Wednesday, October 6, 2021

DTF-Direct To Film-Information

 Direct To Film

What is Direct To Film?  It's a newer type of heat transfer technology that allows home crafters to create full color heat transfers that don't require weeding, and can be heat applied to nearly any fabric and any color.  No special pre-treatment needed.  

For information on what it takes to get started, please refer to my previous post.

Today I'm going to share some tips and tricks on how to troubleshoot issues that are sure to come up and files you need to help get those inks flowing.  

Direct to film printers are just Epson 6 color or more printers that have been converted to be used as such.  Conversion consists of adding auto reset chip cartridges,(or chipless firmware) clearing the printhead of regular ink, installing cartridges with dtf ink, removing all but the two end sets of feeder wheels and having a level exit tray for the film to eject to.  Printers must have a compatible rip software, that tells the printer how to distribute the inks.  And although this all sounds pretty easy, there are sure to be a few hiccups along the way.  With the exception of the XP-15000, these printers are used and their conditions will vary.  I've have purchased all of my wide format printers from ebay.  Each printer was discribed as having a minor issue.  "Yellow won't print", "Doesn't feed paper", "Computer doesn't recognize printer" and so on.  Of these, only one needed a new printhead, and for the most part, these were easy to convert.  But you have to be willing to take a chance on the printer, and you can't be afraid to take it apart.  I have learned how to remove the printhead, and how to install an external waste bottle.  These are both things you need to be willing to do.  

In addition to the actual printer and supplies, there are a few utilities and print files you should have to troubleshoot and keep things printing smoothly.

Wic Reset Utility  This tool will help you identify errors, shows you the waste tank counter, does head cleanings, ink charges and nozzle check.  When the time comes to reset the waste tank, it can do that too for a small fee.  This is a must have.

Purge Files  CMYKW Cyan Magenta Yellow Black White

                     White Only

Purge files are good to help get ink flowing when you have just cleared a clog.  You want to avoid doing head cleanings, when possible.   Purge files are also a great way to keep the inks from drying out if you aren't printing everyday.  Keeping cleaning cartridges in when not in use is good, but purge files can help you spot a problem before it shuts you completely down.  

Maintenance is a must.  You must put in your cleaning cartridges and let them charge if your printer is going to be idle for even a few hours.  If you aren't printing everyday, then keep the cleaning carts in and have them do a charge everyday.  Then when you are ready to print, you won't have to fight clogs.  Shake your ink cartridges daily and keep them stored with the top down to keep ink from drying in the outlet.  If the ink carts aren't going to be used for a prolonged time, put tape over the outlet and store them in a zipper bag to prevent drying and settling of the inks.  Shake them often.  If you find that the inks look watery, then give them a good shake.  That's usually a sign that the inks are separating.  Then let them settle for a few minutes before putting them in your printer.

Film feeding problems are a common issue with a lot of these printers.  Make sure the paper feeding area is clean of dust, hair and debris.  Wipe the area down with a lint free cloth and some alcohol.  Be sure to clean the wheels.  Even with a clean paper feeding area, some printers will not take the film.  There are a few things you can try. 

1. Frosted or Kapton tape over the paper sensor.

2  Fold a sheet of paper in half, then put alcohol on half of that and feed it thru the printer.  The paper should not be wet, just damp.

3.  Sticker paper with 1/4 of the backing removed.  Feed it in with the sticky area at the top.  Make sure to feed it thru both front and back.  Do this 2-3 times both ways.

4.  Put several sheets of film in the feeding area.  You might try to place a stack of regular paper behind the film, or even some cardstock.

The film does have a special coating that allows the ink to adhere, and this will cause a buildup on the main feeder wheel.  Keep it clean with alcohol.

For information on how to convert a printer for dtf and maintain it, be sure to visit my YouTube Channel, Crafting On A Budget

Monday, August 30, 2021

Crafter's Square vinyl at Dollar Tree!

I was shopping at one of my area Dollar Trees the other day and saw a shelf full of Crafter's Square vinyl!  So, I bought one of each color, which at that store was black, white, red, blue, yellow and green and in glitter vinyl there was silver, gold and rose gold.  If you follow my facebook page you would have seen a live review I did using both the regular and glitter vinyl.  Be sure to check out the Facebook page to see that review.

The book I put the vinyl on was handed off to my granddaughter.  So far, with the exception of some picking attempts, the vinyl is holding up.  Would I use this on a tumbler or mug that I wanted to last more than a few weeks?  No.  But if you are making a shadow box and placing vinyl on the glass, this would work.  Or if you are wanting to put vinyl on birthday treat bags.  12" wide by 48" long is a lot of material for $1.  Well worth it, I would say.

See, making beautiful things can be affordable!


Monday, August 9, 2021

Giving Sublimation Another Try

 When I found out that you could convert an Epson ecotank printer into a sublimation printer, I ran out and bought myself a ecotank 2720.  I already own a 2720 and a 4760.  The savings in ink is unbeatable.  But when I started trying to make things, the excitement didn't last.  Even though I had purchased a highly recommended ink, I wasn't getting the results I wanted, or saw others getting.  Before long I was listing that printer for sale on marketplace.  

I had found a new love.  Direct to film.  But, I had already invested money into a mug press and sublimation paper.  And there were still a few projects I really wanted to try.  So, while converting wide format printers over for dtf, I realized I could convert one of these into a sublimation printer.  I already had the refillable cartridges and a printer, so I just needed the 6 color inks.  I decided on Printer Jacks.  The difference in the outcome is amazing!  I'm looking for things to sublimate again!   Peek a boo shirts, mugs, and even some custom fabrics.  The printer I chose to convert is an Epson Stylus Photo 1400.  The colors that it's producing are vibrant and wonderful.

It makes me excited for sublimation again.  Not the all over shirt designs that you can find online, but the projects, that are more my skill level.  The all over shirts take a great deal of skill.  

So, if you tried sublimation with an ecotank, and it fell flat for you too, you might want to consider an Epson Workforce printer or a wide format cartridge based printer.  You need to be sure there are refillable, chipless cartridges available on the market, or it won't work.  

This week on my facebook page, I'll be giving away mugs, sublimated with the winners design.  So if you have ever wanted a personalized mug, be sure to go to the Crafting On A Buget facebook page and enter!

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Peek A Boo Shirts

 This week on my Facebook live giveaway, I did a tutorial on how to create a Peek A Boo shirt.   The next giveaway will be for a kit to make your own Peek A Boo shirt.  Winners will be able to choose from the sublimation designs you can find here.  Giveaway is open to everyone.

The sublimation kit will include the fabric inset with the design of the winners choice and the Heat Bond tape to secure the inset onto a shirt that you already have.  

This is the perfect way to upcycle something and give it some new life.

So be sure to visit Crafting On A Budget facebook page and comment and share for 2 chances to win.  Then tune in for the live giveaway to be announced.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Giveaways On Facebook!

 Every week I try to give something away on Facebook.  Here are images of some of the items I have given out.

ICT potholders/2 sets

3D printer slipper for mouse ears

3D printed carriage for mouse ears

Workbooks for kids preschool to 5th grade

More 3D prints for mouse ears in child size

So be sure to go to our facebook page, like and share for your chance to win!

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Ways To Craft On A Budget.

So, a company in Utah released some new machines recently, and of couple of people that I started following during the pandemic because of the mask patterns they had, are influencers of their products.  And I'm sure thousands of people rushed to own the latest and greatest new machines on the market.  I don't promote that company or use their cutting machines.  I do own the first easy press and a Your Story machine.  That being said, you may be wondering, "what does this have to do with crafting on a budget?"  A lot!

Using what you have is crafting on a budget.  I have the Sizzix elcips 2. It has been around since 2014.  I bought a Silhouette Cameo 3 a few years ago when they were on sale and right before they released the Cameo 4.  I've used it a few times, but I mostly have it for a backup.  My eclips 2 will eventully die.  So I don't need a new cutting machine.  I did get swept up in the world of sublimation and bought a mug press, but not from the company in Utah.  Mine allows for 4 sizes of mugs.  I bought a printer for sublimating, because sublimation takes a special ink, but I recently sold it.  I'm planning on converting an older 6 channel, wide format printer over to handle my sublimation needs.  I bought it on ebay.  Basically what I'm trying to say is, you can create without the latest and greatest stuff out there.  It's very hard not to want those new machines when they show you some new techinque that it can perform.  But I have to ask myself, is that really something I want to do?  I remember when the foiling pens were released.  It looks so beautiful.  I found them on sale at Joann's for $40.  They retailed for $100.  Bought myself some foil.  It has to be the We Are Memory Keepers foil, can't use the stuff that goes on shirts.  I was sure I would find so many applications for it.  Turns out, you have to have single line fonts, or designs and getting the foil to lay on the project is a real challenge.  I ruined several sheets of the foil before I got an acceptable result.  This has caused me to not use the foil pen as much as I thought I would.  So, it's in my craftroom, along with the Your Story machine (that I still haven't used) and all my cardstock, vinyl and filament.  

So my mission for the next few months is to NOT purchase any additional crafting supplies, until I have used up what I have.  So any paper projects I might undertake, will have to be made out of my existing collection of cardstock and papers.  Any further 3D printing will need to be done with the filament I have, and any sewing needs to be done with fabics I've already purchased.  I have plenty of "stuff" to make beautiful things affordably!

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