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White ink going through shirt onto platen. How to fix?

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Old October 7th, 2018 Oct 7, 2018 3:18:16 PM -   #1 (permalink)
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Default White ink going through shirt onto platen. How to fix?

Hello everyone!
I'm getting back into screen printing and white ink is driving me crazy!
Two years ago, white ink was the reason I stopped trying to screen print at home and went to only doing HTV.

So I did a practice print today using Green Galaxy Comet White, 160 mesh, on a new but damaged black Gildan G500/5000 100% cotton shirt. I use a 70 durometer squeegee.

When I pulled the shirt off the platen after printing, I noticed that ink went onto my platen through the larger areas of the text design.

Is this due to pressure, angle, or ink too wet?
  • Since my ink has been in the closet for over a year and was pretty thick, I did a couple spritz of water into the ink pile on my screen and mixed well before doing first flood stroke. It was still thick like drywall putty or spackle.
  • I do a push stroke with heavy pressure (Im a 2XL-3XL heavy guy). If I don't then I seem to leave a lot of ink on the mesh.
  • My angle is about 45 degrees, maybe a little higher due to my height and the platen height.

When I print using Green Galaxy Pitch Black ink, its 1000x easier and I use so much less pressure since its so runny.
I really want to be good at screen printing water based white ink where its bright but not thick!

Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance!

Last edited by embprints; October 7th, 2018 at 03:23 PM..
 
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Old October 7th, 2018 Oct 7, 2018 4:41:19 PM -   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: White ink going through shirt onto platen. How to fix?

I've printed with that very ink and that mesh count. GG white should be the consistency of that marshmallow fluff stuff you buy in a jar (it is sort of weirdly spongy as compared to other inks).

My guess is that you overdid it with the water. In the case of GG, I even wonder if water is the correct thing to add, or at least whether it is the only thing you should add. My Permaset SuperCover does fine just adding water (and it loses a lot in use). But GG smells entirely different, and I never really added much water to it, as it didn't seem to need it. Granted, if it dried out over time in a leaky bucket, then that is different than losing moisture while in screen, so I'm not saying you don't have a drying-out problem.

Are you doing a print/flash/print sort of technique, or trying to get it done in one pass? I do a P/F/P sort of thing. Also, I do a dry pass with the squeegee after the wet stroke--that is sort of a safety move to ensure the mesh is fully cleared.

The only times I have driven ink all the way through a garment is when the squeegee stumbles over a horizontal design element and digs in to the mesh. Then I end up with ink all the way through where that happened. You can avoid that by angling the squeegee so that it does not hit any major design elements straight on; I don't mean the up/down angle of incidence with the screen, but the side-to-side angle, so say the right corner of the squeegee is ahead of the left corner as you push it across the design.
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Old October 7th, 2018 Oct 7, 2018 6:11:18 PM -   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: White ink going through shirt onto platen. How to fix?

Quote:
Originally Posted by NoXid
I've printed with that very ink and that mesh count. GG white should be the consistency of that marshmallow fluff stuff you buy in a jar (it is sort of weirdly spongy as compared to other inks).

My guess is that you overdid it with the water. In the case of GG, I even wonder if water is the correct thing to add, or at least whether it is the only thing you should add. My Permaset SuperCover does fine just adding water (and it loses a lot in use). But GG smells entirely different, and I never really added much water to it, as it didn't seem to need it. Granted, if it dried out over time in a leaky bucket, then that is different than losing moisture while in screen, so I'm not saying you don't have a drying-out problem.

Are you doing a print/flash/print sort of technique, or trying to get it done in one pass? I do a P/F/P sort of thing. Also, I do a dry pass with the squeegee after the wet stroke--that is sort of a safety move to ensure the mesh is fully cleared.

The only times I have driven ink all the way through a garment is when the squeegee stumbles over a horizontal design element and digs in to the mesh. Then I end up with ink all the way through where that happened. You can avoid that by angling the squeegee so that it does not hit any major design elements straight on; I don't mean the up/down angle of incidence with the screen, but the side-to-side angle, so say the right corner of the squeegee is ahead of the left corner as you push it across the design.
Thanks for the reply @NoXid


I forgot to mention that I use zero off-contact and that when I flood, the ink is so thick
that I have trouble covering everything in one flood stroke even though I put a lot of ink on my screen.

Yeah, it's possible that it was caused by the added water. It didnt feel as
stiff as it did yesterday, when I opened it for the first time in over a year. Yesterday, it appeared solid until I started to stir it.

I had read an old posting of yours, so I tried to follow your method of printing white ink and doing a dry stroke. But I seem to need to do an extra pass since the 2nd one has a little marbling still. Today I also tried a 4th flood/print with no flash after the 3rd flood/print

flood
heavy wet push stroke 45deg
2 dry strokes until clear mesh (print looked marbled similar to how ash grey or sport grey shirts look)
flash with hair drier until no ink on finger but still tacky

flood
heavy wet stroke
2-3 strokes until clear mesh
flash with hair drier

flood
heavy wet stroke
dry stroke
flood
heavy stroke
dry strokes
final flash before cure on heat press (330deg for 45 seconds, two times.)

Maybe too much ink from too many prints?

I have a pint of the Supercover that I bought over a year ago too. I would try it again but I remember it drying on screen a lot while I havent had that problem with GG, but Im also afraid to like it since it costs so much. A pint of it costs the same as a quart of GG!

Last edited by embprints; October 7th, 2018 at 06:27 PM..
 
 
Old October 7th, 2018 Oct 7, 2018 11:18:34 PM -   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: White ink going through shirt onto platen. How to fix?

You should probably be running off contact with opaque inks, like whites. You are lifting the screen when flooding, right?

Sounds like your GG is in pretty bad shape. Like I said, I'm not sure that water alone can restore it, as there may be other volatiles that it has lost. Since it is so far out of condition, best to let it sit for some hours, or overnight, after adding fluids and stirring it. Might have to repeat that process a number of times before it is fit to use, but I think your problems are mainly due to the condition of the ink.
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Old October 7th, 2018 Oct 7, 2018 11:56:13 PM -   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: White ink going through shirt onto platen. How to fix?

Quote:
Originally Posted by NoXid
You should probably be running off contact with opaque inks, like whites. You are lifting the screen when flooding, right?

Sounds like your GG is in pretty bad shape. Like I said, I'm not sure that water alone can restore it, as there may be other volatiles that it has lost. Since it is so far out of condition, best to let it sit for some hours, or overnight, after adding fluids and stirring it. Might have to repeat that process a number of times before it is fit to use, but I think your problems are mainly due to the condition of the ink.
Yeah, I definitely think I should get new ink just to be sure.
Yes, I lift when I flood.

Since I need to buy new white ink, is there a white water based ink you can recommend or that you prefer to use? Or do you use plastisol?

Thank you so much for helping me!
 
Old October 8th, 2018 Oct 8, 2018 10:41:20 AM -   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: White ink going through shirt onto platen. How to fix?

GG has its positives: Less likely to dry in screen. Relatively inexpensive. It practically cleans the screen, so ink buildup isn't an issue. Downsides: I don't like how it gets sticky/tacky when flashing, as it can stick to, and plug, the screen on subsequent passes. To get a real bright "pop" on dark shirts, it can take an extra pass. But all that said, I have used it and been happy enough with it.

Permaset Aqua SuperCover is what I use most of the time. Pros: It is very opaque, and will "pop" better than GG even with fewer strokes. It does not get sticky/tacky when flashing. It cures well and easily. Even uncured blobs on my work hoodie have survived repeated trips through the laundry. It behaves well if you keep it properly hydrated, and simple water is all it takes to rejuvenate it. Cons: It is expensive (made in Australia). It loses a lot of moisture to the emulsion and air when in use, eventually resulting in frustrating ink handling and bad prints. It will dry in screen. It will buildup on the emulsion around the print. You need some chemistry to clean it from your screens, water alone is not enough (assuming images kept longer term and not a one-time job).

Since the change from properly damp ink to too dry is incremental, it can sneak up on you. To avoid that, I keep my used ink in a separate bucket from my virgin ink, so I always have fresh ink to compare to. I always add some water after use, and check its consistency before use. The general test is how easily it slides off a spatula.
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Old October 8th, 2018 Oct 8, 2018 3:21:33 PM -   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: White ink going through shirt onto platen. How to fix?

Quote:
Originally Posted by NoXid
GG has its positives: Less likely to dry in screen. Relatively inexpensive. It practically cleans the screen, so ink buildup isn't an issue. Downsides: I don't like how it gets sticky/tacky when flashing, as it can stick to, and plug, the screen on subsequent passes. To get a real bright "pop" on dark shirts, it can take an extra pass. But all that said, I have used it and been happy enough with it.

Permaset Aqua SuperCover is what I use most of the time. Pros: It is very opaque, and will "pop" better than GG even with fewer strokes. It does not get sticky/tacky when flashing. It cures well and easily. Even uncured blobs on my work hoodie have survived repeated trips through the laundry. It behaves well if you keep it properly hydrated, and simple water is all it takes to rejuvenate it. Cons: It is expensive (made in Australia). It loses a lot of moisture to the emulsion and air when in use, eventually resulting in frustrating ink handling and bad prints. It will dry in screen. It will buildup on the emulsion around the print. You need some chemistry to clean it from your screens, water alone is not enough (assuming images kept longer term and not a one-time job).

Since the change from properly damp ink to too dry is incremental, it can sneak up on you. To avoid that, I keep my used ink in a separate bucket from my virgin ink, so I always have fresh ink to compare to. I always add some water after use, and check its consistency before use. The general test is how easily it slides off a spatula.
Thanks so much for replying!
Everything you have said about GG and SC, I remember experiencing them a couple years ago when I bought them. And its so true that GG gets really sticky after a flash. I use a hair drier and I noticed today during my practice prints that my screen would stick to the shirt after flashing even though I had good amount of off contact. With SC, I really hated that it dried up after printing a few shirts. I would spray the flooded screen with water, but sometimes, it would get too runny and get splochy on the shirt side of the screen.

BTW, I tried some different things while doing some practice prints today, and the ink was not going through the shirts at all! I took your advice and used off contact using nickels (i use to use quarters before I tried zero off contact) and my prints were crisper. I also used less pressure (medium-heavy) on my wet strokes, and used 1-2 heavy dry strokes as needed to clear the screen. I noticed that the speed of my strokes made a difference...faster dry stroke seemed to clear the screen better, I think. After watching some videos on Ryonet's youtube channel, I loaded a lot more ink on to my screen...seemed like 1/4 of my quart container! LOL I also became more aggressive when I flooded my screen, instead of being too gentle due to fear of pushing the ink through too much.

BUT what I think really helped me today was that I stirred my ink really well for about a minute. This made it soft and creamy. If I had a big blob of ink on my metal spatula, it would slide/drip right off....without adding any water.

Im trying to move from using vinyl for my orders of 30+ shirts to screen printing, but white is the color my regular clients use most. I mainly use Siser Easyweed Stretch vinyl which feels better than any plastisol heat transfers Ive tested, and it doesn't crack like regular Easyweed vinyl. But I hate spending a whole day or more cutting and weeding 30+ full sized designs and making less money per shirt than if I screen printed them. It costs me about $2.33 for vinyl for a large design of 11.5"x14.5" or $1.66 for 11.5 x 9.75 (depends on whether I use 15" or 20" rolls). I also hate that I had to turn down a couple jobs because the text were too small or the designs were too complex for vinyl.

I know GG white and SC white are great for clothing lines, but do you think they would be good for my situation where I need to print 30+ shirts...for example, for my local high school club?

Thank you so much for all your help! Im definitely seeing improvements in my printing from your tips here and in your previous posts!
 
Old October 8th, 2018 Oct 8, 2018 5:31:53 PM -   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: White ink going through shirt onto platen. How to fix?

hows your experience with screen printing compared to DTG
 
Old October 8th, 2018 Oct 8, 2018 9:02:39 PM -   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: White ink going through shirt onto platen. How to fix?

Sounds like you're getting it worked out.

Honestly, it took me months to get the hang of it. Many of my suggestions are the result of things I did wrong at first.

As to your proposed usage: yes, GG or SC, or just screen printing in general, would be the way to go for orders like you describe. You might still need to cut/press individual names or numbers, but that's pretty straightforward compared to logo art. Ink cost is trivial compared to vinyl cost, even with an expensive ink like SC.

Have fun. And remember the poop you are figuring out now. I kept slipping into old ways and letting my ink get too dry, or skipping the dry stroke, so I would eventually mess-up a shirt and suddenly remember why I should do things a certain way. I seem to have finally taken it to heart.
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Old October 8th, 2018 Oct 8, 2018 11:13:14 PM -   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: White ink going through shirt onto platen. How to fix?

Quote:
Originally Posted by NoXid
Sounds like you're getting it worked out.

Honestly, it took me months to get the hang of it. Many of my suggestions are the result of things I did wrong at first.

As to your proposed usage: yes, GG or SC, or just screen printing in general, would be the way to go for orders like you describe. You might still need to cut/press individual names or numbers, but that's pretty straightforward compared to logo art. Ink cost is trivial compared to vinyl cost, even with an expensive ink like SC.

Have fun. And remember the poop you are figuring out now. I kept slipping into old ways and letting my ink get too dry, or skipping the dry stroke, so I would eventually mess-up a shirt and suddenly remember why I should do things a certain way. I seem to have finally taken it to heart.
@NoXid Im slowly working things out and taking lots of notes. BTW, I opened my two year old 300ml jar of SC this afternoon and it was still soft and creamy! I stirred it for a good minute and did a test print. I only needed to do a p/f/p to look as solid as p/f/p/f/p or p/p/f/p of GG...and SC white is so bright, it makes GG white look dull when put next to each other. But damn does it dry FAST! The worst part was washing the ink out! Just like you said, water alone will not clean it from the screen. Im so use to cleaning GG with just water that I have no other chemicals to wash ink from my screens unless I am reclaiming and use a dehazer/degreaser and emulsion stripper! LOL

I ended up using my screen opener, that I never used, to get out the rest of the ink that was dried into my design and stained my emulsion. It must have been only 3 minutes between taking the unused ink from my screen to washing it with a hose and it already dried and clogged my screen!

What do you use to clean SC from your screen if you plan to keep your design to use again later? And how do you prevent SC from getting stuck/stain your screen between the moment you finish printing and when you wash it?

Also, do you use the Permaset aqua retarder?

Thanks for taking the time to help me!

Last edited by embprints; October 8th, 2018 at 11:54 PM..
 
Old October 9th, 2018 Oct 9, 2018 11:46:07 AM -   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: White ink going through shirt onto platen. How to fix?

I use CCI EnviroSolv. There may be better stuff, but it's what I started with and seems to work okay. I use it with a large cellulose sponge.

Don't worry too much about staining/buildup on the emulsion, as that doesn't really matter, and will go away when reclaimed. But you can reduce that, and reduce ink drying in general, by moistening the emulsion before loading ink in the screen. I use a cheap foam brush to smear some water around on the emulsion, which it sucks up. Mix in like 10% Propylene Glycol, if you want; it makes water "wetter" and is an ingredient in most inks. It's cheap to buy online from a chemical supply place, or the like--as opposed to a screen supply place. Or just use water. Mind you, the point is to give the emulsion something to absorb before putting in the ink, not to actually have a wet screen.

All my screens/designs are kept for long-term use. Keep the screen flooded at all times. Don't scrape out the leftover ink until you are ready to wash out the screen--and do that as soon as you can after printing. As noted before, make sure to add back a little water after use, as some is lost every time the ink is out of the bucket.

I actually have not had much of a problem with ink drying in the open mesh area of the design, and I often have 4 screens on press at once, and obviously can't wash them out all at the same time. But I'm in western Oregon, which is not exactly known for having a dry climate. If you are in a place with low humidity, you might want to spray/mist some water around in your washout area, or whatever, to bump up the humidity before printing.

I don't use the retarder. The stuff for SC is actually just glycerine (cheaply available vs same stuff with a "Retarder" label). A friend has used it, and said it just seemed to make the ink gooey, and didn't really help with his drying problem. He is the one who yelled at me to add water after every use, until I was finally convinced.

Yup! Love the SC pop! It also has a nice flat, matte finish. Whereas the GG can have a bit of a shine.
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Old October 9th, 2018 Oct 9, 2018 2:48:26 PM -   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: White ink going through shirt onto platen. How to fix?

@NoXid
Thanks for the great info AGAIN! I plan to order more SC after I my next print job.
I live in the San Francisco bay area a couple miles from the water, but I dont
think the air is as wet here as it is in WA and OR. But I do notice that when
I am doing vinyl on shirts, 5 seconds of prepress on the heat press is not enough
to get all the moisture out of shirts like Gildan G500/5000...so I do 10 seconds.

I think I just need to get my finesse dialed in with the GG and SC...and that takes practice
and experience. I called Ryonet today for more tips on how to deal with the stickiness after flashing,
why I get marbling after 1st print, and why it feels like rubber/plastisol after curing on the press at 330ish for 45 seconds twice...and I was able to get a lot of good info.

They said if Comet white is too sticky/tacky after flash, then to flash it longer. I use a hair drier, so I dont have to worry about curing it and that tip kind of helped. My marbling problem on 1st print seems to be due to too much pressure driving the ink too far into the shirt. Gildan heavy cotton is wide open threads so that makes sense. They say that comet white can lay on top more like plastisol, so I did a medium pressure on my wet stroke and let my harder dry strokes take care of the remaining ink. As for curing, I tried adding 45 seconds more (3x 45 secs) and I noticed that I didnt get cracking on thin text anymore. I initially thought that the cracking I saw was actually not cracking but just a bad print. Right now p/p/f/p seems to be giving me the look that I want, but I want to get that down to p/f/p. Also, they said that when using a heat press, to use little pressure or even let it hover. I had been using heavy pressure and I didnt like the way the cured ink felt. After testing with low to medium pressure, but still in contact with the shirt and 3x 45seconds at 330-340deg, the rubbery feeling improved a lot....but it could also be due to the fact that Im laying down less ink.

I plan to use SC white for my own designs and for special jobs/clients, and GG white for regular jobs like the high school clubs who just want shirts cheap and fast (their previous shirts from other printers are all thick, cracked and flaky- plastisol). So I really want to get good at using both GG and SC. As for the other colors, I've only tried GG pitch black and it seemed really easy to print with.

Once again, thank you so much for all your help! I really dont want to turn down certain jobs anymore and I want to be able to handle more creative designs (for myself and clients), and your help/advice with screen printing is helping me reach that goal!
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Old October 10th, 2018 Oct 10, 2018 12:33:16 AM -   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: White ink going through shirt onto platen. How to fix?

The stickiness on the GG may in part be to it still being hot/warm. This seemed to be the case when I was using it with a single station press, so I had to blow air over it to cool it after flashing.

Some say otherwise, but in my experience, GG requires more curing than SC. I'm currently curing my SC with 2 30-second presses at about 340 (unless it is a high poly content garment, then 3 30-second passes at 300 - 305). I think I was doing 2 x 45 back when I was using GG, but some of that did crack a little when I abused it more than a real customer would likely do.

I run a medium-light pressure, or thereabouts. I don't adjust it for different fabric weights as I run mixed batches, so the hoodies are effectively getting more pressure than the lightweight fitted-style Tees. Doesn't seem to matter. I use parchment paper over the ink when I press. That stuff gets wrinkled and needs to be replaced after awhile or it will wrinkle the image. But I've got a piece that I pressed and pressed and pressed and it won't wrinkle anymore ... been using it most of this year :-)

As you say, it just takes some practice to get it down, and to recognize what's different when something goes wrong.

EDIT: Other colors. SuperCover comes in lots of colors, not just white. So you can print on dark shirts without an underbase.
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Old October 10th, 2018 Oct 10, 2018 1:27:19 AM -   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: White ink going through shirt onto platen. How to fix?

Quote:
Originally Posted by NoXid
The stickiness on the GG may in part be to it still being hot/warm. This seemed to be the case when I was using it with a single station press, so I had to blow air over it to cool it after flashing.

Some say otherwise, but in my experience, GG requires more curing than SC. I'm currently curing my SC with 2 30-second presses at about 340 (unless it is a high poly content garment, then 3 30-second passes at 300 - 305). I think I was doing 2 x 45 back when I was using GG, but some of that did crack a little when I abused it more than a real customer would likely do.

I run a medium-light pressure, or thereabouts. I don't adjust it for different fabric weights as I run mixed batches, so the hoodies are effectively getting more pressure than the lightweight fitted-style Tees. Doesn't seem to matter. I use parchment paper over the ink when I press. That stuff gets wrinkled and needs to be replaced after awhile or it will wrinkle the image. But I've got a piece that I pressed and pressed and pressed and it won't wrinkle anymore ... been using it most of this year :-)

As you say, it just takes some practice to get it down, and to recognize what's different when something goes wrong.

EDIT: Other colors. SuperCover comes in lots of colors, not just white. So you can print on dark shirts without an underbase.
Yeah, today I remembered that I should be allowing the shirt and platen to cool down after "flashing" before I continue printing, so I used the cool air setting on my hair drier along with my temp gun....And the stickiness definitely improved.

I can definitely see the GG needing more time to cure than the SC. My GG definitely feels heavier/thicker than the SC. The SC seems to air dry faster than the GG too. I actually did the 2x 45sec curing because I read an old reply of yours.

Im going to wash all the test/practice shirt strips I printed on tomorrow and see what happens. I "numbered" each one with my inked fingerprint and took detailed notes of how I printed and cured each of them. So far with GG, the wet/dry/wet/dry/flash/wet/dry or p/p/f/p looks good while still not being so thick or heavy due to me now using less pressure than I use to on my first print. I hope I can replicate that again tomorrow. Reminds me of when I was first learning to play golf and was training my muscle memory. LOL

I plan to try GG on 200 mesh soon too. The only problem is that my 200 mesh frame is a homemade wood frame and I dont have a tension meter...so I don't know how accurate my results will be. Im currently practicing/testing on an aluminum frame with 160 mesh that I bought from Anthem screen printing supplies in San Francisco before I discovered GoldUpUSA in Hayward. I plan to order some aluminum frames from them soon after I figure out what I need.

I have a large piece of parchment paper attached to the heating element of my heat press using magnets and I've used that for most of this year too! LOL My 2 year old made in China heat press now has weak pressure, so with the pressure knob turned all the way to maximum, it is basically medium-low pressure. Last week when I did an order of almost 50 2-sided team shirts with vinyl, I had to push down on the arm to get the firm/heavy pressure I needed. Boy, was my lats and upper back sore for the next couple days!

I definitely want to try the other Supercover colors mainly because of that fact that an underbase is not needed on dark shirts. I wonder if the same is true for the other GG colors.
 
Old October 10th, 2018 Oct 10, 2018 6:19:08 AM -   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: White ink going through shirt onto platen. How to fix?

Quote:
Originally Posted by embprints
Since my ink has been in the closet for over a year and was pretty thick, I did a couple spritz of water into the ink pile on my screen and mixed well before doing first flood stroke. It was still thick like drywall putty or spackle.
If it goes trough the screen then it is OK.



Quote:
Originally Posted by embprints
I do a push stroke with heavy pressure (Im a 2XL-3XL heavy guy). If I don't then I seem to leave a lot of ink on the mesh.
My angle is about 45 degrees, maybe a little higher due to my height and the platen height.
Eh... Where do you expect the ink to go with all that pressure? It will go down until there is too much resistance, and then it will go sideways.

Here is what I do for those thin fabrics that want to leak through. This works with any ink thickness, as the basic concept is controlling the ink flow.

1. Try pushing the print stroke with 30-35 degrees angle, and light pressure... Just enough so the mesh is touching the fabric.

2. Lift the screen and check the result. You do not want to see much ink on the shirt at this point. Then try again with a bit more pressure, until you get a light even coat.

3. Flash and print again with the same pressure, and you should now have a decent print on the top layer of the fabric.
 
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embprints (October 10th, 2018)






This is a discussion about White ink going through shirt onto platen. How to fix? that was posted in the Water Based Ink Screen Printing section of the forums.

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