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Cleaning off maroon ink on shirt side of screen when printing

3779 Views 3 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  Omni
I'm having a lot of difficulties cleaning off the shirt side of the screen while printing maroon text on top of a white underbase. Every now and then the ink will build up on the sides of the text creating jagged edges in the print. When this happens I have to wipe off the excess ink. That's a pretty standard procedure while printing and I never seem to have much issues with most any ink color. But for some reason this task is so unbelievably difficult with dark red ink.

I typically spray down the print area, both shirt and ink side of screen, with a little bit of screen opener. I use the cci stuff from ryonet. I then wipe down the ink side making sure to not leave any residue. After the ink side is clear, I wipe down the shirt side of the screen. I usually repeat this process to make sure to get any excess ink or residue. For most ink colors this is more than enough to clean of the screen and continue printing. But for some reason with the maroon ink, no matter how much I wipe down the shirt side of the screen, It always leaves a red ink residue on the screen. When this happens and I print the next shirt the ink residue causes the white underbase all around the maroon text to look pink. If it goes unnoticed in a small corner or something, the ink residue has the potential to transfer on to the next 50 + shirts if you don't catch it! Believe me i've done it lol.

It seems like I can wipe down the shirt side of the screen for 15 minutes and I'd still get some ink residue that will transfer onto the next print. I usually end up taping off any area with ink residue and continue to print. I don't understand it, seems like this only happens with maroon ink. Has anyone ever had issues like this? If so have you found any sprays that work? I've tried cci, texsource brand, the citrus stuff, nothing seems to do the trick.

Something I wanted to mention about the maroon ink; I create it by mixing red and black ink. I wonder if that has anything to do with my problems. Do you think a factory mixed maroon ink would be easier to clean off?

One thing I noticed that makes the problem even worse; if I don't let the underbase completely cool after flashing it will always pick up a lot of the red residue.

Another weird thing... a lot of time the ink residue on the white underbase goes unnoticed. I'll cure the shirt like all the others in my conveyor oven.. then will notice the mistake after. If I then take the shirt and heat press it... I can take a crazy clean hand wipe and wipe off the pink ink residue on the white underbase. I have to scrub pretty hard and It doesn't always work perfect but I can get most of it off pretty good.

If anyone has dealt with this I'd really appreciate any tips or feedback. Thanks.
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Xylene.....wipe off only the shirt side of the screen.......Xylene is a solvent which cleans thoroughly, and "hot" enough to dry rapidly.......Sounds like an ink viscosity issue.....what is the mesh count you are using for your maroon?.....You should be able to avoid the ink build up problem with the proper mesh count and off contact.....70 durometer squeegee, with sharp edge..... For printing on white underbase, I generally use a mesh of 156 to 200, or higher, depending on the design, and yeah, you gotta let the white underbase cool down thoroughly before printing your top colors....Off contact is critical here as well, so experiment with your settings......There are a host of issues when printing over underbases, but hopefully these "fixes" will get you going in the right direction.....Beyond this.....lot's of experimentation.
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Thanks for the reply. I'll try that stuff out. Would it be available at a Home depot / lowes?

For the maroon I'm using a 230 mesh. The design is for my line of shirts so I keep the screens around. I typically do prints of 30-50 shirts then store the screen till the next time. I typically don't clean off the screens after a print. I can usually just pick it back up, even months later, register it, and start printing. Every now and then, cause I keep them around so long I have to wipe down the screen and that's when the problems start.

When spraying the cci stuff on the shirt side it always bleeds over to the ink side. If I don't wipe down both then it pubbles up on the ink side and causes smearing int the print. I try not to use much spray at all but it still bleeds.

I've still having the same issues with the print. When I have time I'm going to burn a new screen for the maroon and see if I can fix the problem that way, even though the screen is relatively new and otherwise perfect shape. I have found the secrete to getting good prints though... after flashing the underbase I have to let it sit for like 10 mins till its completely room temp! When I print that way it comes out perfect every time! Its really weird though cause this isn't the only print that I do with a maroon ink on white underbase. This print is part of a series of prints all using maroon ink on a white underbase and their all pretty much exactly the same with different wording. For each of them I use 230 for the mesh and brand new screens to start with. I only have problems with one of the prints. There are no pin holes and I've only printed a few hundred prints with it so I don't think its deteriorating or anything. I was wondering it maybe the red that i'm seeing transfer to the white underbase is actually the emulsion coming off? Not sure if that is a typically problem when reusing a screen for the same print. But like I said I've only printed a few hundred which doesn't seem like a lot for a screen. Every other print I can flash and print the maroon within 1-2 minutes and its fine. Same flash times, same t-shirt, same white underbase and maroon top coat... but one gives me problems when trying to wipe down the maroon ink. Thanks for any advice.
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Try spraying your solvent onto your rag before you wipe the shirt side of your screen, instead of spraying directly onto the screen......I would also clean my screens before filing them away until the next print run.....Even though plastisol does not air dry....if left in the screen for a long period of time, several things do happen....The plasticizer in the ink will slowly evaporate over time and leave the resin to hang up in the knuckles of your screen mesh fabric.....The knuckles of screen mesh are the areas that the fabric crosses over each other in the weave of your fabric in both directions....the warp and the weft. These areas are very prone to get built up resins that are difficult to remove, even with a hot solvent.....hence the need for caustic haze removal during reclaiming and re processing screens.....As the buildup increases, the open space in your mesh decreases, causing ink flow problems.....especially with mesh counts as high as 230......kinda like a woman thickening her eyelashes.....In addition, leaving the ink in your screens is a big source that attracts dust, which also adds to the build up problems......A 10 minute wait time for your underbase to cool down is curious though.....Try a fan and also I use a folded up sweat shirt over the top of the flash cured print to draw out the heat from the flashed print......Check your flash time....you don't want to cure the print, just gel it until it is no longer tacky.....What brand and kind of white are you using?....and are you reducing it any?....230 will print well, however you could get easier coverage and still maintain a clean over print with your maroon by dropping that mesh count down to a 195-175 mesh.....depending on the amount of detail in the design.....I have gone as low as 156 with overprinted white bases, but generally like to work with 175 to 195 for my top prints, again, depending on detail, and the depth of my desired color.......Is your under base a solid brite white which is print/flash/print.....or just one print?....What is the brand of inks for your maroon?.....I always clean my screens after a print run.....that is just good housekeeping for me......and yes, xylene is available at both Home Depot, and Lowes........May not be the safest solvent to use, especially if you are environmentally or health oriented......but it is effective.......and by the way, Xylene is generally blended with acetone in commercially made solvents which are sold for Enamel inks as well as other Naz Dar and other manufacturer poster, plastic inks, etc and sold as standard fare for those industries......For plastisol, you need not blend acetone with xylene, as it works just fine on its' own......
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