The Epson F2000 comes standard with a 14×16 platen. 14×16 is perfect for a smooth print surface for most shirt sizes, it makes sense Epson would include this size with the printer. If you want to print smaller garments like baby clothes, or irregular items like bags, hoodies, or button down shirts. These items will have seams, zippers, or buttons that you will have trouble laying flat on the 14×16. These irregularities will most likely throw the platen height sensor forcing you to drop your platen out of the aligned range for a crisp print.
You might consider buying additional size platens for smaller print areas. You can purchase Epson OEM platens or the versatile and fast TucLoc platens from shopmelco.com. TucLoc also offers plug in risers in a number of sizes.
In this article I want to show you how to create your own inexpensive platen riser that will “hide” the irregular rough elements (seams, buttons, and zippers) below a smooth print surface.
One thing to note, I used a 1/4″ piece of OSB for this demonstration for visual purposes. OSB will work and so will cardboard or a mouse pad, but I suggest using cut masonite. Masonite from any hardware store will be inexpensive, it is easy customize and cut, and it is splinter free. You can stack masonite for a higher print surface if needed.
1. Here is an example of a bag that needed a logo front and center. It was difficult keep the seams and straps from throwing the platen height sensor. I needed to drop the platen far too low to receive a crisp print.
2. I need to create a smooth print surface above the seams and straps where I can drop the platen enough to avoid throwing the platen height sensor. This is where your riser comes in.
Set your riser on the platen and lay your garment over top. Tuck and hide all the rough edges to create a smooth print surface above, then drop your platen enough to keep the sensor from going off. Once set, I like to double side tape the riser in place.
We have tricked the printer into thinking we are printing at the aligned platen height so we receive a clean print, but we have dropped the platen far lower than normal.
3. In these photos you can see the rough areas are below the smooth print area. Now we can print quickly and efficiently with no concern of damaging our print head.
Try this technique on any number of items. Make your own DIY riser platens for pockets, sleeves, zipper hoodies, etc.
Keep Experimenting and Happy Printing,
John LeDrew • DTG Director • Melco International