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Moving into unknown territory

1025 Views 1 Reply 2 Participants Last post by  Celtic
Ok, I need some help with this one. I have ran a home based t-shirt shop for about the past 20 years. Spent 12 years selling stock designs at craft shows, then about 5 doing only custom outsourced plastisol transfers (transfer express). Bought a Roland GX-24 about 18mo ago, and have been doing custom cut heat transfers, as well as vehicle lettering/graphics, banners, small signs.

Now for my real question, We are looking into screen printing our own shirts to save time and money. (vinyl is so expensive, and takes so much time to weed) We would like to avoid as many chemicals and fumes as possible (two of our employees have asthma). I have seen the express screen people at many trade shows, but the price tag scares me!! Also, how is the quality of prints?

Another of my partners has shared his concern with cracking of screen printed transfers. (we have seen some horrible screen prints in our area) Is this something that can be avoided? Is it more expensive to avoid this problem?

What all equipment/software would I need to move into this area?
I currently have:

Corel Draw X4
Roland GX-24
Hotronics 18*20 draw press

Any Feedback would be great. I am so out of my element here, but I have the willpower, and drive to make it work.
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Always working in ventilated areas should take care of your workers with asthma and just everyone in general. Wear chemical resistant gloves when handling the chemicals.
The cracking ink issue is from the prints not being fully cured. The ink must reach curing temp, for plastisol that's usually 320 degrees through the entire depth of the print.
So for a thinner or limited number of color print or using higher mesh count, you will be laying less ink down and curing will be achieved in less time. You definitely want a infrared temp gun to test often. Also doing the stretch test on a few of your prints, you know, just taking them and stretching the print...if it cracks, it's not fully cured.

I highly suggest that you get the Ryonet silkscreening 101 dvd...packed full of info.
It will help you a lot.
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