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Obviously plastisol inks are the industry standard, but I'm seeing more and more water based inks in use (especially here in Australia).

What do the more experienced printers think about the merits (or lack thereof) of different types of ink?
 

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Solmu said:
Obviously plastisol inks are the industry standard, but I'm seeing more and more water based inks in use (especially here in Australia).

What do the more experienced printers think about the merits (or lack thereof) of different types of ink?
The biggest problems with waterbase inks are as follows.

#1. They dry out in the screen real fast so once you start printing you cannot stop. You will also need to do about 1 imprint every 6 seconds to keep the screen from clogging. There are retarders you can use that will help but it's still nothing like plastisol.

#2. Waterbase inks take a combination of heat and airflow to dry properly on the garment. This means you will need a more expensive dryer with forced air or air knives. The other option is to flash dry and fan or set the ink with an iron.

#3. When printing waterbase inks on 50/50's you need to use discharge ink and this is a lot trickier to use.

Now theses are not insurmountable obstacles and waterbased printing can be done with very good results. It's just you need to be aware of the issues I listed above.

On a side note. Most all ink manufactures are coming out with pvc free plastisol inks and other inks that offer a wide range of looks and feels. Rutland now has a chino base which when ued with their pigment ink will give you the look and feel of a retro ventage t-shirt.
 

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Thanks for the quick response, that definitely gives me something to think about.

Do you feel that waterbased inks can give equally aesthetically pleasing results? I haven't had much exposure to different ink types (early days yet unfortunately), but waterbased inks didn't seem as opaque to me. Obviously there's a lot of factors involved though, so I wasn't sure if what I was seeing was indicative of the ink type, or just that specific print setup.
 

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When I started printing 19 years ago all we used was waterbased inks.
I love the finish and feel of a wterbased ink.
All that preston says is true except that Discharge only works on 100% cotton shirts that have been reactive died. They are as easy (hard) to work with as waterbased inks. You need a dedicated water resistant emulsion if you plan to do long runs as well.
I sell chino base in the u.k. and love the stuff, the other product rutland do is hydrosol which gives the matt finish of a waterbased ink. So you may wish to consider these products as well.

Having said that I am going to use 100 percent waterbased inks when I get running properly, using discharge clears and whites for base plates on dark shirts. I just cant get enough of the look and feel of a good waterbased shirt print.
Phil
 

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hi, i just read the above posts - was wondering for water based inks, is it best to use flash to cure it or a heat press? what has better results? and what will dry and cure a shirt faster? and if anyone has any advice how to do either... thanks
 
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