When it comes to screen printing on different types of substrates it can be a little tricky and difficult. In this video we will tackle printing on spandex leggings with Wifllex Epic plastisol inks on the roq automatic press.
For this print we are going to be using the ROQ automatic press with our new dual leg/sleeve platen. For ink we will be using Wilflex’s Epic Performance Under Blocker Gray and Topscore White.
Starting with screens, we want to use a lower mesh because the spandex material will need more ink for both opacity and flexibility. I am using a standard Saati Hitech 110 mesh but you can also use high mesh counts in the 160 range and thin thread meshes.
Since I am using a medium mesh and want a goal of a slightly thicker stencile and higher EOM in the 20+ range. To accomplish this we will use our Baselayr Complete emulsion which has a slightly thicker solids content, the round side of the scoop coater, and do a 2/2 coat, out.in.out.in
When printing on pants it is helpful to get a artwork template that matches your art to your platen, for this video we are using the new ROQ dual leg/sleeve platen, this template in AI is a PDF download from the actual platen design so I can see how this will layout on my computer and print the correct size of film in the correct placement on the platen. For the design we are going to be using a blocker gray underbase and over print white so we will be choking the under base .75 pixels.
When exposing, be sure to expose a little longer to account for the thicker emulsion on your screen.
For ink printing on these types of stretch pants we first want to look at the fabric content. Most of the time these will be made from a combination of polyester and spandex, these particular pants are 87 and 88% poly and the remainder is spandex, the colorful pattern is sublimated while the black solid pattern is dyd.
The first thing we will address is the underbase. We will need to underbase both of these with a blocker gray that has carbon in it which prevents dye migration, however since these are stretchy we ar e going to combine the Wilflex Epic Performance UB Blocker Gray with a stretch additive. We recommend either the Wilflex Epic Stretch or the IC Stretch Additive. For this we are going to go 90% barrier blocker gray and 10% of your favorite stretch additive. For our overprint we will be using topscore white out of the bucket.
Once our screens are setup and aligned to our sleeve pallet we want to put on the pant legs and check for off contact settings. WE are using higher tension screens here but we do want to ensure we have slightly higher off contact to accommodate the thicker more absorbent fabric.
Since we are printing this on an auto we will go over automatic settings and then if you are doing this on a manual press you can replicate manually the same settings.
For squeegee blade we are using as triple duro squeegee 70/90/70 to give us a stronger blade and for angel we are going to use 15 degrees, a medium angle.
We are going to back off the pressure so the screen barely clears, we do not want to drive the ink into the fabric, it should sit on top of the fabric. I am using a similar size and style of garment to test this. Once we have a good release we can go to test print.
First we lay down our under base with a double pass.
Then we flash. Remember this is performance fabric and ink so we keep our flags temp a little lower 220-230 degree range
Next we do a second under base layer, just one pass. WE are doing two under bases to block all that dye migration. We should have a smooth under base now.
Now we flash again an d go to over print. For production we would have multiple under base screens or set up the press in multi print mode. It’s also a good idea to leave cool space between screens if possible.
Finally we do our over print. 1-2 passes depending on your results.
Here is the finished result
It looks great.
Curing this ink is also very important, Wilflex Epic Performance series of ink cures at 290 degrees through the entire ink film, curing at a hotter temp will increase the likelihood of sublimation through the ink surface, for this reason it a convenction oven works best for curing at specifically 290 – 300 degree oven temp,
if you are using an IR oven you will to lower the panel temp and your ink surface. The ink surface should reach in the 300-310 range for the under base to be fully cured, after cured the ink should not be sticky and should stretch properly. You want to be careful not to overcure this ink because then sublimation will happen.
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