Textile Design student uses SureColor DTG printer

Design student experiments with SureColor SC-F2000 DTG printer

Textile Design student uses SureColor DTG printer

Birmingham City University Textile Design student Amelia Frost talks through how she used Epson’s SC-F2000 to create her latest design on a heavyweight cotton.

A fantastic piece of equipment

Students studying Textile Design at the School of Fashion and Textiles at Birmingham City University regularly get experimental with Epson SureColor printers installed in the school's workshop, where they are encouraged to use the machine in new and exciting ways.

Second year student Amelia Frost talks through how she used Epson’s SC-F2000 to create her latest design on a heavyweight cotton:

"Using the SC-F2000 printer means that anyone can experiment freely. Studying Textile Design at Birmingham City University pushes me to use innovative techniques to create interesting samples of work. The printer can print onto materials up to 16x18in, which is great for using found materials and exploring the different ways materials will react to digital printing. For the piece I am working on, I chose to print on a piece of heavyweight cotton. The SC-F2000 works best printing onto natural materials; although you can still print onto synthetic materials you won’t receive the same clear results.

The process step-by-step

Step 1: To attach the material there is a platen for you to place it onto. Being acrylic means you can tape anything onto it without damaging it as well as any over-printing from the fabric being easy to wipe off. Underneath the platen is a simple mechanism to change the height of it by simply twisting the handle, meaning you can put different thicknesses of materials through the printer. The closer the fabric is to the printer the better the print, printing from far away will mean the ink is likely to spray a more uneven layer causing a blurred image.

Step 2: The digital programme, Garment Creator, which is where you upload your JPEG or PNG digital file is simple to use. You simply upload your image onto the programme and adjust the size accordingly. The screen offers a grid so you know where on the fabric it will be printed and how much space is left around it. Once uploaded, there are many options for you to explore to change the print quality. The options include: print quality, print options, ink density and colour settings. Within these categories you can change each of the simple slide options to work out which is the best print option for you. This is what makes the SC-F2000 so versatile.  I chose to print using a slow speed so that the quality was high with the option of double strike. This option prints the pattern twice with a pause of your desired amount, the longer you leave it the more the ink will dry giving your print a better finish.

The SC-F2000 can print almost any colour desired, although this will also depend on the base colour of the fabric as the colour of this could change the quality of the colours printed. The design I chose only used one colour so the colour density setting was on 75% due to the slightly darker background. Once you have changed the relevant settings you simply press print.

Step 3: Once sent from the computer it will take a short while to copy over the details to the printer. Once they have transferred, the screen on the SC-F2000 will light up and instruct you on your next steps. Press the button the printer instructs you to and your fabric will be taken into the printer. On top of the SC-F2000 there is a transparent area, which allows you to see your design come to life.

Once complete the newly printed design will return to its original place outside of the printer. If you have chosen a setting that requires a double print, a timer will begin on the printing screen to advise you how long you have left of your selected pause time. Once complete simply take your print and leave it to dry. Heat pressing the fabric is a precaution I take to ensure the pattern is set. I was really pleased with the outcome of the design, the linear pattern is simple but the texture of the material adds to the design.

Experimentation and exploration

"The SC-F2000 is a fantastic piece of equipment to explore different printing techniques. Printing onto loose fabrics compared to on a roll means that you can layer up using different techniques. For the sunflower print pictured I experimented using a pause of two minutes in the printing process. This gave me enough time to place a laser cut fabric sample over the top. When the fabric went under to print again the stencil on top obstructed some areas of printing. This gave a playful feel to the print. This is just one way in which I’ve experimented with the SC-F2000. Having only been able to use the printer in two of my projects so far I plan to experiment more freely in my third year to create some experimental results for my final collection.

For anyone looking to use this printer I would advise that you spend some time really getting to grips with the different settings the printer can perform. Each of the different settings can completely transform the way a design will print. Knowing its capabilities will then allow anyone to explore material qualities and layering techniques in more depth. There are so many capabilities with the SC-F2000 that I feel I haven’t yet used it to its full potential. One technique I will look into using is the merging of traditional screen printing with digital printing. Screen printing onto a fabric and then digitally printing could produce some great results as well as adding in the use of flock, puff binder etc. I would definitely recommend the SC-F2000 for designers who like to push the boundaries of printed designs."

www.bcu.ac.uk

Text and images by Melanie Attlesey, Printwear & Promotion, September 2016 Vol.24 No.9
www.printwearandpromotion.co.uk