As I write this I am rather excited.
I am excited for 2 reasons. One, I am excited at what I have learned to do, and two, I am excited that what I have learned I can now present to you!
For years I have moved around the periphery of print and rather thought it a dark art. As someone who had a hand in pre-press and much experience in the CMYK colour space I was always nervous to delve too deeply into its intricacies and unknowns.
There was, however an alternative which came in the form of Sublimation and Heat Transfer Printing which allows the transfer of ink and art onto many different substrates. This opened many doors into the world of Promotional Printing and Advertising. Not just that but with the addition of a Vinyl Cutter I was entering the dizzy heights of sign-writing and Garment vinyls.
As a person who likes his gadgets and likes to tinker, its the perfect excuse for me to experiment with printers, heat presses, vinyl cutters and mug ovens for quite a few months and softly launched the service on my website.
I wanted to be sure I had the right gear as there are many companies on eBay that offer Heat/Mug Press Combos which are not commercially viable and finally, after reading and research I went for a Galaxy Heat Press and separate Mug Press Pro, these are very sturdy, very reliable and give even heat across the platen and heat blankets.
In terms of printers, I went for the Ricoh 3110dn Geljet Printer for sublimation jobs and I have a reasonably cheap HP inkjet printer for Heat Transfer materials. I am using Sawgrass inks which are tried and tested for Sublimation Prining jobs, very colour stable and give great results! The secret here is to make sure your printers are correctly profiled. I had my Ricoh fingerprinted with a how to print stuff profile. I printed 3 files with no colour management and the colour densities and patches were put through a Colour Spectrophotometer which allowed the ink weights to be accurately rendered and a special profile applied at print stage. This way I can accurately gauge print outcomes as I have my Apple Monitor calibrated too!
My Vinyl Cutter is the highly regarded Silhouette Cameo which is perfect for cutting signs and logos for T-Shirts prints. It cuts such intricate designs that some users create vinyl screen positives for Silk Screen Printing. I used mine to create a business sign and my first foray into garment vinyls.
The moment you start a venture like this and make your first orders into paper companies, I was delighted to receive lots of free-sample substrates to try out and I was delighted to receive some new 123 Flex(vinyl) from a company called Magic Touch to try out on some new t-shirts. Traditionally Garment vinyl has a 15-20 second press time but this one boasts a 3 second press time which dramatically increases productivity on a long print run.
I put it to the test and produced an Airbus Logo onto a T-Shirt for my Son who loves to fly A320's in a simulator and hopes to fly a real one very soon!
I am pleased to say the Tee turned out beautifully and has already been washed once and shows great promise. The finish almost gives it a Silk-Screen look and since this its available in 20 colours it can be made into some beautiful logos and designs, it is also a perfect substitute for creating the traditional silk screen look without the mess of making screens, inking up and having a large press in your workshop!
The Airbus logo is copyrighted and I cannot sell these shirts unfortunately!
So as you can see we can print onto just about anything and my workshop space is not cluttered with inks and screens! Visit our store and see some of the work we have done, we constantly update our designs, we have an eBay store too and are currently working on some spooky Halloween T-Shirts just in time for fright-night!
Also we will be offering you the ability to upload your own design and you can decide where you want it printed and we'll mail it to you. Check back soon for more information!