Newer DTG print shops will often rely on a heat press for curing pretreatment and ink. These tools are staples in the DTG process, especially for beginners. However, there might be a more efficient way to use your heat press - and it only takes a small change in your settings.
We ran a comparison exercise with the Gildan 5000. For the first exercise, we cured the pretreatment at 40 PSI, 330°F for 55 seconds. For the second exercise, we cured the pretreatment at 20 PSI, 330°F for 55 seconds. The 20-pound difference produced a signification variation in results. Both shirts ran through a conveyor for ink curing.
The following are the photos from our first exercise at 40 PSI. Notice the blotchy, uneven white.
The next images are examples with 20 PSI pressure which resulted in a higher opacity and more even coverage:
The decrease in pressure (-20 PSI) allowed the pretreatment to cure on top of the shirt, instead of soaking into the fibers. This provided a base for the ink to react with an improved opacity and vibrancy. In both exercises, the pretreatment was completely cured with almost identical settings, but the evenness of ink coverage improved substantially.
How to Print a T-Shirt with a Heat Press and DTG Printer:
1. Utilize our T-Shirt Matrix for spray level recommendations. Depending on your graphic, a black Gildan 5000 will require about 30 grams of pretreatment.
2. If your print set-up uses a heat press, try our low-pressure recommendation. Cure your pretreat with just 20 PSI, 330°F for around 55 seconds (or until the shirt is dry to the touch). Not sure how hot your heat press is? Use this tool to guarantee your settings.
3. Print your graphic and cure the printed shirt based on your ink manufacturer's specifications. If you're using FIREBIRD DTG Ink Compatible with Brother GTX Pro Bulk, cure just like you would for Brother OEM inks.
4. Show us your print results! Follow the @FIREBIRDInk Instagram and Facebook accounts, and tag us in your pics.