November '15

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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Page 88 of 102

84 || P R I N T W E A R N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 5 cold, the printer may not spray enough ink. The temperature should be kept constant, even during periods when the shop is closed. To keep nozzles from clogging, print- er-cutters are programmed to do regular self-cleaning. So even though the shop may be closed for a week, if the temperature of the room gets too high or too low, it will cause ink problems during these self-clean- ing occurrences. Inks' sensitivity to temperature means they should be stored in a temperature-controlled area as well. Although most types of media are not affected as much by temperature, they should not be printed until they also are in the recommended temperature range. Relatively humid. Ideally, the printer-cut- ter area should have about 70 percent hu- midity. This is typically the greatest prob- lem in places like Florida and Texas, where there is generally higher humidity. Depend- ing on where a shop is located, it may be necessary to purchase a humidifier. CARE AND MAINTENANCE Caring for your printer-cutter is as equally important as ensuring it's kept in a proper environment. Routine cleaning of your ma- chine will determine how well it performs and how often it needs repairs. There are two types of cleaning systems on a print-cut system: manual and self-clean- ing. Manual cleaning is done around the print head, the wiper, and the cap top. You should manually clean the inside of the machine and dust off the outside weekly. A damp cloth and an all-purpose cleaner can be used on the outside, but care should be taken not to get the cleaner on the inside, as water-based products aren't compatible with the ink components. Manual cleaning inside the machine should be performed using foam-tip swabs, not cotton ones because they can leave fibers behind. It's important to keep a lot of them on hand. The print head should be wiped down once at the begin- ning of each week, but don't wipe the print head directly. There is a rubber wiper and a felt wiper blade on the side of the machine that soaks up ink. Use cleaning solution to A common goof decorators make when switching out media is they do not do a test cut before starting a job. This is especially important when switching from apparel to sign media, but even apparel materials may have different settings that are needed for maximum performance. The gray circle in the bottom right-hand corner of the material is a test cut. It's smart to have backups of some essential supplies on hand to avoid downtime. Always have two to three new cutter blades on hand, as well as an extra blade holder and a cutting strip to switch out when the one in use wears out. Media storage can impact your productivity. Keep a system that allows you to quickly locate the media you need without a lot of searching. There are commercial racks available or many shop owners make their own. Because most printer-cutter materials are white, it's important to have some type of labeling system so you do not get them confused. Another way to avoid wasting time is to have supplies and spare parts in a handy storage area close to your printer. As shown here, a simple shelf with handy containers works well. Some shops have cabinets up against a wall. Make sure containers are clearly labeled, and you'll save yourself the hassle of looking all over the shop for something you need.

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