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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey folks,

I read every single article I can find about plastisol transfers on google and in the forums and I still have a little trouble understand what exactly do I need to make the prints.

So what equipments do I need? I already have a heat press (15 by 15).
Will I need a special printer system to apply the ink onto the transfer papers? If so, where I can purchase that?

And if
Plastisol transfers' quality is so superior than reg heat press and the reg silk screen, why doesnt everyone use it?

And I cannt thank you guys enough if someone can just explain the whole prcoess to me again.

Thank you so much.

~Bingster
 

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I believe most people order plastisol transfers instead of making them. I don't know what equipment you would need to do your own. As far as screenprinting yourself, that requires a substantial investment and I think ordering plastisol is more effective, for me at least.

I have been using SMG. One of their selling points is no artwork or setup fees.
http://silvermountaingraphics.com/Plastiol_Transfers.html

I think plastisol is a compromise between inkjet do-it-yourself printing and screen print. With plastisol you get the quality of a screen print and the ability to print on all color shirts. You also don't have money tied up in a large inventory of t-shirts. All you have to do is buy the transfers, which is a relatively small investment. You can keep a fairly small quantity of blanks on-hand and print as needed. The down side is that you can't do printing on demand for color or design changes.

With inkjet you can print whatever quantity you need and don't have to order in bulk. You can also adjust the design to specific customer requests. The down side here is only printing on light color shirts and the printing isn't as durable or soft.

Both methods still involve the labor of printing the shirts yourself. If you are doing a high volume I think it would be better to have a screenprinter do it.

I am using inkjet for light color t-shirts and to test new ideas. I strongly believe that plastisol is the way to go for us small time people. Once your sales are going well then it would be more cost effective to use a screenprinter.

P.S.
Anyone wanna buy some t-shirts???
 

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SpacemanFL said:
With inkjet you can print whatever quantity you need and don't have to order in bulk. You can also adjust the design to specific customer requests. The down side here is only printing on light color shirts and the printing isn't as durable or soft.
You can print on dark garments with inkjet transfers and even get decent results. I have no frame of reference to compare durability.

I've been messing around with plastisol for the last couple days and maybe I still need to tweak my process a little bit, but I'd venture to say I've gotten equal or better results on dark garments with inkjet transfer than cold-peel plastisol transfer. The hand feels very much the same and actually a little less with the inkjet transfer, but this is a comparison of a pressed shirt that has been through the wash a bunch of times vs. a new plastisol press.

das_king said:
And if Plastisol transfers' quality is so superior than reg heat press and the reg silk screen, why doesnt everyone use it?
Damn good question. The issue I'm encountering with plastisol transfers right now involves 100% cotton garments and consistent results. It's a little more difficult to press them because of the moisture, which actually helps resist the ink bonding. I'm still figuring out my process and the proper settings but I'm not sure I can even get equal results to inkjets. It may end up that the only difference is the white border will be gone and it will be quicker to make a garment. I dunno, still pounding my head on it.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hmm, those plastiol sure costs a lot though.

It only gets cheap enough to compare with regular screen printing around 1,000 sheets.
 

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rabid said:
You can print on dark garments with inkjet transfers and even get decent results. I have no frame of reference to compare durability.

I've been messing around with plastisol for the last couple days and maybe I still need to tweak my process a little bit, but I'd venture to say I've gotten equal or better results on dark garments with inkjet transfer than cold-peel plastisol transfer. The hand feels very much the same and actually a little less with the inkjet transfer, but this is a comparison of a pressed shirt that has been through the wash a bunch of times vs. a new plastisol press.


Damn good question. The issue I'm encountering with plastisol transfers right now involves 100% cotton garments and consistent results. It's a little more difficult to press them because of the moisture, which actually helps resist the ink bonding. I'm still figuring out my process and the proper settings but I'm not sure I can even get equal results to inkjets. It may end up that the only difference is the white border will be gone and it will be quicker to make a garment. I dunno, still pounding my head on it.
From what I've both seen and heard, opaque transfers are garbage. They tend to feel very thick, usually don't last very long, and don't look that great either. The biggest problem IMO, though, is that you either have to very carefully cut them to your design or only print ugly block images.

Plastisol is much nicer. Not quite as good as a real screen print, but pretty close.

das_king said:
Hmm, those plastiol sure costs a lot though.

It only gets cheap enough to compare with regular screen printing around 1,000 sheets.
$50 for 24 sheets that I can fit 3-6 designs on... so 50 cents a design. I don't think any screenprinter can come close to that on that kind of small order =) (of course, it depends on the size of your designs.) Another thing to keep in mind is that with plastisol, you can print them as they are ordered on the right color/size -- you can't do that with a traditional screen print; you'll have to guess ahead of time.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I see, I was under the impression of 1 design per page....haha, it is pretty good then, do you guys recommend I also get a basic silk screen kit too? or should I just rely exclusively on the magic of plastiols printing?
 

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a basic silk screen kit would pretty much only be useful as a hobby and to play with, or to get an idea of how to screen print. I would not advise actually using a cheapo kit to make shirts that are to be sold.
 

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Twinge said:
From what I've both seen and heard, opaque transfers are garbage. They tend to feel very thick, usually don't last very long, and don't look that great either. The biggest problem IMO, though, is that you either have to very carefully cut them to your design or only print ugly block images.
I've used both. The opaque transfer paper I use has virtually no difference in thickness and feel than with the cold-peel plastisol transfers I've done on dark (black) 100% cotton garments. They both look good, and the only difference in look is that fact that the opaques have more color options (gradients, etc.) but they have the white background/border. Durability is another issue.

I agree that the biggest problem is not look or hand or even durability but that the manufacture time is tripled when you have to cut out each one.

das,

Plastisol transfer quality dramatically increases when using say, 50/50 stuff because of reduced moisture.

Plastisol doesn't seem terribly more expensive except for the fact that, depending on the type of designs you offer, you have to keep an inventory of transfers (all those costs are up front) and you can't really print on-demand. If you're just doing lettering that's one thing, but if you offer a range of 3 - 7 color designs then you can't effectively maximize your profits without reaching the volume numbers for the discount.

Choose based on your designs, your garment construction, and personal experience if you can.
 

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Hey folks,

I read every single article I can find about plastisol transfers on google and in the forums and I still have a little trouble understand what exactly do I need to make the prints.

So what equipments do I need? I already have a heat press (15 by 15).
Will I need a special printer system to apply the ink onto the transfer papers? If so, where I can purchase that?

And if Plastisol transfers' quality is so superior than reg heat press and the reg silk screen, why doesnt everyone use it?

And I cannt thank you guys enough if someone can just explain the whole prcoess to me again.

Thank you so much.

~Bingster
I'm looking into doing plastisol transfers but also wish to know the whole process, equipments/printers, etc to do this. I already have two heat presses.

Appreciate any valuable help. Thanks
 

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I don't think I have any definative information, but I did work in a shop making Plastisol transfers for a bit. The look and feel was identicle to wet on wet with a rotary press. The trade off was wet, on wet you put down 2,3,4,5,6 colors with maybe a flash, then off the platen and into the dryer. Transfers you mirror the image and print in reverse order. Instead of all colors down then cure, you would print a color, gel the ink in the dryer, reregister the paper put down the next color and repeat. You spend a little more time, if you are making a production run, but the upside is you can store the transfers in a pizza box and apply them to shirts as they are ordered. Also if you do transfers this way you could get by with a 1 color table top press with a backlit vacuum platen (easy enough to build), a flash cure unit and a heat press. For a small indy tee line it would be cost, space, and inventory friendly. The vaccum platen is merely a sealed plexiglass box with alot of little holes on the print side, and a big hole on the bottom for a vaccum cleaner hose to attatch to. Add a set of hinge clamps and you're pretty much there. Tape a key line film onto the platen, poke holes through the tape, use the backlight to register the paper on the press next color go round, and the vaccum cleaner holds the print down. :) Hope this was of some use
 

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I'm looking into doing plastisol transfers but also wish to know the whole process, equipments/printers, etc to do this. I already have two heat presses.

Appreciate any valuable help. Thanks
You basically need screen printing equipment to do plastisol transfers. Most people outsource their plastisol transfers to a company that prints them and sends them back the printed transfer sheets ready to press.

If you want to do the screen printing yourself on the transfers, here's an article that goes into how it's done:



http://www.t-shirtforums.com/t-shirt-articles/t14049.html

More info here:

http://www.t-shirtforums.com/t-shirt-crossover-diary-heat-press-newbie/t13204.html
 

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Thanks ShirlandDesign. Wow! That was very detailed (technically) but was nonetheless better than no info at all :) One more favor pls, do you know if there are any clips on the web showing this whole process of making plastisol transfers (i.e. from step 1 to the end or finished plastisol transfer) or better yet, do you know any company which sells the equipments/materials you've mentioned above?

Really appreciate your kind assistance...thanks!
 

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Louis, you can find all the information on table presses and heat transfer presses you could ever want on this forum. I think work horse makes a vacuum platen, so look at Atlas, or Ryonet. I think theirs is clear so you can backlight it. I know I threw alot of industry jargon at you pretty quick (makes me feel knowledgable before going out on sales calls), so give me a little time and I will try to translate it into human speak for you. Really if you do it a couple of times it's not hard at all. P.S. in return, if I ever make it out to Samoa, you gotta let me crash on you couch for a few days. LOL:)
 

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Louis, you can find all the information on table presses and heat transfer presses you could ever want on this forum. I think work horse makes a vacuum platen, so look at Atlas, or Ryonet. I think theirs is clear so you can backlight it. I know I threw alot of industry jargon at you pretty quick (makes me feel knowledgable before going out on sales calls), so give me a little time and I will try to translate it into human speak for you. Really if you do it a couple of times it's not hard at all. P.S. in return, if I ever make it out to Samoa, you gotta let me crash on you couch for a few days. LOL:)
Thanks once again Shirl. If you ever make it to Samoa, do let me know and I'll try to make sure you're treated like royalty and enjoy your time here :)
 

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Hi Louis, I’ll try to explain what I know about making heat transfers in a
little bit plainer terms. in college what we used for a screen press was a piece
of plywood, two door hinges, and a wooden framed screen. We used double
sided tape to hold the paper down to the board (this was the early 80s).
So imagine the board being replaced by a 15”x15”x2” tall box of clear
plexiglass. Instead of door hinges use hinge clamps (available at any screen
supply company). The hinge clamps will hold any frame and make it much
easier to change out the screens. On the top of the plexi box drill tiny holes
every 1/4” and a hole just big enough on the bottom to slip the hose attachment
from your vacuum in it snugly.
When you turn the vacuum on air will be sucked thru all those tiny holes and
if you put a piece of heat transfer paper on this vacuum box (platen), it will
be stuck firmly in place. If there is a light under the platen you will be able to
see thru the paper (backlit).
So first take a film of your design to register the paper with and tape it to the
platen. A keyline is just like a cartoon without any of the colors. So if the design
has any lettering, use outlines of the letters as a keyline. If there is any line work
use that. If not just use registration marks, a circle with a cross hair in each corner.
Poke holes thru the film where the vacuum holes are. Now you can put a piece
of heat transfer paper on the platen, turn on the vacuum, and using the backlight
see the design thru the paper which is stuck firmly in place.
Put your first color screen in the hinge clamps, don’t tighten all the way, and move
it around until it lines up perfectly with the keyline on the platen.
The design will have to be mirrored, and printed in the opposite order that you
would normally. You can underbase as a last color so your transfers will work
on dark shirts.
So line up your first screen, put a piece of paper on the platen, turn on the vacuum,
print your first color, turn off the vacuum, gel the ink.
You don’t want to completely cure the ink hard, just heat it enough to be solid. You
should be able to roll a ball of it between your fingers like dough. It’s easiest
and fastest to do this with a dryer but it can be done quite well with a flash cure unit.
After you have printed all of the transfers you want, change out the screen for the
second color and register. Using your backlit keyline put the one color transfer
on the platen, using the keyline, line up the paper with design perfectly, and print
the second color. repeat until finished.
After the transfer has been printed, just use a heat press to transfer the design onto
the t shirt.

I would love to visit your home, I hope this is a little easier to understand, John S.:)
 
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