The B-SERIES inks are designed to replace the OEM ink set for the Brother GT3 Direct To Garment printer. These inks are designed with high performance capabilities, 35 second white ink cure time with as close a match to the original OEM inks as possible at a more affordable operating cost per cc of ink. This process does require OEM cartridges that are empty. So make sure to save all carts for future use with the Image Armor replacement ink bags. Typically the change over from OEM to Image Armor inks will be done when you do the weekly White Tube Flush maintenance routine. Always change the White and CMYK colors at the same time. It is NOT recommended to mix OEM inks with Image Armor inks.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
- FULL Set of Image Armor B-Series inks including:
- If you have a GT-361 you will need 2 White bags, You will need 4 white bags for a GT-381.
- Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black
- Bottle of GPI CLEANING SOLUTION
- Bottle of GPI Capping Solution
- Syringe (which you should already have for general maintenance.)
- o A utility knife
- An Anvil Style shearer (similar to below). This can be purchased at any Home Depot, Lowes or garden supply store.
1.1. To properly use the Image Armor B-SERIES ink bags, you will need OEM ink cartridges for each slot of ink you use. If you have a GT-381, you will need 8 empty or almost empty ink cartridges. We will follow below the proper procedures for preparing the ink carts to receive the B-SERIES ink bags.
1.2. Use a sharp razor to carefully slice the label on the back end of the cartridge. The cartridge is seamed and you need to slice the label where the plastic cartridge is seamed together. Just follow the line where the two plastic pieces come together. This will make it easier to remove the plastic cartridge later in this process. Do this on all three sides.
1.3. To make the cartridge much easier to open, there are 12 plastic tabs that will need to be cut with the cutting tool. See locations below.
This is a closeup picture of the tab that will need to be cut.
1.4. Using the Cutting Tool, cut one side of the vertical tab.
1.5. Cut the other side of the tab as seen in picture below.
1.6. After making these two cuts on the tabs the finished cut on the tab should look like the following picture.
1.7. Repeat cutting this plastic piece of the tab off each location of a tab as indicated in Step 1.2. There are 12 tab pieces that need to be cut on each cartridge.
1.8. Repeat these 12 cuts on each cartridge for your printer. This will allow for much easier opening of the ink cartridge.
2.1. It is extremely important to follow each of these step to ensure that the new Image Armor bags are inserted correctly. Failure to insert the bag correctly can result in erroneous readings of ink levels and potentially could put undue strain on the print head. FOLLOW THE INSTALLATION INSTRUCTIONS CLOSELY.
2.2. Starting at the front of the cartridge, pry the side cover of the cartridge from the case. With the tabs removed the cover will come off more easily Completely remove the side cover from the cartridge. Once the cover is removed, you can start at the back of the ink bag and pull it loose from the cartridge. The ink bag is held in place with double-sided tape. Carefully peel the bag from the inside of the cartridge being careful when removing it from the front of the cartridge where the ink bag sits behind the ink level arm and clear plastic flap. Do not damage the ink level arm or clear plastic flap.
2.3. Once the OEM bag is removed, try to remove any remaining residual double sided tape that remains in the cartridge. The Image Armor bags already have double-sided tape on them – we do not want any residual tape to remain prior to putting the Image Armor bag in the cartridge.
2.4. NOTE: The image below shows how the bag should look in the cartridge when we are done with this procedure. The bag does not fit snugly in the cartridge in the vertical position. There is a little play – especially on the non-nozzle end. The bag MUST be inserted so that (in this picture the LEFT side) of the bag is at the back and TOP of the cartridge. This will help the flow of ink move towards the nozzle as the bag is emptied (i.e. the bag is “tilted from left to right). There should be a small gap at the bottom and back of the cartridge between the bottom of the bag and the cartridge bottom. The back-left TOP of the bag should fit snugly against the TOP of the cartridge. The NOZZLE of the bag should fit snugly and in position without any undue stress or kinking of bag.
2.5. When inserting the bag into the OEM cartridge, you will see a Lever and a clear plastic flap. The Ink Level Arm should spring back to the back of the cartridge if gently lifted and released. If it DOES NOT spring back, the spring is missing and a new cartridge must be used. The bag must insert and sit behind BOTH the ink lever arm AND the clear plastic flap. FAILURE TO INSERT THIS CORRECTLY WILL RESULT IN ERRONEOUS INK READINGS AND CAN POTENTIALLY CAUSE ISSUES. ENSURE THE INK BAG IS BEHIND BOTH OF THESE ITEMS.
2.6. Slide the bag forward so that the plastic nozzle fits snugly into the molded area designed to hold the nozzle.
2.7. Once the nozzle is in place, layout the ink bag so that the left side (or rear) of the bag sits towards the top back of the cartridge. This will leave a slight gap between the bottom of the ink bag and the bottom of the cartridge. In reality the bag will be sitting at a slight tilt, from the left side of the cartridge (as seen in the picture below) and flowing towards the nozzle on the right side of the cartridge.
2.8. Once the bag is in position, take the top RIGHT corner of the bag, just above the nozzle and pull it back slightly. There is a RED round dot. This is double sided tape. Remove the tape backing and allow the bag and nozzle to settle back into position from Step 2.7. The nozzle should fit back into the moulded recess easily.
2.9. Press the top RIGHT corner of the bag where the double sided tape is to affix it to the bag and rub it to firmly affix the bag to the cartridge. This will hold the FRONT of the bag and nozzle in place. Lower the plastic flap and Lever back in place to rest against the newly inserted bag.
2.10. While holding the bag in place just behind the lever, lift the bag and fold it over the top of the cartridge to reveal the double sided tape affixed to the back of the ink bag.
2.11. While holding the bag in place just behind the lever, lift the bag and fold it over the top of the cartridge to reveal the double sided tape affixed to the back of the ink bag.
2.12. Repeat Step 2.11 with the remaining last half of the ink bag. Lift the left side of the ink bag and fold it up to reveal the remaining double sided tape affixed to the ink bag. Remove the tape backing and firmly apply pressure to the ink bag to affix bag to the cartridge.
2.13. Before finishing and sealing the cartridge, ensure once again that the ink bag is BEHIND the clear plastic flap AND the ink lever.
2.14. Take the black plastic cover and position it back on top of the cartridge and firmly press the cover into place. The remaining tabs will snap back into position and hold the cover of the cartridge in place.
This completes the preparation of a single cart and installation of the new Image Armor ink bag.
3.1. The best time to change over the inks is when the weekly WHITE TUBE FLUSH is done. Complete the WHITE TUBE FLUSH just like normal according to the OEM USER MANUAL. You can use either the OEM Flushing Solution or the GPI CLEANING SOLUTION if you will immediately be replacing the white inks. If you are flushing the system and will be allowing it to sit for any extended period of time (more than 24 hours) use the GPI FLUSHING SOLUTION.
3.2. Once the weekly tube flush is completed, and when you are ready to insert white ink into your printer, you want to re-load with the ink cartridges from STEP 2 of this document.
3.3. Insert all the new White ink and CMYK cartridges into the printer.
3.4. GO into the MENU and select MAINTENANCE.
3.5. Select LOAD WHITE. Press OK.
3.6. Select ALL WHITES. Press OK. Make sure the white ink cartridges are inserted, follow any instructions on the machine, and load the white ink.
3.7. To load the CMYK colors, insert all CMYK cartridges in the appropriate slots.
3.8. Press the MENU button and go down to MAINTENANCE.. Press OK.
3.9. Scroll to INITIAL CLEANING. Press OK.
3.10. Select ALL COLORS and press OK. This process will take several minutes to load the CMYK inks into the printer. This will replace the OEM inks in the ink tubes with the Image Armor B-SERIES inks.
3.11. Do a nozzle check for both the white and CMYK colors. Do necessary head cleanings as required.
BASIC DAILY MAINTENANCE AND CLEANINGS:
- Basic daily maintenance and cleaning is VERY important to keeping your printer running properly. Follow these tips to keep your printer in top running condition.
CLEAN THE CAPPING STATION and WIPER BLADES:
- Use the GPI CLEANING SOLUTION and cleaning swabs to keep the capping station and wiper blades completely clean. To access the capping station and wiper blades, go into the MENU and select MAINTENANCE > then MAINTENANCE PARTS EXCHANGE. We recommend cleaning these parts at the end of the day to ensure solid capping station contact with the print head.
CLEAN THE PRINTHEAD SURFACES AND SURROUNDING AREA:
- A clean head is a happy head. You can clean the print head and around the print head simply by removing the platen, go into the MENU and select MAINTENANCE > and MAINTENANCE PARTS EXCHANGE. This will move the print head to the middle of the machine. You do NOT need to turn the printer off when it tells you to do this. When done cleaning the print head, press the CANCEL button to return the print head to the left and allow it to dock.
USE CAPPING STATION SOLUTION IN THE INK CAPPING STATION:
- While the print head is being cleaned or after the capping station and wiper blades are cleaned, place several drops (or fill up the cap) of the GPI CAPPING STATION SOLUTION into each of the caps in the capping station. When done, you can CANCEL out the process to return the print head to the capping station and allow it to dock. This should be done EVERY DAY to help keep the ink in the capping station suction lines wet. It will help avoid the ink drying in those lines. FAILURE TO DO THIS CAN RESULT IN INK DRYING IN THE SUCTION LINES CAUSING THE PRINTER TO NOT BE ABLE TO SUCK INK THROUGH THE HEAD AND CLEAN THEM PROPERLY – AND RESULT IN A TECHNICIAN MAINTENANCE CALL.
- If the ink carts “feel” light, open it to verify the ink levels are reading properly. An empty bag will have very little ink left in it. If the cart “feels” empty, it very well might be. Take the cautious stance and physically check those carts to see if a new bag of ink needs to be inserted.
It is extremely important to utilize the CAPPING STATION SOLUTION each day in the printer. Fill the capping station suction caps with the CAPPING STATION SOLUTION. This solution can be left in the machine over night and will help prevent ink in the drain/suction tubes from drying out and causing blockages.
Make sure to clean up any residual or stray ink in the capping station area or other areas of the printer.
Always have an extra set of WIPER CLEANING CASSETTE cartridges as well as other parts on hand. This will help you avoid any delays in production due to waiting on new parts to ship.
Replace the WIPER CASSETTES any time they get over saturated with ink. Over saturated cassettes will not allow the print heads to be cleaned properly possibly resulting in dirty print heads, missing nozzles, and banded prints.
Make sure to shake the WHITE INK cartridges daily while also running the WHITE INK AGITATION routine each day.
In addition to utilizing the CAPPING STATION SOLUTION we like to run the CLEANING SOLUTION in the capping station caps also. This will also help break down any ink and keep the ink and drain tube areas “wet” and reduce buildup.
If the White ink sits for more than 2 days, you may need to run a couple of prints to get the ink back into solution in the white ink lines. A weak white, or “clearish” or “blue-ish” printed white ink indicates that the inks have somewhat separated due to lack of use. You can always retrieve the white ink, shake the cartridges, and then reload that white ink to save printing samples to ensure that you get the white ink printing properly. Several standard prints will also get the white ink moving again.