We just got our new Epson F2100 DTG printer in for testing and wanted to show you what you can do with the Image Armor DTG pretreatment products. We are excited to report our first tests and we started with 100% Black polyester fabrics.
We took a Sport-Tek ST340 Black polyester shirt and pretreated it with Image Armor ULTRA. We heat pressed the pretreatment completely dry and then printed the polyester shirt as we would any other 100% cotton garment. We did increase the white underbase from 0% to a 20% increase in white (which may not have been needed) and then let the printer do its thing (We used the highest quality setting for the WHITE and the Color layers). After printing we cured the inks using extremely LIGHT pressure on a regular heat press and cured the ink at a full 338F for 90 seconds (using a kraft cover sheet). I did actually allow the print to sit under the heat press for a few minutes prior to pressing.
The direct to garment print we got was INCREDIBLE looking. White and red ink on a black 100% polyester shirt. I love the stark contrast of those colors, but what was even more striking was the print in the picture here has already been washed 4 times already. FOUR.
There is virtually NO degradation on the print at all. The shirt looks incredible and will continue to wash incredible due to the Image Armor technology that can be used for 100% cotton and some polyester fabrics. So, if anyone tells you you need a special pretreatment, special ink, or special printer, don’t believe them (though we do discuss below the fact that the Image Armor pretreatments ARE NOT a magic silver bullet for polyester printing)! It is possible and this test print proves it.
We will be exploring the best settings for doing this type of polyester printing with a conveyor dryer to help you achieve similar results minus the heat press marks (coming soon) as well as best practices for using heat presses to avoid press mark issues.
Now, we will preface this article with a disclaimer. You will NOT be able to do ALL polyester fabrics. There are NO MAGIC SILVER BULLETS when it comes to DTG and polyester printing. Dye migration is still an extremely pesky issue we will have to deal with when DTG printing (for a short while longer). So, doing RED colored polyester shirts will still be elusive. Even some LIGHTER colored shirts may react adversely with the pretreatment when applied and heated. This is usually related to an interaction of the dyes and the pretreatment. So, a lot of testing may be in order to find certain brands and colors that WILL work for you and the Image Armor ULTRA project. However, BLACK polyester will be one of the EASIEST 100% polyester shirts to print (depending on the brand and style # used).
But, with this test we end up showing that if you own an Epson F2100 printer with OEM inks, you CAN print polyester TODAY.