Most direct to garment printers use a “Damper” system as part of the ink delivery to the print head. One damper is used per channel of color so on a FreeJet 330TX 8 dampers are used. Dampers are a very important part of the printer and considered as a consumable part because they do have a lifespan and will need replacement at some point. Having a set of them or a few on hand is highly recommend so they can be replaced when needed with minimal down time. The actual replacement of a damper on a FreeJet printer is very easy and should take you around 10 minutes. In most cases with many other machines this can take much longer and be a lot more of an in depth process.
What does a Damper do? Before ink moves down into the print head it goes through a damper. In most examples the damper sits on a post that is part of the print head. The job of this part is actually very vital to your machine and performs many functions.
1. Filter- every damper has a very fine mesh screen in it to work as a filter. The screen filter is going to stop any small particles from going into the print head.
2. Pressure Stability- If you can image when a print head is printing you have a lot of left and right
movement. This movement is going to cause changes to the pressure of the ink inside the tubes feeding to the print head. The damper keeps the pressure of ink flow to the print head even so you don’t have too much or too little amount of ink feeding into the head. If you imagine the ink flow and the pressure dropping it would cause starvation to the head and cause drop out of color on and off. Too much pressure and the ink could cause the ink to drip.
3. The last function of a damper is to catch and remove any air in the ink before it reaches the head. A bubble in the ink line will reach the damper and then essentially pop inside of it. It you think about a bubble reaching the print head with no damper it would cause a break in the flow of ink when it went through. This would also create a drop out of ink when printing. As you can see the Damper is a very important part of any direct to garment printer. It is also a small plastic part mass produced overseas that works very hard. At some point it will need replacement so purchasing a few to have on hand is always a great idea. They are not considered a warranty part unless they basically fail right out of the box and that is quite rare.