dyesub press retrofit

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strangesnowboarding
Posts: 133
Joined: Sat Nov 06, 2010 2:26 pm

dyesub press retrofit

Post by strangesnowboarding »

ok, after watching brazen fab up his sublimation press it got me in the mood to pull our other pneumatic press apart and tackle the dyesub conversion.

we originally talked to lindsay over at actionsportstechnology about getting the press that he developed, but after seeing pictures, it was just a smaller fixed cavity snowboard press. we have recently been using only the adjustable press for snowboards (see other thread) so i figured that a retrofit of our existing press would be the most cost effective solution.

we will be purchasing a 4880 and hacking it for bulk inks (not sure on what brand yet, but i have heard that sawgrass is the ideal solution and reasonably priced). i still have a ton to learn as far as color correction goes, as well as scanning and reprinting graphics. but most of that work will go to our graphics guy anyway, i just have to make sure that the printer and press actually function.

here is what i am working with and my plan for the retrofit.

Image
newoffice by strangesnowboarding, on Flickr

the major obstacle is welding up a removable "frame" to attach to the top of the current press cavity. we are looking for at most a 2" gap to load materials in.
i was thinking steel ibeams, or something really custom in aluminum, but that will probably depend on what materials i can get cheap from the welding/steelyard next door.

firehose will rest on the steel plate that is currently the bottom of the press cavity. above that i am tinking a large alum plate (a la brazen) or a cattrack (i already have the alum tube for this so it would be cheap).

then comes my first major question. what material will work as the best heatsink or insulation between the hose and the heater blankets?? i currently have been using heavy duty gasket material (silicone rubber) but i found a couple other silicone pad options.
http://www.tradekorea.com/product-detai ... sheet.html#
or
http://tw101592891.trustpass.alibaba.co ... rced_.html
i am not too worried about burning up our already insulated firehose but i want to be safe.

i already have the heater blankets, good to 450F, but will need to make sure that the PID situation can handle the current going into the blankets. can anyone recommend one that they have used all the way up to 400F??
i am currently running omega 1000tc top and bottom, but they may be broken (i cant get them to tune correctly) and am at the end of my rope messing with them.

thats all i have worked out at the moment, waiting until tomorrow to check out my steel/aum options so that we can move forward with this.

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Brazen
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Post by Brazen »

I used a .250 (right around this) 60 durometer silicone sheet, from diversified silicone if this helps. There is about a 50° difference in temperature over/under. Lower the temp the hose is exposed to, the longer the life.

hugocacola
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Joined: Thu Mar 22, 2007 8:00 am

Post by hugocacola »

Make Sure you have a 20mm thick aluminium plate to print the graphics, and make sure is a new one... more thickness better heat distribution

strangesnowboarding
Posts: 133
Joined: Sat Nov 06, 2010 2:26 pm

Post by strangesnowboarding »

alright, got some work done last night
and a bunch more changes i would like to make to the press, but after a pressure test last night im confident that we will be ready to sublimate once the printer arrives.

bit the bullet and purchased a 4880 and all 8 inks from sawgrass (there is a 500dollar rebate on the 4880 right now if anyone was looking, til march or something if i remember correctly). lots of coin down.

went and spent a couple hundred at the steelyard for some plate and 2 i beams. had my buddy come up with his wirefeed so the welds would look clean.
Image
rastawelds by strangesnowboarding, on Flickr
couple hours of welding later and we had a heavy steel box that got put in our heavy steel press.
Image
steel box by strangesnowboarding, on Flickr
Image
almost finished by strangesnowboarding, on Flickr
Image
squishhhh by strangesnowboarding, on Flickr

at this point i am missing a heavy alum. sheet and the heater blankets (and a couple sheets of silicone and Teflon.

first question-
should the heat be on the top or bottom? i would prefer the heater blankets to be on top so that they are not touching the hoses (or touching steel that touches hoses) and also so that i can load the graphic rightside up.
i will test both positions, but i feel like this is more of a preference.

i also think that i am going to have to switch out the firehose to a set that does not have the big metal endcaps. they really compromise the cavity that i have made and i think that they will cause too much wear/rub on the current hoses.

other than that pressure is consistent and flat, we have an area large enough for graphics (13x66), if i can get heat this week then we will be ready to go.

now to get some materials to sub on!

oh and the ram still lifts the top half even with all that extra. overbuilt makes sense!
Image
dyesub pacman by strangesnowboarding, on Flickr

knightsofnii
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Post by knightsofnii »

holy crap! I'm personally hoping to be able to make a sub press way simpler... but that's pretty damn neat!

However we might just make something that can be loaded in/out of our board press, I'm just worried about burning stuff up with the added temps.


One more thing i'm curious about: anyone who's already subbing got any tricks to mitigate the "shrinky-dink effect" that crown base goes thru after sub pressing? They get all wrinkly along the edges, and graphics can actually skew and warp. I've heard other brands dont do it as much like iso, but crown is way more available here.
Doug

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falls
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Post by falls »

I reckon if you have the space build a stand alone press. You would prob do all your subbing first in a production run, but looking at the supply delays etc that people like on3p have experienced I reckon there would end up being more than one time when you found yourself swapping back and forward between the sub outfit and pressing boards. In my opinion would be a real pain. Plus ideally you want to do your subbing prep and printing/storage in a "clean" room.
The pressures aren't as high as pressing boards so the press could be smaller, lighter and cheaper to build.
Don't wait up, I'm off to kill Summer....

Raccoon
Posts: 45
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 6:07 am

Post by Raccoon »

Hi,

Put your heater on the top and insulate it to prevent heat lost! (180C is very hot!!).

PBT material will shrink (about 5-7%) so 66" long is bit short...

Rac

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Brazen
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Post by Brazen »

I put my heater on the bottom, I kind of figured "why re-invent gravity?" since additionally, I use that blanket in the board press for now. I put the graphic on a sheet above the heater, face up then the topsheet, face down with another aluminum sheet then apply pressure <upward>.

strangesnowboarding
Posts: 133
Joined: Sat Nov 06, 2010 2:26 pm

Post by strangesnowboarding »

thanks for the replies!
raccoon
i will def be putting the heat on top, and 66 was a compromise on size for the moment. i dont see us pressing over a 57 for now, and honestly if we can sublimate graphics in house i wont mind if they are a little short for the time being.

falls
as a cost effective solution, the retrofit was the way to go. we dont plan on using this press for snowboards any more (until "production" deadlines require 2 presses working at the same time), so hopefully we will not have to change out much. even then it is easier to get in and out than a new set of molds. we will also be using this press for skate decks once the molds are designed and cut.
both presses sit in an enclosed cleanroom within our shop, so im not too worried about it getting dirty.

the idea behind doing everything in house is that we will never have "production" runs of multiple graphics, shapes, etc. will have the ability to put whatever artwork on whatever board, and do it all in a timely manner.
i seriously doubt that we will be spending days sublimating the same graphic over and over, and when that time comes a standalone machine would be the best option.

anticipating the printer this week! will let you guys know how it all goes.

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Brazen
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Post by Brazen »

btw, pbt only shrinks 3-4% maximum.
"86% of the time it works 100% of the time".

strangesnowboarding
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Post by strangesnowboarding »

a boxtruck came today with presents

brand new 4880, sawgrass inks, transfer paper
party all the time

having our electrician buddy check out the controllers and then we are ready to sublimate. i have some random materials laying around that we will try first until our topsheet gets here.

stay tuned for results. we have been looking thu all the graphics submitted so far and i cant wait to get them on our boards. really radical shit. be on the lookout for porn, gore, drugs, all the things that go hand in hand with this sport/hobby/lifestyle that we enjoy.

Raccoon
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Post by Raccoon »

Cool! did you make your graphics yourself? we are looking for some radical graphics for our custom snowkiteboards and kiteboards.

Rac
www.evasionkiteboards.com

strangesnowboarding
Posts: 133
Joined: Sat Nov 06, 2010 2:26 pm

Post by strangesnowboarding »

so we tested heat and pressure last night.
bladders hold well at 40psi, small leaks around 80-90psi but im not too worried about that at the moment.
bladders ala headmonkey with 5" discharge hose.

managed to heat up our 3/4" alum press plate to 350f without much difficulty. no fires, melting or movement.
click for pics
http://heavyshred.blogspot.com/2011/03/ ... tmare.html

we are in the process of receiving graphics now, so will be running color correction tests this week as well as sublimation tests on various materials.

im stoked on our progress.

strangesnowboarding
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Joined: Sat Nov 06, 2010 2:26 pm

Post by strangesnowboarding »

so just tested our setup on some old topsheet we had laying around.
350 for 10 min at 13psi (from compressor)

not snowboard related,
we will be doing more tests on other materials (sticker vinyl, base, tshirts, hats, etc). snowboard topsheets will come out once we have all the graphics in house.

Image
sublimationtest by strangesnowboarding, on Flickr

strangesnowboarding
Posts: 133
Joined: Sat Nov 06, 2010 2:26 pm

Post by strangesnowboarding »

ok folks,

so over the last week we discovered that sublimation is not magic (unless you have more than ample supply of iso PBT topsheet). we tested various materials on both sides to see how they would work. i will list the failures first.
_ clear topsheet (unknown composition, treated on one side for adhesion). no go, tested at various temperatures and times, image will transfer but we lost all sharp lines and ended up melting the topsheet in a way that we would never be able to lay it up.
_ vinyl (white sticker vinyl) works to transfer the image clearly but the combination of heat and pressure takes away the "sheen" of the material. you end up with a pretty good full color sticker that is not glossy. (we have since determined that there is no vinyl that will hold up to this heat so sublimation on this material is not an option.
_ base materials (various crown products, all colored (grey blue, white). these worked as well as i have seen any sublimated graphics on snowboard base. harder to get temp and time down to reduce shrinking/warping. we ran these samples (printed on the snow side) through the grindrite and the image stays for many passes.

these materials worked very well and we will continue subbing on them.

PBT (old already been sublimated topsheets) this is the right stuff, comes out with great color variation, strength and sharpness. bonds in layup great.
does it need UV protection (im not too sure yet). we are surrently trying to source a large ammt of this. if anyone has any hookups at iso let me know, or at least the right person to talk to to get stuff shipped overseas.

65% or more poly blend fabrics. all your tshirt dreams came true! full color full print tshirts! sick and easy.

ceramic/plastic coated metal (like parking signs) works great! not snowboard related but will provide some paying work for people in the factory.

others to consider at this point. vinyl for signs (impregnated fabrics) i have heard works well and is great for banners.

im a little discouraged with crown at the moment and wish we had the right suppliers here in the US. bumps in the road but i think we are moving along at speed now.

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