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Getting better white

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Howard Duckston
Howard Duckston's picture
Getting better white

Okay - I'll be the brave one and ask the first question. I want to get better whites on dark shirts without laying down a thick layer of ink. I don't want to slow printing down by spot curing and reprinting on every shirt. Who's got a one-stroke solution?

Dec Ap Admin
Dec Ap Admin's picture
Try this...

Howard. Hi, I'm the admin, so it would be wrong for me to recommend a brand of ink. However, I've printed for more than 30 years and technique goes a long way toward getting a better white. I prefer a 110 mesh screen for whites, but I'll concede that you get a pretty thick layer with a 110. Second choice would be a 126 mesh, and if thin coat is imperative, I've seen good results with 156 mesh.

The most important trick is VERY high tension and good off-contact. You want to deposit a layer of ink that just touches the shirt with enough force for the ink to cling to it. If you see ink on your platen or if you can see the design from the inside of a finished shirt, you're driving the ink into the fabric and losing opacity. Watch how you modify your inks too. Good printers seldom use ink straight from the can. You want to use a minimum amount of a balanced reducer (if needed) that will give you an ink that flows through your screen without driving it in. Finally - watch your dryer temp. The hotter you get your ink past it's cure temp, the more it will be subject to dye migration. It takes experimentation to find the perfect consistency, tension and temperature - but once you find it - the miracle of great whites becomes yours.

We now have over 300 members looking at the site - I bet somebody else could add something...

Inky30's picture

Although I have not been printing for 30 years I have worked for large companies in a Research and Development role and what I have researched is that most printing issues can be fixed in pre press. What type of mesh, tension, EOM, how art is being exposed, the best white ink, squeegees, print speed, flood speed, type of textile... it all plays a perfect dance to creating a good white. However, in a production setting to achieve a "one-hit white" it take a great effort to control all the variables before ink ever hits the screen. Standardize your processes and better whites are just around the corner.

Scott M Ritter
Scott M Ritter's picture

Inky30 - Beautifully put. Inks will always improve and somebody will have another solution tomorrow. But a solid, repeatable formula where you can understand - and then control - the variables in a way that you can address them one at a time is how a perfect solution is built.