October '13

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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It's important to know the temperature of the actual ink on the garment, not just the temperature inside the dryer, to ensure proper cure. (Image courtesy Lon Winters, section as possible without burning your hand. Aim the gun directly at the ink surface. •Donut probes. A donut probe is a nylon "donut" with two wires crossing the hole in the middle. The donut ring is attached with a long wire to a hand-held digital thermometer that gives a digital readout of the substrate temperature. Again, it's very important to know how to use the temperature testing device. If the donut ring is simply placed on the garment, you will get a false reading. But, if the cross wires are placed directly in the ink deposit (on a test print), you will get an accurate reading. •Wash tests should be conducted on printed garments periodically as an added safeguard. James Ortolani, Stahls' Last week the mesh lady stopped by and so did the ink guy. She says we have a white ink problem, he retorted we have a mesh problem. Who's right? If your primary criteria for buying both mesh and ink is based on the lowest price—and this wouldn't make you smart, just typical— then both of your suppliers are right! It is really easy to make things cheap but it is brutally difficult to do so without losing value. The mesh folks have nearly caught on to the fact the best mesh for white ink is a low count with a thin thread. They are often times a couple steps ahead of the ink makers who tell us "heat and time cause the ink to change," but the only spec we get with the ink is the color. Then, the unwitting printer prints an order on platens that are at 150°F or more, takes the unstable ink out of the screen, and saves money by putting the waste back in the can. The result: we're trying to push white roofing-tar through a silk-scarf… and that dog won't hunt. First get a low count, high volume mesh. Second, get a gallon of the white du jour, pour off a quart and store the 1/4 gallon in a cool, dark area. At the end of each run, put the residual ink in a clean pail for later use. Near the end of the gallon, compare the three containers. o If the dark-room ink aged up, switch whites. o If the residual ink is thickest, quit contaminating virgin ink with junk. o If they all aged up, switch brands. o If all three are as new, your habits and supplier are okay, just fix the mesh. Joe Clarke, Clarke Product Revolution 2013 October Printwear PW_OCT13.indd 85 | 85 9/18/13 11:55 AM

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