How Much More Money Can You Put Into Your Pocket By Switching To Image Armor Inks?

Financial success and Profit with Image Armor Inks

NEW SPREADSHEET SHOWS YOU HOW MUCH EXTRA YOU CAN PUT INTO YOUR POCKET JUST BY USING IMAGE ARMOR INKS

We thought this would be a great little spreadsheet to help everyone understand how much more money that they can put into their pocket over the course of a year simply by switching to Image Armor Inks. This simple spreadsheet is downloadable and allows you to enter the cost of inks your are paying right now on a per liter basis. We recommend you use the WHITE Ink price as this generally is the higher of the prices and you typically end up using more white ink vs the CMYK in a standard print.

In addition, you can enter the average number of cc’s of ink used in a design. Now, obviously this changes with each and every print, but if your printer gives you an average printed, use that. If not, just take a standard design and put it into the spreadsheet. You can adjust the number to see what happens with higher or lower cc’s used. Many manufacturers try to tell you your cc usage will be lower than what you think. This is achievable if you really concentrate on the artwork and try to utilize a lot of blank space, shirt color instead of ink color, and reduce the underbase, etc. However, many people print solid line art designs on black shirts that can use a LOT of white ink… play with it and see what Image Armor Spreadsheet to Learn How much more money you can make by switching to Image Armor Inks

happens. You might be surprised how much EXTRA you can be putting into your pocket – not your distributor’s or manufacturer’s pocket. Remember – your loyalty is to YOUR BOTTOM LINE – not your distributor or printer manufacturer’s bottom line. If you don’t make money – you go out of business. Every extra penny saved adds up – just see the spreadsheet to see how much.

You can also change the number of shirts per hour your DTG printer can print (on average of course) as well as the total number of hours per week you try to keep your printer running. Or, if you prefer to just put in the total number of shirts you printed last year you can still arrive at the same NET PROFIT put into your pocket.

We hope you enjoy this little spreadsheet and this is just the beginning. We have a lot of other tools we plan on helping you understand how to improve your bottom line profitability. We know that if we can make YOU successful, Image Armor will also be successful.

Download Now Button Click the DOWNLOAD NOW button to download the spreadsheet and start seeing how much money you can put into your pocket this next year. By clicking this it will most likely download the spreadsheet to your DOWNLOADS folder. You’ll need to find it and then open it in Excel to be able to play with it!

DISCLAIMER: This spreadsheet only reflects user entered data and does not guarantee any specific monetary return. User is responsible to calculate out actual savings. Image Armor is not responsible or be held responsible for any data derived or decisions made from using this spreadsheet.

The DTG Revolution has Begun

american_revolutionThe American Revolution began in 1765 as the result of the King of England imposing taxes upon them without any representation. Through a very tumultuous time from 1765-1783, the American people fought for their freedom to be the Captains of their own destiny. They shook off the chains that held them down – the bondage of high taxes, no representation, no control over their own lives. They fought for the freedom to control their own destiny.  This unleashed the beginning of an explosion of unconstrained innovation and growth unlike that which the world had never seen before.

Well, another revolution is brewing and we are calling it the DTG Revolution. In the beginning the only beneficiaries of the DTG industry were select individuals who were able to control the market prices for machines and consumables. A market oligarchy not unlike the King of England and his cronies enjoyed for a season. The end-user DTG printer today is not unlike the Colonist in 1765. Paying high prices for supplies has kept some DTG printers from actually making money and prospering. The Freedom to make money is the yearning of every business person – and the DTG community is quickly waking up to the fact that they’ve been suppressed for too long.

This is why Image Armor is leading the DTG Revolution. In 2013 we to brought to market a better DTG white ink pretreatment. Image Armor DARK gave better performance and lower overall cost in a white ink pretreatment. In 2014 Image Armor brought the ULTRA pretreatment to market leading the charge and giving DTG printers the ability to do in-line or one-pass printing more successfully. In 2015 we’ve led the Revolution with a more cost effective solution to help the DTG printer profit more. Faster cure times (35 seconds vs 120-180 seconds), better white coverage means less ink used to achieve the same results, and $125 per liter cost which is up to 250% less than the “Establishments” pricing.Ink-Set-with-35-Second-Seal

Image Armor is proud to be helping lead the fight against artificially high prices for ink and pretreatments. We are proud to be helping bring more profitability to every DTG printer. Our goal and commitment is to continue to bring new innovation and expanded profitability to the industry. Our goal is to spread the word that you can make money in DTG competitively and run a thriving DTG business. We are proud to be at the forefront of this Revolution.

Image Armor has been on all sides of the DTG industry. We started off as screen printers. We ran DTG printers in retail businesses. We were distributors and now we are playing in the manufacturing side of the direct to garment industry. We know how hard it is to make money in DTG. We were there in the beginning. We lived the difficulty of making money printing DTG. We also recognize that EVERYONE needs to make money to stay in business. But the business model needs to be a win-win situation so that manufacturers, distributors, and DTG printers can all make money – not just the manufacturers and distributors.

The days of the “DTG Establishment” controlling the industry and only them making money are history. Just as the Colonist threw off the chains of the King of England, Image Armor is helping the DTG printer throw aside artificially high priced ink and pretreatment costs so they too can make money in their businesses.

The winds are changing and Image Armor is proud to be providing the tools for the masses to enjoy a more profitable DTG business model.

Stay tuned…

White Ink and WIMs Filter Change Over Notice

WIMs Filter PN LCF-24100For any users who use are looking to switch to the Image Armor E-SERIES DTG inks and are utilizing a WIMs (White Ink Management) system to recirculate their white inks, or a printer that utilizes a standard filter like the one seen to the left (usually they are inline somewhere – sometimes before the ink lines hit the print heads), here are a few things you should take notice before making the switch.

Due to the chemistry of the Image Armor inks, which allow the E-SERIES white ink to cure in 35 seconds and have great wash durability, our interaction of inks with standard fabric filters is not recommended. Many of the WIMs today are found on older DTG brand or re-branded type DTG printers. These in-line filters are easily replaced and exchanged.

The replacement filter that you want to utilize, most often found on the DTG brand, will be the PALL LCF-24100 Rigimesh (18 μm) Filter with the correspondingly correct connection mechanism. These filters replace the fabric mesh filtration material with a stainless steel filter material. Check with your local Image Armor Ink dealer to ensure that you get the correct part as most dealers should have these on hand for the conversion kits they offer.

Failure to convert or change out the filter to the stainless steel version can result in a reaction of the ink with mesh material causing “clots” to form, potentially  clogging the filter entirely or allowing the clots to breaking free and flow into other printer components like the print head and/or dampers. The inks in and of themselves will not clot or coagulate on their own, only when they come into contact with the fabric style filter material and, over time, accumulated deposits can form and result in other DTG component failures.

Check with your Image Armor dealer for more information.

Simple Green as a DTG Printer Cleaner

Simple-GreenI have recently been told by several people that Simple Green cleaner is being recommended by printer manufacturers to flush their DTG printer. While Simple Green is a great general cleaner for a variety of surfaces you definitely DO NOT want to use this in your DTG printer.

One person who reported this to Image Armor said they had used Simple Green to clean their printer fluid lines and print heads, however soon after had to replace the dampers due to ink clogging. It was even reported that several manufacturers are now commonly telling DTG users that Simple Green is the best cleaner to use and they don’t need to use specific DTG ink flushing or cleaning solutions. There are several reasons why this statement is not true and could lead to issues in your DTG printer if you do try to clean your system with these products.
After reviewing the components within Simple Green, there is a specific component that we found will NEGATIVELY react with the inks and can cause serious gelling or coagulation of the inks within the ink fluid system – including dampers and heads. Other “popularly” recommended cleaner are Windex. This is another one of the those solutions that we would not recommend for using within a DTG system. Many of these popular “home remedies” for flushing your printer can very likely lead to more serious issues. These home remedies can be exacerbated by using tap water (most often contains minerals and salts that can be bad) to using water the is “too pure” which can also cause issues with the inks. This is why ink manufacturers such as Image Armor have developed specific formulations to help clean, flush, and break down ink to make it safer for your DTG printer.

So, while using Simple Green might be recommended for general cleaning of surfaces and other areas it is definitely NOT recommended to clean your DTG printer, unless you really want to install new printer heads, dampers, and maybe complete ink lines.

What Happened Over the Weekend?

What-Happened-to-my-white-ink-over-the-weekendI thought this would be prudent to post for people to understand the physics of the inks, especially after a long weekend or several days of no white ink printing.

The photo to the left shows what I saw this morning after 2 1/2 days of no printing. I shook the ink in the bottles and the carts, but it was a little more difficult to “shake” the ink in the lines and the actual printhead, so the ink in those components was not able to get “back into solution”.

The issue is that as the inks will start to “soft settle” over the weekend. This means that the heavier titanium dioxide, what makes the ink white, is heavier than the solution it is suspended in. So, as it sits, it will want to settle out. This is easily put back into solution simple by shaking and getting it mixed back into the solution and is a normal function of the white ink.

You can see at the top of the picture what the ink looks like when it is printed when it is somewhat out of solution. It appears blotchy and the opacity is not good. As the print moves down the shirt and the inks in the lines are moving and the print head expels the ink in it that has not been able to be shaken is purged, the ink starts to gain opacity again. Then at the bottom of the photo you can definitely see the results of the ink printed as it is back into solution. It is a nice, solid white ink with great opacity – what you would expect when everything is printing correctly.

The tip for the day is to make sure you shake the white ink up daily before using it and really shake it up after several days of no printing. You might consider just printing a solid block of white a couple inches high to “purge” the non-homogenous ink and get your printer back into white printing shape.

Image Armor Inks Take the UK by Storm

J&B-Sewing-HQJ&B Sewing of Newport are now carrying the new Image Armor E-SERIES DTG inks for Epson re-purposed printers in the United Kingdom. The new E-SERIES inks are designed with incredible wash fastness and ease of use within the multitude of printers available on the market. Business owners will come to love the true 35 second white ink cure time and increased ink characteristics that make maintenance of your DTG printer much easier. In addition, printers can now achieve the white ink wash fastness and screen printing like look that can be achieved with these new inks.

One customer who purchased the E-SERIES inks from J&B Sewing had this to say about his experience with the inks.

“Full flush of my white ink lines and printer, recharge using your E-Series white ink and after a few head cleans to pull all through, printed the best white on black tee i have ever done. So sir, IA pretreatment and E-Series ink are now my go to product creating sharp prints and instilling confidence in both me and my clients.”

J&B Sewing has the inks available for sale online and can be reached by visiting their website or by calling 01633 281555.

DTG White ink on Black Polyester

A DTG Industry First – White Ink on Black 100% Polyester

Black-Polyester-White-Ink-Promo-graphic-web-based-1024x711

Updated 3:10 p, 9/3/15   2:08p 9/8/15

Image Armor, LLC is proud to announce that in an industry first for Epson re-purposed printers we have achieved white ink printing with superior wash fastness on black 100% polyester fabrics. Previously there were serious dye migration and wash issues associated with trying to print white ink on black polyester fabrics. With Image Armor’s new E-SERIES DTG Inks for Epson re-purposed printers and our ULTRA pretreatment we’ve created, and are still perfecting, the process to now make this a production oriented process for ANY Direct to Garment printing shop.

In the past you’d have had to either screen print or use a Cad-Cut type material to do dark polyester fabrics. The incredible ink properties of the E-SERIES DTG Inks allow for incredible stretchability as well as adhesion even to synthetic fabrics such as polyester.

We will outline this process for everyone so that they can achieve these results on their own utilizing their own DTG equipment. The two main things that are needed are the E-SERIES DTG inks and the ULTRA Formula pretreatment.

The Process

Picking a good polyester shirt is the first step in successfully printing black polyester. We utilized the Sport-Tek ST340 for this specific test, but are currently testing a variety of other polyester shirt makes, styles and manufacturers. This is a cationic dyed polyester shirt which means the process used to dye the shirt to the color desired happens at a lower temperature. For us that means less dye migration when heating to cure the ink. However, we are still testing other polyester shirts and dye processes because the Image Armor E-SERIES inks cure in 35 seconds or less which definitely helps the process of mitigating the potential for dye migration.

Full-Rodeo-Shirt-Black-Polyester-small
PRETREATING

Pretreating is relatively straight forward like any shirt. We applied 32 grams of Image Armor ULTRA pretreatment. However, higher amounts could be applied up to 40 grams or so. The shirt was then heat set but here’s where we deviate from the standard  pretreatment heat setting process. We set the heat press to 356F and set the pressure so that when we lower the heat press platen onto the garment that there is just “contact” with the shirt – no pressure period. Due to no pressure, the pretreatment will take longer to steam off and “dry”. Instead of the standard 35-40 seconds you might end up doing two 30-35 second presses. Make sure to utilize a cover sheet during pressing but avoid teflon as it could potentially shine up the polyester fabric.

If you end up using too much pressure you will definitely see a noticeable area  or what is known as a “heat press mark”. Typically this mark is a definite, visible mark that looks like the fabric is melted slightly and will not wash out. This is why we utilize virtually no pressure on the fabric during the curing of the pretreatment.

Please note, that when you pull the shirt out of the heat press it may be extremely stiff. This is normal. If you allow the shirt to cool down, it will return to its normal “loose” fabric feel it had prior to pretreating.

paper-insert-for-polyester-printing

PRINTING
The printing process is relatively straight forward like the pretreating process, however some printers and RIPs may be better suited for printing white ink on polyester fabrics than others. Loading the shirt onto the platen is a very crucial part of this process. You want to be able to thread the shirt onto the platen for optimal performance of the print. If your printer platen only allows you to lay the entire shirt onto the platen you will run into some issues with ink passing through the first layer of the shirt and depositing onto the inside of the back of the shirt. This happens because the weave of most polyester fabrics are not a super-tight weave leaving a lot of open air areas between the threads. DTG printer ink can not bridge this gap and thus the ink will just jet through onto whatever is behind it. In this case the inside of the back of the shirt.

One solution is to utilize a slip sheet in between the layers of the shirt however this can cause issues due to the amount of ink being deposited. The ink will soak the paper and cause it to swell and possibly bubble up, raising the surface of the shirt enough that you might run into a head strike. Due to the high concentration of pretreatment a head strike can quickly clog up nozzles in a print head and possibly leading to a replacement of the printhead.

Close-up-black-polyester-with-white-ink

A close-up of the printed shirt reveals the open mesh weave of the athletic polyester shirt. This makes the ink look pin holed or less white than normal due to the black of the shirt showing through these holes.

The main point is you want to lay down as much white ink as possible on the first pass for the underbase. You will need to apply typically more ink than on a 100% cotton shirt. How much white ink you can lay down in a single pass will be dependent upon the printer and the RIP. Some printers, like the Epson PRO series printers (i.e. 3880) will not allow as much ink to be deposited as say an Epson 3000 printer. You will have to do independent testing with the type of printer you have and the RIP.

Working on conjunction with the amount of ink the printer can physically lay down is the RIP. The RIP will also limit how much ink you can deposit. Polyester will require 1.5-3 times the white ink to achieve a great looking finished product when compared to a 100% cotton shirt. Of course, testing with your own equipment and settings will be required. Laying down too much white ink can result in the white ink not being “kicked over” enough and then when the CMYK is applied it will look great on the printer platen, but when you heat press the ink it will blend into the white causing a dulling and image clarity degradation. So, finding the optimal amount of white ink for your printer will take some testing.

You DO NOT want to deposit a lot of white ink on the second, or highlight pass. This is because all the pretreatment has been used up in kicking over the initial deposit of white ink. The addition of printing more white ink will result in a serious wicking of moisture and components from the ink into the surrounding polyester fibers. The ink will either “spider out” or create a halo around the image which may or may not wash out after printing.  Many times, when depositing a lot of white ink on the underbase, you will still get this halo effect. This will usually wash out in the first wash and is most noticeable on lighter colored garments.

We have found that certain colors of polyester, especially red and maroon will most likely still dye migrate during the curing process and even after the cure has been completed. This is something we are still working on, however it is still going to be an ongoing issue in dealing with our water based inks.

CURING THE INK
Again, the key to making white ink printing on black polyester is found in the characteristics of the inks and how they cure. The Image Armor E-SERIES inks cure at 356F for 35 seconds. This works in our favor with polyester fabrics due to the shorter cure time. However, with the amount of white ink deposited and a much lighter (just touching) pressure on the heat press, we still need to ensure that the entire ink film has the moisture removed AND gets above 310F. Use a cover sheet when heat curing the ink and after 35 seconds lift to let any moisture escape. You might also want to try two 20 second presses. Getting rid of the moisture is key and allowing the ink to achieve full curing status temperature. If you put your hand over the print just after releasing the heat press and you can still “feel” moisture coming off the print, it most likely is not done curing or dry. You will need to ensure a full cure, otherwise the print will start flaking off after just a couple of washes.

Some have asked about hovering or utilizing a conveyor dryer. Though we have not tested the conveyor dryer at this time, hovering a heat press does not seem to work really well. The inks will try wrapping around the fibers leaving “cracks” in the colors resulting in a less than desirable print.

Again, we do not want to utilize pressure on the heat press to avoid the heat press mark. These don’t really wash out because we’ve altered the fabric with excessive heat and pressure. You DO need to ensure that you have enough pressure though to help accelerate the curing of the ink…it is like a dance and you have to find the right combination of steps to make it all work properly. Test, test, test.

Also, make note that the shirt will come off the heat press and as it starts to cool, will become very stiff. Do not worry. In our testing the shirts returned back to normal flexibility with little to no hand on the shirt after 10-15 minutes.

WASHING OF THE GARMENT
We would highly recommend washing the garment prior to wearing obviously as with any DTG printed shirt. However, the wash characteristics are extremely favorable due to the way we formulated the E-SERIES inks. Other than regular washing techniques suggested for the specific fabric, we really do not have any other requirements for good washing. As long as the ink is cured it will wash extremely well. We tested our shirts in the extreme of washing – hot water during the wash and high heat during the drying of the shirt. For optimal results warm to cold water washing and hang drying of the garment will result in the longest life of the shirt and print.

MAKING IT ALL HAPPEN
Due to the nature of the E-SERIES inks we have been able to achieve really good results while printing on black 100% polyester fabrics. In fact, some look as good or better than screen printed designs and could easily pass for standard screen printing. There is still a lot of work to do to perfect this process, but we are making great strides to achieve an industry wide, easy to accomplish task. We’ve only been able to do this with the Image Armor inks and not any other brands within the Epson re-purposed printers. So, you no longer need to be confined to just cotton shirts. Let the power of the E-SERIES inks open new doors and profit opportunities for your business.

Spectra DTG Ships New Image Armor E-SERIES with All New Printers Sold

SpectraDTG-3000-printer-E-SERIES-InkImage Armor, LLC is proud to announce that Spectra DTG which produces the cost effective Spectra 3000 Direct to Garment printer is now exclusively shipping all new printers with the Image Armor E-SERIES™ DTG Inks.

The new E-SERIES™ inks designed with a 35 second white ink cure time and improved wash fastness combined with the inexpensive yet highly functional Spectra 3000 is a combination made to help new DTG printers be more successful. The easy to use inks will help keep production times lower, with better performance making this combination an ideal solution to the screen printer looking to get into Direct to Garment printing.

All new Spectra DTG printers will ship with a complete set of Image E-SERIES™ inks. More information can be found on Spectra DTG’s website at spectradtg.com.

What NOT TO Do When Changing to Image Armor E-SERIES Inks

Tap-Water-300x210When you are changing from one ink set to another you want this process to go as smoothly as possible. You don’t need any issues or complications but often in the race to save a few dollars you might end up costing yourself hundreds of dollars in repairs. The process of cleaning your printer out is not difficult, but make sure you are using the correct tools to get the job done.

There are some people that will want to create their own cleaning solution from a recipe they found on the internet. They gather the components, turn on the tap at the sink and create their cocktail and flush the printer. Then, when they go to run the new E-SERIES inks through the printer they find out that there’s all sorts of problems. The dampers are clogged up or even worse – the print head is totally clogged up (or more frustratingly partially clogged but still firing and not suited for printing).

Tap water contains a bevy of chemicals that can react adversely with Direct to Garment inks. When the tap water comes into contact with the inks they can begin to gel, coagulate or get “funny” and start to clog up the inner workings of your DTG printer. This obviously is not a good thing for your printer or your mental health.Cleaning-Solution-1-Liter-250px

It is only recommended to use an authorized CLEANING Solution designed to really clean the system and break down the inks to ensure you get a proper flushing of your DTG system. In the case of switching to Image Armor E-SERIES inks you will want to make sure to use the Image Armor CLEANING Solution (red label) to make sure the process of changing inks is as smooth as possible. Our CLEANING Solution is designed to break down DTG inks and clean the printer system properly.

If you are starting fresh with a brand new printer then this is a whole different story as you won’t need to worry about flushing your old ink form the system. But on the occasion you find that you must flush your printer, do not try to save a few dollars by making your own cleaning solution or you may find out your wallet will become much lighter and your blood pressure rising. Use the proper CLEANING solution. Ask your Image Armor Dealer for more details or help on flushing your printer.

100% Polyester Printing and White Ink

Web-Header-1160x360-100-Percent-Polyester-Printing-2Sport-Tech 100 Poly Gold Shirt on heat press

Image Armor Has Done it Again

100% Polyester Printing with Regular Dupont Inks

Doing the IMPOSSIBLE is what we’ve always strived to bring to our customers. Products that improve the DTG printing experience is what drives us to constantly improve the direct to garment printing process. Up until today, polyester printing with DTG has been limited to CMYK only on light or white colored polyester shirts.

However, in our constant pursuit of perfection, we’ve taken another step closer to the holy grail of DTG printing – white inks on black polyester fabrics. WE’RE NOT THERE YET, but the results of our process speaks volumes about the direction of the DTG market.

Utilizing our existing Image Armor LIGHT Shirt formula, we have been able to achieve commercially acceptable white ink prints on mid-colored polyester fabrics. The process is relatively straight forward, but we are expecting the RIP manufacturers to follow suit to give end users this ability from within the RIP itself to make it much easier to accomplish. Currently we have to do a little “workaround” to make the magic happen.

STEP 1: Pretreat the Shirt

Pretreat the shirt using Image Armor LIGHT Shirt Formula. We utilized the Sport-Tek ST350 series 100% poly performance shirt (more on this in a minute) and applied 24 grams of pretreatment on the polyester shirt. The PT was then cured at 330F for two 20 second presses utilizing brown KRAFT type paper. I would not recommend using teflon as it will definitely shine up the shirt too much. The platen was raised to allow steam to escape and create a much more thorough and dry cure in between presses. We utilized a Stahl’s Hotronix Air Fusion heat press with 70 psi. A little experimentation might find that slightly more PT may help.

A NOTE ABOUT POLYESTER SHIRTS: We must note here at this point that some polyester shirts are better than others for printing. We did not some discoloration of the polyester fabric on the yellows and greys with the Sport-Tek ST350’s (it was not massive but some might find it unacceptable). However, we’ve seen some others that do not discolor. Sometimes this discoloration comes out in the wash, other times it does not.  You’ll need to do some research on what polyester brand and shirts work best for your shop.

STEP 2: The UNDERBASE is Key

100-Percent-Polyester-WashedPrinting the under base is key to getting these polyester shirts with white ink to print correctly. Normally some RIPs will print a solid under base of white under the entire design on a gold shirt like in our example above. However, for technical reasons you will get poor results if you do that with this process.

What you need to do is act as though you are printing the design (specifically the under base) on a black shirt. If your RIP allows you to utilize the black of the shirt color for the black in the printed design, then the RIP will not print any white ink where black is in the design  (the shirt would be the black ink of the design). This process generally creates awesome fades on the DTG prints. This is also exactly what we want for our mid and light colored polyester shirts as far as the under base.

This may sound counter-intuitive, but black ink does not technically need an under base beneath it to look good on any shirt. You can see on our grey shirt to the right, what this white under base looks like when printed. Notice where black would be in the image there is NO white under base – this is extremely important. FAILURE TO ENSURE THE BLACK DOES NOT HAVE ANY WHITE UNDERBASE UNDER IT WILL RESULT IN A LESS THAN DESIRABLE FINAL PRINT ON POLYESTER FABRICS.

Note, your RIP must allow you to ONLY PRINT this under base. You DO NOT want to print the CMYK associated with this RIP’d design. Why? Again, we are not printing on a BLACK shirt. That’s why. So, you must be able to separately print the under base from the CMYK.

It might be noted at this time that the more white ink your printer can put down at this stage is crucial. Set it to a maximum amount of white ink. If you try to go back and print the under base again (as in a 2x under base) there will be massive bleeding of moisture around the edges of where the white ink and polyester meet. Try to bump up the white under base so it is dropping as much white ink as possible without over saturation to achieve a solid white layer of ink film.

STEP 3: Print the CMYK and HIGHLIGHT White

Now, we need to take the same exact image and print it in exactly the same place but with a CMYK + White Highlight option. In our RIP we utilized the CMYK + White highlight as though we were printing on a dark colored shirt (such as GOLD). This would normally print a solid white under base (which we do not use) and then the CMYK as normal with the highlight white.

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Please note, you may need to reduce the white highlight percent lower to keep the CMYK (especially black ink) from mixing with the wet white highlight being printed. In our case, we utilized a 50% highlight and 100% white under base (higher values may work – some experimentation will be required). The CMYK was printed at a standard 65% setting. Your printer and ink set and polyester shirts might require some testing on settings, but it is worth it.

Once the shirt is printed, we have to heat set the ink.

STEP 4: Cure the Ink

Here is where it can get sticky. We strictly adhered to Duponts technical sheet of the cure time for their Artistri inks. 120 seconds in the heat press at 338F. I would not recommend higher temps due to the shirt dyes sublimating through the white ink. This seems to give an incredible great balance to wash ability and optical brightness, even on gold 100% polyester fabrics.

Our curing parameters we used a Hotronix Fusion heat press (non-pneumatic) at a pressure of 3-4 on the digital display. Do not use too much pressure and “kill” the inks by pushing them into the shirt.

NOW WHAT?

The shirt is printed, cured, and ready to roll. We’ve found excellent washability with the white ink and CMYK prints utilizing this technique without having to purchase any additional or different ink sets while at the same time utilizing our popular IMAGE ARMOR LIGHT Shirt Formula. This reduces the number of pretreatments needed to achieve great results with all of your current equipment.

Now, since you understand our process, a little experimentation on your end and happy customers will make the hard work on this end all pay off.

UPDATE: 5x WASH TESTING

Below is a picture of wash testing. The picture is a 5x wash in hot/cold and drying hot. Note the closeup inset of the picture. The ink is wrapped around the fibers of the polyester and interweaved – so it is not going anywhere. The drop in initial color vibrancy is maybe 5% like expected even on cotton but there is ABSOLUTELY NO HAND OR FEEL TO THE PRINT AT ALL AT THIS POINT.

Gatekeeper-5-wash-closeup

UPDATE: 10x WASH TESTING

Below is a picture and closeup of the same shirt as above, washed and dried 10 times. There is still no noticeable difference between this and the 5x washing. The closeup reveals a better revelation of the white ink still wrapped around the individual fibers of the polyester shirt. The image is still extremely commercially acceptable after 10x washes.

10x-Washing-Gatekeeper-Full-Shirt-and-Closeup