T-Shirt Forums banner
1 - 19 of 19 Posts

· Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Hi Adam,

We recently purchased an InkCups B-100 pad printer and are in the process of trying to get it printing consistently well. We use ICN SB series inks. The printer is setup in our back warehouse production area, which is around 25% humidity. Recommended humidity is over 40%, so we've been experimenting with different ink mixes to try to account for the extra dryness, thus far we haven't yet achieved consistent solid prints, but are trying to avoid having to build a special climate controlled room as this would not only be less enjoyable to work in but I think would pose it's own set of issues with properly venting fumes. Anyways, with all your experience with pad printing do you have any words of advice? I'm eager to here about what has worked for you. What's your setup like?

Thanks!
 

· Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hi Adam,

We recently purchased an InkCups B-100 pad printer and are in the process of trying to get it printing consistently well. We use ICN SB series inks. The printer is setup in our back warehouse production area, which is around 25% humidity. Recommended humidity is over 40%, so we've been experimenting with different ink mixes to try to account for the extra dryness, thus far we haven't yet achieved consistent solid prints, but are trying to avoid having to build a special climate controlled room as this would not only be less enjoyable to work in but I think would pose it's own set of issues with properly venting fumes. Anyways, with all your experience with pad printing do you have any words of advice? I'm eager to here about what has worked for you. What's your setup like?

Thanks!
Hi Mike
I could be wrong but I think that you are wasting to much time with something that I am sure, is not causing your problems.
I don't think that low humidity can affect your print to such degree that you can not achieve consistent print, especially if you have closed ink cup printer.
To hot or to cold can affect print somehow but still not as bad. I have two pad printing machines, open wells, in garage and I print all year around, summer, winter, low-high humidity you name it. Only significant problem you can have in low humidity is static that is causing "spider web" effect around print, but it is still not to bad unless you look under eye loop. Hi humidity can be bad if you are using hardener as high humidity can "kill" process of hardener bonding to substrate. Than I would use heater and dehumidifier.
Looks like nothing of that is your concern as you use pad printer for tag less printing and printing on textile with single component ink is very forgiving.
My pick is that you have problem with plate, actually film and plate making process to be precise.
You have to give me more information so I could be of any help.
Can you tell me what is your average run?
What plates do you use?
What is your plate making procedure?
What is exactly that you are not happy with when you say that you can not get consistent print?
Do you manage to get any good print at all? or it start good and than starts deteriorating?
When you are free please answer these questions and I am sure that we will get to bottom of this and make it right.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm thinking about getting into pad printing but I have a ton of questions if anyone is interested in helping out. One question is can you reclaim the steel plates and reuse them or are they a one logo use> Thanks for any help.
Hi. Short answer is no. You can not reclaim as image you get on plate is actually gravure that you can not arise.
You would probably not use steel plates anyway as they are way to expensive, they are used for long runs only (10000+) and process to each them is to complicated and involves some dangerous chemicals. Today you use polymer plates that are cheap and use water as developer, but still you end up with gravure that you can not reclaim.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Thanks for the response Adam, it's relieving to hear you don't think humidity is an issue.

We use InkCups Cobalt Steel Back Laser Platers - shown at bottom of page here Laser Plates, Laser Engravable Plates | Inkcups Now

We order the imaged plate directly from InkCups, we don't do any plate making in-house

Our consistency problem is that we load ink into the cup, start printing, and the first few prints will look fine but then we'll gradually start to lose parts of the image on the printed shirt. No ink will be stuck to the pad but the missing parts of the image will collect in the cliche.

We're pretty sure we can just adjust the ratio of ink/solvent/hardener, but are in the process of making adjustments and haven't yet been able to dial it in. This would require more solvent, less hardener, I think.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the response Adam, it's relieving to hear you don't think humidity is an issue.

We use InkCups Cobalt Steel Back Laser Platers - shown at bottom of page here Laser Plates, Laser Engravable Plates | Inkcups Now

We order the imaged plate directly from InkCups, we don't do any plate making in-house

Our consistency problem is that we load ink into the cup, start printing, and the first few prints will look fine but then we'll gradually start to lose parts of the image on the printed shirt. No ink will be stuck to the pad but the missing parts of the image will collect in the cliche.

We're pretty sure we can just adjust the ratio of ink/solvent/hardener, but are in the process of making adjustments and haven't yet been able to dial it in. This would require more solvent, less hardener, I think.
Ok. So it is definitely not plate.

It will be ink/solvent/hardener
First hardener
You should not be altering amount of hardener. You should always put exact proportion as recommended by ink manufacturer and in your case is 1:10. Why would you use hardener at first place for textile? I would imagine that you would use hardener on substrates there ink has problems bonding to.
Do you use scale? Scale is very important.
Tell me what is average temperature in that part of building? Is it to hot?
By your description you have problem with solvent evaporation. It evaporates way to quick. It is dry before pad pick up ink.
What solvent do you use? Fast or medium?
I would say that problem at this stage could be
- You are using fast evaporating solvent but you are not running machine adequately fast.
-If it is to hot in your factory it will just add on to solvent evaporating even faster.
- If you do not use scale there is chance that you don't put enough solvent as well.
Pad printing process works by solvent evaporation-
Ink cup inks image on plate, solvent evaporates little bit, just enough for ink to be tacky to stick to the pad. By time while pad moves forward solvent evaporate little bit more and ink becomes even tackier, just enough to stick to substrate you print on.
Correct solvent, correct amount of solvent in ink and speed of machine have to be in sync otherwise you wont get good print.
If solvent is to fast and you don't run machine fast enough, it will evaporate before pad comes down and it wont be able to pick up all of ink.
On other hand, if your solvent is medium and you run machine to fast, it won't pick up whole image as well as solvent did not have chance to evaporate enough for ink to become tacky enough to be transferred to the pad.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Hi, I was wondering if you ever found your fix for this issue? I have the very same setup down to the plates. I did have to replace the pad they sent us, but eventually got it to work. I was told by someone else that that ink can be used without the hardener, but I have tried several times and the ink never comes out as more than a ghost image on the garment. Add the hardener in, and boom, solid prints. So I'm not sure if this is just due to crummy ink or not. But I still occasionally run into the problem with blotchy prints. Most of the time I find it to be the plates. They say around 30k prints for the cobalt steel backed plates and we haven't had a single one last over 5k. We have now started ordering blanks and have been burning them with a 50W laser, above the recommended setting, but they come out great and print solid at a fraction of the cost!
 

· Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Hi everyone...
Sorry if i am posting this in the wrong thread....my apologies.

Is this the same printing use for pen, usb flash drives as well? Or Pad printers are use to make rubber stamp?

Pls help as i am new to this but really looking at buying something that can do printing of small promotional items such as pens especially
 

· Registered
Joined
·
6,970 Posts
Hi everyone...
Sorry if i am posting this in the wrong thread....my apologies.

Is this the same printing use for pen, usb flash drives as well? Or Pad printers are use to make rubber stamp?

Pls help as i am new to this but really looking at buying something that can do printing of small promotional items such as pens especially
Yes you can use pad printing for these items......YouTube has 100s of videos showing pad printing....
 

· Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
The biggest problem is the speed of the machine, 1 going back, & 2 going forward. The speed going back must be faster than the speed going forward. The expalination is this: When the pad picks up the ink at the back there is a stickiness to the ink holding it to the pad, let's say a 3 adhesion to the pad where the ink is touching the pad. When the machine comes forward it must be slow enough (slower than going back) so that the exposed surface of the ink gets to be stickier than what is holding it to the pad, say a 4 or 5 stickiness. If this is not so then the ink cannot release from the pad. Ink has a thickness, when on the pad there is a top surface (the surface you can't see as it is on the pad) and a bottom surface (the exposed surface) which you see exposed ready to go on the item. This is the major problem operators don't always realize. Start your machine, carriage only, back and forth and adjust the back speed faster than the forward speed. No matter what speed your machine is working at (number of imprints per hour or minute) this must always be true. The other major problem is the thickness of your ink. Hardener aside as it must be mixed to the proper ratio as per instructions, if the ink is too thick (not enough thinner) or too thin ( too much thinner) each will not give consistant prints. We are in our 27 th year of pad printing and produce over 2 million pieces a year with open well systems. We have 3 machines in operation all the time in manitoba, canada. The only time humodity places a part in the running/printing is with open well machines, not ink cup machines, as there is not evaporation from an ink cup, but lots from open well machines as we have, we constantly have to add thinner to keep the right mixture of ink to thinner, almost like water but not quite.
We use the photo polymer water wash plate material and make all our own plates. We gave up on the steel plates of any kind or thickness as the costs were too high and if a plate did get scratched we had to shut down production and wait for a new plate from the supplier. Costs of doing our own plates is way cheaper than steel.
Regarding hardener, we only use hardener in 2 cases. One is if we are using an epoxy type ink where the mix for us is 25% hardener or 4 to 1 mix by weight. Two is when we are using an ink that works on the substrate but we want to add some protection for possible wear or scratching of the ink so we add 10% to the ink. Otherwise we just use ink that is specified for the product we are printing.
Hope some of this is of help to you and anyone else who wishes to try these things.
Art, c.d. Manufacturing, manitoba, canada.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
21 Posts
Hi, I was wondering if you ever found your fix for this issue? I have the very same setup down to the plates. I did have to replace the pad they sent us, but eventually got it to work. I was told by someone else that that ink can be used without the hardener, but I have tried several times and the ink never comes out as more than a ghost image on the garment. Add the hardener in, and boom, solid prints. So I'm not sure if this is just due to crummy ink or not. But I still occasionally run into the problem with blotchy prints. Most of the time I find it to be the plates. They say around 30k prints for the cobalt steel backed plates and we haven't had a single one last over 5k. We have now started ordering blanks and have been burning them with a 50W laser, above the recommended setting, but they come out great and print solid at a fraction of the cost!
What laser are you using (brand / model). I'd love to start cutting our own plates for our B100, and I've not had much luck with their photo plates. $85+ for a plate from them is ridiculous.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
I know, that's what drove us to experimenting. We have since found a solution to our problems by going with a different ink supplier. We use an Epilog 50W CO2 laser at our local MakerWorks shop on the red or orange plates. I turned it to 80% speed and 30-35% power depending on how new the CO2 tube is. They say it has to be under 10w in their specs on the plates, but that is probably just to make sales on their equipment. You can try your own experimenting if you have access to a laser engraver as well!
 

· Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks so much for your info. Not sure if you are still on the forum, but I have a question.

There are three entry level pad printers on eBay all the item. The Imprintor, and the Printa/Press-a-print.

The Printa and Press-a-print are both open systems,
While the Imprintor is a closed, cup system.

They both work with polymer plates.

The plates and ink from these manufactures are crazy expensive (so I've been told). Given your experience can I ask you some questions. If someone gets these systems:

A) What is a good ink to learn with. That is, what is a good ink to do some practice printing with, a good starter ink the will work on enough promotional products that someone could start offering pad printing as a service.

B) What company sells the photo polymer plates at a good price to learn with. I know the plate making is really important, so if I wanted to buy some plates to learn from (screw up a few), what's a good company to start with?

C) Is the ink you recommend good for both open and closed cup systems. I assume with open systems, a person may add a little extra thinner to account for the air exposure?

Thanks in advance.

Eric
I would forget about both of them.
They are toys that will give you nothing but headache. You won't get any serious production with them.
Speed and pressure are very critical to achieve good quality print. You won't have consistent speed and pressure with manual press. Also, you will need both hands to hold object in the jig, to put it in to jig and take it aside.
You will be able to find cheap semi automatic single colour pad printer in between Ebay, DigitSmith and local sources like Craig List.
If you look bit harder you may find it cheaper than Presa Print and other manual toys.

You don't buy plates, pads, etc from them neither. They will skin you alive. You should shop supplies from professional suppliers. I buy plates from Team Flexo and ink, pads and other supplies from Winon USA. They are cheap and professional advice will be there as well.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
The biggest problem is the speed of the machine, 1 going back, & 2 going forward. The speed going back must be faster than the speed going forward. The expalination is this: When the pad picks up the ink at the back there is a stickiness to the ink holding it to the pad, let's say a 3 adhesion to the pad where the ink is touching the pad. When the machine comes forward it must be slow enough (slower than going back) so that the exposed surface of the ink gets to be stickier than what is holding it to the pad, say a 4 or 5 stickiness. If this is not so then the ink cannot release from the pad. Ink has a thickness, when on the pad there is a top surface (the surface you can't see as it is on the pad) and a bottom surface (the exposed surface) which you see exposed ready to go on the item. This is the major problem operators don't always realize. Start your machine, carriage only, back and forth and adjust the back speed faster than the forward speed. No matter what speed your machine is working at (number of imprints per hour or minute) this must always be true. The other major problem is the thickness of your ink. Hardener aside as it must be mixed to the proper ratio as per instructions, if the ink is too thick (not enough thinner) or too thin ( too much thinner) each will not give consistant prints. We are in our 27 th year of pad printing and produce over 2 million pieces a year with open well systems. We have 3 machines in operation all the time in manitoba, canada. The only time humodity places a part in the running/printing is with open well machines, not ink cup machines, as there is not evaporation from an ink cup, but lots from open well machines as we have, we constantly have to add thinner to keep the right mixture of ink to thinner, almost like water but not quite.
We use the photo polymer water wash plate material and make all our own plates. We gave up on the steel plates of any kind or thickness as the costs were too high and if a plate did get scratched we had to shut down production and wait for a new plate from the supplier. Costs of doing our own plates is way cheaper than steel.
Regarding hardener, we only use hardener in 2 cases. One is if we are using an epoxy type ink where the mix for us is 25% hardener or 4 to 1 mix by weight. Two is when we are using an ink that works on the substrate but we want to add some protection for possible wear or scratching of the ink so we add 10% to the ink. Otherwise we just use ink that is specified for the product we are printing.
Hope some of this is of help to you and anyone else who wishes to try these things.
Art, c.d. Manufacturing, manitoba, canada.
Thanks so much for your info. Not sure if you are still on the forum, but I have a question.

There are three entry level pad printers on eBay all the item. The Imprintor, and the Printa/Press-a-print.

The Printa and Press-a-print are both open systems,
While the Imprintor is a closed, cup system.

They both work with polymer plates.

The plates and ink from these manufactures are crazy expensive (so I've been told). Given your experience can I ask you some questions. If someone gets these systems:

A) What is a good ink to learn with. That is, what is a good ink to do some practice printing with, a good starter ink the will work on enough promotional products that someone could start offering pad printing as a service.

B) What company sells the photo polymer plates at a good price to learn with. I know the plate making is really important, so if I wanted to buy some plates to learn from (screw up a few), what's a good company to start with?

C) Is the ink you recommend good for both open and closed cup systems. I assume with open systems, a person may add a little extra thinner to account for the air exposure?

Thanks in advance.

Eric
 

· Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
I would forget about both of them.
They are toys that will give you nothing but headache. You won't get any serious production with them.
Speed and pressure are very critical to achieve good quality print. You won't have consistent speed and pressure with manual press. Also, you will need both hands to hold object in the jig, to put it in to jig and take it aside.
You will be able to find cheap semi automatic single colour pad printer in between Ebay, DigitSmith and local sources like Craig List.
If you look bit harder you may find it cheaper than Presa Print and other manual toys.

You don't buy plates, pads, etc from them neither. They will skin you alive. You should shop supplies from professional suppliers. I buy plates from Team Flexo and ink, pads and other supplies from Winon USA. They are cheap and professional advice will be there as well.

Sorry, I posted this question to you by mistake. I meant it for the person who made the post quoted. (ArtMitch)
 
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top