What factors influence the quality of DTF printers? One of the most important components is the print head. Do you know why inkjet printers can print in so many different colors? The key point is that CMYK inks can be mixed to produce a wide range of colors; the printhead is the most important component in any printing job; the type of printhead used greatly influences the overall outcome of the project; thus, the print head’s status is critical to the quality of the printing effect. The printhead is made up of many tiny electrical components and multiple nozzles that hold the various ink colors and spray or drop the inks onto the paper or film that you put in the DTF printers.
The Epson L1800 print head, for example, has 6 rows of nozzle holes, 90 in each row, for a total of 540 nozzle holes. In general, the more nozzle holes in the print head, the faster the printing speed and the more exquisite the printing effect.
However, if some of the nozzle holes become clogged, the printing effect will be faulty. Because ink is corrosive, and the inside of the print head is made of plastic and rubber, as use time increases, the nozzle holes may become clogged by ink, and the print head surface may become contaminated with ink and dust. Because a print head has a lifespan of 6-12 months, it must be replaced as soon as possible if the test strip is found to be incomplete.
To check the status of the print head, you can print the test strip from the software. If the lines are complete and continuous, and the colors are accurate, the nozzle is in good condition. If several lines are intermittent, the print head must be replaced.
Software configuration and printing curve (ICC profile)
In addition to the print head, the software settings and printing curve selection will have an impact on the printing effect. Before you begin printing, select the appropriate scale unit in the software, such as cm, mm, or inch, and then set the ink dot to medium. The final step is to choose a printing curve. To get the best results from the printer, all parameters must be set correctly. As we know, different curves or ICC Profiles correspond to different mixing ratios because different colors are mixed from four CMYK inks. The printing effect is also affected by the ICC profile or printing curve. Of course, the curve is related to the ink, as will be explained further below.
Individual drops of ink applied to the substrate during printing will have an effect on the overall quality of the image. Smaller drops will produce more definition and resolution. This is especially useful when creating easy-to-read text, especially text with fine lines.
When you need to print quickly over a large area, larger drops are preferable. Large drops are preferable for printing larger flat pieces like large format signage.
The printing curve is built into our printer software, and the curve is calibrated by our technical engineers based on our inks, resulting in perfect color accuracy, so we recommend using our ink for your printing. To print, you must also import the ICC profile into other RIP software. This procedure is time-consuming and unfriendly to newcomers.
Different inks produce different printing results. UV inks, for example, are used to print on a variety of materials, whereas DTF inks are used to print on transfer films. Printing curves and ICC profiles are created after extensive testing and adjustments; if you use our ink, you can directly select the corresponding curve from the software without first setting the ICC profile, which saves a significant amount of time. And because our inks and curves are well matched, the printed color is also the most accurate, we strongly recommend that you use our DTF ink. If you use other DTF printers inks, the printing curve in the software may be inaccurate for the ink, affecting the printed result. Please keep in mind that mixing different inks can cause the print head to become clogged, and the ink also has a shelf life. Once the ink bottle is opened, it is recommended that it be used within three months; otherwise, the ink’s activity will affect print quality and increase the likelihood of clogging the print head. Complete sealed ink has a shelf life of 6 months and should not be used if it has been stored for more than 6 months.
Transfer film DTF
There is a wide range of films available on the DTF printers market. In general, more opaque film produced better results because it has a more ink-absorbing coating. However, some films had loose powder coating, resulting in uneven prints and areas that simply refused to accept ink. With powder constantly being shaken off and fingertips leaving fingerprint marks all over the film, handling such film was difficult.
Some films began perfectly but warped and bubbled during the curing process. This particular type of DTF film appeared to have a melting temperature lower than that of DTF printers powder. We ended up melting the film before the powder at 150 degrees Celsius. Perhaps it was intended for powder with a lower melting point? But that would undoubtedly affect washability at high temperatures. This other type of film warped so much that it lifted itself up 10cm and became stuck to the top of the oven, catching fire and destroying the heating elements.
Our transfer film is made of high-quality polyethylene with a thick texture and a special frosted powder coating that allows ink to stick to it and fix it. The thickness ensures the printing pattern’s smoothness and stability, as well as the transfer effect.
Adhesive powder and a curing oven
After applying adhesive powder coating to the printed films, they are placed in a specially designed curing oven. If the temperature is less than 110°, the oven must be heated to at least 110°. Because the powder cannot be completely melted, the pattern is not firmly attached to the substrate and cracks easily after a long time. Once the oven has reached the desired temperature, it must continue to heat the air for at least 3 minutes. So the oven is critical because it affects the paste effect of the pattern; a poor oven is a nightmare for DTF transfer.
The adhesive DTF powder also has an effect on the quality of the transferred pattern; if the adhesive powder is of lower quality grade, the transferred pattern is less viscous. After the transfer, the pattern will easily foam and crack, and the durability will be very low. If at all possible, please use our high-grade hot melt adhesive powder to ensure quality.