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Discussion Starter #1
I'm a designer and I took my tees to be printed with the Brother GT-541. One of the t-shirts was wrinkled so I decided to iron it with a regular home iron, set on medium, and unfortunately the black color on the t-shirt started smearing all over the white t-shirt, got black on the iron surface as well.

Maybe I made a mistake and didn't know you're not supposed to iron t-shirts that are digitally printed, or is this a mistake the company made by not curing the t-shirt properly?

Also another question- when you print with the Brother are you supposed to pre-treat the tee first, just wondering because this company didn't do so?!
 

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Pretreatment is only needed when white inks are used. The GT541 does not utilize white inks, therefore there is no pretreating.

As to the ironing process, I don't know, I've never really had problems hitting my t-shirts with the press more than once, or with the ink having any kind of issue after being heated. But I honestly have never bothered to iron a t-shirt, most likely it's the addition of water/steam from the iron that caused issues. May also want to check the blend of the shirt, DTG works best on 100% cotton.
 

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Maybe I made a mistake and didn't know you're not supposed to iron t-shirts that are digitally printed, or is this a mistake the company made by not curing the t-shirt properly?
I would be curious to know if it was cured with a heat press or a conveyor dryer, any chance of finding out?
 

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I'm a freak about ironing. I iron my tees...that's right. I've never noticed anything like that happening. I run the iron directly over the print. I have 2-3 shirts I've ironed numerous times with a GT-541 print on them. My guess is under-cure.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
thanks evryone!
the t-shirt was burnout 65%poly / 35%cotton, and no steam was used when ironing, also no excessive amount of time was the iron on the tee, the black smeared as soon as it was ironed....
i do know that they have a heat press at the place not a conveyor dryer...which is why i wasn't sure if this was normal, or didn't do it correctly.
Duncan says never to iron it (before washing i assume) but since Jem has tested this first hand I'm more sure now that it was the printing company that made a mistake, unless Jem is using 100% cottons which may have made a difference...

Also I would like to say that the smears were wiped off with water (using cloth), which was a good thing at the moment, but now it just makes me question wether the paint would come out in laudary as well.
 

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thanks evryone!
the t-shirt was burnout 65%poly / 35%cotton, and no steam was used when ironing, also no excessive amount of time was the iron on the tee, the black smeared as soon as it was ironed....

i do know that they have a heat press at the place not a conveyor dryer...

Also I would like to say that the smears were wiped off with water (using cloth), which was a good thing at the moment, but now it just makes me question wether the paint would come out in laudary as well.
While not a expert on any Brother printer, I would think the high poly content would have some bearing on the problem, most DTG ink will not bond/absorb into polyester,
as far as washing.....I'd throw it in hot water and see what happens, you really need to know before your customers find out on their own.

JMHO
 

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thanks evryone!
the t-shirt was burnout 65%poly / 35%cotton, and no steam was used when ironing, also no excessive amount of time was the iron on the tee, the black smeared as soon as it was ironed....
i do know that they have a heat press at the place not a conveyor dryer...which is why i wasn't sure if this was normal, or didn't do it correctly.
Duncan says never to iron it (before washing i assume) but since Jem has tested this first hand I'm more sure now that it was the printing company that made a mistake, unless Jem is using 100% cottons which may have made a difference...

Also I would like to say that the smears were wiped off with water (using cloth), which was a good thing at the moment, but now it just makes me question wether the paint would come out in laudary as well.

Brother ink doesn't bond well to polyester without a pretreatment like the one found at DTG Pretreat – CMYK Pretreat for Polyester, Blends and Cotton Garments. I'd probably say the problem was with the shirt material used since the mix was 65% poly.

You can recreate the same effect with ink loss just by washing a 100% poly shirt printed with a GT-541 or GT-782 and see the print fade by over 50%.

That being said, once polyester has been pretreated we have had no problems with printing on 100% polyester using CMYK with our 541 or 782. The prints are nice and vibrant and we use an lower ink volume since the prints don't seem to need it once we spend the time to pretreat.
 

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Also I would like to say that the smears were wiped off with water (using cloth)...
This really raises a red flag with me. You shouldn't be able to wipe it off the shirt, even if it's a blend. I have test printed/washed 100% poly soccer jerseys. Some of them did bleed, but you couldn't "wipe" the ink off. It should also be noted that I bumped the ink volume way down to 2 or 3. I'm not sure what level your printer used. My shirts are 100% cotton, so that may play a part, but something seems fishy. Have you checked with the printer to see if this has happened before? Was it just the one shirt?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Brother ink doesn't bond well to polyester without a pretreatment like the one found at DTG Pretreat – CMYK Pretreat for Polyester, Blends and Cotton Garments. I'd probably say the problem was with the shirt material used since the mix was 65% poly.

You can recreate the same effect with ink loss just by washing a 100% poly shirt printed with a GT-541 or GT-782 and see the print fade by over 50%.

That being said, once polyester has been pretreated we have had no problems with printing on 100% polyester using CMYK with our 541 or 782. The prints are nice and vibrant and we use an lower ink volume since the prints don't seem to need it once we spend the time to pretreat.

Wow thanks for that info it's a great site!!! Really helps knowing there is a solution to this. I just wished the printing company would have known about this, as I believe it is their responsibility as much as mine. I will bring my own pre-treatment to a printing shop, anything it takes just as long as my costumers are happy.
 

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paulamandel, this is a CYMK only print correct? also, keep in mind a lot of fashion type tees have a wash applied to them and some of these washings do not allow water based ink to adhere.
 

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This really raises a red flag with me. You shouldn't be able to wipe it off the shirt, even if it's a blend. I have test printed/washed 100% poly soccer jerseys. Some of them did bleed, but you couldn't "wipe" the ink off. It should also be noted that I bumped the ink volume way down to 2 or 3. I'm not sure what level your printer used. My shirts are 100% cotton, so that may play a part, but something seems fishy. Have you checked with the printer to see if this has happened before? Was it just the one shirt?
If the print was done with volume 9-10 to try and get the most vibrant color I can still see this happening. It would be the same effect as washing since what is coming off is the unbound ink.

Even after pretreating we drop the ink volume down to 6-7 for polyester and blends.

We have done a lot of wash tests with 50/50 through 100% poly and the results without pretreatment are always the same, the prints fade quicker and more dramatically than with the pretreat.

That is not to say the pretreat is a magic bullet, we still had to do a number of wash tests and prints to find the right mix of pretreat density, cure time and ink volume to get the best results on specific garments. As an example, printing with volume 10 when using the pretreat solution caused a box of stain to show up around the print. Bascially it appeared that the unbound ink would float off the print and then bond to the pretreated area in the wash. Once we lowered the ink volume so that more of the ink reacted with the pretreatment on the shirt and did not just sit on top of the fibers, that problem went away.

Similar problems will arise whenever using different garments from different mills/brands which just underscores the need to test your garments before agreeing to print on them or releasing them as finished products.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
This was definitely a red flag with me as well, which is why as soon as I saw the problem I started this thread to find out if this was normal or not.

This is not my printer, nor have I ever used it or know how to use it, which is why i can't tell you the volume or level of the printer.

In the last hour I have tested a lot of the prints and i discovered three things:

1. It's not only black color that comes off, but also other colors. (that's definitely red I see on the back of my iron)
2. It doesn't only come off on the poly blends but i ironed the 100% cotton one as well-with same results, paint coming off.
3. I have printed t-shirts on numerous different occasions with this company-where the results were different. The very first batch of t-shirts I did with them is the one which releases the ink onto my iron and smears it on t-shirt. (all the other t-shirts didn't seem to do it)... Those are also the t-shirts which seem to be heavy on the ink, the colors seem more vibrant/less faded than those which I have printed at a different time.

So I don't even know what to conclude out of this- curing wasn't good on the first occation or their volume was set too high?!
Did anyone else print and iron with same results?

My next test is washing them and see what happens?

To answer some other questions; this is a CYMK only print, and it was printed on Next Level Apparel.
 
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