Direct to Garment Ink

Think Ink Solutions DTG ink is designed to be printed directly to textile through a piezo inkjet print head. The ink is formulated to pass through the head like any other inkjet ink, but this where the similarity ends. Think Ink Solutions DTG has very specific set of properties that allows it to stick to textiles. Once cured under a heat press, the ink is fixed permanently, with excellent wash fastness and durability.

Using Think Ink Solutions Direct to Garment ink in your printer

Printing to textile can be problematic due to the fibrous nature of the substrate, which can deposit fibres onto the printer head and other running gear. Regular cleaning of the printer head and wiper blades is essential to ensure consistent. Problem free printing. Think Ink Solutions direct to garment is no different in this respect to other inks for getting the best results.

It is recommended that the printer head is cleaned with a cleaning stick coated in our specially formulated cleaning solutions to remove excess ink and fibres from the head. Also the wiper blade should be removed from its slot and cleaned. Rinse and squeeze in the same cleaning solution to remove the build- up of any ink. If left uncleaned, excess ink, dirt and fibres will dry into the head and wiper blades, potentially giving blocked nozzles and a reduced/poor quality print.

In the course of regular printing once the wiper blade has absorbed a certain amount of waste ink, it will not absorb any more and so excess ink will be smeared across the printer head, also potentially resulting in poorer performance. Additionally, any ink dried onto it will prevent any further ink being absorbed. Lastly, put a few drops of cleaning solutions into the capping station sponge and sit the head on the capping station, the printer can safely be left overnight.

On occasion and depending on how much printing is being done and what the printer settings are being used, it may be necessary to periodically clean during the working day to ensure optimum performance.

Pre-treatment of the fabric

Printing to white fabric requires pre-treatment, however printing to coloured and black fabric will require the use of pre-treatment to allow the use of the white ink. The pre-treatment is designed to provide a suitable coating to take the printed ink. It should be applied with a suitable spray gun, one thorough coat applied to the relevant are of the fabric is enough, (remember to thoroughly clean the spray gun when you have finished using it).

The treated fabric should then be part dried for 5-10 seconds under hear press to remove excess moisture, it will also press the fabric fibres flat to give a good printing surface. Once printed the fabric should be heat pressed for 60 seconds at 160° C (this is dependent on the garment or fabric which can also play a significant part in the end result – Check for any discoloration or reaction that can occur when a dark garment may have residue from the dyeing process or may be poorly finished out) naturally the desired end result is that the inks react correctly with the pre-treatment to product a great quality print.

Please note that the pre-treatment fabric must not touch the printer head as the ink and pre-treatment will react upon the head surface, potentially blocking nozzles. In your daily operation of your printer, observe the correct procedures for the loading of material onto your printer.

Other inks – Important warning!

It is recommended that Think Ink Solutions Direct to Garment ink is not mixed with any other brand of DTG ink. Owing to the potentially different make up, a combination of Think Inks Solutions DTG and another ink may form material that could block head nozzles and dampers. If you are changing ink brands your printer should be thoroughly flushed through with Think Ink Solutions cleaning Solution. Even then it is possible that blockages will occur as no amount of flushing can guarantee complete cleanliness. In these cases it may be necessary to replace print heads, dampers and other printer parts than become blocked.

Instructions on use

In order to get the best results using our ink we suggest that the following recommendations are followed. One of the most important considerations to take into account when gauging print performance is the quality of the garment to be printed due to the versatility of Think Ink Solutions White similar results can be achieved on most qualities of cotton garment, providing the following application guidelines are adhered to.

Standard quality T Shirts

The following procedure will ensure the best achievable results:

  1. Press the garment for 3 to 5 seconds at 160°C to remove any moisture, flatten fibres and remove creases.
  2. Apply a medium coating of pre-treatment in the area to be printed preferably using a spray application method.
  3. Press the garment for 10 seconds at 160°C to slightly cure the pre-treatment and to dry off any excess moisture using a Teflon top sheet. The garment should be covered in a layer of pre-treatment that will result in a white being printed at 1440 dpi. If the white ink looks a little pale or does not form a wet looking pool that dries to a solid white layer, then not enough pre=treatment has been applied to the garment.
  4. Print the required Image
  5. After printing the ink may appear to be very wet. To avoid any potential smudging with the top sheet, it is recommended that you place the garment under a heat press without clamping for 2 to 3 minutes to allow the ink to skin and dry off excess moisture.
  6. Cure the image under a press with a suitable top sheet at 160°C for between 1 minute (60 seconds) and 1 ½ minutes (90 seconds) with light or contact only pressure using a Teflon top sheet. Curing time should depend on how much ink is on the garment and how wet it looks and also it should depend on the type of garment and well it works at the relevant temperature (Note – some garments may burn at 180°C and some with be OK)

 

Higher Quality T Shirts

Higher quality T shirts such as 100% ring spun cotton – it should be noted that the ink tends to sit up better on the surface and will appear to be quite wet with less pre-treatment, in which case use the following procedure:

  1. Press the garment for 3 to 5 seconds at 160°C to remove any moisture, flatten fibres and remove creases.
  2. Apply a medium coating of pre-treatment in the area to be printed preferably using a spray application method.
  3. Press the garment for 10 seconds at 160°C to slightly cure the pre-treatment and to dry off any excess moisture using a Teflon top sheet.
  4. Print the required Image
  5. After printing the ink may appear to be very wet. To avoid any potential smudging with the top sheet, it is recommended that you place the garment under a heat press without clamping for 2 to 3 minutes to allow the ink to skin and dry off excess moisture.
  6. Cure the image under a press with a suitable top sheet at 160°C for between 1 minute (60 seconds) and 1 ½ minutes (90 seconds) with light or contact only pressure using a Teflon top sheet. Curing time should depend on how much ink is on the garment and how wet it looks and also it should depend on the type of garment and well it works at the relevant temperature (Note – some garments may burn at 180°C and some with be OK)

Notes:

  • We recommend a non-silicon paper top sheet where Teflon is not available, although Baking parchment top sheets can be used. Glossy, satin or matt finishes can be achieved from using different types of top sheet.
  • The curing stages described above can take place in a heating tunnel but temperature and time will need to be adjusted accordingly.
  • Owing to the production methods some settlement will occur with this ink. The ink should be agitated gently in its bulk feed bottles or cartridges. Ink in storage bottles should be agitated every 2 or 3 days; this will re-formulate any settlement. When about to use a bottle of ink it would make good sense to agitate it approximately 1 hour before you intend to use it or alternatively, once agitated, the ink should be left to stand for approximately 1 hour. Attempting to print agitated ink will give poor results.
  • For Monday start up (or if the printer has been inactive for 2 or 3 days) there will have been some ink settling in the system that may need to be purged to achieve the desired whiteness on your prints. An ink fill or a powerful clean will normally purge any settled ink (usually it has settled in the dampers if they are present on your printer.)