Can I cure Screen Printing Inks with a Heat Press?
The Simple answer is ‘Yes’, so before you start set the heat press so that there is almost no pressure. The heat plate should not be touching the print (or it gets very messy!). Place some grease proof paper or transfer paper over the print before you cure. Touch dry the ink before curing using a flash dryer or hot air gun.
Do I need a particular brand or type of Heat Press? – Generally speaking no, we sell the Stahls range which do the job reliably well. You can use a Clam or Swing Type Heat Press. We would suggest that you avoid some of the cheap eBay Heat Presses. They can be unreliable and have inconsistent heat on the platen.
You will need to set the time accordingly, for Plastisol 45 – 80 secs and Water based inks 120 – 140 secs. Set the temperature on the heat press slightly hotter than curing temperature. Like always test before going into a production run.
Occasionally we are asked if you can use a Heat Press to cure Discharge Inks and use special effects e.g. puffer. Again the simple answer is ‘Yes’ , when using puffer ink you will need to adjust the pressure to ensure the ink can rise. Like always test before a production run.
Long term you are always best to use a Tunnel Dryer for curing to achieve the highest levels of through put. Heat Presses are good to use in an emergency or in a class room environment but inefficient for production work.
We highly recommend that you flash or touch dry the ink prior to curing.