Frequently Asked Questions

by Natasha Sheppard

in Permaset Blog

3 Jul 2012  | 2 Comments

Hello again. It’s Pete from ‘I Dress Myself’ here. I get quite a few questions from people regarding many aspects of printing, using the Permaset range of inks. I thought I would address some of the more frequently asked ones in this here blog.

What is the best way to dry the inks?

There are two things you need to dry water based inks successfully and they are heat and air. This can be achieved in a whole manner of different ways. I have heard of people using a hair dryer and an iron or fan heater and a spot curer. When I first started using the inks, all I had was a spot curer and it took about two minutes to dry each tee!! I very quickly introduced a stand up office fan into the equation and this dramatically reduced my drying times to about one to one and a half minutes. Still quite a while I hear you say!

Well.. yes. That is why we decided the cost of a drying tunnel (to our own specifications) was definitely worth it. The drying tunnel we now have was planned with the help of Nottingham Universities Environmental Technologies Department, where we were invited to run tests on the drying capabilities of medium wave ultra violet quartz elements on drying water based inks.

The tunnel is just over one metre long and the conveyer belt around two metres. It has six sets of two heating elements that start off at 800 w at the front of the dryer, to raise the temperature of the inks quickly, 600 w in the middle and 400w at the end. It is fitted with three fans at the front of tunnel which constantly blow air through the dryer and an extractor at the end of the tunnel to expel hot air and any steam to come off of the inks. It now only takes between about 40 seconds for supercover ink and one minute for aqua ink to dry and cure. The big energy saving part of this dryer is the fans. It means the temperature of  the heating elements can be turned down and a motor driving a fan uses a lot less energy than a heating element.

Why are my inks bleeding when I print?

Bleeding is when the inks kind of splurge over the edges of the design on the garment you are printing. This can happen for the reasons outlined below.

  1. Your squeegee is too soft! When printing on softer garments e.g. thick tees and sweaters, try using a harder squeegee and make sure the pressure you apply is firm and even.
  2. You are holding the squeegee at too horizontal an angle! I find holding the squeegee at about a 25-30 degree vertical angle with the blade angle sheer to the surface of the screen works well for me.
  3. You are pushing too much ink through the screen when you are flooding it! Try to flood the screen in one fluid movement, without pressing too hard on the screen.

My inks are drying into the screens HELP!

This is probably the biggest problem for people who start using or change over to water based inks. When I first started I used a mist spay of water every few prints to maintain the moisture in the inks. Lots of people swear by this method. I found it quite useful but I don’t use it any more. The most important thing I find is to flood the screen with a really thick layer of ink and to keep the ink moving. If a screen seems like it’s been sitting around doing nothing for a while, pull a print from it onto a scrap tee or piece of fabric.

If the ink does start to dry in the screen a little don’t panic! Just pull a print on a test piece, so that as much ink is clear from the mesh as possible, take a wet rag and clean either side of the design and then dry it off with another rag. There we go. Easy!

Mesh count is often a factor too. The higher the mesh count, the quicker the ink will dry.

I tend to use a 43t yellow mesh for most garment printing. If you get yourself a good emulsion, which is combatable with water based inks and maintains its integrity, you can still get some good detailed results even with a coarser mesh.

My inks are deteriorating the emulsion and coming through onto the garment!

As most emulsions are water based, this is fairly common. The answer is very simple.

You will need to use emulsion that is specifically designed for water-based inks. I personally use Kiwo SR-X as it retains its integrity very well for the more detailed work. ( If you are based in the UK, I get mine from a company called Screen Machine Supply. They are based in Milton Keynes and are awfully nice.)

When developing this emulsion, I tend to expose the screen enough to wash out the design and then re expose it to harden up the emulsion (this is cheaper than using screen hardening liquid).

Well. I hope this has been helpful and you didn’t fall asleep. But I suppose if you are reading this then you haven’t yet! And yes I am aware that two of the questions are actually statements.



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