Learning the Lingo!
There are alot of words specific to direct to garment printing and this is a guide to what they mean.
DTG can be a pretty confusing affair to a newbie. It is easy when you have been printing clothing for as long as we have to forget that the average Joe does not know what all of these words that are coming out of our mouths actually mean, so to make it a little easier to understand we have made this little guide to get you started. You will be a DTG ambassador in no time!
- Pretreatment is a solution that is applied to a shirt to keep the ink on the surface, rather than allow the ink to be absorbed in to the material upon which the ink is placed. While this is normally done onto darker coloured garments that will require underbase so that lighter colours will be visible on them, it can also be done on to lighter coloured garments to give a crisper finish. If you want your colours and definition to really ‘pop’, you are going to want a pretreated shirt.
- The art of pretreating is one that requires a lot of practice. If you have not enough solution on the garment then the fibers on the surface of the item that you are printing on to will stand slightly away from the surface. This is going to give you a slightly uneven finish to your print and in generally a bad thing. Luckily we are experts and are able to treat the shirts using a Viper XPT Pretreatment machine that ensures just the right amount of solution goes on to the shirts to get a perfect finish every time.
- Print head
- The print head is the part of the printer that actually applies the ink to the garment that you are printing on, this is like your print head in your inkjet printer at home, only on steroids!
- The print head has many tiny holes that it fires the ink through to accurately place them on the garment that you are printing on, these nozzles are accurate to the micron and our Aeoon KYO12 has 2558 nozzles per print head and contains 12 print heads, that is 30,696 each capable of firing 40,000 drops of ink a second. That’s a lot of ammunition for your prints!
- Once your t shirt or garment has been pretreated then we will need to press it, this is a large flat heatpress that will apply around 165 degrees centigrade of heat to the surface of the shirt under modest pressure to cure the solution and ensure that it has an even finish prior to printing.
- Once your shirt or garment has been printed then we are going to need to dry the ink so that it will stand up to the stresses of daily life and wash after wash without fading or peeling. To do this we use a heat tunnel, essentially a 5 meter long tunnel with a conveyor belt that your garment will pass through and come out on the other side toasty and ready to go.
- If you are printing a light colour such as yellow on to a dark t shirt such as black then we need to add underbase. Underbase is a layer of white ink that goes down on to your garment before the colour goes down, thus ensuring that your colour stands out against the darker background.
- Highlight is a layer of white ink that we put down as the colour layer on your garment goes down. If you have a print that has lots of colour on a dark garment and you want the white to be really punchy, then we just put a little bit more white on to the very white parts of the print at the end to make it even more eye catching.
- The amount of times that the printer will lay down ink on to your garment, if you have a very intricate print that has lots of white within it, to ensure that the definition is perfect then it is sometimes necessary to put down a little less ink, but add another pass. This essentially puts down the same amount of ink but over a lightly longer period of time. This enables the ink to dry slightly in between each pass so the layers have a more profound affect, though more passes means that you prints will take slightly longer to print.
I hope that this guide has been helpful, if you can think of anything else that you would like an explanation of then please let me know using the contact form below and I will be more than happy to help.