Posts filed under ‘General’

Apparel Sourcing Show

Kieth Guatemala

Come join Kieth Stevens as the Diseri Booth/Stand # 27-31, at the Apparel Sourcing Show in Guatemala.  He will be holding a Screen Print Seminar tomorrow, May 25th, from 10-11:30 am at La Union, 3rd Floor Mezzanine.

Be sure to stop by!

Kieth Stevens is the Western regional sales manager for International Coatings. He has been teaching screen printing for more than 10 years and is a regular contributor to International Coatings’ blogs.

 

International Coatings manufactures a complete line of Centris™ non-Phthalate screen printing inks, including a wide variety of whitesspecialty inksspecial effects inks,color matching systemsadditives and reducers.  In addition, International Coatings also manufactures a line of AXEON™ non-Phthalate, non-PVC special effects inks. For more information on our products, please visit our website at www.iccink.com.

May 24, 2017 at 3:44 pm Leave a comment

Happy Memorial Day!

Memorial Day 2017

Actual vintage 1940s heat transfer featuring patriotic images

Happy Memorial Day from all of us at International Coatings!

We will be closed in observance of Memorial Day Monday, May 29th.

May 24, 2017 at 2:23 pm Leave a comment

Can I use sunlight to burn my screens if I run a small shop with minimal equipment?

Yes, I used to do this when our exposing unit was too small for the screen, or if the bulb had burned out and we couldn’t wait for a new one.

As an aside, this is a method I generally do not recommend, but if you have no other options, it is possible. To begin, use spray adhesive on the film and then press it onto the shirt-side of the screen to be burned. Make sure that the adhesive is sprayed evenly so as not to leave spots of heavier deposits on the film. The trick to this method is not to expose the other side of the screen (squeegee-side) while it’s being handled under the sun.

To avoid exposing the other side of the screen, I’ve used a cart on wheels that is at least as big as the screen. Cut a piece of foam that is at least as thick as the screen is and fits on the inside of the screen. Cover the foam with black T-shirt material, then lay the screen with the substrate side up and place the film in position. Don’t forget to put the film face down.

Now place a piece of glass on top of the screen that is at least as big as the screen and place some weighty object, such as a quart of ink, to push the glass, film, and screen down onto the foam beneath. Be sure to put the weight around the design on the film so that it can be exposed evenly by the sun. The weight will promote the best contact between all the layers. Now simply cart the screen to where you want to expose it.

Another tricky part is getting the right emulsion exposure. You may think that on a cloudy day, the UV rays aren’t passing through, but they are, and on a sunny day, they can be even more intense. Then there is the midday overhead sun which is much stronger than the afternoon sun in regards to the amount of UV available for exposure. I strongly recommend not using a pure photopolymer emulsion as those are just too sensitive for this technique. It may take some experimentation to get the exposure just right.

Kieth Stevens is the Western regional sales manager for International Coatings. He has been teaching screen printing for more than 10 years and is a regular contributor to International Coatings’ blogs.

International Coatings manufactures a complete line of Centris™ non-Phthalate screen printing inks, including a wide variety of whitesspecialty inksspecial effects inks,color matching systemsadditives and reducers.  In addition, International Coatings also manufactures a line of AXEON™ non-Phthalate, non-PVC special effects inks. For more information on our products, please visit our website at www.iccink.com.

May 18, 2017 at 1:29 pm Leave a comment

Mother’s Day Decorating: Screen-Printing Ideas

Mother's Day 2017

In a recent article posted by Printwear Magazine, John Levocz gives us some interesting screen printing tips and ideas for preparing designs this Mother’s Day.

 

For Mother’s Day prints think outside of the box and use specialty inks to create designs that shine. Moms love bling.

Glitter inks

Remember to print glitter inks through coarser mesh counts to let the glitter flake pop. Check with your ink manufacturer for the recommended mesh count. I recommend a 24 mesh count for the best results.

Shimmer inks

Shimmer inks use a finer metallic particle and can be printed through higher mesh counts (86–120 count) to create a shimmer look.

Remember when printing glitter or shimmer inks to adjust your dryer to achieve full cure temperatures. The metallic flake in glitter and shimmer inks will reflect the heat away from the garment. Usually, a slower belt speed will do the trick. Remember to test before going into production.

Reflective inks

Reflective prints also give designs pop during low light conditions when hit by a bright light. Check with your ink manufacturer for proper mesh counts and curing temperatures as a variety of different reflective inks are currently on the market.

Gel-gloss inks

Overprint gels are another way to enhance standard prints by adding shine or a wet look to a print. Most gels can be printed through an 110 mesh count screen. Remember to reach the recommended full cure for optimum clarity of the finished gel print.

Foil adhesives

Using foil will help you create a shiny design in an almost endless color pattern. Most foil adhesives are printed through a 74–110 mesh count depending on the design.

All of the above inks and methods can be used in creating designs for shirts as well as hats, cotton gardening gloves, cloth calendars, and aprons for Mom’s special day. By using your imagination, you can create endless designs on a variety of substrates.

John Levocz, International Coatings’ Northeast regional sales director, has been in the screen printing industry for more than 30 years and has broad experience in graphics and textile printing. John is a contributor to International Coatings’ blogs and holds print seminars all over the country.

International Coatings manufactures a complete line of phthalate-compliant screen printing inks, including a wide variety of whites, specialty inks, special effects inks, color matching systems, additives and reducers.  For more information on our products, please visit our website at www.iccink.com.

May 10, 2017 at 2:29 pm 2 comments

How do I avoid the white spots that pop up on my garment after curing?

Printwear Questions (6)

This was a question posed by a Printwear reader, and here is Kieth Stevens’ response:

This issue happens at times when using a white underbase ink that contains a blowing agent. The blowing agent helps improve opacity and control dye migration. However, the blowing agent contains microbeads that inflate when cured, and some may pop, leaving a hole in the inks printed on top. To help mitigate this issue, use a quality white ink that does not contain a blowing agent, or flash the white a little longer to get the blowing agent to begin puffing earlier. Over-curing the ink may be another cause for the popping as well.


Kieth Stevens is the Western regional sales manager for International Coatings. He has been teaching screen printing for more than 10 years and is a regular contributor to International Coatings’ blogs.

International Coatings manufactures a complete line of Centris™ non-Phthalate screen printing inks, including a wide variety of whitesspecialty inksspecial effects inks,color matching systemsadditives and reducers.  In addition, International Coatings also manufactures a line of AXEON™ non-Phthalate, non-PVC special effects inks. For more information on our products, please visit our website at www.iccink.com.

May 9, 2017 at 5:16 am 1 comment

Dryers and Curing

M&R-ConveyorDryerHere is an article written by our very own Kieth Stevens that was printed in the December 2016 issue of Stitch & Print Europe.  

Dryers and Curing 

By Kieth Stevens

One of the coolest things about plastisol is that it doesn’t dry unless you apply the proper heat for it to “dry” and because of this I have stained a lot of clothes and a few carpets.

Plastisol is very stable and predictable. So when I receive a tech call for some help with curing, it usually comes down to two things: The temperature was too low or not enough time was spent under the heat.  Since curing is a topic I get asked about a lot, let me reiterate that the best way to cure plastisol ink is with a conveyor (or belt) dryer.  Not a hair dryer or a craft dryer, a real conveyor dryer, made for the purpose of curing inks.

Types of Dryers

Dryers come in many forms, with ones where the heat comes from a flame and ones that use a heating element (such as an infra-red element) to produce the heat.

Gas dryers typically generate heat using actual flames and moving air across the flames to reach the desired temperature inside the dryer.  The hot air is then blown out across the conveyor belt, creating an even heat level throughout the length of the chamber. Heat generated from a flame is very dry and able to cure or dry water-based inks, including discharge type inks very well.  It also is still the most preferred form of curing for plastisol inks, but definitely the best dryer type for water base types of inks. Water-based inks must have the water removed from the ink film before the chemistry will crosslink the molecules and become solid.

Keep in mind that some water-based inks such as discharge can dry if just exposed to the air, but will not discharge or be cured. In order for discharge to work the ink must still be exposed to heat in order for the discharging to work.

Electric dryers typically use infrared heating elements installed throughout the heat chamber directly above the conveyor belt.  Electric dryers tend to be less expensive than gas ones, and come in smaller sizes.  However, the lower cost dryers can have hot spots where heat is concentrated unevenly in the chamber and cause the fabric or ink to scorch if not handled properly.  Some higher-quality electric heaters have internal fans that blow the air inside the chamber, thus creating more level temperatures throughout.

Retrospective

When I began writing this article, I could not help but remember the time were the company I was working for had to close their main printing plant and the owner asked if I could help him keep some of the accounts by setting up a small shop in his house located in Chatsworth, California.

We ran some big extension cords from the electrical panel on the opposite side of his one-level ranch style house.  Then I was asked to construct a dryer from scratch. So here is what I came up with:

First I needed a base with legs and for that I used a small wrought iron fence material, the kind that you can pick up from your favorite home improvement retailer. I then used some 4 inch PVC pipe to make the rollers for the conveyer with some cheap bearings on each side. I found a DC motor with a variable speed controller from Grainger to make the conveyor move. To top everything off, we used a large 220 volt infared heating panel to make things hot enough. This was so primitive but you know what? It worked.

Later on when the company started earning profits again and we could move back into a larger place, we were able to use a real dryer. Some of my ex-coworkers that I am still in touch with after 30+ years still comment on that dryer.  Just a few years ago I heard that someone saw that dryer in some storage place that the owner of that shop stored it in a long time ago.

Curing Plastisol Inks

Under-Cured2

Print that was under-cured then stretched to show that the ink cracks

So back to curing:  Plastisol needs to reach a minimum of 320°F (160°C) to be considered cured.  “How long does that take” you ask? Well that’s the magic question.  Most print shops don’t have a clue. Plastisol ink is really not that complicated. I like to compare plastisol ink to a cake or cookie batter.  Like the cake batter, there are several components that make up plastisol ink:  There is the “flour” (resin), the “water” (plasticiser), “eggs” (special additives for stretch or adhesion etc.), and “flavorings” (color pigments).  You get the idea.

 

Both, the cake and cookie may require the same temperature to fully cook, but the cake requires more time. To illustrate another example, if you raise the temperature of the oven hoping for the cake to bake in the same amount of time as a cookie, you would run the risk of burning the top and bottom of the cake while the center will still be undercooked.

Similarly then, when curing thick ink layers (high density or puff prints for example) or thin layers (i.e. 4-color process prints), the number one thing to remember is that for plastisol to fully cure, the whole ink film (its thickness) – from top to bottom, including the center – must reach the 320°F (160°C) temperature.

What happens if ink is under-cured?  At the very least, the print will crack if it is stretched.  If the ink film was only cured (seared) at the top outer level or only partially cured on the rim of the design (many tech calls I’ve received), the ink may partially wash off.

Curing Tips

GlamGoldGlitter

Shiny inks, such as glitter, need extra time in the dryer since the metallic flakes can reflect the heat

Let me address curing shiny or white inks. Shiny inks, such as metallics, glitters, reflectives and shimmers contain metallic flakes or have metallic coatings on the beads that are mixed into these inks’ base which actually reflect heat. Similarly, white inks also tend to reflect heat. As such, the underlying ink may not reach the required curing temperature.

 

It is important to remember that “time is your friend” when it comes to curing. Slow down the dryer belt and run the print through the dryer a bit longer. Be sure to set the temperature no lower than 320°F when curing plastisol inks. However, don’t set the temperature too high, as that may scorch the fabric as you slow the dryer speed. The extra time in the dryer will allow the ink to absorb more heat and cure correctly.

DyeMigrationSublimatedFabric

Dye migration occurring on sublimated fabric

Here are some other special instances that I would like to discuss: There are some low cure inks out there that are specially designed to be used on heat sensitive fabrics. These inks typically cure at around 275°F to 285°F (135°C-140°C). These inks are key when printing on some polyester fabrics which have either low-grade dye in them or have been decorated with a dye sublimated design like the popular camouflage prints. These type of designs will bleed (dye migration) through a normal polyester ink easily and will make even some of the best polyester white inks turn color. Being able to cure these inks at a lower temperature can (I say can and not will) help contain the polyester dyes. And remember, always cool your polyester shirt as soon as possible and never fold them while hot and put them in the box. That is a formula for disaster!

Another item that I want to discuss is the curing of Puff or Suede type of inks. When curing these type of inks, it is possible to ruin the desired effect by not monitoring the ink closely as it is being cured. If the ink is under-cured the ink will look shiny and under-cured, but when it is over-cured it can also look shiny and under-cured, so you must keep a close eye on it and set the cure time and temperature properly. Watch the ink as it is being cured and you can see the ink rise in the oven. It will start to peak or look very dry in appearance but if you are not careful, it will begin to collapse and loose its loft and start to look shiny or wet. This is the point when the ink is over-cured. Try and stop the curing when the ink has peaked and looks dry.

There have been times when I have purposely over-cured an ink such as high density or gel inks to get that really shiny look, but usually this is on a dark or black garment that will not appear scorched due to the excess heat.

HiDGel

High-density and gel mixture purposely over-cured to create a glossy domed effect

Last Tips

A couple of additional tips I wanted to bring up: Try to keep your dryer away from drafts that can accrue from open windows or doors. Drafts can create fluctuations in dryer temperature and may lower it enough to cause curing issues if not monitored.  Also monitor the weather conditions for humidity, since a T-shirt can absorb up to 10 percent of its weight in moisture, which can then slow or hamper the curing process.

Test your dryer using an infrared hand-held temperature gun that you can find at most hardware stores and check your dryer by testing the shirt temperature as the shirt is exiting the tunnel. Be sure to check the temperature on the left and right side on the tunnel, as you may find hot and cold spots that need to be avoided.

Remember, when curing, time is always your friend. Heat is needed but can become an enemy if you don’t control it.

Kieth Stevens is the Western regional sales manager for International Coatings. He has been teaching screen printing for more than 10 years and is a regular contributor to International Coatings’ blogs.

International Coatings manufactures a complete line of Centris™ non-Phthalate screen printing inks, including a wide variety of whitesspecialty inksspecial effects inks,color matching systemsadditives and reducers.  In addition, International Coatings also manufactures a line of AXEON™ non-Phthalate, non-PVC special effects inks. For more information on our products, please visit our website at www.iccink.com.

May 3, 2017 at 10:52 am 1 comment

HAPPY EASTER 2017!

1492032476429

Happy Easter from all of us at International Coatings!

International Coatings manufactures a complete line of Centris™ non-Phthalate screen printing inks, including a wide variety of whitesspecialty inksspecial effects inks,color matching systemsadditives and reducers.  In addition, International Coatings also manufactures a line of AXEON™ non-Phthalate, non-PVC special effects inks. For more information on our products, please visit our website at www.iccink.com.

April 12, 2017 at 2:41 pm 1 comment

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