November '15

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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74 || P R I N T W E A R N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 5 zone fiducial, print a suitable white ink, maximum print size with full coverage on your least favorite red shirt. Set the flash parallel to the platens at the normal distance, and cut the shop-normal flash time in half. Check to see if the ink is gelled— the state in which the resin has absorbed sufficient plasticizer so it feels cheesy but dry. If it is gelled, the shirt should absorb less plasticizer than it takes to develop the optimal properties of durability, elasticity, abrasion resistance, etc. In a series of steps, "sneak-up" on the minimum gel time. It is likely that the supplier recommended temperature will read at a maximum 160 degrees F. If there are going to be alternating rows of gel and wet ink, it will be obvious at this lower flash time. If not, drop the platen flash distance at 25 percent as this will increase the irradiance by 20 percent. Repeat the test with fresh ink. If there are still no alternating rows, we can opt either to reduce the temperature which will give us more time-latitude on press, reduce hot tack, and keep the platens more stable. At the closer distance you will probably not need to increase the dwell time. MESH AND STENCIL The under-base should be dead flat, smooth as silk, and it should matte-down the fibers even when printed in the thinnest deposit. These features can- not be achieved without the right ink, but to help any ink along you want a high fill-rate mesh at any FLASH-CURE TROUBLESHOOTING Flash-curing implies that the temperature of the plastisol is elevated to a point at which the resin has absorbed sufficient plasticizer and the ink is no longer fluid. (Im- age courtesy The M&R Companies)

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