GRAPHICS PRO

Start Here October '20

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65 S T A R T H E R E 2 0 2 0 pretreatment is applied in graduating application amounts, the inks and printer settings for the inks, and printer used, cure times, etc. All these variables will remain the same across our experiment except for the shirts printed on. We will print a 100% cotton black shirt, probably the most common shirt color printed in DTG today. Three dif- ferent shirts by three different manufac- turers are used to evaluate how much the actual shirt affects our DTG prints—and the amount of pretreatment required for each shirt. Note: The brand is irrelevant in the shirt examples used for this article. We used real shirts but did not want to reveal which shirts they were as results can and will vary across different brands, styles, and weights of shirts—even within dif- ferent batches of shirts in the same style. This was a thought experiment to get you to think more about how the shirt affects your DTG prints rather than influencing you on which shirt brand to use. THE SETUP To make this test a success, we used a pretreatment machine capable of apply- ing what is commonly called a step test. The Step Test is a graduated increase in the amount of pretreatment applied to the shirt. It will lay down six different zones across the width of the shirts, each with an increasing amount of pretreat- ment applied to each zone. We gradu- ally increased the pretreatment from approximately 10 grams in zone 1 (per 14-by-14-inch area) to 35 grams in zone 6—increments of 5 grams per zone. Three different shirts by three different manufacturers were used in this example to evaluate how much the actual shirt affects DTG prints—and the amount of pretreatment required for each shirt. (Image courtesy Brian Walker) The step test is a graduated increase in the amount of pretreatment applied to a shirt. The machine will lay down six different zones across the width of the shirts, each with an increasing amount of pretreatment applied to each zone. (Image courtesy Brian Walker) In the direct-to- garment (DTG) printing market, you must grab the right shirt for the job. (Image courtesy of DTG)

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