FAQs on the Perfect Transfer Tool

Question: What size(s) does the Perfect Transfers Tool come in?
Answer: The Perfect Transfers Tool is 20″ x 16″ and is designed to fit on most of the commercial heat presses. Custom sizes are available, but must be ordered in specific quantities.

Question: Where are the instructions on how to setup the Perfect Transfers Tool?
Answer: The instructions for setting up the Perfect Transfers Tool are included in the box that the Tool comes in. Here is a link to a video for setting up the Tool as well – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgmta0D5NU0.

Question: Is there a downloadable PDF document that shows the instructions on how to use the Perfect Transfers Tool?
Answer: Yes, you can click on this link to download it – www.perfecttransfers.com/PTTInstructions.pdf.

Question: Will the Perfect Transfers Tool work with sticky / tacky adhesive backed items?
Answer: Yes, the Perfect Transfers Tool is the only alignment tool that does not require the user to slide the tacky material under the Tool. This is because the entire center of the Tool has been cut out.

Question: Will the Perfect Transfers Tool help with aligning separate names and numbers on a jersey?
Answer: Absolutely! The hardest thing with aligning separate names and numbers on a jersey is making sure that you get them centered and spaced properly. The Perfect Transfers Tool is the only alignment tool that allows you the ability to layout and align individual letters and numbers at the same time without having to adjust the alignment tool. The two inserts are the key to allowing this to happen. Click on this link to watch a video on how to align two names – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-jCAODa73E.

Question: How does the Perfect Transfers Tool help with centering full sheets of transfer paper?
Answer: The Perfect Transfers Tool has both 8.5″ and 11″ centering marks on the top and bottom of the main Tool – as well as the same lines on both the large and small inserts. These lines will help the user quickly center full sheets of 8.5″ and 11″ wide sheets of transfer paper. Here are two videos that show you the process on how to center both sizes of sheet of transfer paper.
* How to Align a 8.5″ x 11″ Sheet of Digital Transfer Paper
* How to Align a 11 ” x 17″ Sheet of Digital Transfer Paper

Heat Transfer Tips / Tricks

General Tips:
Question: What websites are there that I can learn more about heat applied graphics?
Answer: I would recommend that you look at some of the industry forums (i.e. www.t-shirtforums.com, www.screenprinters.net, www.screenprintinguniversity.com,…) and the industry magazines (www.impressionsmag.com, www.nbm.com/pw/, …). In addition, you can look at the websites of many of the industry distributors for technical information as well as products.

Question: What items do I need to start making digital transfers?
Answer: You will need the following items: heat press, a printer, digital transfer paper and ink.

Question: Which type of heat press should I buy? Clamshell, Swing Away, Draw or Automatic?
Answer: Each company will need to evaluate their business needs to determine which press is best for them. Here is a video to help you learn more about the different style of heat presses – http://www.t-shirtforums.com/t-shirt-articles/t11246.html. Here is a link to a YouTube video that goes over the Hotronix clam shell presses that we recommend – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgifPl2BGC0.

Question: What things do I have to consider when doing heat applied graphics?
Answer: The three most important factors when doing heat applied graphics is: 1) Time, 2) Temperature & 3) Pressure. Depending on the transfer material being used and the substrate you are pressing to, there will be specific settings for these three factors that will provide the best looking garment that will hold up the longest after being washed (i.e. we call this wastfasness).

Question: Where can I learn more about heat applied graphics so I can make sure that I purchase the correct stuff?
Answer: I recommend tha you attend a trade show where you can meet with the different industry suppliers and see first-hand how the different types of transfer material will create a finished product. The two main trade shows for the decorated apparel industry is the ISS Shows (www.issshows.com) and the NBM Shows (www.nbmshows.com).

Question: Do different transfer materials feel differently than others?
Answer: Yes, we call this the “hand” or how the finished piece will feel when the transfer is applied to it and you rub your hand over it. Some transfers provide less of a hand compared to others. The hand will be different between a light transfer paper to a dark transfer paper to a heat applied vinyl. Sublimation is the only digital transfer process that does not have an hand (i.e. you can’t feel the print on the shirt at all).

Question: What is the difference between a light garment transfer and a dark garment transfer?
Answer: A light garment digital transfer paper is covered with a thin layer of polymer (or adhesive) that is used to adhere the ink to the shirt. When the light tranfers paper is applied to the shirt, the polymer will release from the paper backing and turn transparent. If you are using a light transfer paper on a colored shirt, the color of the shirt may change the colors in the design because the inks are transparent. The dark garment transfer papers have a white backing material that is applied to the shirt to prevent the color of the shirt from changing the colors in the graphic. Typically, a dark transfer paper will have a heavier hand than a light transfer paper. Most users will trim the excess paper either with a pair of scissors or using an optical registration cutter for a higher quality design.

Inkjet / Laser Transfer Tips:
Question: Can I use the standard ink that comes with my printer to make an inkjet transfer?
Answer: Yes you can, but the results may vary in how the colors look after heat pressing and after the first wash. Some inks will look better than others after being under the heat press for the proper amount of time, temperature and pressure. Some inks will experience color shifting (i.e. blacks will turn to gray, reds will turn to orange,…) because the inks are not designed to be heated up to the necessary temperatures. In addition, some inks will handle the chemicals in the laundry detergents better and will not fade as much. Thus, there are specific heat transfer inks that are chemically designed to minimize the amount of color shifting and provide better washfastness that you should consider using. Most heat transfer inks can be purchased in bulk that will make the cost of the ink siginificantly cheaper as well.

Question: What type of printer is better to use – inkjet or laser printer?
Answer: This is a difficult one to answer. Inkjet printers tend to be cheaper to purchase compared to a similar size laser printer. However, laser printers tend to cost less for the toner compared to an inkjet printer (depending on which ink / bulk ink system you are running). Some types of papers can only be used with inkjet printers; whereas other papers can only be used with laser printers. Both types of printers have their positives and negatives. I strongly recommend that you speak with an industry distributor and ask them for samples from both types of printers.

Question: Why does an inkjet printer clog faster than a laser printer?
Answer: Why inkjet printers tend to clog faster than laser printers is because of how the printers apply the ink / toner to the paper. Inkjet printers will use either a piezo or thermal print head to firing liquid ink out of tiny nozzles. Depending on the amount of ink used and the type of paper being printed on, some time might be needed to allow the ink to dry before touching it. Laser printers will apply a dry toner using a fusing / heating element to adhere the toner to the paper. These two types of printers use different technology that has positives and negatives with each one. To determine which type of printer will work best for you, please contact an industry distributor.

Question: What is a bulk refill system (or commonly referred to as a CIS or BIS)?
Answer: A bulk refill system is an ink delivery device that allows you to connect larger bags or use refillable bottles of ink that will connect to your inkjet printer using special cartridges. There are tubes that connect the cartridges to the bags or reserviors. In most cases, using a bulk refill system will allow the user to save money in the long run because you don’t have to purchase the small cartridges that are sold at a higher price. There are positives and negatives to using a bulk refill system depending on the amount of printing you do. Please contact an industry distributor to see if using a bulk refill system will be beneficial for your business.

Question: How do I know when to mirror my image or not?
Answer: The best way to tell whether you should mirror your image for a specific type of transfer paper is to read the instructions or contact the distributor that you purchased it from. However, the general rule is you mirror your image for light transfer papers and you do not mirror your images for dark transfer papers. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.

Question: What does it mean when some digital transfer papers say hot peel versus others that say cold peel?
Answer: Hot peel papers means once you open the heat press, you are able to peel the transfer paper off the garment immediately. Cold peel papers require that the transfer paper cools down before you peel it off the garment. Some users like to either wave the shirt in the air or rub a small, smooth tile over the top of a cold peel transfer paper to cool it down faster. Most light garment transfer papers are hot peel; whereas most dark garment transfer papers are cold peel. Please make sure that you follow the directions provide with the paper to get the optimal transfer.

Dye Sublimation Tips
Question: What is sublimation and how is it different from an inkjet / laser transfer?
Answer: Please read the link page for a detailed description of what sublimation is – http://www.multirip.com/sublimationinfo.html.

Question: What type of products can I do sublimation transfers on?
Answer: Sublimation transfers can do down on to any type of product (both soft products like t-shirts or fabric and hard products like license plates, commercial grade floor tile, metal, FRP plastic,…) as long as the product is either made out of polyester or has a specialized polyester coating on it. Contact an sublimation distributor to see the wide variety of products that can be personalized using sublimation ink.

Question: Why does sublimation not leave any hand?
Answer: Because the process of dye sublimation uses a release paper that does not have a polymer coating on it, a sublimation transfer will not leave a hand on the garment on the top of the garment or substrate. The technical explanation is that the polyester molecules in the fabric or in the coating will open up when heated. The sublimation ink will also turn from a solid state on the transfer paper to gas. The sublimation ink as a gas will go inside the polyester molecules that are open up and will basically dye the garment or substrate.

Question: What printers can I use to make sublimation transfers?
Answer: The key is you need to figure out which printers will have ink or toner cartridged for it. Most sublimation printers are inkjet printers, but there have been some industry suppliers that have come out with a laser sublimation printer. So, contact a sublimation distributor to see what printers are currently being offered.

Question: Why do I keep getting a haze around my sublimation prints? How can I prevent this?
Answer: What you are experiencing is called “Ghosting” or double imaging. This occurs because either when you open the heat press or when you go to remove the sublimation release paper, the paper slides on the garment or substrate. Because both the release paper and the sublimation ink are still hot, the ink can still transfer to the garment. To prevent the paper from sliding, use a couple pieces of the specialized heat resistant tape or low tack, repositionable adhesive spray that is sold by sublimation distributors.

Question: Why do I have a rectangle imprint of the paper on my t-shirt – especially on micro-performance shirts?
Answer: The outline of the sublimation release paper can make an indention on the garment if the pressure is too high. You can try and lower the pressure and see if the outline still shows up. If so, you will want to use either a teflon pillow or the heat resistant foam – both of which will allow some cushion on the shirt and prevent the outline from showing up.

Question: Why do my colors look lighter when they come out of the printer than after I press them?
Answer: Dye sublimation ink is an encapsulated ink – which means the true colors are not shown until you have heat pressed the digital transfer for the recommended time, temperature and pressure. NOTE: The colors you get can vary by adjusting the time, temperature or pressure when doing a sublimation transfer. So it is important to check the temperature of your heat press, accurately control your time and understand what the proper pressure is for each type of substrate.

Question: How can I get my colors on my sublimation products to look closer to what is on my computer screen?
Answer: Trying to get your colors on your computer screen to match your transfers can be challenging. The first thing you need to do is to speak with the sublimation distributor that you purchased your system from and have them make sure that you are using the correct ICC profile. You will not be able to print sublimation ink without changing you profile that comes with your printer. If this does not help, then are going to want to check your color management settings in your graphic software program (i.e. CorelDraw, Photoshop,…). You can also print a color chart out and use the color chart when creating your graphic. To download a color chart, please click on this link – http://www.multirip.com/colormanagement.html.