Tech Tip Tuesday: Symptoms of Having Chosen the Incorrect Pad Printing Pad

The pad is one of the most important elements in the pad printing process. The correct choice is essential in obtaining good final print results.

Symptoms of having chosen the incorrect pad printing pad:

  1. Pin holing (pad too soft or too shallow),
  2. Image distortion,
  3. Incomplete transfer (in particular near the peak of the pad),
  4. Inability to pickup entire image (pad too small),
  5. Will not fit on equipment,
  6. Equipment incapable of compressing pad sufficiently for pickup, transfer or both.

Choosing the correct pad requires some familiarity with the pad print process.  General rule of thumb:

  1. Choose as hard a pad as the process will allow.
  2. Keep the image size to no more than 80% of the print area of a given pad.
  3. When odd form printing … use a large a pad (within reason) as is possible.

Our customer service team will help you choose the proper pad for your printing application. Some of the questions we will ask (in addition to print area, shape and surface texture) are:

  1. Thickness of the base (1/2″, 3/4″, etc.);
  2. Type of base needed (wooden is standard, or specify flat aluminum or extruded aluminum dovetail);
  3. Machining or drilling needed on base (size and location of tap holes);
  4. Overall maximum pad height, including the base;
  5. Whether the pad needs to be hollow of with a helicoil insert;
  6. How hard or soft the item is being printed (to determine pad durometer);
  7. The size “T” nut needed to attach pad to machine (if needed).