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Is it driving anyone else crazy?

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is it driving anyone else crazy? It seems the film can never stay consistent. From the beginning I have used 2 peoples films without issue. Since then I have tried multiples sources because it seems the "PET" portion is different now to aid in powder adhesion. 


I prefer matte finish films, I just hate looking at glossy prints, it has always made me feel like it was " cheap". Most of my customers agree and choose my products over others for this very reason, so it's not an option to use glossy finish films to me. I started using matte finish films in January 2021. 


So pretty much 95 percent of the films I use are matte finish films. I had found a guy in china who had some good stuff, single sided worked great. I purchased around 30ish rolls of it. over the course of time I would order small bits here and there to maintain a level of stock. Of course, each batch was a bit different, but easily adjustable to. The most common problem with this film was the powder would stick to it, but that wasn't an issue, because for me I was able to just turn my shaker up a bit more and it came out perfect. I mean, perfect. 


Since then, I have tried other brands and suppliers of films, even re-ordered more from this same guy in china. Most of them seem to be made of a different material now, like the PET portion of it- all of them are about the same. The edges are now glossy and the film is thicker. I get it, alot of people had issues in this area with film. 


But the part that drives me insane, is that it seems like it is always a constant battle to just find consistency. So before, people had issues with the powder sticking, now I am having issues with not enough powder sticking. Imagine that. 


So I never really had issues with powder sticking, or really anything at all. It was all fixed with small adjustments. However, now I am in the middle of trying a few brands of film and they all suffer similar problems on this new type of "PET". Yes, no more powder sticks to the film ( which was never really an issue) yes they are thicker films and epsons seem to like them better. 


I personally expected changes from my "larger batch" and by the time I ordered again, but I didn't expect it to be almost unmanageable.


Here is how almost all of the new film I have tried is working for me: 

1. the film will curl a bit when cut, turned the temperature down a bit- fixed. 


2. not enough powder will stick to the prints. even with no shaking/slapping.

I have tried increasing the ink percentages- nothing. 

The only thing that worked was using the chinese powder-

which in turn was too much powder- Can't turn my shaker up enough to get less. Decreased ink percentage- didn't help. 

So one powder won't really stick at all, one sticks too much. weird. 


3. prints falling off the film when handled. 

I have verified they are cured correctly with temperature, by letting them sit and looking for "oil" spots, 

I have tested outcomes with too low and too high temperatures, longer or less cure times. 


So for example, I can cure and lay down a sheet ( or roll) and it be fine. I come back the next day, pick it up, stuff just falls off. Same with pressing- the auto open heat press instant peels the film for me- meaning the film falls off when it opens the press. 


4. the double matte out there that I have tried also works, but I end up with white specs everywhere from the rollers picking it up on conversions. When I say everywhere I mean random bits that fall off the rollers when it builds up enough. 



So basically, I have spent the last 2 weeks trying to get back where I should be because of the film differences. I am using the same machines and shakers, I can swap in an older roll of film and print without any issues at all. My largest issue is the prints just peeling up for no reason. Even overcured, or undercured to an extreme do this. My only explanation- maybe the film shrinks/expands as it cools and heats making this happen. 


Overall, it's driving me crazy and making me send product out of the door I am not happy with. 


Anyone else experience any of this?


overall it's great for people who print and press- couldn't be better. But for people who store or ship these things, it's a nightmare. 


Edited by johnson4
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31 minutes ago, anum11 said:

Yes, pet films are produced by small businesses. So quality would differ a lot from batch to batch. This is one of main negative of DTF. Same happens for powder too.

It is not ideal, it requires constant testing. 

Edited by johnson4
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Are you finding more inconsistencies from no name imports than from the larger domestic suppliers we recognize, or does the inconsistency seem universal, across the board to you, or are you not really buying from the larger domestic suppliers any more?

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1 hour ago, TeedUp said:

Are you finding more inconsistencies from no name imports than from the larger domestic suppliers we recognize, or does the inconsistency seem universal, across the board to you, or are you not really buying from the larger domestic suppliers any more?

I think it seems more along the lines of like playing the lottery. 

i haven’t used a film yet that hasn’t had some sort of downfall. 

the issues generally vary, but here is the list that I can remember: 

1. the amount of ink it can hold

2. powder sticking to the film

2a. Not enough powder sticking to the prints. 

3. Film coating inconsistencies causing random print issues in large batches

4.  Prints not releasing easy enough

5. Prints releasing too easy and basically falling off. 

6. the coating coming off and getting all over the rollers, causing slippage with time or “blobs” of it to ruin prints as it falls off onto the print face. 

7. The thickness, some film seems to warp or curl at temperatures some adhesives need to cure. While other films can literally stay flat while they melt from being severely overheated. 

8. Width discrepancies, might not be an issue for most, but it is annoying when you use smaller films and have everything print directly in the center in non-ganged sheets ( much easier to apply to garment).

9. the type of finish, like glossy, satin or matte. It seems to vary from roll to roll. I’m cool with satin or matte. I don’t want my prints to look like a mirror when walking in the sun, so I don’t use glossy. Colors should still be vibrant with satin or matte finishes.

9. then of course color accuracy. It seems on some film the absorption rate allows some inks to mix more to create awesome colors, while some dry so quickly it makes them look dull, or overall washed out.

 10. The fact that all of the above can happen within the same roll. 

11. buying large batches of film is a serious gamble, because of these issues and more. 



it seems there would be basic guidelines. Simple explanations of the film. 


hot peel/easy release. Vivid/satin finish. 

cold peel/ medium release/ matte finish. 


You know, so customers can choose and keep those products to a standard. I would buy hundreds of rolls, maybe thousands a year if I could simply find a good consistent film. I mean that. that’s why when I find a good “ batch” from any supplier I order it in bulk as much as I can. 

so far inks have been consistent, the powder seems consistent as well.

 it’s just basically the film that is like readjusting everything per new batch, sometimes per roll. 

I hold my prints to a high standard. I throw the stuff away I don’t like, I don’t pass it on to my customers. Yes it’s a loss, but I just won’t. From a reseller standpoint it would be literally impossible to know what film batches are good or consistent and which aren’t without feedback from each customer/roll used, or deal with the loses and test each roll. 

so I have found this from just about anyone i have ever purchased from. Overseas or not. Now locally, they’ll help you. Overseas, you only get help if you succeed in a chargeback so it’s a larger gamble to save $25 per roll. To me a roll can be worth over $1,000, so I’m not worried about $25, I’m worried about consistency. 

If my prints aren’t medium release, ( meaning they won’t fall off during transport, or if they stick to the film when trying to peel too much) I won’t use them. 

if I can’t get a perfect powder coating that is as thin as a sheet of paper in total when finished- I won’t use it. 

if it’s not a satin/matte finish I won’t use it. 

if it has too many inconsistencies per roll, ( I get some issues) I won’t use it. 


to me all of this stems from the material they use ( the PET) for the release and finish, then the coating for the ink absorption and “vividness”. 

Absolutely if I could find the perfect film, and it stay that way because my supplier won’t accept anything less- I would happily pay $150 a roll for the stuff- and order in bulk. 


but seemingly everyone is too busy to really look into it or help with it, so we just have to deal with it. I personally have about 15 rolls of film I can’t use because of the reasons above, while from the same batch the other film worked perfectly. 

it’s almost like they throw in the “ snicklefritz” with the good to cut losses or costs.


so, it’s a pain in the *** to say the least. While I can make most films work, and control the whole process to use it, it’s just the inconsistencies that bring me down and cause time consuming adjustments. 

i will say DTFSS films so far have remained rather consistent. Every now and again I’ll get a transfer from the roll that wouldn’t release correctly, but that’s usually 1-2 feet per roll like that- if that- so nothing really compared to what I am talking about. 

Maybe I’m just picky- but I’d like to order something and it just be that exact thing- always. Not like a batch of homemade cookies that varies batch to batch- rather a box of chips ahoy- always the same. 


Edited by johnson4
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