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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello TSF Members....

OK... Let me just begin by stating that I really wanted Firebird ink to be the Champion of our white ink dreams. And filling up the Freejet 330TX's ink lines with Firebird's new Holy-grail type goodness gave me chills... Having said that, here is our personal experience with the results we've received with Firebird Ink's White Ink.

Experience level: I have been dabbling in the DTG world almost 3 years. I didnt get serious until about 1.5 years ago. Went to training at Freejet headquarters. Learned a lot, etc... After spending time daily with printing over a year's span, I have mastered quite a few areas of DTG printing and our Kothari RIP. And feel very confident with the longevity and washability of our DuPont Artistri based prints. I like to beat up our test tees (testes) and make sure I personally know the limits of our product.

Before we moved to Image Armor PT, we used to experience significant "cracking" after wash testing on our DuPont product. Our prints would look fantastic right after the heatpress, but would suffer the wash cycle. Image Armor has almost eliminated this problem, and had a huge improvement on our finished product. We were proud to offer our product from then on.

After hearing all the hype about the new Firebird White, we were of course very interested in testing it. After all, people were saying it has a "screenprint-like" quality, and what DTG user would pass that up right? So we bought some FB white, flushed the lines and started printing.

Day one: Did some UFC promo shirts that looked fantastic. Didnt do any destructo tests on them, as we were just taking them to a local fight shop for approval. They loved the samples, so did we..

Day two: We finished a small order with the Firebird product for another company. An all flat white design, they looked really sharp and we sent them off as wholesale. I did a brutal "stretch test" right after they cooled down from the heat-press and I gotta say, I was very impressed. I thought: "Holy Crap.. there will be no need for screenprinting services anymore". Those prints were done at 2880x1440 and were very thick. I destroyed a couple of those samples and the print showed no signs of wear or tear... Real strong and flexible.. Again, before the 1st wash cycle though.

Day three: I wanted to make a video of the brutal stretch test I'd been conducting with Firebird white, because I haven't really seen one anywhere on the web, and thought others might be interested to see exactly how far things can really go with the FB White. I was so impressed by the immediate results the ink gave, hot of the press. But I wanted to wash the shirts on regular wash cycles first.... to be as realistic and thorough as possible...:(. This is where my story starts to take a dive... (I seriously hear this sound when I think about it)

After pulling the Firebird product out of the 1st wash I noticed right away that the white underbase had cracked horribly. And that every different design (had 3 completely different designs on each shirt, to see differences in how it reacted) was equally cracked and severely altered... Way worse than my worst prints with DuPont in the early days. So needless to say, it was a great disappointment to us. I tested several more T-shirts this week - Gildan - FOTL HD6's - Jerzees Hi-Densi-T's - and a couple others we had laying around. All really great shirts to print on normally.. Pretreated them with light, medium, and generous treatments of Image Armor PT.. But still they all cracked badly and and didn't last one wash. Mind you, they all looked fantastic and stretched like screen prints right after the heatpress... Our heatpress is a GeoKnight 20 and is probably the best I've used. I am also one of those geeks who aims a temp gun at the heat plate surface to make certain the temp is correct. We cure at 330 degrees like most do, and I have tried the Firebird at pressure settings ranging from 1-9 on the Geo.. Curing at 60 seconds as prescribed..

I have talked to Firebird Shawn a handful of times via phone and he and his peers seem like great guys, they are very informative. Just to ask them basic questions. But to get results like these, and using a process I've become very familiar with, has made me think its time to go back to DuPont for white. I should also add that we've been using DuPont CMYK on top of Firebird White, and it is not washing out at all... So that was a plus since we were curing at 30 secs less than DuPont prescribes.. The DuPont is fine at 60 secs, for those who were wondering.. I actually laughed at the first sample out of the wash last week, I quickly said it had to be user error and that I overlooked something in the process chain. But 40 shirts later? I don't know guys - I have become pretty adept at DTG printing as I print everyday, and fine tune everyday... The DuPont stuff we were doing was pretty close to perfection with the IA Pretreat... And I really wanted to love the Firebird White, probably more than most people. I think might heart has cracks in it now :(...

Has anyone conducted Stretch/Destruction tests on their FB White product yet, "after" the wash test? Because before the wash, the product is friggin phenomenal and looks amazing. After the wash cycle though, the shirts look like the walls of a dilapidated Victorian home in Detroit -badly cracked... Please tell me I am forgetting to do something so I can achieve and experience what others are claiming. I am hoping I am wrong about Firebird Inks. Take a look at my post wash samples...

Thanks TSF.

The UFC Promo stuff - They looked great (pre wash, post heat press)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
The post wash control shirts from today. printed at 1440x1440. All looked fantastic before the wash. Then cracked like a 50 year old lead paint... These FOTL HD6 T-shirt are probably the best thing to print on for DTG IMO.. Have printed on all kinds... And these wont even improve the issue

I didn't even have to stretch these... This were un-tampered with
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
I also wanted to add that the nozzle checks have been coming out perfectly, everytime. that is something that DuPont would take a couple extra feedings to produce. No clogs with the FB. So that was big plus. Just need to know if I am alone in this experience or not. I hope there is something I am missing, because I have DuPont all white designed Tees that are going on their 50th washes, and they look great. And FB is supposed to be a giant leap for DTG-Kind... And I like the smell of FB, smells like some serious chemicals at work in there... possibly even bad for you :)

I will attempt to post a video of the brutal pre-wash stretch test I did. The shirt looks like hell afterward, but the print still looks great! I need to figure this out, badly...
 

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no, i am still using DuPont, and I know of a few printers who tried Firebird and switched back to DuPont for various reasons. for me, DuPont is about the same price, and i'm not interested in being a beta tester right now. however, i do commend Shawn and the Firebird team for all they are doing in the ink market.

Smalzstein is correct in suggesting that you try FB pretreat before throwing in the towel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I am thinking that the IA must be the component that needs to change. I just remember reading on TSF that others have been using IA pretreat with FB no problem. And that they only switched over to Firebird PT to make ordering more convenient.

Outside of that, I have tried everything I can think of to get a lasting print out of Firebird White. So far one wash is all it takes to break the elasticity. The shirts I use are all high density specific, so they don't stretch much
 

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So your saying that you washed these right after you just heat pressed them, correct? I know with the tests that I have done with DuPont when I wash the shirt right after heat pressing it will start to crack but if I wait a day with a shirt from the same run of prints and then wash it, it washes fine. Try waiting 24 hours before washing a shirt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
So your saying that you washed these right after you just heat pressed them, correct? I know with the tests that I have done with DuPont when I wash the shirt right after heat pressing it will start to crack but if I wait a day with a shirt from the same run of prints and then wash it, it washes fine. Try waiting 24 hours before washing a shirt.

OK - I have one (the red "Philly" shirt from above) that was printed 2880x1440 last night. I will wash right now to see if it cured overnight and show the before and after soon... You might be right. Different ink has different rules.

Close-up of the "Philly" T pre wash. Left it in the hot sun for a 10 mins so as well today while taken these photos, just to see what effect it has...
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
So your saying that you washed these right after you just heat pressed them, correct? I know with the tests that I have done with DuPont when I wash the shirt right after heat pressing it will start to crack but if I wait a day with a shirt from the same run of prints and then wash it, it washes fine. Try waiting 24 hours before washing a shirt.
Billy - you test Firebird yet?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Please update and let us know how it washes. Very interested to see what results you get.
For sure - I intend to be extremely detailed with this topic... I really want to like this FB White. I doubt a big chem company would just make claims without knowing for sure if the washability is congruent with claims. I am sure they spent a lot of money researching and launching. I just know I am not new to DTG anymore. Prints are outstanding before washes...

Would love to hear from some other FB users as well...
 

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For sure - I intend to be extremely detailed with this topic... I really want to like this FB White. I doubt a big chem company would just make claims without knowing for sure if the washability is congruent with claims. I am sure they spent a lot of money researching and launching. I just know I am not new to DTG anymore. Prints are outstanding before washes...

Would love to hear from some other FB users as well...
Thank you. These updates also help others who may be interested now or in the future.
 

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Hey T,

Like you, I switched to FB this week. Both White and CMYK. I am having a hard time achieving good whites using Image Armor. I am hoping it is a matter of pretreatment. so I am ordering FB pretreatment next week to make sure. I will let you know what happens. Thanks for the posts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
OK - wash test comlete on Philly shirt..

Details:

FreeJet330TX Printed at 2880x1440/ 2 passes (even though "color" pass seemed to just print white over top of WUB)

Pretreated with Image Armor. Medium coverage with Wagner Flexi. I am pretty even with this process but would have to show a vid of how I do this, since everybody has a different method they swear by..

Heat Press - GeoKnight 16x20 Clamshell

Pressure - 6 (because light pressure was used on shirts with cracking, so I turned that up for 'Philly'

Press Duration - 1:30 (1 min/30secs) because shirts at 60 secs showed significant cracking without stretch test

Philly Shirt sat over over night (about 17 hours after heat press) then went into wash.

____________________________________________________

Results:

*Note: I stretched the absolute hell out this shirt after the wash, as this is/was the whole purpose of my post.

Significant improvement on all lettering on shirt (See photos). I would imagine that this is because the aqueous vapor can escape a lot easier from underneath the smaller surface area the lettering makes. Only very little "splitting" vs "cracking", and only affecting about 10% of the lettering portion of the print. Significant improvement from the 90+% that cracking that effected shirts that received only 60 second press. Also used more pressure on this Tee.

The 'Bell' portion of the shirt... This yielded significant cracking underneath all larger protions of WUB. This is another story.. A lot of veterans will be quick to blame pre-treating style for this.. And the only thing I can tell you is that I have a lot of confidence in my PT ability. Have a very steady hand and am very considerate and 'even' regarding PT application. I've pretty much mastered an Image Armor PT Technique which work great for us (on DuPont), not that difficult to achieve after a year of tweaking this process daily...

Now, after hours of thinking about why one part of the shirt would be amply cured, while another portion would suffer from cracking is this: 60 seconds was simply not enough to expel all of the water/liquid vapors out from under the larger WUB printed sections... Meaning this, 60 seconds was enough for the smaller lettering, however, It might take a longer heatpress period for the larger white areas to lose enough moisture to properly cure... I am not 100% committed to this theory about this little phenomenon, but this is what I've arrived at tonight..

I am doing the same exact print with 2 minute curing times tonight (divided into 1 min and 1 min). And same level 5 pressure on the Geo. And as Billy Lazo suggested, I am leaving them alone for 24 hours before wash/destruction/update happens again, to allow the chems in the drying print to do what they do over night...

Let me know your thoughts. I will try to upload a vid here

Edit* I just noticed you can zoom up on some these photos, it gets very close to the fibers FYI.
 

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