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Mastering High-Density Inks

(August/September 2017) posted on Tue Oct 03, 2017

Back by popular demand, the noted trainer and consultant Charlie Taublieb shares his secrets for HD success.


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By Charlie Taublieb

HD inks can be used straight out of the can and produce extremely sharp, well-defined edges. The most common colors are black and white; they can be mixed with other colors to create secondary colors. After curing, inks should retain their sharpness and have a matte finish.


FIGURE 1. A silver HD gel as it appears in the can.

HD gels are similar to inks and are available as a clear; they are also available with metallic or other particles in them. (See the silver gel shown in Figure 1.) When printed, they may or may not have dimension and sharp edges, depending on the gel you use. When fully cured, they should be glossy with rounded edges (see Figure 2).




FIGURE 2. A close-up of an HD gel print with black added to it. Notice the glossy finish and rounded corners.

HD bases usually require toner or ink to be added for color. So many HD bases are available that it’s difficult to give a blanket description of what they do. Some rise like puff inks while others have a very hard finish that won’t flatten when foil is applied to them through a transfer machine, a popular use for HD bases (see Figure 3).

Since these are all three-dimensional inks, you should set your off-contact distance higher than you would for a standard print. If you are printing multiple HD colors in a job, set each screen a little higher than the previous one to avoid the ink not clearing the screen. For jobs that involve standard plastisols with HD effects, print the HD colors last.


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