November '14

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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20 1 4 N ov e m b e r Printwear | 57 at least 320 degrees F throughout the en- tire printed surface with a thermometer gun, and perform a wash test. Remem- ber, you're the last line of defense. Always test the first printed garment of every job for curing and other properties. It's never fun—and often costly—to find out that a job was not printed correctly after the fact. Once you know the basics, it's not hard to get the print right. tain desired temperature. Many units have a sensor that turns the quartz ele- ment on as a platen slides under it and turns off via a timer or when the sub- strate reaches a certain temperature. • Infrared: With this type of unit, electri- cal heating coils are typically controlled using a dial to maintain a certain tem- perature. Both of these units sometimes include a thermocoupler that better controls the de- sired temperature and incorporates some forced air from a fan or blower that speeds up the delivery of heat. Some flashes are static, which means that the flash is stationary and the printed shirt is brought in beneath it. Others move back and forth over the shirt on a manual or motorized swivel stand. These types are generally for nonautomated printing. If the flash is static, do not leave the shirt or platen beneath the heat source. This is es- pecially important when using an infrared flash where the heating unit is always on. For automatic printing, the flash is static or moved in and out of the service station. Some automatics have a shuttle that brings the flash into service when it's not needed. With so many varieties out there, look for a flash-cure unit with even heat distri- bution throughout the surface. When using infrared flashes, avoid dead spots, which are areas on the flashed print that did not gel, by ensuring that all bulbs are working in the quartz unit. For larger designs, a larger heating surface is required and, thus, a larg- er flash-cure unit. Common Cure Complaints Decorators frequently ask me if they can flash cure shirts. The answer is a reluctant yes, but if you have more than a few doz- en shirts to print, flashing is an inefficient curing method because of the long waiting time. At best, the end results are inconsis- tent. Most complaints about washed-off ink are traced back to undercured ink. In half of those cases, the decorator cured the shirt using a flash-cure unit. If using a flash-cure unit, check that the ink reaches pw

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