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Best Practices for DTF printing.


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Hi,

I need your help.

I have been busy over the last few days getting my Epson P600 and Epson 4880 converted to print with DTF inks.

The questions I have are:

1. once the print comes out of the printer, does it need to have the powder applied right away, and cured?  (or could I leave the printer printing the sheets overnight and come put the power on the next day or after a weekend)

2. can the sheets on a multi print, say 50 sheets, be stacked on the printer output tray? or will the ink still be wet and cause the next sheet to stick to each other and cause the prints to be damaged?

3. what's the best option for melting the powder? (I have read, oven, heat gun, heat press... what works best for you.) just starting out, so looking to keep the cost down? 

4. storage - how long can the prints be stored? (humidity will this affect the film before print and after?

 

Is there anything that I have missed that I should know, or any big problems that may come up?

I have been printing with DTG for about 7 years and have a good understanding of the processes involved with dtg, BUT DTF is band new to me.

 

Thanks in advance.

 

 

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40 minutes ago, St0neD said:

Hi,

I need your help.

I have been busy over the last few days getting my Epson P600 and Epson 4880 converted to print with DTF inks.

The questions I have are:

1. once the print comes out of the printer, does it need to have the powder applied right away, and cured?  (or could I leave the printer printing the sheets overnight and come put the power on the next day or after a weekend)

powder needs applied when it’s still wet, so no this wouldn’t work. 

2. can the sheets on a multi print, say 50 sheets, be stacked on the printer output tray? or will the ink still be wet and cause the next sheet to stick to each other and cause the prints to be damaged?

they would 100 percent damage doing this, so no you can’t. 
 

 

40 minutes ago, St0neD said:

3. what's the best option for melting the powder? (I have read, oven, heat gun, heat press... what works best for you.) just starting out, so looking to keep the cost down? 
 

the best option is to stay alive and healthy. Using an inline fan and good to suck fumes is important. A heat press can work, very poorly and very time consuming- making each print easily take over 10 minutes.

Cooking ovens would then never be able to be used for food, the oil, fumes and powder coming off the transfers are a carcinogen. 

mini ovens work, but limited in size and you still need to vent it. 
 

if you disregard your health and time, any of the options above would work. 

40 minutes ago, St0neD said:

4. storage - how long can the prints be stored? (humidity will this affect the film before print and after?

it doesn’t affect mine, I’d say it can be stored indefinitely. Just make sure your shirts are moisture free before pressing. 

 

Is there anything that I have missed that I should know, or any big problems that may come up?

it’s all a learning experience and each problem is a learning experience. Keep everything clean and follow a good cleaning schedule and shake your inks daily. Don’t ever manually flush your head or remove it for “ Willy nilly” reasons. 

I have been printing with DTG for about 7 years and have a good understanding of the processes involved with dtg, BUT DTF is band new to me.

I have about 5 years of DTG, and a year of DTF.

 

Thanks in advance.

 

No problem.

Answer in your questions. 

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thx for the reply johnson4.

So would you say it worth investing in to a proper shaker with a built in vent option, so that it can be vented outside? 

Do you still get vapers from the application on to the fabric when pressing at 170 - 200 f, would a over head vent be required for indoor use?

 

Thx

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49 minutes ago, St0neD said:

thx for the reply johnson4.

So would you say it worth investing in to a proper shaker with a built in vent option, so that it can be vented outside? 

Do you still get vapers from the application on to the fabric when pressing at 170 - 200 f, would a over head vent be required for indoor use?

 

Thx

No worries. For me, I do not notice any vapors when heat pressing the cured film. The main cause is the ink drying, and the adhesive melting. When heat pressing, all of that is already “ done” and I do not experience any smell, smoke etc coming from the heat press. While you could take extra precautions, just venting the main unit should be fine. 
 

you can use those things to cure, but just vent it properly is making it what I’m saying. Something to keep only fresh air where you are breathing.  You could modify a countertop oven with a fan if you wanted. The heat press idea does work if you did it in a well ventilated area, but under curing is a huge problem and as well most heat presses don’t have even heating/air flow. 
 

For example, in my DIY cart, it’s a hole with a 4” dryer tube attached with an inline fan. I have an upside down 15x15 heat press, the film physically runs across the heat press platen(not hovering)  at about 220 degrees. 
the cart lid acts as a hood and no fumes get out, and the physical contact with the backside of the film cures the ink from the bottom upwards. 

I also run the (dtfsuperstore) store bought mini shaker, same thing. Both run to a Splitter and run outside through a 4” dryer vent. since I have both vents ran out one hole, they both must run to prevent back flow if I’m only using one, but I chose to do that instead of having two dryer vents. 
 

Like this, I haven’t had an issue. If I forget to turn the fan on, within 10 minutes of curing my garage is filled with a horrible smell and it’s hard to breathe. 20-30 minutes and I get lightheaded without any ventilation at all. 
 

if you accidentally overheat the film or other things, then your dealing with burning plastic fumes. 
 

I also want to point out, I ran the mini shaker for about 6-10 liters of ink, and within my exhaust hose I found over a liter of “oily” substance, so watch out for that. I made an intention “U” bend or trap in my pipe to catch and drain this. 
 

overall, if your only doing 1-2, who cares. If your planning to use it as a business or often, even daily, you need some sort of exhaust system for sure. It’s not like water based screen-printing ink or Plastisol. 
 

an actual mini shaker can be imported from China for about $900 plus taxes and customs if they catch it. Otherwise, one i the states is about $1700 plus shipping. 
 

if you simply want to buy a cure oven like the mini shaker( but just for sheets) with a vent port, they run about $500 with DHL shipping from China and shouldn’t incure any import taxes. 


just being honest, if you plan on doing sheets, rolls is easier and less of a PITA to load, and you only load it once, just cut the film when you are done and leave it in the printer for next time. 

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