HIX Graphics Blog

All-Over-Print-Design Using Hix Graphics LF 4464

May 29, 2018 9:23:12 PM / by Henri Coeme

The HIX LF-4464, the first in a series of large-format sublimation presses specifically designed for dual markets (non-textile and textile sublimation products), uses edge-to-edge heating element technology. By utilizing nearly the entire work surface, it handles a wide variety of materials, while increasing throughput. Its versatility allows printing on any sublimation-ready aluminum photographic sheets, MDF and glass plates, flat plastic substrates and synthetic textiles.

hix-graphics-lf-4464-all-over-print-design-operations

Useful Tips and Possible Pitfalls of the Process

When printing an all-over design, whether on a short- or long-sleeve shirt, there are a few common mistakes that can be avoided easily.

    • Keep the Moisture Away

Moisture build-up, from the shirt and the paper, can wreck any design. Even though textile is more forgiving than non-textile substrates, such as wood or metal, as much as possible, you should keep moisture from interfering with the transfer process.

    • Protect the Upper Heat Platen

Cleaning a heat platen is not a fun pastime. First, you have to wait to allow the platen to cool down. Follow that by crouching under the platen to clean the plate above your head. It's a punishing job in the print shop, if there ever was one.

    • Avoid Premature Usage or Damage to the Pad

Lower silicone pads are expensive. Moisture and ink deteriorate the pad. However, covering the pad with Teflon is not always a good idea. The Teflon can trap moisture on the wrong side of the pad, affecting the end product's design.

    • Prepare Your Transfers

It is handy to trim the excess paper off your transfers. Leave a border of several inches to act as a barrier and the keep the ink from gassing out. It is also helpful to create a few trace marks at the sides of the transfer in the middle of the design. This way, when the design is turned upside down and on top of the shirt, you will have an easier time lining it up with the fabric.

    • Don’t skimp on the craft paper

Craft paper is a brown, water-absorbing, low-cost paper and comes in a variety of qualities.

It can be used in many ways, helping to avoid some of the pitfalls listed above. Specifically, it is great for protecting the silicone pads on your printer. Place a few sheets of craft paper underneath the pad. This traps the moisture and ink that penetrates the pad during the transfer process and keeps it from accumulating inside the pad, rendering it less resilient while discoloring the surface. This color can easily migrate to the next substrate in one of the next cycles, which can be avoided.

Placing a few sheets of paper on top of the pad will further protect the pad, while at the same time guard the substrate from the migrating ink residing in the pad.

Finally, place a few sheets on top of the substrate, as well, to protect the heat platen from direct contact with the substrate and from errand ink and moisture.


Ready for action! Get printing!

Preparation

        1. Roll out the lower table.
        2. Place craft paper under the pad. If not or if the paper is moist and has lost its absorbing capacity, remove the pad and replace the craft paper; then replace the pad. (You may need a second person to assist.)

Pre-press the shirt

      1. Place two sheets of craft paper on top of the pad.
      2. Spread out the shirt, front side first, making sure to smooth out as many wrinkles as possible.
      3. Put two sheets of craft paper on top of the shirt.
      4. Push the table under the press by rolling the table in, making sure that the heat nor the air shifts the craft paper.
      5. Engage the press cycle by simultaneously pushing the two green left and right buttons on the control panel. (This brings down the safety bar and lowers the upper platen onto the fabric, starting the transfer cycle.)
      6. After 3 to 5 seconds, press the red "stop" button (not the emergency button) to interrupt the cycle. The lower platen will automatically release and raise the safety bar.
      7. Once the lower platen has dropped and has come to a complete rest, pull the table out.
      8. Remove the two upper sheets of craft paper, retaining them so that they can be reused on the same side (without turning them around).

Transfer front of shirt

      1. Place a small piece of blank transfer paper in the collar of the shirt, preventing the sublimation ink to affect the inside of the collar. (This is optional.)
      2. Cut the paper transfer to size, if needed, removing most but not all of the excess paper (leaving a blank edge of about 3-5”).
      3. Make marks on the paper transfer indicating the middle of the design, which need to correspond to the center of the collar (e.g. a little cut in the paper).
      4. Place the transfer on the shirt, lining up the marks with the middle of the shirt, checking that the entire shirt falls within the contours of the transfer outline.
      5. Put two sheets of craft paper on top of the transfer. This to protect the upper platen at all cost from direct contact with the ink residue.
      6. Push the table under the press by rolling the table in, making sure that the heat nor the air shifts the craft paper.
      7. Check the pressure setting (60psi). Check the temperature of the press (395-405F). Check the time setting (60 seconds).
      8. Engage the press cycle by simultaneously pushing the two green buttons. (This lowers the safety bar and raises the lower platen, starting the transfer cycle.)
      9. At the end of the cycle (60 seconds), the press will automatically release and drop the lower platen, then raise the safety bar.
      10. Pull the table out, once the lower platen has dropped and has come to a complete rest.
      11. Remove the two upper sheets of craft paper, and retain so that they can be reused on the same side (without turning them around).
      12. Peel the transfer paper off the shirt, smoothly and in one continuous movement. (One person can hold the shirt, and the other can pull off the transfer.)

Transfer Back of Shirt

      1. Pick up the shirt and turn it around, placing it back on the lower platen and in the outline of the lower sheets of craft paper.
      2. Cut down the paper transfer to leave about 3-5” of blank paper edge, just like before. Then, make a cut mark in the center upper side of the transfer to line up with the center of the collar.
      3. Place the transfer for the shirt’s back onto the shirt, making sure that the entire contours of the shirt falls within the contours of the transfer.
      4. Reuse the top two sheets of craft paper by placing them on top of the shirt, always with the same sides up. Again, you do this to protect the upper platen.
      5. Push the table under the press, again making sure heat nor air shifts the craft paper during the movement.
      6. Engage the press cycle by repeating steps 18 to 22.

Complete the Cycle

      1. Hang the shirt to cool. Remove the lower two sheets of craft paper.
      2. Discard all four sheets of craft paper (leaving the paper below the pad until it loses its humidity-absorbing properties).

If you are interested in all-over-printing using a heat press, talk to an expert today.

NEXT STEP >

Topics: Large Format Sublimation Press, Sublimation Industry, All Over Printing

Henri Coeme

Written by Henri Coeme