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Discuss the different plastisol screen printing inks and curing methods on the market. Share tips on getting the best results with the different ink manufacturers.



Plastisol vs Waterbased Inks

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Old September 13th, 2016 Sep 13, 2016 10:21:15 PM -   #1 (permalink)
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Default Plastisol vs Waterbased Inks

Hey guys, first time poster here. I am new to screen printing (have always wanted to do it, but just now getting around to it) I've been looking at different inks to purchase, and am unsure which is best for me. I plan to mostly be printing on darker shirts, so I assume plastisol would be the best right? Take a p/f/p approach rather than having to under base/ discharging like you would with waterbased?

I've watched a helluva lot of videos on the interweb, mostly Ryonet, and it seems he prefers waterbased now over plastisol? Opinions on that??

Thanks, and I look forward to being a part of the community!
 
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Old September 14th, 2016 Sep 14, 2016 12:41:59 PM -   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Plastisol vs Waterbased Inks

start with plastisol in the beginning takes ink drying out in the screen out of the already steep learning curve of; printing film positives, burning screens, squeege pressure and all that fun stuff.

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Old September 14th, 2016 Sep 14, 2016 1:08:58 PM -   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Plastisol vs Waterbased Inks

If you live in a place that gets hot and dry, Plastisol might be easier since, as mentioned above, it does not dry in the screen like WB can. I live in the dank, dark, damp so I haven't had issues with WB drying in screen.

I used discharge at first, then moved on to high opacity WB for printing on dark colors. Permaset has a full line of opaque colors in their Supercover inks.

(Discharge is cool, but the fumes are very foul and just not something I want to deal with day-to-day.)

There is a lot to learn, and most will require time spent hands-on. If there is a hands-on screen printing class near you, that would be a bigger head start than anything else.
 
 
Old September 21st, 2016 Sep 21, 2016 9:57:46 AM -   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Plastisol vs Waterbased Inks

Ryonet is pushing the water based because their green galaxy line is wholly their own and they're not buying and reselling it.

So far as worrying about ink drying in screens, that's a very easy fix and most people are either just lazy or unwilling to deal with it. A $3 spray bottle full of water next to the press and 4-5 quick hits of water over the flooded screen every 30 min before you pull a print will keep your ink wet all day long, even in 90 degree heat. I know because I do it every day and my productivity is about the same with either type of ink.

In terms of being new to printing, water based or plastisol both have their own downsides. Plastisol is much more toxic than many water based inks, requires extra chemicals and ( in my opinion. ) most damning of all, is a lot harder to clean up and fix mistakes like getting it on your hands or clean bench and accidentally getting it onto a shirt. With water based if you screw up a black shirt ( Nothing will save white shirts with either ink type. ), a quick trip down to the washout booth pressure washer and a drying out before the ink has cured will make that shirt look like it's out of the box again. I don't do this for client work, but we're a maker space/teaching studio that funds itself by printing, so the ability to re-use garments occasionally comes in handy if we find ourselves short at some point.

The big thing to keep in mind is what kind of clients, effects and techniques you're going for. 90% of my commercial clientele is in the outdoor market and they often prefer the impression that their clothing is being made in a more eco-friendly way with the water based inks. Water based is also much, much easier to create a soft hand print, vintage distressing or faded look than plastisol because it typically works better with higher mesh that holds detail better, whereas plastisol is much easier to work with on polyester, sports apparel or when you want big blocks of solid, opaque colour without the ink on the back of the screen tacking and pulling previous colours off the shirt. Plastisol is also easier and quicker to underbase than waterbased because it cures at about half the amount of time, but will be much more prone to building up large deposits of ink on the shirt that are uncomfortable or likely to crack with wear and use. Water based is less likely to need flashing in the first place if you print it right. In the instances where I need to underbase with water based ink, rather than flash it, I will typically just let the shirt ride around the press, where the underbase will tack dry on it's own and then overprint the brighter colour before pulling the shirt off and sending it through the dryer.

There's a lot more that you can delve into about the merits of both types of inks, and in fact my shop stocks and uses both because it's easier and cheaper to use the ink that has qualities most suited to the job than to try to force another ink into a role it's not best for.
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Old October 2nd, 2016 Oct 2, 2016 3:16:10 PM -   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Plastisol vs Waterbased Inks

On light to medium color shirts, I mix Fashion Soft into Union's Ultrasoft and using 305 mesh screens can achieve no-hand, water-based goodness without all the hassle of water-based inks. Works on light color ink over dark fabric too but you get a little hand with a print/flash/print.

Disclaimer, this process is best suited for vintage, distressed look prints but I am sure can be adapted.
 
Old October 21st, 2016 Oct 21, 2016 12:31:47 AM -   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Plastisol vs Waterbased Inks

Hi,


Water-Based Inks
Water-based is best for direct to garment digital printing. It is a mixture of water with dye or pigment. water is the main solvent its keeps pigment or dye in it. The ink always sinks into the fibers of shirt and become fabric.

Advantages of Water-Based Inks:
1.Better for the environment
2.Softer hand
3.Inks becomes part of the shirt instead of sitting on top


Disadvantages of Water-Based Inks
1.Influenced by the color of the shirt, making prints on dark garments problematic
2.More time-consuming to work with
3.Can dry in screens and clog them
4.More expensive




Plastisol
Plastisol is the standard ink used for screenprinting. It is easy to use because it is essentially plastic. To be more specific, it is made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) particles and and plasticizer. Plastisol requires 350 degrees Fahrenheit for curing. Once dry, most plastisol prints sit on top of the material of the shirt.

Advantages of Plastisol
1.Inexpensive
2.Great opacity, can be used on dark garments
3.Doesn't require a source of running water

Disadvantages of Plastisol
1.Thicker hand
2.Less breathable
3.Can bunch around seams
 
Old March 27th, 2017 Mar 27, 2017 3:34:38 PM -   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Plastisol vs Waterbased Inks

Quote:
Originally Posted by rrough96
Hey guys, first time poster here. I am new to screen printing (have always wanted to do it, but just now getting around to it) I've been looking at different inks to purchase, and am unsure which is best for me. I plan to mostly be printing on darker shirts, so I assume plastisol would be the best right? Take a p/f/p approach rather than having to under base/ discharging like you would with waterbased?

I've watched a helluva lot of videos on the interweb, mostly Ryonet, and it seems he prefers waterbased now over plastisol? Opinions on that??

Thanks, and I look forward to being a part of the community!
Hey, so personal opinion but you will find many people on here saying the same.

Since you are new and it can be a frustrating process for newbies, start off with plastisol since you can leave it in the screen for a while without having to worry about it drying.

Once you feel comfortable enough and if you want to. Go ahead and make the move to water-base and discharge. There are good inks and companies out there that make water based/discharge inks.

Good luck and have fun printing.
 
Old May 26th, 2019 May 26, 2019 4:30:36 PM -   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Plastisol vs Waterbased Inks

We just learned the hard way to start with plastisol unless its a 1 or 2 color job.
We were doing 5 color and every time theres a screen problem you are pulling all screens washing so they dont dry out. Then you get to re register all 5 colors again while fighting drying ink as you reg each color.
Just lost a $2400 job yesterday trying water base as 1st print job. It occured yesterday if we were doing plastisol we would have delivered the shirts a week ago.
White kept drying out on us kicked my a** over and over. If it wasnt White its the Black. Too many colors to watch for 1 person. And prints are so inconsistant when adding water vs drying. Started playing with Plastisol and its so much easier. I have ink in screens out there and aint gotta worry about it. If i need a new screen the ink can sit over night. So much easier. Our mission was with no experience lets just do Water base. But they are right, learn all the other stuff without fighting screens and drying ink. Not to mention curing plastisol is easier. If water base is a 10 on difficult scale id say Plastisol is a 3 when doing a 5 color with underbase job. Keeping waterbase ink consistant for repeated consistant prints is a mother here in a Florida 95 degree garage anyway. But doing our business logo shirts 1 or 2 color water base was fine. In the end we just learned a $2400 lesson. But i do have a whole buncha shirts in stock anyway i have nothing to print for now
With this fiasco i am about $10k invested now with $0 income from it.
The ink was 85% of my problems. Id did learn screen cleaning and emulsion real good. Can dry screens in about 2-3hrs in home made dry box. Our job had solid areas with real fine halftones, often 1 pass didnt print the halftones enough, then second pass over flooded solid areas. With Plastisol today 1 pass hits consistantly. Im so mad we didnt think to go plastisol when we were having so many problems. Being its a Holiday weekend im debating printing his shirts tonight and delivering tomorrow because its highly unlikely he has made arrangements for a new printer. We were also doing a 6 color back 1 color front shirt for $9. so he didnt find someone cheaper.
 
Old May 26th, 2019 May 26, 2019 5:31:23 PM -   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Plastisol vs Waterbased Inks

Ive been working at the waterbase for 2 weeks and my plastisol prints today look much better than anything i achieved water. The halftones look great all the sudden with no flooding in solid areas.
 
Old May 28th, 2019 May 28, 2019 10:35:53 AM -   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Plastisol vs Waterbased Inks

Baby Steps! Plastisol first... U will be glad u did! Speaking from 45+ years of screen printing experience!
Good Luck!
 






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