Sunday, October 18, 2009

Necessity - Mother of an Invention

On many of our dark colored shirts we use a type of ink called discharge ink. It gives great results by removing the dye from the shirt and simultaneously re-dying the shirt with the color of the ink. It produces a shirt that is soft and comfy, making the print a part of the shirt fabric itself. This type of ink requires heat to activate its magic. 320 degrees of heat for a couple of minutes to be exact.

Did you read before where I said we were on a tight budget? It sucks, but we are NOT going into debt to get our business off the ground. Been there. Regret that. So we can’t always afford the things we need. Like this really great, really expensive flash dryer. Really, really expensive.

So, We are still curing our shirts with a heat gun. Call us crazy. Many do. We don’t even disagree. It takes quite a bit of time to cure a shirt with a heat gun since you can only do a small area at a time. But Freddy has come up with an idea, brilliant inventor that he is. We call it “The Heat Gun Manual Conveyor Cure”. Ok, I just made that up, but maybe Freddy will come up with an actual good name once he builds it. See, Freddy reckons that he can build a stand that will hold several heat guns pointed downward at the proper height and we can slooowly drag a shirt under the array of heat guns to cure the ink faster and not hold up production as much since the ink has to be cured while it is still wet. This makes Freddy have to work really hard to keep the (water-based) ink from drying in the screen while I cure the shirts.

His idea could totally work if the circuit breakers hold out. I will keep you posted.

Friday, October 9, 2009


We bought a new shelf this week. A big, steel shelf to hold our screens and get them out of the growing number of boxes and bags we've stored them in until now. Now we can just flip through and find the screen we want instead of digging for them. A big leap forward in organization. Looking around our studio last night after we put up the shelf, I realized that this shelf is the only new thing we've bought for the studio, except our 4 color press. Everything else we have either made or found.

Freddy built the poster press out of materials in his basement. We scavenged a table off the sidewalk to mount it on, a book shelf put out for the trash to store our inks and a we found the desk to mount the 4 color press on when we moved into the studio. We have several large platens we've made from sink cut outs that were left as trash outside a kitchen counter top company. We bought our 1 color press used. The piece of glass we use to expose the screens was formerly the door to an entertainment center and it's mounted above an old light unit I bought used back in the 80's. We also have a scavenged locker and milk crates (turned sideways and zip-tied together to make them into a shelf unit) for storage, We bought used store fixtures that we use for our show booth backdrop and a clothing rack. We've saved a lot of money and we are so green! We even use environmentally safe inks and cleaning products, which work amazingly better than the non-environmentally safe ones. This is really what I wanted to be as a company. I love it.

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world."
— Mahatma Gandhi