Pens are usually printed or engraved but how do you know which way to go? The price of engraving has come down a fair bit, so cost is not necessarily the main consideration.
As a rule, plastic pens are printed (you can’t engrave plastic) and metal pens are normally engraved to make them look more classy and attractive.
Keep in mind that the colour of the engraving on metal pens is dependent on the metal that the pen is made of. Most pens are made of brass and the colour under the coating is a brownish tan colour. See images below for a representation. If you wish to know what colour the engraving comes out on your chosen pen, please contact Andrew Koch on 02 8603 4760.
Pad printing is easily the most popular way to apply your logo. It allows for perfect matching of your artwork because any PMS colour can be applied. As mentioned earlier, engraved pens will usually show a brown finish.
Pad printing is accomplished using an indirect offset printing process that involves an image being transferred from the printing plate via a silicon pad and onto a substrate (surface to be printed). Pad printing inks are solvent based and require mixing with additives at the time of use. They typically dry to touch in seconds but complete drying (curing)may take a few weeks depending on variables such as room temperature and number of daylight hours.
When it comes to pad printing, it is essential to include a hardener in the pad printing process. If you do not use a hardener, the ink will easily be scratched off or will slowly be removed from the contact with your hand. Sweat and heat from will remove the print within 6 months if the pen is constantly used. Always ask the question to new suppliers whether they are using an effective hardener. Printed Pens Direct has an almost zero rejection rate because we take this part of the process very seriously. We want the prints to be permanent and to easily outlast the life of the pen itself.
PAD PRINTING CYCLE
- From the home position, the sealed ink cup (an inverted cup containing ink) sits over the etched artwork area of the printing plate, covering the image and filling it with ink.
- The sealed ink cup moves away from the etched artwork area, taking all excess ink and exposing the etched image, which is filled with ink. The top layer of ink becomes tacky as soon as it is exposed to the air, that is how the ink adheres to the transfer pad and later to the substrate.
- The transfer pad presses down onto the printing plate momentarily. As the pad is compressed, it pushes air outward and causes the ink to lift (transfer) from the etched artwork area onto the pad.
- As the transfer pad lifts away, the tacky ink film inside the etched artwork area is picked up on the pad. A small amount of ink remains in the printing plate.
- As the transfer pad moves forward, the ink cup also moves to cover the etched artwork area on the printing plate. The ink cup again fills the etched artwork image on the plate with ink in preparation for the next cycle.
- The transfer pad compresses down onto the substrate, transferring the ink layer picked up from the printing plate to the substrate surface. Then, it lifts off the substrate, returning to the home position, which completes one print cycle.