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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.



Confused - different types of plastisol inks?

 
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Old January 5th, 2019 Jan 5, 2019 6:43:25 PM -   #1 (permalink)
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Default Confused - different types of plastisol inks?

There seems to be a ton of different feeling plastisol inks. Some feel like sandpaper, some like regular paper, some rubbery, etc.

I’ve watched some videos with people using Union or Wilflex inks and when they run their hand across the print, it sounds like they have the sandpaper feel, which I hate.

Then the other day I was at the mall and I felt the prints (I’m sure they were plastisol transfers) and those didn’t LOOK great but they had a much softer feel. A lot of the Nike, Under Armour and Adidas feel similar.

Can anyone here recommend inks, other than water based inks, that feel like those brands I mentioned above? I know nothing beats trial and error but I’d like to start with the best recommendations first.
 
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Old January 8th, 2019 Jan 8, 2019 3:30:33 PM -   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Confused - different types of plastisol inks?

Anyone have any input on this?
 
Old January 8th, 2019 Jan 8, 2019 4:01:11 PM -   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Confused - different types of plastisol inks?

It's less about brand and more about how it's printed. Sandpapery sounds like the print got disrupted by fibrillation (fibers of the shirt being raised by friction while printing, visibly looks rough) which can be avoided by printing more smoothly, making sure the edge of your squeegee is sharp. like sharp sharp. Also, you can heat press the shirt first to attempt to trap the fibers down into the shirt a bit better.

some other options to keep a soft feel with plastisol are:

-Use a smash screen. If printing manually - emulsify a full screen, cure it with no stencil to harden - throw some reducer or another form of "lubricant" on it and squeegee the print immediately after you flash. This will flatten out the print and make it as "soft feel" as you can really get with plastisol.

-use a clear reducer to thin out your ink a bit, but keep in mind this will affect the opacity of your color.

-print your garment, cure it, then heat press it with medium pressure @ 290 degrees to smooth out your prints. (make sure to use teflon or quillon parchment paper to avoid transferring ink to press, or ruining print)

in other words... use discharge, water-based, or sublimate for soft touch. Or DTG, but that has a mess of headaches with it too.

good luck buddy! I hope this helped in one way or another.
 
 
Old January 10th, 2019 Jan 10, 2019 4:58:40 PM -   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Confused - different types of plastisol inks?

Quote:
Originally Posted by FatPrints
It's less about brand and more about how it's printed. Sandpapery sounds like the print got disrupted by fibrillation (fibers of the shirt being raised by friction while printing, visibly looks rough) which can be avoided by printing more smoothly, making sure the edge of your squeegee is sharp. like sharp sharp. Also, you can heat press the shirt first to attempt to trap the fibers down into the shirt a bit better.

some other options to keep a soft feel with plastisol are:

-Use a smash screen. If printing manually - emulsify a full screen, cure it with no stencil to harden - throw some reducer or another form of "lubricant" on it and squeegee the print immediately after you flash. This will flatten out the print and make it as "soft feel" as you can really get with plastisol.

-use a clear reducer to thin out your ink a bit, but keep in mind this will affect the opacity of your color.

-print your garment, cure it, then heat press it with medium pressure @ 290 degrees to smooth out your prints. (make sure to use teflon or quillon parchment paper to avoid transferring ink to press, or ruining print)

in other words... use discharge, water-based, or sublimate for soft touch. Or DTG, but that has a mess of headaches with it too.

good luck buddy! I hope this helped in one way or another.
Thanks for your response.

When you say that the sandpapery feel sounds like it could be fibrillation, that's what I thought at first too but it doesn't look like it at all on some shirts. At my gym, their apparel section has a white Nike shirt for example with only a black print on it that feels like sandpaper but the print is extremely consistent and perfect.

I know this is just a video so it's not the best way to describe it, but if you listen to him testing the hand on this shirt, this is pretty much what I'm talking about: https://youtu.be/ctIbjgIg4LI?t=728

Also, I noticed that plastisol transfers (at least the ones in the kiosks at malls) don't have the same feel as direct prints. They tend to feel softer and more rubbery. Is that typical with transfers vs direct prints?
 
Old January 11th, 2019 Jan 11, 2019 9:17:25 AM -   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Confused - different types of plastisol inks?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mdrake
Thanks for your response.

When you say that the sandpapery feel sounds like it could be fibrillation, that's what I thought at first too but it doesn't look like it at all on some shirts. At my gym, their apparel section has a white Nike shirt for example with only a black print on it that feels like sandpaper but the print is extremely consistent and perfect.

I know this is just a video so it's not the best way to describe it, but if you listen to him testing the hand on this shirt, this is pretty much what I'm talking about: https://youtu.be/ctIbjgIg4LI?t=728

Also, I noticed that plastisol transfers (at least the ones in the kiosks at malls) don't have the same feel as direct prints. They tend to feel softer and more rubbery. Is that typical with transfers vs direct prints?
As far as the shirt in that video goes, waaaay too much ink. this is usually a symptom of having a cruddy first pass of ink. When I print white I use a 140-160 screen, not 110 like a lot of folks opt for. The reason for this is that I don't want to deposit as much ink as a 110 lays down. In fact, for the first layer I generally use heavy pressure, pushing my ink, and only one stroke if I can get away with it. (depends on the coverage). I've found that solid pressure really helps me manually print my whites. Every layer after this is a highlight, and you shouldn't have to deposit too much white to accomplish a great looking and feeling print.

side note - if you use too high of a temperature in your conveyor it will make your ink "sweat" so to speak, which can also cause a course texture to the final product. Avoid this by temp checking your shirts in the conveyor chamber and making sure the ink temp stays around 320-340 for about a minute. Always temp the ink, not the shirt.

Furthermore, when coating a screen I use Ulano Orange, sharp side of the scoop coater, single pass both sides. ALWAYS coat print side first, then squeegee side. Remember you're trying to push the thickness of the emulsion to the print side because that's where you want your stencil's thickness to be. if you need the print to be thicker, use the rounded edge, but I still wouldn't do multiple passes (unless I was planning on running discharge, or other inks that degrade emulsion quickly.)

One of the big problems most of us had when we were beginning to print was printing too thick. Everyone wants a really nice, absolutely opaque white print, overprinting isn't the answer though. I used to print my white so thick it would feel like a speedbump haha.

Basically:
Print a really good first layer of white with solid pressure, squeegee at 45 degrees, if you don't clear the screen all the way then rock a second pass. flash and print a second third pass on top. **this should be enough for a great smooth white**

If this doesn't work then something is wrong. Either your screen was emulsified poorly, your technique is wrong, you aren't flashing enough to temp-cure the ink before the next pass, or the ink you are using just plain sucks. Or, the garment you are printing on just doesn't accept ink as well as other garments. The shirt is always the last thing I blame because human error is often the reason things go sideways.

**As far as heat transfers go, the reason they feel smoother/look rubbery is because you are ostensibly iron-on printing. You are using heat and pressure to apply a thin layer of ink with a binding adhesive printed over it. You can get your prints to look/feel, the same by heat pressing them after your final cure on the conveyor. Again, medium to medium/heavy pressure, 290 degrees, 10 seconds. repeat until you're happy. Oh!! and don't forget to use Teflon sheets or Quillon Parchment.

I know this was long winded, sorry haha.
 
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Old January 11th, 2019 Jan 11, 2019 2:58:45 PM -   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Confused - different types of plastisol inks?

Quote:
Originally Posted by FatPrints
As far as the shirt in that video goes, waaaay too much ink. this is usually a symptom of having a cruddy first pass of ink. When I print white I use a 140-160 screen, not 110 like a lot of folks opt for. The reason for this is that I don't want to deposit as much ink as a 110 lays down. In fact, for the first layer I generally use heavy pressure, pushing my ink, and only one stroke if I can get away with it. (depends on the coverage). I've found that solid pressure really helps me manually print my whites. Every layer after this is a highlight, and you shouldn't have to deposit too much white to accomplish a great looking and feeling print.

side note - if you use too high of a temperature in your conveyor it will make your ink "sweat" so to speak, which can also cause a course texture to the final product. Avoid this by temp checking your shirts in the conveyor chamber and making sure the ink temp stays around 320-340 for about a minute. Always temp the ink, not the shirt.

Furthermore, when coating a screen I use Ulano Orange, sharp side of the scoop coater, single pass both sides. ALWAYS coat print side first, then squeegee side. Remember you're trying to push the thickness of the emulsion to the print side because that's where you want your stencil's thickness to be. if you need the print to be thicker, use the rounded edge, but I still wouldn't do multiple passes (unless I was planning on running discharge, or other inks that degrade emulsion quickly.)

One of the big problems most of us had when we were beginning to print was printing too thick. Everyone wants a really nice, absolutely opaque white print, overprinting isn't the answer though. I used to print my white so thick it would feel like a speedbump haha.

Basically:
Print a really good first layer of white with solid pressure, squeegee at 45 degrees, if you don't clear the screen all the way then rock a second pass. flash and print a second third pass on top. **this should be enough for a great smooth white**

If this doesn't work then something is wrong. Either your screen was emulsified poorly, your technique is wrong, you aren't flashing enough to temp-cure the ink before the next pass, or the ink you are using just plain sucks. Or, the garment you are printing on just doesn't accept ink as well as other garments. The shirt is always the last thing I blame because human error is often the reason things go sideways.

**As far as heat transfers go, the reason they feel smoother/look rubbery is because you are ostensibly iron-on printing. You are using heat and pressure to apply a thin layer of ink with a binding adhesive printed over it. You can get your prints to look/feel, the same by heat pressing them after your final cure on the conveyor. Again, medium to medium/heavy pressure, 290 degrees, 10 seconds. repeat until you're happy. Oh!! and don't forget to use Teflon sheets or Quillon Parchment.

I know this was long winded, sorry haha.
This is great info. I'll be doing a lot of experimenting starting tonight. I appreciate all your help!
 
Old January 11th, 2019 Jan 11, 2019 3:18:45 PM -   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Confused - different types of plastisol inks?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mdrake
This is great info. I'll be doing a lot of experimenting starting tonight. I appreciate all your help!
It's my pleasure, bud! Let me know how it goes, or if you have anymore questions! Have fun!
 






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