Cactus Coatings Cactus Wrap

Review written by:  Cherie Derrick, Encompass Technologies, August 2000

I have used Cactus Coatings Cactus Wraps about 3 years.  I also have a Stahl's Mighty Mug (7 yrs.), a Nova Chrome Mug Pro (4 months) and 2 Cactus Coatings ORG-2 mug presses (several years).

The Cactus Wrap is used to put images onto mugs by using a standard (non-commercial) oven.   The amount of mugs you can do at one time depends on the type and size of your oven.  I would expect a large convection oven you should be able to do at least 10 at a time. My small 26 yr. old oven can only handle 6 at a time.  

You prepare your transfer the same way as you would for a press.  Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Tape your transfer to the mug, put a piece of plain paper down on the inside of the wrap (to soak up the extra sublimation), put your mug in the wrap, clamp and tighten the bolt.  You don't want to tighten the wrap too tight because you can cause paper sticking problems and possibly damage the wrap, but of course, you need to tighten it enough to keep it secure and have a little pressure on the transfer/mug.  To start with, I suggest you tighten by hand until you can't tighten it anymore.  Then take pliers or a 7/16" nut driver and tighten one (maybe 1 1/2) more turn(s).   Place the mugs in your oven upside down with space in between the mugs for the air/heat to circulate around them.  Bake for 15 minutes.  NOTE: This time may need to be adjusted due to differences in ovens, mug coating, dye-sublimation type and number of mugs you are doing at once.  Be aware that some coatings discolor if baked too long at this temperature.

After baking time has elapsed you can do this last part a couple of different ways.  I have found it best for me to remove the wrap and the transfer prior to placing in water to cool down the mugs.  The reason I like this way best is I then don't have to take the time to dry the wrap prior to using them again.  The other way is, you can drop the mug with the wrap on into water to cool.  Personally, I have had more paper sticking problems doing this step the second way.

The cactus wraps will handle the 11 oz., 15 oz and 18 oz. steins (I also think they will work on the 22 oz. stein that Nova Chrome sells but have not tried it) and are a great alternative to a mug press for anyone just starting up in the business and wants to contain costs or as a supplement to your mug press(es) when doing large production runs.  I suggest that you purchase one or two to try out, then if you decide to use these on a regular basis and you are processing larger orders, you will probably want to buy at least double the amount you can put in your oven at one time and possibly triple (allowing one set to cool, one set being prepared and one set in the oven).

Good luck and happy pressing!

 Update - May 2003

I am now using Artainium UV inks, mugs coated with US Photo/Mugs Coatings (AKA US Coatings) coating and have had to increase my time from 18 minutes to 22 minutes at 400 degrees for 15 oz. mugs in a tabletop convection oven.

I am also using a Black & Decker cordless screwdriver set to 4 (Range on this screwdriver is 1 through 5 and "max") torque setting.  

The main things to consider when purchasing a convection oven is that you need enough room for the air to circulate around the mugs, including top and bottom.  You need a temperature setting of 400 degrees or more and a timer.  With these small convection ovens you may find that you need to increase your time a little more due to heat loss during baking.  I have placed a few 4" ceramic tiles in the bottom of one of my smaller convection ovens to help hold the heat at a more constant temperature.

The above review is: Copyright 2000,  2003 Cherie Derrick, All rights reserved, and may not be copied or reproduced without the written permission of the author.

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