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Hello Gentlemen(and Ladies if applicable),

Im looking for a water based ink for my tshirt line. I will be using all 100% cotton organic tees from American Apparel. I wanted to use a somewhat environmentally friendly ink. Now I have been reading a ton on this awesome forum. I know the argument that states water based is not as organic as some may think; and that the most "organic" way to print would be with a DTG printer for minimal waste. With that out of the way. I want to print with water because I can not afford a DTG right now and I like the fact that the water based ink has a very soft hand.

What I am stuck on right now is which ink system to choose from either the Matsui 301 series or the Permaset Aqua series. I was hoping someone on this forum would have experience with both and point me in the right direction. I dont care which one is easier to print with I just want the highest quality prints on both light and dark fabrics. Only differnce I can see is the Metalics look a lot brighter on the Matsui system but that could be crappy pics I've seen from the Permaset system.

BTW I have a Riley Hopkins 6 color 4 station press, with little buddy conveyor dryer, and a 18' x 18' flash dryer. I know the whole concept of drying water based ink; evap the water first then the ink will bond with the fabric. I will also be printing lights on black shirts and I believe with the permaset set I will have to discharge the dark shirt first or put a supercoat first then my image on top. Is this the same with Matsui system? I would assume so.

Anyway guys any help would be much appreciated.

PS. People on this Forum F'ing Rock!!!!!
 

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Hi Erik,
I have screen printed for many years. Initially all water based and now all plastisol. I don't know the Matsui system so I can't comment on it. The Permaset system worked fine for lights but compared to plastisol was an absolute pain for darks. One crucial thing I learned through my water based experience is that some makers use a large amount of white spirit in the mix. This makes the ink work and cure better but the trade of is that the white spirit evaporates in the screens and you breath it in, not good. With todays stricter rules that might not be an issue any more but once you make a decision on one ink systems it will be a pain to change over. I would suggest buy some test pots of each range in key colours and do a couple of test runs. Apart from the printability, washability and price of the ink, check how it smells when you print and cure it. Also, which of the distributors is more stable and committed to the market. Over my 20 years plus, many distributors have come and gone forcing me to change the products I use. Hope that helps. Feel free to aks me any further questions.
 

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Have you priced the two? I seem to remember Permaset is double the price of Matsui?

Another consideration is colors. Permaset comes in a wide range of basic colors where you have to custom mix basically all Matsui colors.
 

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Permaset will give a softer hand, even with good coverage on black shirts, than the regular Matsui white. I think they have a softener that might make it softer. In my experience they are both good about not cracking. The permaset supercover white is really hard to work with, in
 

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Permaset will give a softer hand, even with good coverage on black shirts, than the regular Matsui white. I think they have a softener that might make it softer. In my experience they are both good about not cracking. The permaset supercover white is really hard to work with, in
I have to add here, I have gotten better with the supercover white. It gives good coverage without a flash, but I have to stroke it several times. I was having trouble with ink smearing when I was printing manually, but not now with an auto. It does have a tendency to clog up the mesh if there is much time between prints, but adding retarder helps a lot with this.
 
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