Heat of Screen Printing

February 03, 2019

Heat of Screen Printing

Being HOT is the curse of loving to screen print. Screen printing shops can get upwards of 120 degrees. Keeping cool can be a challenge. In the case of screen-printing HOT can be the difference between dye migration, or even a fire in the shop.

 We deal with lint and dust on a daily basis. It can build up inside your dryer and vents and can cause a fire quickly. Keeping up with lint and dust in a shop can be a real chore but a necessary part of the screen-printing process. Remember to clean out your dryers and vents on a regular schedule.  Screen printing shops are filled with items that will fuel a fire that destroys everything and puts everyone in danger.  A simple daily check of your dryer and vents will help to safeguard against a fire starting in your shop.

 Check dryer settings regularly. As heat is the real culprit of dye migration. Polyester begins to release the dye at about 290 degrees. Your plastisol ink won’t cure until it reaches 320 degrees, but your dryer is heating the ink over 345 degrees. Several days later you will see your nice white base turn blotchy or tinted the same color of the dyes used in the garment. With appropriate and regular testing, you can keep the dryer settings accurate. To test your settings using a temp gun, point the laser on the ink just as it is leaving the dryer. This will give you the most accurate temperature.  If using temperature strips, lay the strip on top of the ink and adjust dryer as needed.

 Sometimes used as a cleaning solvent in shops ACETONE can be the equivalent of lighting a match to your shop. DO NOT use Acetone or even allow it in your shop.  Acetone has a high flammability rating with a low flash point. Even keeping the liquid, a safe distance from machines is not enough.  As the acetone out gases, these gases travel through your shop and can travel some distance to reach an ignition source.  Don’t let this invisible culprit in the door.

 Warning against HOT STACKING.  Hot stacking is when you stack your shirts off the dryer belt and onto the top of the dryer.  If printing with a low bleed ink on a pastel cotton, you will create a phenomena called ghosting.  This is where the image you printed is ghosted on to the back of the shirt you just stacked.