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Changing the order of objects

March 18th, 2012

Arranging the order of objects in CorelDraw

If you have ever started a design and decided later that the last object you created or brought into the graphic you really need it to be somewhere in between some other objects within the graphic. If you have spent hours working with that document then you wouldn’t want to spent a lot of time trying to work around the dilemma.

From CorelDraw, you can change the stacking order of objects on a layer or a page by sending objects to the front or back, or behind or in front, of other objects. You can also position objects precisely in the stacking order, as well as reverse the stacking order of multiple objects.

Here is how:

1. Select the object

2. Click “Arrange” from the menu

3. At this point you can arrange “back one’; “forward one”; “all the way to the back”; “all the way to the front”.

An object cannot be moved to a locked (non-editable) layer; instead, it is moved to the closest normal or editable layer. For example, when you apply the To front of page command, and the topmost layer is locked, the object is moved to the topmost editable layer. Any objects on the locked layer remain in front of the object.

By default, all objects on the master page appear on top of the objects on other pages.

An Order command is unavailable if the selected object is already positioned in the specified stacking order. For example, the To front of page command is unavailable if the object is already in front of all the other objects on the page.

In addition, you will find informative videos for configuring color management by the support team at Condé by visiting Condé TV, the Condé Facebook Page and Condé Twitter. Look for more upcoming videos and informative blog entries to be added for successful sublimation and maintaining your Condé DyeSub System. If there is something that you think would be better said in an instructional video or blog posting, then we look forward to hearing your ideas.

Senior Technical Consultant,

Vicky Waldrop


How to Apply a mesh to an object in CorelDraw

February 17th, 2012

For those who like to create vector images and blend color into and object, I have a great tool for you to learn and have some fun with. The “Mesh Tool in CorelDraw id an awesome way to create colorful drawings and transition color into something very artistic. People will ask how you did it. I use this tool with flowers and for creating a more 3D effect with some graphics. I hope you find this tool as useful as I do. Here is how…

To apply a mesh fill to an object:
1.

Select an object.

2.
In the toolbox, click the Mesh fill tool .
3.
Type the number of columns in the top portion of the Grid size box on the property bar.
4.
Type the number of rows in the bottom portion of the Grid size box on the property bar, and press Enter.
5.
Adjust the grid nodes on the object.
You can also
Add an intersection
Click once within a grid, and click the Add intersection button on the property bar.
Add a node
Hold down Shift, and double-click where you want to add the node.
Remove a node or an intersection
Click a node, and click the Delete node(s) button on the property bar.
Shape the mesh fill
Drag a node to a new location.
Remove the mesh fill
Click the Clear mesh button on the property bar.
If the mesh object contains color, adjusting the intersection nodes of the mesh affects how the colors blend together.
You can also marquee select or freehand marquee select nodes to shape an entire area of the mesh. To marquee select nodes, choose Rectangular from the Selection mode list box, and drag around the nodes you want to select. To freehand select nodes, choose Freehand from the Selection mode list box, and drag around the nodes you want to select. Holding down Alt while dragging lets you toggle between the Rectangular and Freehand selection mode.
You can add an intersection by double-clicking in a space, or you can add a single line by double-clicking a line.
To add color to a patch in a mesh fill
1.
Select a mesh-filled object.
2.
In the toolbox, click the Mesh fill tool .
.
Drag a color from the color palette to a patch in the object.
You can also
Color an intersection node in a mesh fill
Click an intersection node, and click a color on the color palette.
Mix a color in a mesh fill Select part of the mesh, press Ctrl, and click a color on the color palette.
You can also drag a color from the color palette to an intersection node.

You can also marquee select or freehand marquee select nodes to apply a color to an entire area of the mesh. To marquee select nodes, choose Rectangular from the Selection mode list box on the property bar, and drag around the nodes you want to select. To freehand select nodes, choose Freehand from the Selection mode list box on the property bar, and drag around the nodes you want to select. Holding down Alt while dragging lets you toggle between the Rectangular and Freehand selection mode.

In addition, you will find informative videos for configuring color management by the support team at Condé by visiting Condé TV, the Condé Facebook Page and Condé Twitter. Look for more upcoming videos and informative blog entries to be added for successful sublimation and maintaining your Condé DyeSub System. If there is something that you think would be better said in an instructional video or blog posting, then we look forward to hearing your ideas.

Senior Technical Consultant,

Vicky Waldrop


Using Felt with Condé Products

February 3rd, 2012

When I am asked how and when felt should be used, I have to include the rules of pressure and the types of products you have to transfer onto. For instance if you are pressing to a textured surface or some other uneven surface like tile or something with an easel on the

Using felt to create a meshing effect

back you cant exactly close the press evenly. So to accomplish an even surface where the top platen touches the sublimatable area, you must have something in between the hard surfaces to create a meshing effect. When this occurs the felt is needed.

With the right amount of pressure applied by the press the product will mesh into the softness of the felt and allow some resistance for the top surface to adjust to the flatness of the top platen. Therefore, creating equal distribution across the sublimatable area.

Felt is most often used on the bottom of the press just above the bottom platen and Teflon sheet. The felt is then applied and cover with protective paper to prevent ink from transferring onto the your reusable products that are more costly if replaced.

In addition, you will find informative videos for configuring color management by the support team at Condé by visiting Condé TV, the Condé Facebook Page and Condé Twitter. Look for more upcoming videos and informative blog entries to be added for successful sublimation and maintaining your Condé DyeSub System. If there is something that you think would be better said in an instructional video or blog posting, then we look forward to hearing your ideas.

Senior Technical Consultant,

Vicky Waldrop


Experimenting with various times.

February 3rd, 2012

Often we have calls about what time to use when the Condé instructions call for a window of time (ex:6-8 mins.), The time variation is  due to differences in the equipment. I will try to explain what I mean by an equipment variation. Mug presses have have different amps. The higher the amps the hotter the press can get. Low amps can have lower temperatures. This will cause time variations based on the equipment you are using. Thus, causing variations in color or should I say the finished product. I have a simple solution for finding your time based on your press.

Here is How:

From your digital imaging application create four black boxes small enough to fit on one of the products in test. It is always recommended to purchase a couple of additional products for beta testing on your end.

Using one of the additional products you would have purchased for testing, and various times, sublimate one box at a time allow a cooling period between each of the four transfers. For example refer to the image on the right: Cut out each box and transfer each separately using the different instructions within the individual boxes. At the end of the test you will have four black boxes on one product and within those boxes the different instructions your used for press times. After reviewing, determine the better of the four colors and make a note of which one provides the best result. That is your time and instruction!

I also recommend keeping a notebook of any and all instructions so that you can revisit them for future pressings with that particular product. This will save time and we all know time is money. Not to mention the bad product you will eliminate from your “wall of shame”.

In addition, you will find informative videos for configuring color management by the support team at Condé by visiting Condé TV, the Condé Facebook Page and Condé Twitter. Look for more upcoming videos and informative blog entries to be added for successful sublimation and maintaining your Condé DyeSub System. If there is something that you think would be better said in an instructional video or blog posting, then we look forward to hearing your ideas.

Senior Technical Consultant,

Vicky Waldrop


HOW MUCH PRESSURE IS ENOUGH?

July 29th, 2011

By Steve Conde

I just saw a video (not on CondéTV by the way) that inadvertently raised the old issue of “How Much Pressure Is Enough?” and then confused the issue completely with just one piece of inaccurate information.
I have no desire to beat this guy up over a slip of the tongue but it is very important that sublimators understand pressure, so here’s a short tutorial:

FINAL ANSWER: The winning answer to how much pressure is enough is (drum roll please): As much as it takes to cause the transfer to come into full and complete contact with the substrate so there are no air bubbles remaining.

Through the years, we have given this many labels: “LIGHT, MEDIUM or HEAVY” remain the best descriptions but those are confusing since everyone is different. A petite girl might have a very different sense of “Heavy” than a 300# man. So, we have tried to do it by the number of hands it takes to close the press: “Two Fingers for Light, Two Hands for Medium and extra effort for Heavy. But that doesn’t really help much either since everyone is different.

George Knight tried to fix this with a “Pressure Gauge” a number of years ago. The “gauge” readout on the machine shows up as a number (0-9). Although this has helped in consistency between people of different sizes, it only adds another number to the mix. Is light pressure a 1 or 2 or 3? The secret is always with the operator, not a dial. You must learn to “feel” the difference.

To further confuse matters, there is the old “Rule of Thumb” that says, 20psi is light pressure, 40psi is medium and 60-80psi is heavy pressure. Unless you own a hydraulic press however, this is all wrong. No desktop press could withstand 20psi across the platen. It would be like parking a Lincoln Town Car on top of the press. Those numbers, although they may be accurate for someone with a hydraulic press, mean nothing to the manual press user. They refer to how much air press is allowed into the air piston and is not the amount of pressure exerted in the press.

So what is the right answer? I have already told you: As much pressure as it takes to remove any air between the transfer and the substrate without damaging the substrate. For most people, if it takes both hands to close your press, that’s probably enough. Excessive pressure isn’t necessary. For the slight of build, this may mean a good “Umph” to close the press. For an adult man, it will require some effort to close the press but no strain.

What IS important is that you always hear the press “latch” when it closes. The amount of pressure you apply from the time you first feel resistance to the time you hear the latch equals the amount of pressure actually being applied.


If You Have Time to Lean, You Have Time To Clean!

June 16th, 2011

By Steve Conde

It’s been decades since I first saw this sign on a sales counter somewhere. I thought it was cute then and still do but I didn’t know then I would be involved in sublimation and I certainly didn’t know it would apply to sublimation equipment.

One of the things we sublimators fail to do is take care of our equipment – especially heat presses. They are just one of those things that sits around always works – until it doesn’t anymore. Then we are in big trouble!

Heat presses and other sublimation equipment doesn’t require much in the way of maintenance but making the time to do those monthly PMs can make the difference between a heat press lasting 20 years or 20 months.

Each month, you should wipe down your heat press to remove dust. It may sound trivial but dust is the enemy to any kind of equipment, including those big honkin’ heat presses. Dust finds its way into the cracks and crevices into timers and electrical circuitry causing it to run hotter than it should, carrying with it moisture that corrodes and decays contacts and integrated circuitry.

Each time you raise or lower the platen of a swing-a-way press, there is metal rubbing against metal on that main post in the back of the press. Rub metal to metal together long enough and the platen will no longer position itself parallel to the stage and that’s turns a good press into a door stop. Just a little bit of heat resistant lubricant or even white grease will keep that post going up and down freely for years to come.

The moving parts of any heat press that are positioned over the heat platen are particularly subject to metal against metal grinding. Not only do you use these joints the most but the fact they are constantly being exposed to heat causes the lubricants, even heat resistant grease to break down and evaporate. These joints should be carefully lubricated at least monthly, and more often if you use your press a lot. For these joints heat resistant grease is by far the best choice. You should be able to find this type of grease at most auto parts supply stores, electronic supply stores and many good hardware stores.

Always check the rubber pad on the stage of your heat press to insure it is pliable and intact. A rubber pad that is cracked, torn or gouged should be replaced immediately since it will cause imperfections in your finished jobs.

Although the electrical portion of your heat press should be reserved for an expert, you can still give it the once over by looking at any exposed wires to be sure they are well insulated and safe. Always do this with the press unplugged and don’t forget to check the power cord while you are at it. Too often, I see people using computer power cables in the place of the cord that came with the press, after all, they all look pretty much alike. But they are not alike, not by a long shot. Always use the power cord that came with your press. If something does go wrong with it, order a new one from your distributor. To use a lighter cord creates a serious fire hazard.

Clean your heat platen at least once a month with rubbing alcohol. Be sure the press is cold when cleaning and don’t just wipe it off once, wipe it off several times. Sublimation dyes are very stubborn and hard to see with the naked eye. If you have a seriously nasty platen, use Simple Green cleaner to remove the built up dye and then clean with alcohol to remove any residue the Simple Green might leave.

Teflon sheets wear out. Replace these periodically. If you compare a new one to an old one, it isn’t difficult to see when it is worn out. Always store your Teflon sheets flat or rolled up and stored in a tube for safety. The same is true with rubber pads used for making ceramic tiles and glass products. These should be pliable and clean with not tears or gouges in them and should always be stored flat or rolled up and stored in a tube. Letting something sit on a rubber pad for a period of time can put an indentation in it which will ruin it. These rubber pads are very expensive to replace so you will want to take extra careful care of yours.

If you do find something wearing out on your heat press or the associated equipment that goes with it, call your Condé representative. They will be happy to get your press back in tip-top shape.

So the next time you have some time to just lean, clean your heat press instead.


Newsprint – What’s That Got to Do With Sublimation?

June 13th, 2011

By Steve Conde

There are actually two papers I want to talk about today and you should have a roll of at least one of them in your shop right now. They are newsprint and butcher paper. I have newsprint because I can get it cheaper than butcher paper but you might get a better price on butcher paper.

What on earth do you need one of these papers for? Protecting your heat press! Condé and most other sublimators will recommend you always use a piece of throw-away paper both on top and bottom of whatever product you are making to keep any stray sublimation dye from finding its way to your heat press. When dye does find its way to the press, it can show up again on a product, usually fabric, and ruin it. Dye can be cleaned off a press but who wants to waste their time doing that!?

Butcher paper and newsprint are about the cheapest papers around. Many places will sell it either in a roll or in sheet form. If you buy sheets, buy the same size as your press. For instance, if you press is a 16×20”, that’s the size to buy. If you buy a roll and your press is 16×20”, buy either 16” or 20”. This will give you full coverage for those really big jobs. I often use cheap copy paper for the small jobs but newsprint is cheaper.

Whatever paper you use, it must be clean, unused paper. It can be natural (brown) or bleached (white) butcher paper – it doesn’t matter. Newsprint, also comes in a kind of an off-white color (natural) and bleached.

Here is something to think about: If you have a plant in your community that actually prints newspapers, those advertising flyers that look a lot like a newspaper, or even books, you might give them a call and ask if they will sell you the “end rolls”. An end roll is the core of a huge roll of paper. They will vary in how much paper is left on them but they are often so cheap, it just doesn’t matter.

Here’s the story about end rolls: When running one of the huge presses, paper comes in rolls that are four feet or more in diameter. It takes special equipment to change the roll in the printing press and it is really bad if the press actually runs out of paper so operators change the roll long before it has a chance to run out leaving hundreds of feet of paper still on the roll. This is sometimes donated to childcare centers and such but there is so much of it, much of it is just destroyed. Many printers will sell the end rolls for $2 or $3 each to anyone who asks.

Once you know what size paper you are going to use, consider buying a dispenser. These are inexpensive ($40 or so) and can be mounted on the wall near your press. The pressure bar that keeps the paper from rolling off into the floor doubles as a cutting edge making it easy to pull and rip whatever size of paper you need.

Although some people use and recommend Teflon sheets in the place of paper, I do not. Teflon will capture and hold sublimation dye and then release it later onto fabric. Teflon sheets are an important item to have in your shop, especially if you print any kind of self-adhesive product such as Rowmark Mates but they should not be used – ever – on fabric. Paper just does a better job because you know it is always clean (never use the same sheet twice).

Where to buy paper? There are many places that sell newsprint and/or butcher paper includes Costco, Sam’s Club, restaurant suppliers, paper and printer supply houses, art supply stores and on-line.


I’ll Never Be Successful With Sublimation

May 26th, 2011

By Steve Conde

Maybe you have heard this yourself or maybe you have even said it. I’ve heard it far too many times as people struggle with some element of sublimation. Learning CorelDRAW is probably the most common.

Granted, for some it is easier than others but the reason most people have trouble with CorelDRAW isn’t because it is so complicated (that’s really a myth to make those of us use it feel better about ourselves), it’s because people don’t want to spend the time, exert the effort or more often yet, just plain downright fear. That’s right, fear. They have heard how hard Corel or PhotoShop is for so long, they have built up this horrible image in their minds.

Look, a million people have learned Corel and PhotoShop and most of the other programs as well, and if they can do it, you can do it.

I often say, “CorelDRAW has 100,000 commands in it”. I actually have no idea how many it has but it does have a bunch. But, a sublimator only needs to know about 35 of them to get started and most will never know more than 100 or so. You can learn that many! You don’t have to know how to make a bunching ball with shadows and depressions and reflections of light – you can’t sublimate that any way. What you need to learn is how to make a square and a circle. How to add text and how to work a little with bitmaps (photographs).

But software isn’t the only stumbling block, there have been many others through the years. One continues to be making edge to edge mugs in a heat press. Sounds easy but results can be very frustrating. Other times I hear the, “I’ll never learn this stuff” speech is when a heat press is calibrated correctly or there is some issue with a printer. These are, after all, just machines and they do mess up from time to time. These aren’t the time to quit, it’s the time to ask for help. That’s why Condé has a Technical Support Team. They may not be able to teach you CorelDRAW but when other things go boo in the night, they can help. Don’t hesitate to ask them.

As for the learning curve, you can do it. Don’t let the fear of “not being smart enough” even enter your mind. You can do it and once you learn, it will be as easy for you as it seems for everyone else. Oh, you may mess up a few things along the way but trust me, we all have done that – more than we would ever want to admit – but that’s just the cost of education. Don’t let it bother you.

As for CorelDRAW, there is some help there too. Ask your Condé rep about “ Getting Started with CorelDRAW”. It’s a DVD that shows how to do most of the common techniques needed in sublimation without confusing you with a bunch of information you can’t use.

Can you do this? Absolutely, positively yes. Just get rid of that element of fear, set your jaw and jump in. So what if you ruin some product along the way – who cares? Run into a problem you can’t whip? Call Tech Support, or go online to CondeTV and check out all the educational videos available free of charge. Get frustrated? Don’t. Take a break, some deep breaths and relax. Most mistakes in sublimation are made from either nervousness or not taking the time to check everything twice.

Besides, I can do it and if I can do it, by golly you can do it too!


SUBLIMATING ROWMARK MATES

May 6th, 2011

By Steve Conde

I sublimate a LOT of Rowmark Mates material and have for a decade. In fact, it is my single biggest money maker and that makes me LOVE the stuff!

It can be a bit tricky to sublimate and it likes to roll up like a scroll if you let it but these issues are easy to deal with if you know the tricks and I’m going to tell you what works for me.

Mates has two production issues that make it a little bit difficult to use: One, it tends to roll up and curl when it is taken out of the heat press. This is because the film and the carrier sheet cool at a different rate. The other problem is ghosting. This is because the Mates material shrinks when it is heated just slightly but if you follow my suggestions, you should whip both of these problems and you too, can make some easy money with the Mates material.

First, let’s talk about loading your press with a Mates project. The first thing I do is lay down a sheet of Teflon film. I don’t usually recommend using Teflon but this is an exception – why? Because Mates is actually a series of films glued together with an additional coat of adhesive on the back of the film so it will stick to whatever we want it to stick to. When you heat up adhesive and then put pressure on it, the adhesive is going to squeeze out and get on your press. That we don’t want so we use Teflon both top and bottom as extra protection for the press. There is also another reason but I’ll get to that in a minute.

Next, I tape the transfer to the sheet of Mates. This step is very important and must be done in a certain way. The trick here is to always use two pieces of heat tape and always put them on the same edge of the Mates material (side, top or bottom). This allows the material to shrink a bit without pulling the transfer with it. Just a side note here, imprinting small pieces of this material is rarely a problem. The issues show up as the sheet gets bigger. The most common sizes I imprint are 5.5” x 12” and 8.5” x 11”. In these larger sizes, you are destine to see problems if you don’t “follow the rules”.
Once I have taped the transfer and Mates material together, I stick them under the heating platen of the press for about 10-20 seconds (do not close the press, just take advantage of the hot, dry environment of that space between the heating platen and the stage of your press. If you use a clamshell press, you will need to draw down the heating platen to within about 3” of the stage to create this environment.
The product is now ready to press. To do this, I lay the transfer face down on the Teflon sheet (remember, the Mates material is still attached and is now between the Teflon and transfer sheet). Now, I add another sheet of Teflon over top of the transfer sheet. I prefer Teflon for this step but a sheet of paper will work just as well. Paper will NOT work in place of the bottom sheet of Teflon.

I press the average sheet of Mates for 35 seconds with medium pressure. The time will probably vary in your press but you want to press it until the finished product shows solid blacks and sharp thin lines with no blur or dropout.

Immediately after pressing, I remove the sandwich. The top sheet of Teflon will slide right off but the Mates material will be stuck to the bottom sheet of Teflon – DO NOT REMOVE IT. That will help us eliminate most of the curl as the material cools.

The material, along with the transfer and Teflon sheet which are all stuck together, must be placed on a smooth surface to cool. The faster you can cool the material the better so I use a Kool-Plate (sold by Condé) but if you don’t have a Kool-Plate, you can use a slab of marble, glass or heavy metal as a cooling plate. Just lay the sandwich on the cooling surface with the Teflon on top.

If you are doing multiple pieces at the same time (I usually do two 8.5”x11” at a time on my GeoKnight D20s), it is a good idea to place a weight over the Teflon as it cools. A piece of ¾” plywood or equilivant works well. I use the top of an oak TV tray.

When cool, remove the transfer and peel the Mates material away from the Teflon. Do this carefully in that you don’t want to add even more curl to the material by ripping it away from the Teflon. Try to peel the Teflon away from the Mates rather than the other way around.

Now, place the Mates material face down on a smooth, flat surface to rest. If you continue to see curling, place a weight on the back of the material until you are ready to use or package it for your customer.

Be aware that even if the material is severely curled, it will not affect the way it performs. Once removed from the carrier sheet, you will see no tendency to curl and it can be positioned (and re-positioned) on your application as needed. The advantages of removing as much curl as possible is to make it easier to store and work with or to make a more attractive product if you give the sheets to your customer.


MY HEAT PRESS TEMPERATURE FLUCTUATES

April 27th, 2011

By Steve Conde

I have heard it a thousand times – should the temperature on my heat press fluctuate when I am pressing something?

This is both easy and difficult to answer. The simple answer is “yes”. When you close your heat press, you will see the temperature readout drop. This is because the item you are pressing is absorbing the heat from the heat platen and it takes times for the platen to recover so you see the temperature go down, perhaps 50 degrees before it states coming back up.

The amount of drop depends on what you are pressing. Something that has a lot of mass like a UNISUB plaque will absorb a lot of heat while a garment will absorb very little, and pressing several items at the same time will absorb more heat than pressing just one. So “yes”, you can expect your temperature to drop from 10 to 50 degrees or so when you close your press.

Now comes the hard part: How long does it take for your heat press to recover the lost heat? In a quality heat press, that happens very quickly and by the time you remove your product the press has fully recovered and is ready to go again.

The problem is with heat presses that either don’t recover quickly or just plan lie and I’ve seen both. What makes a heat press “lie” is a lousy temperature gauge. Not all gauges respond quickly to what is happening on the face of the platen and may take several minutes before reporting a change in temperature. This was pretty much eliminated when electronic thermal devices replaced the older gauges but even an electronic readout can be poorly calibrated and that eliminates any hope of knowing what is really going on. See the blog about checking accuracy.

But what concerns me more than a cheap or inaccurate readout, is a cheap heat press. A heat press is really a pretty simple machine. They all look pretty much alike and have the same basic parts. The most important of these is the heat platen (the thingy that heats up). All heat presses heat up, some faster than others and that’s our first clue to a problem. We all want our presses to heat up to 400 in a matter of minutes and a few presses actually do but are we trading off something to get that? YES! Here’s the deal: A press that absorbs heat quickly, also gives it up quickly and that we don’t want. We want a press that is stingy about giving up its heat and is quick about recovering any heat it does give up. This can be accomplished by simply increasing the thickness of the heating platen.

George Knight presses, for example, have a ¾” heating platen. This is at least half again as thick as some presses on the market. Having a thicker platen means it will fluctuate less and recover quicker than a press with a ½” platen.

Here’s where the problem usually shows up in real life: Press a series of heavy items one right after another. For example: Press a ceramic tile or UNISUB plaque and as soon as it comes out, put in the next. After doing this three or four times, you could begin to see a drop in quality from one piece to another. The reason? The press isn’t recovering the heat it has lost on the previous product.

You could say the solution is just to wait for the press to recover before pressing the next item and you would be correct BUT, you shouldn’t have to do that. A good press will recover quickly enough that you shouldn’t have to wait for it or wonder when it might be ready for the next product.

Ever find that everyone else is making a product in 6 minutes and it takes you 8? That’s because your press is giving up too much heat and can’t recover. Find yourself trying to figure out pressing times for multiple products? Say, the first sheet of name badges takes 60 seconds but the second takes 90 seconds to achieve the same quality? That’s your sign: your press is giving up too much heat – probably because the platen is thin.

All presses may look pretty much alike but believe me, they aren’t. Learn what to look for in buying a press. We will be talking more about this subject in future blogs but number one on the list is the thickness of the heat platen. Don’t be fooled by fast talk, know the facts.