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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone!

There's a clothing retailer in LA called Dover Street Market. They sell Comme des Garçons, Gucci, and other small brands. The printing quality is insane. Some of these shirts have ink on them that I can't recognize as water-based or plastisol. Thin, soft hand, no cracking, very smooth.

I need to up my ink game and be making prints at this level. Any idea what brand of inks they're using? Is it one of those new "hybrid" ink systems? Inkovators makes a hybrid ink, but I'm not totally sold on it.

Any help would be much appreciated!

Much love!
 

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Could be water based discharge. That let's you achieve no-hand prints on dark shirts just like regular water based can on light shirts. That's what I started off printing. The downside is the smell of the discharge agent, and the short life of the ink once mixed with it.

Else could be opaque ink printed through a higher mesh screen P/F/P/F/P, which is what I do these days. I use Permaset Aqua Supercover with 200 mesh.

If you can clearly see the ridges/weave of the fabric, it is water based (assuming cotton garments, where sublimation wouldn't be an option). If the ink levels/fills the surface of the fabric, it is Plastisol. Before he switched to water based, PorkChopHarry used to get low-hand prints with One Stroke plastisol P/F/P with 180 mesh.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
If you know the brands that impressed you then try researching them, there may be info within their own websites if not try emailing them..

JynxDezyns, have you ever tried that—hitting up your competitors and asking them what ink brands they use? What kind of results did you get and what was your experience like? I guess I could give it a shot…

I've never seen any retailer or brand show off what brand of ink they use on their shirts, but maybe with some persistence, I could get to the bottom of it. TBH I was a bit dismissive at first about the idea of asking, say, Brain Dead (the brand), what brand of ink they use because, in my experience, I've never had a product developer or production manager ever ask about the brand of ink.

But hey, you won't know unless you ask!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Could be water based discharge. That let's you achieve no-hand prints on dark shirts just like regular water based can on light shirts. That's what I started off printing. The downside is the smell of the discharge agent, and the short life of the ink once mixed with it.

Else could be opaque ink printed through a higher mesh screen P/F/P/F/P, which is what I do these days. I use Permaset Aqua Supercover with 200 mesh.

If you can clearly see the ridges/weave of the fabric, it is water based (assuming cotton garments, where sublimation wouldn't be an option). If the ink levels/fills the surface of the fabric, it is Plastisol. Before he switched to water based, PorkChopHarry used to get low-hand prints with One Stroke plastisol P/F/P with 180 mesh.
NoXid, surprisingly, I didn't see one discharge print there at the market. From what you're describing, It kind of sounds like it might be opaque WB ink PFPFP (the ink took on the texture of the jersey material beneath it but still had some hand to it, unlike a discharge print that's been washed and has no hand whatsoever).

My WB game is a lot better these days than it was 8 years ago. Back then I was using the wrong emulsion, hard squeegees, and the wrong mesh counts. My goodness! I now have an emulsion I like (Saati DW Textil) and have a much better idea of what I'm doing, though the thought of flashing the **** out of Permaset gives me pause…I understand that it's best to wipe down the screen with water before applying the Permaset to the screen, but I'd be worried about the system heating up too much and my ink congealing in the screen with so much flashing on a production run of say, a couple of dozen shirts. Any thoughts on how to mitigate that? Do you run a fan on the prints after you flash them? At some point, I'd like to try out some sim-process wet-on-wet WB prints—I've had some great discharge results with a coarser halftone—but haven't tried printing a WB underbase yet.

Thanks so much for the reply!
 

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NoXid, surprisingly, I didn't see one discharge print there at the market. From what you're describing, It kind of sounds like it might be opaque WB ink PFPFP (the ink took on the texture of the jersey material beneath it but still had some hand to it, unlike a discharge print that's been washed and has no hand whatsoever).

My WB game is a lot better these days than it was 8 years ago. Back then I was using the wrong emulsion, hard squeegees, and the wrong mesh counts. My goodness! I now have an emulsion I like (Saati DW Textil) and have a much better idea of what I'm doing, though the thought of flashing the **** out of Permaset gives me pause…I understand that it's best to wipe down the screen with water before applying the Permaset to the screen, but I'd be worried about the system heating up too much and my ink congealing in the screen with so much flashing on a production run of say, a couple of dozen shirts. Any thoughts on how to mitigate that? Do you run a fan on the prints after you flash them? At some point, I'd like to try out some sim-process wet-on-wet WB prints—I've had some great discharge results with a coarser halftone—but haven't tried printing a WB underbase yet.

Thanks so much for the reply!
I have a 4-station press and don't need to use a fan to cool the shirts; they're good to go by the time they come back around. Permaset flashes pretty easily. I live in western Oregon, so low humidity isn't the norm here, but if I'm worried about it, I just spray up a storm in the washout booth to bump the humidity up. The most important thing with Permaset is replacing the moisture lost when you put the ink back in the bucket. Else over time the ink gets gradually drier and drier until it is Satan's spawn to work with. It's about right when a big blob will slide fairly easily off of a metal palette knife. I keep my working ink separate from my virgin ink so I always have a reference for what good ink looks like. And if need be, give the ink on screen a little spritz from a spray bottle while on press.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
LOL Satan's spawn!

Thanks for the info, NoXid. That's smart to keep the virgin and used ink separate.

Have you ever printed Permaset wet-on-wet with halftones?
 
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