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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,
Apologies in advance if the answer for this was somewhere else on the forum, I couldn't find it and I am at my wits end with these shirts!

I've got two designs that need to go on these Sport-Tek shirts that seem to be sublimated with a camo pattern. The model of the shirts are ST460 and ST370

Printing Equipment Specs:
Printer:
Epson F2100, using Epson DTG inks
Transfer Film: STS brand DTF cold peel film
Hot Melt Powder: DTF Station brand black powder
Printing Software: Kothari Print Pro
Heat Press: Stahls Hotronix Clam Press

Printing Specs:
I start with the DTF profile provided by my vendor. I set the Ink density set to 100 for color and white underbase. The design comes out a little thick but not enough to run. I can hold the film at a 90 degree angle and it doesn't drip outside of the outline of the design. I then apply the powder to the back of the design, shake off the extra, and cure it at 360° F for about 2-3 minutes. I make sure the back of the design looks glossy.
I then take that design and apply it to the shirt at 210° F for about 20 seconds. Let it cool, peel off the carrier, and do a finishing press of 5 seconds.

Even doing all of this, I'm STILL getting dye migration from the camo print that is already on the shirts. Plus, with such low heat settings, the design isn't really sticking properly to the fabric either so they don't really pass the stretch test. I've been calling my vendor's tech support department almost every day for the past 3 weeks and have gotten exactly nowhere. I even tried printing the design with slightly less ink and then adding a thick layer of black to try to put as much dark colored space between the fabric and the colors but no dice. The camo print still seeps through.

I really don't know what else to do at this point and would really appreciate some help. Is there some magical treatment or technique I don't know about for printing DTF on difficult sublimated items?
The black hot melt powder is supposed to be specifically for this purpose but I honestly don't feel a difference between the powders on these particular shirts.

Some photos below:
Circle Electric blue Pattern Symbol Symmetry

This is the best I've been able to achieve with the above settings. This photo was taken a few days after printing. You can see the hexagons from the camo print in the white star as well as the bottom right orange areas. A piece is missing from the top because I did a stretch test and was able to pull off a portion of the design.

Flower Textile Sleeve T-shirt Petal


Here you can see some other tests, with varying degrees of migration but all still migrated. I even tried layering the prints on the flower, basically fully print a thin black layer, then fully print the regular design on top of that, which I wasn't really expecting to work but I was desperate. That didn't work either because the top layer doesn't stick to the bottom layer and can be easily peeled as shown in the petals where black is visible. The one flower that looks slightly ok absolutely failed the stretch test. I was able to peel the entire petal in one piece except for the tiny bit left behind in the image.

Another desperate attempt I did was to run a shirt through a hot water rinse cycle (about 30 min) and high heat dry cycle at home in my washer & dryer thinking I could clear off the excess dye but that didn't work either.

Any and all troubleshooting or creative ideas welcome.
 

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These shirts are a famous pain in the butt! Best we've been able to use and get to work is sub-block transfers from Transfer Express/Stahls. Not sure if they use a black ink, or some kind of thin foil? Backside seems to vary depending on color of ink on the visible side of transfer. Seems to work great, and haven't had any complaints from customers who have gone with our suggestion. Those that just demand the cheaper transfers without the sub-block, have complained, but were warned what would happen ahead of time. Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi there,

I just wanted to say thanks for responding. After getting nowhere yet again with my vendor's tech department I finally gave up on printing these myself and ordered some samples of Stahls / Transfer Express' Ultracolor Stretch with Blocker as well as their Cad Printz Sub Block. They both seem to have applied well and while there was dye migration on the carrier sheets, I don't see any of it in the print itself. We'll see what they look like tomorrow before I call victory; although your experience with these products gives me hope.

If they both work, I would say I prefer the Ultracolor Stretch with Blocker because it has a considerably softer hand feel and the outline is clear vs a white outline on the Cad Printz Sub Block. It's also much easier to peel. The Ultracolor looks and feels more like my usual DTF prints...minus the dye migration. Similar back with visible black and white hot melt powders and everything. Looks like I'll be going with these for this project but I wish I knew what they're doing to their prints to get them to block the dye migration so well! If anyone figures it out, I'm open to the knowledge lol.
 

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We'll see what they look like tomorrow before I call victory; although your experience with these products gives me hope.
Give it 5-7 days to be safe.
Fabrics with patterns or fabrics containing elastine are are dyed with low energy dyes, and these can migrate slowly without any heat.
 
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