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How To: ELT Zip Transfers

How To: ELT Zip Transfers
February 6 2018
ELT Zip Transfer inks allow for a unique low temperature transfer for use on all fabrics.  This is so important due to so many instances of the heat press damaging delicate fabrics.  Yes, I said delicate.  Do you know what fabrics are too delicate for a regular transfer?  I have a pretty good idea but often times, you won't know until it is too late and you have ruined something expensive.  Regardless, here are a delicate fabrics to watch out for:
  • Fluorescent fabrics.  All fluorescent fabrics.  I don't care if it is cotton, poly/cotton, or polyester.  There are heat related problems with all of these.
  • "Vintage" or pigment-dyed fabrics.  Fabric discoloration is very common.
  • 100% polyester.  The shiny square that appears everywhere the heat press touches is impossible to prevent at high temperatures.  Dye migration is also a big concern.
  • Polypropylene.  Reusable grocery bags are just one of many polypropylene items which melt at a very low temperature.
All of these fabrics would likely be damaged at the traditional 375ºF for 8 second heat press temperature and time.  That's why you are reading this right now.  You know there is a better way and we have it.  Here are the benefits of ELT Zip Transfers:
  • Prevents heat-related fabric damage.
  • Very stretchy print when ELT Zip Fashion powder is applied.
  • Very bleed resistant print when ELT Zip Performance powder is applied.
  • Opacity is impressive.
  • Easy process to learn.
  • Peel hot or cold.
  • Adheres to most fabrics

Here is your shopping list to get started:
  • T-105 cold peel transfer paper.
  • ELT Zip Transfer ink.
  • Either ELT Zip Fashion or ELT Zip Performance Powder.
  • For one-color transfers, a standard mist adhesive.
  • For multi-color transfers, a vacuum platen or transfer press is highly recommended.
  • Medium durometer squeegee.
  • Screens with 86 or 110 count mesh.
One-color screen printing process:
  1. Be sure your image is exposed backwards as transfers are printed in mirror image.
  2. In humid environments, run the paper through the dryer before beginning.
  3. Flood the screen with ink and pull the squeegee as you normally would to print and clear the screen.
  4. Apply one of the two powder adhesives.  ELT Zip Fashion for stretchy/soft prints.  ELT Zip Performance for extremely bleed resistant prints.  Our customers all apply this differently.  Be sure to cover the entire print with the powder and tap off all excess powder before sending the paper through the dryer.
  5. Measuring with a Thermolabel, cure the ink to 320ºF to 330ºF.  This really should take a bare minimum of 30 seconds in the dryer.
  6. Pre-press the fabric for 2 seconds to smooth it out and eliminate moisture.
  7. Heat press the transfer at 280ºF for 10 seconds, medium pressure.
  8. Peel hot or cold.
Two-color (or more) printing process:
  1. Be sure your image is exposed backwards as transfers are printed in mirror image.
  2. The last color printed must be set up as a full underbase.
  3. Run the paper through the dryer before beginning to eliminate moisture and to preshrink for accurate registration.
  4. Flood the screen with ink and pull the squeegee as you normally would to print and clear the screen.
  5. Send the first color through the dryer without powder.
  6. Measuring with a Thermolabel, cure the ink to 320ºF to 330ºF.  This really should take a bare minimum of 30 seconds in the dryer.
  7. Line up the paper and print all of the second color (or third, etc.).  The last color which is the underbase needs to be powdered with ELT Zip Fashion Powder or ELT Zip Performance Powder.
  8. Send the transfer through the dryer again at the same time and temperature.
  9. Pre-press the fabric for 2 seconds to smooth it out and eliminate moisture.
  10. Heat press the transfer at 280ºF for 10 seconds, medium pressure.
  11. Peel hot or cold.

That's really it.  This is not a difficult process, especially for those wanting to print one-color transfers.  Obviously, this is complicated if you don't have a way to line up each color in the same place on the platen.  This is where the vacuum platen or flatbed press comes into play.  Full time transfer printers know how to line up these orders.  They are set up to do so.  Direct printers are used to flash curing between colors.  This is not great for transfer paper as it will curl the paper.  Also, ink on transfer paper takes a very long time to flash cure.  The conveyor dryer is the way to go.

fin

Robb MearsRobb Mears
Director of Product Development

Comments

Good (April 24 2018 9:03:00 AM)
Well I currently don't own a conveyor dryer only a flash dryer in heat press are you say that that flash dryer cannot get the job done when it comes to plastisol transfers Curing?

Richard - CT
Reply (May 1 2018 11:29:00 AM)
A flash dryer can work but it will often curl transfer paper. I am not saying it will always do this but you will have to play with the settings and possibly adjust the height to make it work well.

Robb Mears - OSI
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