June '16

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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62 || P R I N T W E A R J U N E 2 0 1 6 SETTING UP YOUR PRESS Setting up your press for water-based print- ing shouldn't be too hard, as the process isn't too terribly different from printing with plastisol ink. You'll need to make some ad- justments to your supplies, off-contact and tilt, and overall setup to accommodate for minor differences in the process. First, you will need to choose an adhesive that works well with the amount of mois- ture that water-based inks emit when heat- ed. This is most important when flashing. Water-based adhesives work well as they are reactivated with water. Note that spray ad- hesives may lose their tack a lot faster with the increased water exposure. Second, if you're going to use block-out, be sure to get a water-resistant block-out or it might get washed off during the printing process. After this prep work, setting up your press is the same for water-based as it is plastisol, except that you will need to adjust your off- contact a bit differently. For water-based printing, off-contact and tilt need to be level and about 1/8" off the printing sur- face. When setting up off-contact, maintain approximately 1/8" off the substrate. Sweat- shirts are thicker than Ts, so you'll need to raise the screen to accommodate them and maintain proper off-contact. You can do this by putting the substrate on the platen and then placing a piece of 1/8" Masonite or cardboard on top of it. You can also loos- en all the levers on your print head and set it down evenly on the flat surface. Once it's flat on the substrate, hold it in place and be- gin to tighten your levers. Once everything is tight, you can then remove the cardboard and double check for the distance and level of the screen. Repeat this process for all heads on the press. Once the screen and off-contact is set, you can begin to register your design. The first thing you'll want to do is draw a line on the platen you'll be using for set up. Be sure that all platens are the same distance from the center of the press and tightened on the press arms. If they're different distances, you can have placement issues when using a ro- tary press. The center line will aid you in lining up to the center of the platen which acts as a visual guide for loading shirts. Line up the center marks of the image on the center line of the platen. Lock in the screen and you're ready to go. Put ink in the screen and do a test print. This can be done on a pellon or an old shirt. Here, a pellon can be helpful for a lot of rea- sons. Not only is it an economical way to do test prints, but it's also useful when you go to set up the other colors. Before bringing the next screen in to line up, you can save time in the process by creating a "dry erase board" on your platen. To do this, use clear tape and cover the test print. This creates a see-through, protected surface to begin lin- ing up screens. Now you are ready to place the other screen in your press and begin reg- istering them. Be sure to flood the screen after printing so the image area does not dry out as you go through the setup process. Once you have the initial screen set up, you're ready to set up the other colors in the design. For each additional color, you can bring the screen down over the initial setup print. Line up the registration marks and lock in WATER-BASED TECHNIQUES

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