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C. FAQ – Application


  1. Overview
  2. Compatibility
  3. Application
    1. General
    2. Metal
    3. Canvas
    4. Fine Art/Handmade Papers
    5. Fabric
  4. Troubleshooting

II. Metal

Q.What kind of metal is best to print on using inkAID?
A.Aluminum is a good choice for because it’s lightweight and is available in a variety of thicknesses and finishes. Copper and stainless steel can also be used. A "straight through" feed path is necessary for all printers if you are printing anything thicker than metal foil. Aluminum is available in a large variety of alloys and quality. When printing your work on aluminum (or any other metal) you need to identify the metal alloys which are very resistant to corrosion. We recommend an aluminum alloy known as 5052H32. This type of aluminum is found at commercial metal distributors or on the inkAID website. Aluminum sheets in thicknesses of 0.020" (0.51mm), 0.025"(0.64mm), and 0.032"(0.82mm) will work with nearly all ink jet printers having a straight through feed path. Check the specifications of your printer to determine the maximum thickness for your printer.
Q. What is the best way to thoroughly clean metal to ensure a uniform coating of inkAID?
A. All metals must be THOROUGHLY CLEANED of all processing oils and fluids before applying any coating. This is to insure maximum adhesion of the coating to the metal. We recommend the following steps to safely remove all surface dirt and oils that may prevent inkAID from adhering smoothly to the metal:
  1. Wash the surface of the metal twice with very warm water and Dawn dishwashing detergent using a non-abrasive 3M scrub pad or a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.
  2. Rinse the surface of the metal well with very warm water and dry it.
  3. Finally, wipe the surface with isopropyl rubbing alcohol with a non-abrasive cloth and let the metal air dry. Wear gloves so you won't leave finger prints on the metal.
Once the metal is completely dry, you’re ready to coat. Make sure the metal is on a smooth, level, surface. Using a foam brush, apply enough coating so that it flows and levels by itself gently pushing it around the entire surface. If some coating flows over the edge, you're doing it correctly. One moderately heavy coat is sufficient, but some people apply a second coat immediately over the first at a 90 degree direction to make sure the metal is completely coated. If you see any areas where the coating “crawls away” from the surface, you haven’t cleaned thoroughly enough. Stop and rewash the metal. Let the coating dry completely over night.
Q. Which inkAID product should I use to coat metal and how should I apply it?
A. inkAID Clear Gloss Type II coating was formulated especially for use on non-porous materials. It contains an additive that improves adhesion of the coating. Because this coating is clear, the surface of the metal will be visible underneath the coating, which is generally desirable. If you’d rather have a white surface, inkAID White Matte coating can be used as well. A foam brush is usually used but other application methods involve the use of a stainless steel coating rod or a paint sprayer. If using a spraying method be aware that entrained air can produce small bubbles in the coating layer. Always test your application method on small pieces.
Q. I tried printing on my coated metal – the ink layer doesn’t seem even and the surface sheen seems mottled. What happened?
A. If you haven’t done a complete job cleaning the metal, the inkAID won’t coat evenly. Make sure you’ve cleaned the metal as thoroughly as possible and try recoating. Also, if the inkAID hasn’t been applied evenly, it will affect the surface sheen.
Q. When I print, it seems like the ink is puddling or curdling on the surface of the inkAID. What should I do?
A. Always make sure that you’re using a 1440 x 720 or higher resolution when printing onto any inkAID product. Using a higher resolution puts the ink down slower and keeps it dryer, preventing the ink from puddling or curdling on the surface of your print.
Q. What is a good top coating to use to preserve the metallic finish of my piece?
A. A good choice is Krylon Crystal Clear Satin, a solvent based top coating, on any of the inkAID clear coatings. It allows the color to glow like natural metal. Matte sprays tend to deaden or dull the color and gloss sprays will be shiny and reflective. The most natural look will come from 2 light coats of a satin spray. If you are using inkAID White Matte coating you must use a WATER BASED top coating on this inkAID product.