Advanced VersaCAMM® Training
May 1, 2014
This was the first Advanced Training that was held at the Stahl’s facility in St. Claire Shores, Michigan, with Steven Jackson as the instructor. The class was aimed at color profiles, workflow, machine maintenance, and troubleshooting issues.
Day 1 we started with a quick overview of what we had learned in the first class and then jumped right into color profiles. How color is viewed depends on the type of light, the object, and the observer. In order to create the profiles based on the different medias and ink configuration you need to have a spectrophotometer.
The first thing to do before creating any new profiles is to calibrate the printer, which should be done or checked frequently to keep it optimized. We found that by using a magnification loupe it is easier to see each line of the calibration test print and also on the nozzle checks. All of us “cammers” should have a loupe to accurately calibrate our VersaCAMM®.
By understanding the color gamut of the printer we learned how to adjust the profile or the color settings within VersaWorks™ to obtain satisfactory prints. VersaWorks™ has the ability to connect directly to a spectrophotometer and create spot colors or profiles. This has become a great benefit to me as we are doing garment decoration and need to add “halos” around graphics that are too fine to weed properly. I simply connect the i1 spectrophotometer from X-Rite (This is a tool that we had purchased a few years ago to calibrate our art department’s monitors) to VersaWorks™ and create a spot color of the garment that is to be decorated and name it within VersaWorks™. I believe this alone is well worth the cost of the class. See the photos below of the different tools, weeded logo, and finished garment.
This was done using Solutions Opaque on a Navy nylon windbreaker, before taking the class we would have done several different prints using either a Pantone color or a Roland Spot color to get an acceptable navy to blend in with the jacket. This process was more of a trial and error way of doing it and very time consuming. Now it is just click and there is the LAB value of the garment color, name it and print.
We then moved onto the advanced workflow features within VersaWorks™. We learned how to use custom input folders and automate the production by using the input folders. VDP (Variable Data Printing) is a great feature within the program and by learning some of the more advance features within the VDP it will save time doing personalized garments or decals. The one area that I find very helpful is the ability to set up the VersaCAMM® to run unattended whether it be overnight or while doing other jobs. This makes using the machine even more profitable since now we can be doing other jobs while it is printing and cutting. A great benefit when doing either long run jobs or multiple smaller jobs.
That evening we went out for a networking dinner. I find these as valuable as the class itself! This one had a special twist to it, Brian Baker from Stahl’s showed up and discussed some of the new TEK solutions and had samples to show us. Brian went over how all of the solutions are made and what testing each goes thru before it is released to us as customers. We convinced him to come over to the class the next day to continue the discussion and to show how to create neat effects using multiple solutions.
Day 2 was devoted more toward troubleshooting and machine maintenance. Steven had multiple slides of different print problems and had us go thru the steps on how to identify the issue. After going thru these routines I believe we all should be able to diagnose most of our issues when they arise. We then went over how to replace the capping station/captop, wiper, and scraper. Seeing someone do this in person will make changing one now a breeze, except for the tiny spring.
We discussed some of the common graphics issues that cause problems when trying to get a cut-line. How a design is created makes a difference on how the file prints.
Brian came over and we spent the rest of the day going over decoration methods and how the different solutions work together or separately. This could be a 2 day class alone. All of us left with new ideas flowing through our heads.
I want to take this time to say THANK YOU to Stahl’s for putting this on and to Steven for the great presentation on color profiling and workflow. To anyone that is using a VersaCAMM® and is thinking of taking the next Advanced Training my suggestion is DO IT! This class has simplified our workflow and the spot color creation is invaluable.