9, 2013 3:40:24 PM -   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Solids are KILLING ME!!

Lots of possible issues here or a combination of several.

Firstly, are the 'white' areas meant to be white or the grey I'm seeing in the pictures?
An observation - in the secound picture, the print starts out as barely acceptable and then deteriorates into totally unacceptable!

A few things to check:
1. Is your pre-treatment fluid fresh and well mixed? If left for long periods it will seperate and become useless.
2. Same goes for your white ink. With time, it too seperates and far quicker than pre-treatment fluid.
3. Is your pretreatment machine working correctly and laying an even amount across the area to be printed? In picture two, there's a distinct band of poor coverage! If you have a spray gun try applying pre-treatment with that. Apply to much just to see the effect. Try using a brush to even out and spread the pre-treatment.
4. Do you shake the white ink carts and agitate the white ink in the dampers and lines before printing?
5. Ensure the temperature of your heat press is correct so the pre-treatment is being dried sufficiently.

Any one or combination of the above will produce the prints in your pictures.

Good luck.

John
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Old August 10th, 2013 Aug 10, 2013 6:20:03 AM -   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Solids are KILLING ME!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stitch-Up
Lots of possible issues here or a combination of several.

Firstly, are the 'white' areas meant to be white or the grey I'm seeing in the pictures? Yes its bright white...crappy cell phone and bad lighting.

An observation - in the secound picture, the print starts out as barely acceptable and then deteriorates into totally unacceptable! TELL ME ABOUT IT!!!

A few things to check:
1. Is your pre-treatment fluid fresh and well mixed? If left for long periods it will seperate and become useless. Yes it is fresh and I shake it before putting into the canister.

2. Same goes for your white ink. With time, it too seperates and far quicker than pre-treatment fluid. I shake the whites and perform the normal daily maintenance.

3. Is your pretreatment machine working correctly and laying an even amount across the area to be printed? In picture two, there's a distinct band of poor coverage! If you have a spray gun try applying pre-treatment with that. Apply to much just to see the effect. Try using a brush to even out and spread the pre-treatment. I use a piece of blue paper towel to do test sprays on as it really shows the lay down pattern. Everything looks good and as an extra precaution I replaced the tip. I also already use a Wooster and brush from the neckline down. I have turned the shirt in other directions and it still printed the same way so I don't think it is an uneven PT spray pattern.

4. Do you shake the white ink carts and agitate the white ink in the dampers and lines before printing? Yes and I also print a big white box onto a mirror to move any old settled ink.

5. Ensure the temperature of your heat press is correct so the pre-treatment is being dried sufficiently. I have used a temperature probe but not strips to verify my presses temps. I have even let a couple shirts sit overnight before printing on them. I prepressed to remove an humidity from the shirt and still had bad pitting and unacceptable print results.

Any one or combination of the above will produce the prints in your pictures.

Good luck.

John
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Old August 10th, 2013 Aug 10, 2013 6:41:54 AM -   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Solids are KILLING ME!!

Solid colors can be a real pain. I use a Wagner for pre treating and I've found the best way is to deal with solid colors is to pretreat the shirt like normal, brush with a Wooster brush and press with parchment paper.

Then pretreat the shirt again. The second time you won't be using nearly as much pretreat but that second go always gets my solid colors coming out how I expect them to. Especially the reds.

Hope this can help you out!
 
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Old August 10th, 2013 Aug 10, 2013 6:43:43 AM -   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Solids are KILLING ME!!

If everything was A okay Eric, you'd be getting a good print. There are of course other factors I've not mentioned like shirt choice, RIP environment choice, ink starvation etc.

I'd be inclined to manually print a scrap t-shirt (you likely have a few ). I'd purposely apply too much pre-treatment. Dry it in the press for 30secs @ 350F and heavy pressure. I use a smooth silicon sheet to do this - others will have their own method. Then just print a block of white with no colour layer. Cure it and study the quality. Get this part right before moving on.
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Old August 10th, 2013 Aug 10, 2013 7:48:17 AM -   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Solids are KILLING ME!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stitch-Up
If everything was A okay Eric, you'd be getting a good print. There are of course other factors I've not mentioned like shirt choice, RIP environment choice, ink starvation etc.

I'd be inclined to manually print a scrap t-shirt (you likely have a few ). I'd purposely apply too much pre-treatment. Dry it in the press for 30secs @ 350F and heavy pressure. I use a smooth silicon sheet to do this - others will have their own method. Then just print a block of white with no colour layer. Cure it and study the quality. Get this part right before moving on.
I agree that there is something going on with my prints. I will take your suggestions and try to add much more pre-treat than normal and see what happens. I am getting good nozzle checks but I am wondering about the actual volume of ink coming out. It appears I am getting good initial white ink coverage but obvisouly something is not right. I recently replaced my white dampers with some ebay ones but I kept the OEM epson dampers and cleaned them. Could a damper(s) be restricting some flow?
 
Old August 10th, 2013 Aug 10, 2013 8:15:04 AM -   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Solids are KILLING ME!!

Dampers are often the main offenders. I too use the Ebay ones and fortunately, I've had no issues with them. They can be leaking air or blocked, both restricts the flow of ink. Also the tips on the prinhead can get blocked and might need a thorough clean - I only have to do this when I replace my dampers.

Use your gun to pre-treat a shirt not the machine. Over treat it and dry, if you're still getting a bad white layer, it's time to look elsewhere.
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Old August 10th, 2013 Aug 10, 2013 8:17:27 AM -   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Solids are KILLING ME!!

Eric- Wow.....your photos look like our prints when one or more of our channels drop out during the print. One of more of your white channels could be dropping out? We do a nozzle check before printing and it will look perfect at the beginning....then during a print with lots of solid colors (like your artwork), if a channel drops out, it gives the impression of everything under the rainbow to be wrong, only to find aborting the print and doing a nozzle check that a channel or channels dropped. Sometimes then come back in the middle of the print, and it makes it look like a pre-treat issue. Probably not your case, but just something to think about. Of course I'll probably get in trouble for posting this but I don't care.....I'm just trying to help.
 
Old August 10th, 2013 Aug 10, 2013 8:37:41 AM -   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Solids are KILLING ME!!

Ok so I am going to do the following:

1. Pretreat a shirt with MUCH more than normal and print to see results.

2. If #1 doesn't yield any more info than I will tear the print head apart and clean clean and clean some more along with replacing the ebay dampers with the epson units.

Hopefully I will be able to resolve this issue. Thanks for the help NeoFamily!!
 
Old August 10th, 2013 Aug 10, 2013 9:13:21 AM -   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Solids are KILLING ME!!

When you've replaced the dampers, make sure you draw the ink through to the damper and a little into the syringe. Each time you should raise the ink cart lever to stop the ink flowing back. Epson refer to the dampers as a valve so ink shouldn't flow back.

Clean the ink from the tips and you might even wish to try a waterfall. However, if you have a good nozzle check, this shouldn't be necessary.

It all sounds so time consuming but you'll actually find you can do it quite quickly.
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