High Density Ink and Screen Printing

blogran-silverHigh Density Inks are Specialty Plastisol Inks and they are used on many different types of screen printing jobs.  These inks produce dramatic 3-dimensional, heavy-deposit prints.  High Density Inks have a reduced tack and increased flow characteristics, these high-viscosity plastisol inks will print through thick stencils.  Their unique flash time will speed up production and dwell time in the dryer.

Extremely sharp edges can be produced for maximum effect.  This type of screen printing ink can be printed on 100% cotton, or cotton- poly blends.  Test prints are always recommended.  Available as 142 HD Base, 143 HD White and 144 HD Black.

Below we will explain how to print this specialty ink and the steps you will want to take.

Materials

  1. International Coatings High-Density White, Black or you can add the color concentrates to the 142 HD Base to make any pantone color you want.
  2. Chromaline Thick High Density Film — The microns will depend upon the look you want.  Different microns will determine a flatter 3D look or a higher 3D print.
  3. 40-83 Mesh Screen a new screen would be preferred since you want the screen tension to be high, to yield a clean screen print.
  4. Test print pellon
  5.  A roll of R-tape 2000 Black Out Tape
  6. Squeegee 70 durometer
  7. Mclogan Waterproof Film

Screen Printing the High Density Ink

1.  Use the R-Tape 2000 to tape the Mclogan Waterproof Film to the registration board just as you would for any other screen setup. Lay the blank, clean, degreased silk screen over the film and mark the crosshairs. Doing this first ensures you will adhere the Chormaline Thick High Density Film in the correct position on the screen so that when you are ready to expose, there will be no question of where to tape the film.

2.  Remove a sheet of Thick High Density Film.  This film should be opened in a dark room, so you don’t expose it.   Be sure to handle it in a dark room so it’s not exposed to light, which can ruin it.

3.  Lay your test pellon down.  Pre-cut your Chromaline Thick High Density Film and then remove the protective cover sheet.  Apply tape to the duller side of the film and that will easily remove the protective cover sheet.

4.  Block out the rest of your screen with the R-Tape 2000.  Pour a thin layer of emulsion.  Using your 70 durometer squeegee coat the screen up to 3 times.

5.  Peel off the tape and place the screen on a rack, squeegee side down, to dry in a Ranar Screen Drying Cabinet.  You will know when the screen is dry when the carrier comes off easily.  If there’s noise or an extra sort of toughness when pulling off the carrier then additional drying time would be best.  1.5-2 hrs should be sufficient drying time.

6.  Place the emulsion side of the photopositive in contact with the print side of the screen.  For screen exposure times please check manufactures specifications.  The higher the microns the longer you will have to expose your screen.

7.  Wet both sides of the screen.  Pressure wash your printed side of screen until the image is fully open.  This can take up to 6-8 minutes when using thicker films.  Most wash times are 2-4 minutes though.

8.  After taping your screen make sure to adjust your off-contact on your screen printing press.  Usually when printing high density prints you can actually double your off-contact so that you don’t smash the ink.  The thicker ink will need more room than a standard screen printing ink.

9.  Make sure your flood your high density ink, just like you would a standard ink screen print.  You want to provide enough ink to fill your stencil.

Using different types of inks, along with different techniques will add to your screen printing “bag of tricks”.  As always please email or call one of our 4 locations to speak with a Mclogan representative with any questions.

Choosing the Right Screen Printing Mesh for Plastisol Ink

Plastisol inks and screen printing mesh from McLoganThe right mesh count will make a huge difference in all of your silk-screen jobs.  Here’s a list of the different mesh counts and the plastisol ink(s) that would work per screen printing job:

Mesh Count: 25, 40 – Usage: Glitter Inks.  Screen printers usually use 159 Ultraclear Glitter Base mixed with our Glitter Polyester Jewels to create a sparkly finish.  Or you can purchase a premixed glitter ink from International Coatings or Triangle Ink.

Mesh Count: 60, 86 – Usage: Specialty inks, such as 220 LF Additive (puff), Gold/Silver Shimmer Inks 92 LF

Mesh Count: 110, 155 – Usage:  This mesh will allow you to place more ink onto your textile.  Some examples would be athletic numbers, printing white on black fabric, low-detail art or heavy white ink images.  International Coatings 7100 Series Inks

Mesh Count: 160, 180, 200 – Usage:  These mesh counts are great for screen printers printing on black garments.  You want to first print an under-base white like the 7031 LF Ultra White to create a design that stands out on a black garment.   This mesh count also works for designs that are only minimally detailed.

Mesh Count: 230, 280, 305 – Usage:  Any type of plastisol ink can be used on these mesh counts.  Typically these mesh counts are used for low ink deposit for small logos, intricate designs, etc.

Screen Printing MeshThe most common mesh count for the average screen printer is a 110 for darker fabrics and a 160 for all other printing.  Before buying your screens check the tech sheets to determine the right mesh count for the series of plastisol ink you are using.

As always contact a Mclogan representative at one of our four locations to help answer your questions.

How To Avoid Unwanted Marks While Screen Printing

Screen printingThere are many important steps that screen printers must go through while screen printing to ensure a perfect product.  Unfortunately, all screen printers occasionally get unwanted marks or ghost images on their textiles.

Here’s some mandatory steps that you might be forgetting that will mess up any job.

  • Screens must be replaced.  When Franmar D-Haze Remover  Gel is used it is so strong that it will actually weaken the mesh.  When your mesh is distorted, or in some way damaged then it is time to replace your screen and this will depend on how much you are printing.  Aluminum screens are also recommended over wooden screens since the aluminum screens will not warp.
  • Periodically replace your squeegees.  Your squeegee is one of the most important tools to successfully screen print.  Any deformities in the squeegee blade can relate back to an unwanted mark or uneven print.  Anyways have extra squeegees on hand in your shop in case something happens to the one you are using while printing.
  • Mesh tightness and consistency with screen printing.  When you push or pull your squeegee you want the mesh to slightly come into contact with your garment.  As you move the squeegee the tight mesh should spring back to it’s original tightness.  When setting up your screen you want the screen to be about an 1/8th of an inch away from the textile, and this is what screen printers call off contact printing.  If your mesh is too loose then you will have problems with the ink pooling and creating a ring/halo around your design.
  • Clean your  silk-screen.  At the end of your  silk-screening job your what to take your Mclogan Emulsion Remover Concentrate to remove the image.  Then take your Franmar D-Haze Remover to remove the ghost image.  Make sure before you begin your next screen printing job that you use the Mclogan Degreaser, or the Ulano #3 Screen Degreaser to ensure that your screen is ready for your emulsion.  Having a screen that is not properly cleaned or prepared will make it harder for your emulsion set the mesh.

If you’ve experienced any of the problems shown below while screen printing then hopefully this will help with your next job.  Make sure to stop by our website to purchase your Mclogan Emulsion Remover Concentrate and McLogan Degreaser.

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Ulano Emulsions – MFG Spotlight

  Ulano EmulsionsThe process of silkscreen/screen printing uses a light sensitive coating to record an image. This chemical coating is called the emulsion.  The screen is completely coated with emulsion and then exposed to the light under a positive of the desired image (similar to photography).  Afterward, the emulsion washes away from the unexposed areas with water, so the ink will go through and the design becomes a print.  Within the silkscreen/screen printing process there are also different kinds of emulsion to use, depending on the kind of ink and equipment you are using.

1. Ulano 925 WR:  Ulano EmulsionsA lot of beginner start screen printing with water-based inks for their textiles so Ulano 925 WR is a perfect emulsion to start with.    Ulano 925 WR comes with a syrup diazo sensitizer for easy, fast mixing.  Beginners usually use the sun to expose their screens; Ulano 925 is the best for this since it has a longer time allowed in the sun (time depends on the UV index) during the exposing process.

~Diazo:  This type of emulsion is thick and durable. It is easy to see when the emulsion on the screen is exposed because the color changes.  A quart will cover between 20 to 25 screens, if they are the standard 18- by 24-inch size.  It can be messy however, and needs to be mixed with a sensitizer or activator before it becomes light sensitive.  This emulsion will keep for six to eight months before being mixed with activator, but after you mix it the shelf life is only three months maximum.

2.Ulano Emulsions  Ulano QTX is an emulsion that is ready-to-use since it does not require mixing like the Ulano 925 WR.  It is ultra-fast exposing SBQ photopolymer direct emulsion formulated for textile printing.  This high solid content allows for superior coating properties, better bridging of coarse mesh, and it dries fast.  QTX is used for plastisol inks, and short run water-base printing.  QTX will break down over time if you continually use water-based inks.  Do not use strong solvents during the printing or wash-up period.  QTX is presensitized, and must be handled in safe light conditions before exposure…no UV light.

~Photopolymer:  This is a professional quality emulsion that has much quicker and more stable exposure times.   Photopolymer can take the image in seconds and dries fast after being coated.  You can apply several coats quickly, creating a thick layer of emulsion that will work well if you are printing on a rougher textile, like sports clothes or denim. Pure photopolymer is often sold “pre-sensitized” so it does not need to be mixed.

3.Ulano Emulsions  Ulano QT-DISCHARGE is specially formulated to resist discharge inks and is compatible with water-based and plastisol inks too. You may wonder why people bother with buying the other two emulsions when this one can do it all, and the answer is that people find emulsions that work best for them…it’s just a preference.  Ulano QT-DISCHARGE  requires fewer coats than Ulano 925 WR, dries more quickly and exposes twice as fast.  QT-DISCHARGE has a high (41%) solids content, providing good stencil build per coat, excellent mesh bridging of coarse mesh, and fast drying. It utilizes a powder diazo (rather than 925WR’s syrup).

~Dual Cure:  This emulsion combines qualities of diazo and photopolymer together.  It has a fast exposure time and changes color when it’s finished exposing. Dual cure also gives the screen a heavy coating and holds the image well.  Dual Cure does need to be mixed with an activator chemical and has the same shelf life as the diazo. Inexperienced printers can also use it successfully, but the fast exposure time makes it a little more challenging for beginners.

If you have problems with the emulsions you use, here are a few pointers to help you:

  • Using lower-wattage light bulbs to expose screens can result in images that aren’t crisp or in the emulsion washing out where it’s not supposed to. Instead of spending a lot of time touching up the screen with screen filler, try using dual cure emulsion.
  • Although the Diazo is the most forgiving of the various types of emulsions, it is also the slowest to expose. Dual cure hardens (cures) faster and can especially make a difference for those using a weak source of light for exposure.
  • Use a reliable, industry-supplied light source…like a Ranar CBX Exposure Unit or a Ranar 24×26 Exposure Unit.
  • Certain emulsions must be mixed with a distilled/bottled water.  Using tap water which has certain bacterias can ruin your emulsion.
  • For emulsions that you mix allow them to sit for 15 mins before using.
  • Use a scoop-coater to apply the emulsion evenly on your mesh.

McLogan has a complete line of great Ulano Emulsions and chemicals for all your screen printing projects. Order online or come into one of our four locations.

How To Properly Cure Your Garment When Using Plastisol Ink

A problem that most silkscreen/screen printers have and a question we get asked a lot is  “Why is my plastisol ink coming off during the wash?”

The cause of this problem is most likely due to the fact that the ink is not cured properly.  Plastisol ink needs to cure at a minimum temperature of 320º F for at least one minute. This allows the molecules to properly fuse to each other as well as to the fabric.

There are many variables that can cause problems with ink curing.   Air temperature and humidity are major issues, so be sure to dry your ink in a safe controlled environment. Make sure that the ink reaches 320º F in order to cure, not just the garment that you are printing on.  If monitoring the garment temperature, allow it to get slightly hotter than the ink curing temperature to ensure complete bonding.  In colder weather you may need to increasing the dryer temperature, or allowing the ink to pass through a bit longer than one minute.

“Why does the plastisol ink print crack on the garment after the first wash?”

The plastisol was not cured properly if the ink is cracking. It could have been the temperature on the dryer being too high, or the time allowed to dry was too long.

How To Properly Cure Your Garment - Plastisol Inks“What type of affordable dryer is best to cure plastisol?”

 

The best dryer to properly cure garments is a conveyer dryer like the BBC Little Buddy Dryer or the Ranar Scamp Dryer.  Ranar manufactures the DX200 Scamp T-Shirt Dryerwhich is a  conveyor dryer and one of the best options on the market in terms of price and versatility.  It’s available in 120 or 220 volt, it has many features that other manufacturers don’t offer:  adjustable heater height, temperature, belt speed, and a removable oven hood for curing caps.  Whether you’re silk screening t-shirts, sweats, hoodies, jackets or hats. This conveyor dryer is 24″ wide 60″ long with a 18″ inch wide belt. With production rates of 50 to 65 pieces per hour screen printed with plastisol ink.  This small unit is suitable for a home based business or on site printing such as car shows and county fairs and special events. Portable enough to run with a small generator.

Flash Dryers like the BBC Industries Afford-A-Flash is a more affordable option where the dryer just hovers over the garment until you move it.

A heat gun like the Master Heat Gun is also another options.  This option is also affordable, but probably the worst of the 3 types of dryers for plastisol.  Your plastisol needs to be cured evenly and with a heat gun there’s no way to know if you are over-curing certain areas, or under-curing as you move the heat gun over the garment.

“What is the best way to determine the temperature of my plastisol ink as I cure it?”

 

There are two options to tell the temperature of your ink.  One, is to use a heat gun (Mini IR Thermometer) that has a laser pointer for easy targeting and the other is Thermolabels.  Thermolabels are formulated to react within a few seconds when the rated temperature is reached. As each section of a label reaches its rated temperature, that section responds with a sharply defined color change from white to black leaving the printed temperature clearly visible.

~ When dealing with plastisol the conditions, temperature, time and garment all make a difference.  Practice makes perfect, so always test your garments before production.

~Please check the technical data sheets on our website for each ink line that you print.

How to Use Screen Printing Foil and Discharge

51830567Screen Printing Foil can be seen on a lot of t-shirts today and combining foil with discharge gives you a soft, eye catching look.  Foil will stick to all plastisols, so if you want to combine the foil with discharge or water-based inks then you must add plastisol foil adhesive for desired foil areas.

Foil is an exciting product that adheres to various types of fabrics by using a heat press. Foil transfers can be a valuable asset for any screen printer wanting to create an eye-catching graphic effect. It also makes an interesting alternative for applications that have reflective inks. Foil is a great way to accent any garment. It is simply done by applying foil over plastisol transfers or screen printable adhesives and then using a heat press.

First, print your water-based/discharged design.  Once the design is fully cured, then you can print your plastisol foil adhesive on the areas where you would like the foil to stick.

FOIL APPLICATION

  • Foil is applied colored side up and aluminum looking (dull) side down. Heat Press at 300°F to 325°F. Allow transfer to cool completely (20 to 30 seconds) after application before removal of foil sheet. Pull foil sheet off slowly.
  • It can be helpful to tint the International Coatings 3801LF Foil Adhesive, to the color of the foil being applied, with a small amount of conventional concentrated plastisol (7400 Series). This process will help to keep small pinholes in the applied foil film from being noticeable. As example: Use a few grams of yellow or gold plastisol in the 3801LF Adhesive when using gold foil. Use a few grams of black or gray plastisol in the 3801LF Adhesive when using silver foil.

APPLICATION TEMPERATURE

  • 300°F to 325°F (149°C to 163°C). Try lower temperature first for best results.

APPLICATION TIME

  • 10-15 Seconds, this time depends on the color of the foil.  Certain colors require a longer time.

APPLICATION PRESSURE WITH A HEAT PRESS

  • T-Shirts = Medium (40lbs.) Sweatshirts = Medium to Heavy (40lbs. to 60lbs)
  • The brightest foil effect will result when the foil is first removed. To achieve a textured matte finish foil, re-seal the garment or hat in the heat transfer press for 3-4 seconds after the foil carrier film has been removed.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

  • For best durability of the foil after it is applied, it is recommended that the garment be hand washed or machine washed (delicate cycle) inside out and line or air dried. Do not use bleach. Do not iron printed area.

 To watch a video on this please click the link: http://youtu.be/pr0amAzH3ss

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Screen Printing – Essential Tools

Screen Shot 2013-07-28 at 7.26.47 PMScreen printing is a process where designs are reproduced by means of a stencil.  Pressure to print ink through a screen onto a substrate is the main function.  The process may seem straightforward, but like any art form it does take time to learn how to use the essential tools in a way that is comfortable and functional, with the best yield.

Here are the essential tools you need for screen printing:

  • Screen; aluminum or wood frames.  Aluminum frames don’t warp like wood, so we usually recommend those.  However, our wood frames are finished lacquer to help prevent warping.  Try to avoid pine wood frames that are not finished with a lacquer since these warp and are very hard to clean.
  • Scoop Coater; this your MOST important tool and we sale these all day long.  You want an aluminum scoop coater, so that you can apply emulsion evenly and percise without drips.
  • Squeegee; this is the tool you will use to push the ink through the stencil.  Our top selling squeegee is the medium 70 durometer for t-shirts.  Different screen sizes require different squeegee sizes.  The squeegee must be able to cover the width of the design by 1″ on both sides.
  • Printables; there are so many materials that you can screen print on:  paper, textiles, ceramics, wood, glass, metal and plastic.   Think clothing, wallpaper, labels, metal and plastic signs and electronics.
  • Emulsions; photo sensitive emulsions are used to create a stencil.
  • Inks; two different inks for t-shirts are an air dried waterbase, and an oven cured plastisol.  The colors to choose from are endless.
  • Film Positives; using an ink jet printer or laser printer you would print onto a transparent film.
  • Mclogan Chemicals; these are the basic 6 chemicals needed for the pre and post press process.
  • Screen Printing Press for multiple color screen prints, but for single color prints you can use jiffy hinges.

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International Coatings NEW 7014 Legacy White

277Mclogan Supply is happy to announce the new International Coatings 7014 Legacy White.  This plastisol is opaque, easy to print with, covers easily, is smooth to the touch and finishes matte.  We are loving the fact that it’s low bleed, and fast-flashing.

A lot of white plastisols that you may print with are not always easy to use.  Sometimes they are too thick, hard to print with, they are stiff, but NOT the 7014 Legacy White.  All screen printers need a white plastisol that is creamy, and easy to use; so here’s your new go to product!

It’s non-phthalate, fast flashing, bright, and can be used as an underbase or to highlight.  7014 is easy to print through mesh counts up to 230.  It can be printed on materials that are 100% cotton, and 50/50 blends.

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How To Heat Press Vinyl

Heat pressing vinyl onto apparel is a fun and a somewhat easy task once you know how to properly use your heat press and the vinyl.  All  heat press machines and vinyl’s are different, so it is best to test out a strip of your vinyl on one of your garments, before beginning your job or project.  The biggest mistake for most is that they either do not apply enough heat time to the transfer or they apply to much.

Here’s a few simple steps:

*Things you will need: vinyl, transfer paper, garment, heat press, X-acto knife

  1. Lay your vinyl transfer image side up on a flat surface. Careful remove the clear backing with an X-acto knife; you should peel off all the remaining vinyl, so all that you have left is your design.
  2. Set your heat press to the right temperature…again this depends on your vinyl and garment.
  3. Lay out your shirt on the heat press, so that the space you are planning on placing your vinyl is side up and ensure that your garment is smooth/wrinkle free.  Before the graphic gets placed on the shirt preheat the shirt for a few seconds to remove any water that the garment may have absorbed.
  4. Place the vinyl transfer, backing side up on top of the garment.  Lower the heat press and leave it there the amount of seconds dependent on your vinyl.
  5. Lift the heat press and depending on the vinyl you may want to remove the backing right away or wait for the garment to cool down first then remove.  Take a towel or a shirt and rub the transfer lightly, this will ensure that the transfer remains in contact with the shirt and will assist in transfering the heat from the graphic.

Contact us or leave us a comment with any questions here at McLogan.

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Screen Printing Basics101: Blog 2 How to Screen Print

Screen Printing Basics - silk screen tee

This is the second in a three part series.  Screen Printing Basics

To do screen printing (also called silk screening) a template of the image you want to print is done on screen fabric and stretched out on a frame. Screen printing ink is placed on the screen and forced onto the fabric stencil with the use of a squeegee.

Frames – come in different sizes and mesh counts so be sure and select the frame that best suits your design or even build your own. In addition, squeegees come in different sizes, too. When choosing a mesh count for your screen the ink you are using and how intricate your design is will help you choose your mesh count. (The more detail in your design the higher mesh count needed).

Inks – there are a great number of ink types for the process (see Gadgets, Gizmos and Inks), depending on the kind of material you are printing on, say, wood, metal, paper or cotton, all of which are readily available at your local McLogan Supply store.

Creating a Photo Emulsion Stencil/ Burning Screens:

Most, if not all, of the commercialized silk screen templates (or stencil, if you will) are created using the photo emulsion technique. The trick makes use of light and sensitive emulsion component that is spread evenly throughout the screen fabric. Once the component dries out, a film positive, bearing the wanted design or graphic is placed facing down, on the screen. You ten expose it to light, which burns the image to the screen. Now your screen is developed and you pressure wash, blow out the emulsion where the image was burned.

There are many types of emulsions available to use for burning your screens. Make sure you know what inks you are going to be using because that will help you pick the right emulsion to use on your screens. (Example if you are using water based ink and do not have the right emulsion it will wash away the emulsion on your screen.)

Techniques for screen printing basics are not limited to the items above. There are other techniques to look forward to trying.

Just two things to remember: one, have fun and two, you can find all your screen printing supplies at any of our McLogan stores (online or our four locations)!

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