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Hi,
Question for the DTG Community:

How often do you spot check your prints for washability?


I had an interesting week I printed a dark garment for my Dad; as a gift. When it got washed it peeled and cracked. I was very confused!

I've washed a hundreds of DTG garments and never had an issue as bad as this was after one wash!!!

So I start looking over the process; called the guys I Firebird they we awesome and give me a few ideas.

1) Swap out the white ink for another set of white ink I had in-stock.
2) Try a different batch of PT.

Did both of those...did a wash test...same results!!

Called Firebird again and talked to Ken...after a brief hold the conversation went as follows:
Ken: "What's your heat press at?"
Me: "330F Like it should be..."
Ken: "Are you sure it really is at 330"
Me: "The display says 330"
Ken: "You may want to check it"

So I did! and it was off my 80 degrees!

Still need to run the final wash test...but off by 80 degrees can't be good for the prints!

Lucky over the past 5 days or so we've been printing all light garments and they seem to have been ok with the lower temperature.

BTW Thanks Firebird Ink (Ken) for the advise and support!!!!!
 

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I was not off by that many degrees but was off by 17 low. Cracking occurred but right when I calibrated it, amazing feeling to know when everything is dialed in and prints feel so sturdy wash after wash.

100% recommend that if you are in DTG its an absolute must you have a heat surface probe. I would also recommend getting 2 wands as I did have a +- to deal with when switching between each one. Had the heat labels and those didnt work as advertised and the heat gun isnt very accurate as well unless using for screen printing purposes like for flash or conveyor dryer.

People keep getting issues with cracking and wash and get frustrated cause they use all the same specs as everyone else. While its true to dial in your own settings, people will be amazed how much headaches can be avoided by not just trusting the gauge on the heat press and actually test the heat coming from their press.
 

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I was not off by that many degrees but was off by 17 low. Cracking occurred but right when I calibrated it, amazing feeling to know when everything is dialed in and prints feel so sturdy wash after wash.

100% recommend that if you are in DTG its an absolute must you have a heat surface probe. I would also recommend getting 2 wands as I did have a +- to deal with when switching between each one. Had the heat labels and those didnt work as advertised and the heat gun isnt very accurate as well unless using for screen printing purposes like for flash or conveyor dryer.

People keep getting issues with cracking and wash and get frustrated cause they use all the same specs as everyone else. While its true to dial in your own settings, people will be amazed how much headaches can be avoided by not just trusting the gauge on the heat press and actually test the heat coming from their press.

The only way of accurately testing the true temperature of a heat press heat platen is with a pyrometer with a surface probe. You touch the probe to different areas of the heat platen to make sure you are getting the same temperatures all over. Knight has an inexpensive digital unit that works well:
RPK-PYRMTR : Digital Pyrometer & Surface Probe Kit : Geo Knight & Co Inc

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Absolutely, ir guns do not work well. The link Harry gave u above is a reliable gauge. However even it must be used correctly. It is not unusual for even high quality heat presses to be off from the read out. Also the pretreatment u use makes a difference. Ex. Dupont pretreatment has a window of application, not enough and u see the poor print. To much and the print is great but peels in the wash. Been there done that. Currently there are two pretreatments that do not have this window that is Image Armour and Epson. With these to much is not an issue.
 

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The only way of accurately testing the true temperature of a heat press heat platen is with a pyrometer with a surface probe. You touch the probe to different areas of the heat platen to make sure you are getting the same temperatures all over. Knight has an inexpensive digital unit that works well:
RPK-PYRMTR : Digital Pyrometer & Surface Probe Kit : Geo Knight & Co Inc

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Exactly what I got but I'm not about to spend 100 bucks. Bought mine from eBay and got 2 wands in the process. Worked great. Also I keep my press at 347. When hustling and the evaporation it dips down almost to 332. Dk20 press.
 

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Hi,

Still need to run the final wash test...but off by 80 degrees can't be good for the prints!

Lucky over the past 5 days or so we've been printing all light garments and they seem to have been ok with the lower temperature.

BTW Thanks Firebird Ink (Ken) for the advise and support!!!!!
Hi Rob,
Did you do final wash test? I have been experiencing same problem but never checked the temperature of heat press...:(
 

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Hi Rob,
Did you do final wash test? I have been experiencing same problem but never checked the temperature of heat press...:(


Checking the temperature of your heat press should be part of a weekly (if not more frequent) schedule. Better to know right away if there is a problem then finding out by customers bringing back washed out prints.

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great info everyone! i only just started looking into heat presses the day before yesterday. i wasn't aware that heat settings could be off by as much as 80 degrees. i would have expected maybe 10 degrees, but not that much.

as this is the perfect thread to dial in heat press settings, i was wondering, is there any harm in pressing tees longer than the usual 60 seconds "to be sure" the pre-treat's pressed enough or that prints are really cured well? as washability is such an issue, i'd rather put a little extra care in the process if it helps
 

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Hi,
Few days ago I wrote in this post that we have problem with washability as well - it seems that we have solved it. At the beggining we thought that this might be connected with the temperature of the press so we bought a termometer - it showed that the temperature is al right in every point of the press. We were confused for a while but then (by accident) we discovered that the bottom platen of the press has few cracks and small hollow in one place. We are pretty sure that this is a problem in our case - because of the hollow and cracks we are not able to achieve an accurate pressure in every point of the print. On monday we're being delivered a new bottom platen. Hopefully our problem is solved - I'll let U know when we make wash tests with the new platen.
Greetings,
Katarzyna
 

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First if temp is to cold and it does not reach around 325 the binders wont active no matter how long u leave it. Also to long may result in even more pronounced pretreat box, possibly even turning a bit grey. Next you can scorch the shirt.
 
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Hi,
Few days ago I wrote in this post that we have problem with washability as well - it seems that we have solved it. At the beggining we thought that this might be connected with the temperature of the press so we bought a termometer - it showed that the temperature is al right in every point of the press. We were confused for a while but then (by accident) we discovered that the bottom platen of the press has few cracks and small hollow in one place. We are pretty sure that this is a problem in our case - because of the hollow and cracks we are not able to achieve an accurate pressure in every point of the print. On monday we're being delivered a new bottom platen. Hopefully our problem is solved - I'll let U know when we make wash tests with the new platen.
Greetings,
Katarzyna

What brand heat press do you have and how old is it? That is a very unusual problem to occur to a bottom platen on any quality heat press. But yes, if the bottom platen has somehow hollowed out that would cause uneven pressure to occur.

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Thats really not unusual. People buy an expensive press so they assume its accurate. Not so fast. Some can be adjusted some not, depends.
 
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What brand heat press do you have and how old is it? That is a very unusual problem to occur to a bottom platen on any quality heat press. But yes, if the bottom platen has somehow hollowed out that would cause uneven pressure to occur.

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Hi we have Schulze press (dtg-4-s). It has 1 year and 3 months. We were surprised as well but there was a hole (i mean not very deep hole but you could feell it under your fingers) in the middle of the platen and some cracks on the edge. Prints peeled off exactly in these places.

Katarzyna
 
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