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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys, could use your help pleeeease.
I've screenprinted for years, but always avoided multicoloured prints because of needing a press / flash dryer etc. Recently a friend asked for his business shirts to bed done, offered to from me $ to get the equipment and I thought hey - its time to learn, sure lets do this.
Try multi colours they said. It'll be fun they said. :cautious:
I have a 2 -station press, simple. I have a 2000w flash dryer, that is 2.5" from the pallet, I've read 2-3" is the distance. I use Speedball ink, always have, love the stuff, doing a 3 color print front and back.

Issue: When I print, I spin the pallet under the flash. I've read 3-15 seconds is all it takes. When it comes out, the ink is still too wet and still sticks to my finger, and therefore sticks also to the second colour screen. No bueno. I know we don't need it dry, but gelled and just tacky, yet it comes off on the next screen and takes ink off the shirt with it after only 15s. I use my temp gun to make sure its at gel temp, and it takes way longer.
If I leave it in longer, and we're talking 30-40 seconds, its dry enough to not stick to my finger, but of course then gets so hot it melts onto the next screen anyways by the third colour.
After doing my trials, and I started at 20s and increased by 3 seconds on test prints, 37 seconds was the shortest amount of time. And when I have a 3 colour print, the first and last colour needing a double print (white), the screens clog and I have to wash em out and start all over. Its a nasty process.
I have let the dryer heat up full strength for 15 min before use, temp gun says its like 600 degrees. I found I wasn't letting the ink cool long enough in between prints, and that was an issue as well, so I placed a fan. Now I'm at 2 fans, like a cooling station that I tuck the pallet into for 45s, which seems to work beautifully, but again now a delay of ink going through the screens and screens are clogging. I do 3 shirts and I have to wash em out. Summer time doesn't help, but I get up at 5/6am to print in the mornings.
The dryer is getting to full heat. It's at the right height. I use a commonly used ink. I use a temp gun. I've over thought this too much and I'm lost now. I am 10000% new to multicolors. I have a full shop of single and double color prints I do by hand with clamps and mixing colors and all that fun stuff. I know that I know nothing about this multi stuff, lol and this has been a steep learning curve, and is starting to not be enjoyable, which totally contradicts the entire reason I do this. So please, any tips, any anything... I'm all ears/eyes.
 

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We don't dable in water based ink to much but I do know/remeber when we did do anything with it we would have a spray bottle with water to mist the screens to keep them from drying out. Maybe give that a shot if your not doing it already?
 

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Water base ink doesn't really "gel" when flashed, that sounds more like instructions for use with Plastisol ink. Rather, WB ink gets dried out by heat and airflow. Some flash units include a fan for use with WB inks. That said, my flash does not have air, and I get by okay. You might try flashing with a heat gun (on a lower setting) or hairdryer. The forced air speeds drying and causes less buildup of heat in the platen. This is how I operated with a single-station press. Not a cure-all, but a marginal gain (unless using a heat gun takes too long compared to a flash).

With only two stations your printing cadence is greatly slowed due to heat buildup. I have a 4-station press and can manage to print multi-color jobs without a cooling station ... though depending on the time of year (high-temp, low-humidity) a cooling station would still be helpful even with 4-stations.

Green Galaxy ink is more resistant to drying in screen than most. It works well, just need to make sure to cure it well (takes longer to properly cure than the ink I normally use, Permaset Aqua/Supercover; but that's an understandable side-effect of it being resistant to drying in screen).

Best to work when your workspace is cooler, but also with higher humidity (AC typically dries out the air). I have a cheap humidistat that was like $10 from Home Depot. If the humidity is low, I can bump it up by spraying water around in my washout area.

WB ink loses moisture to the air and the screen while in use. It is critical to recondition any ink you put back in the container to replenish that loss, or your ink will gradually become gunk. Also, might need to spritz the ink now and then while on press. If you've had to futz around with something for too long while ink is loaded in the screens, giving them a light spritz of water and a hard print stroke or two onto some paper or scrap or some such.

Your setup is less than ideal for what you are doing, but not impossible. With some tweaks and adaption, you'll get the hang of it. You especially probably should use a more dry-in-resistant ink to gain yourself a bit more latitude.

I have done 3-color prints on a one-station press. I do not recommend it :p
 

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I have a 2000w flash dryer, that is 2.5" from the pallet, I've read 2-3" is the distance.
It depends on the type and power of the unit.
Some flash units have temperature control and some don't.
If you have a plain unit, you should try a 5 to 6 inch gap.

When I print, I spin the pallet under the flash. I've read 3-15 seconds is all it takes.
Again it depends on the type of flash unit, and a forced air unit is the best option for waterbased.
You basically have to flash until the ink is dry.

And when I have a 3 colour print, the first and last colour needing a double print (white), the screens clog and I have to wash em out and start all over.
Try adding 25% retarder base to the ink.
The negative side is that it will also take a bit longer to flash and cure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Water base ink doesn't really "gel" when flashed, that sounds more like instructions for use with Plastisol ink. Rather, WB ink gets dried out by heat and airflow. Some flash units include a fan for use with WB inks. That said, my flash does not have air, and I get by okay. You might try flashing with a heat gun (on a lower setting) or hairdryer. The forced air speeds drying and causes less buildup of heat in the platen. This is how I operated with a single-station press. Not a cure-all, but a marginal gain (unless using a heat gun takes too long compared to a flash).

With only two stations your printing cadence is greatly slowed due to heat buildup. I have a 4-station press and can manage to print multi-color jobs without a cooling station ... though depending on the time of year (high-temp, low-humidity) a cooling station would still be helpful even with 4-stations.

Green Galaxy ink is more resistant to drying in screen than most. It works well, just need to make sure to cure it well (takes longer to properly cure than the ink I normally use, Permaset Aqua/Supercover; but that's an understandable side-effect of it being resistant to drying in screen).

Best to work when your workspace is cooler, but also with higher humidity (AC typically dries out the air). I have a cheap humidistat that was like $10 from Home Depot. If the humidity is low, I can bump it up by spraying water around in my washout area.

WB ink loses moisture to the air and the screen while in use. It is critical to recondition any ink you put back in the container to replenish that loss, or your ink will gradually become gunk. Also, might need to spritz the ink now and then while on press. If you've had to futz around with something for too long while ink is loaded in the screens, giving them a light spritz of water and a hard print stroke or two onto some paper or scrap or some such.

Your setup is less than ideal for what you are doing, but not impossible. With some tweaks and adaption, you'll get the hang of it. You especially probably should use a more dry-in-resistant ink to gain yourself a bit more latitude.

I have done 3-color prints on a one-station press. I do not recommend it :p
THANK YOU, you have no idea, this is wonderful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
It depends on the type and power of the unit.
Some flash units have temperature control and some don't.
If you have a plain unit, you should try a 5 to 6 inch gap.

Again it depends on the type of flash unit, and a forced air unit is the best option for waterbased.
You basically have to flash until the ink is dry.


Try adding 25% retarder base to the ink.
The negative side is that it will also take a bit longer to flash and cure.
THANK you so much, this is so helpful! :)
 
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