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+   T-Shirt Forums > T-Shirt Industry Information > Direct to Garment (DTG) Inkjet Printing


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Discuss the various aspects of direct to garment printing. DTG printers include Brother, T-Jet, Flexi-Jet, DTG Kiosk, Kornit, Mimaki, Tex-Jet and others! Discuss and learn about this up and coming printing technology.



Before you get into DTG, things you need to know

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Old April 12th, 2008 Apr 12, 2008 9:49:11 AM -   #1 (permalink)
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Default Before you get into DTG, things you need to know

DTG printing is the most exciting thing to happen to the garment industry since automatic screen machines and dyesub. There are, however, things you need to know.

1) the ink has a shelf life. the longer it sits around the bigger the chance you will have bad ink.

2) production times are nowhere near screen printing. while you can print short runs profitably, longer runs need much better control of costs to be competitive.

3) printing a single shirt can take 4 minutes or more from start to finish.

3) this is a complicated piece of equipment with close tolerances. not paying attention to that fact will yield nothing but frustration.

4) these machines like to run. the more you run it the happier it will be. the less you run it or the longer it just sits around the more chance you will have for problems like head clogs.

5) the ink is expensive.

6) pressing the shirts after printing adds to the time to print, consider a tunnel dryer like screen printers use.

7) color matching is a big issue. make sure you understand how colors work on a pc, how that are translated in the rip, and how your machine treats them.

8) unlike screen printing or embroidery, bitmaps (raster images) are your friend. imo this is one huge advantage over other forms of decorating.

did i miss anything
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Old April 12th, 2008 Apr 12, 2008 10:36:33 AM -   #2 (permalink)
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Default re: Before you get into DTG, things you need to know

The cost to print a shirt remains fairly constant, whether you print 1 or 1,000 of the same design, so you really can't offer much of a quantity discount on larger orders...possibility consider using traditional screen-printing for big orders.
Make sure you get the correct price for your work to cover your ROI (return on investment).
Also most models need to be in a climate controlled environment.
Also need a separate area for pretreatment, and if not done correctly, can cause print quality issues.
Need to have a separate, dedicated electric circuit.
Most all the models using white ink will need DAILY maintenance; if not done correctly you'll have head clogs & other print issues.
Don't be the first to purchase the "new" model; wait a bit & see how this model works out.
Understand that this industry is changing rapidly; the machine model you purchase today will probably be out of production within 1-2 years, and parts availability may become an issue.
Most models have the ability to print other items, such as coasters, mouse pads, etc.
DTG in NOT a replacement for traditional screen printing.
Take the time to read thru the threads on this forum; there's lot's of really good info on most of the popular mfgs, both good & bad; go to a show & see them in action before making a purchase.
I'm sure there's more......
 
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Old April 13th, 2008 Apr 13, 2008 12:11:47 AM -   #3 (permalink)
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Default re: Before you get into DTG, things you need to know

Thanks, Fred and Brian. I need all the infos I can get before I take the DTG plunge. What printers are you using, and do you do black shirts?
 
 
Old July 15th, 2009 Jul 15, 2009 12:03:08 PM -   #4 (permalink)
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Default re: Before you get into DTG, things you need to know

There seems to be a few new people on the board lately so I thought it was worth bringing this topic back to the top.

Andy
 
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Old July 15th, 2009 Jul 15, 2009 12:26:48 PM -   #5 (permalink)
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Default re: Before you get into DTG, things you need to know

Pretty sage wisdom when you look back 15 months! I'd like to add another thing or two:

1. You can buy the best direct to garment printer on the market and if you don't have a plan to keep it busy, it won't make you any money and will sit idle, causing atrophy issues

2. Consider all aspects of owning a direct to garment printer before buying one - cost of supplies, cost of consumable parts (printheads, capping stations, dampers, cartridges etc), warranty information as well as training options and costs.

3. Set realistic pricing for your output - don't undercharge in order to start your business up, it is a tough reputation to overcome!
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Old July 16th, 2009 Jul 16, 2009 1:00:21 AM -   #6 (permalink)
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Default re: Before you get into DTG, things you need to know

I would like to add,

Research the dealer / manufacture you buy the machine from, these machines are all high maintance compared with most other inkjets and good support from the manufacture / dealer can be worth a fortune and defintly worth paying a little extra for in the long run.
Check the details of the warrenty (on site vs return to manufacture) (3 months vs 12 months) and what extended warrently will cost once the initial warrenty expires.

I never buy warrenty on desktop printers or PC's, but if I was buying a DTG machine I would certainly want it.

Best regards

-David
 
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Old July 16th, 2009 Jul 16, 2009 7:15:00 PM -   #7 (permalink)
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Default re: Before you get into DTG, things you need to know

Quote:
Originally Posted by abmcdan
There seems to be a few new people on the board lately so I thought it was worth bringing this topic back to the top.

Andy
Thanks Andy, Perhaps Rodney should put this in the "highlighted threads" area. The wisdom here is a "must see" for any newbie. We still see alot of people make the same mistakes.
 
Old July 16th, 2009 Jul 16, 2009 8:09:12 PM -   #8 (permalink)
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Default re: Before you get into DTG, things you need to know

You should also get some training in basic artwork stuff. Adobe Photoshop is a good software that will be compatible with most any files you will receive. There are people here that also use Corel.

Things you should know about artwork (Off the top of my head, chime in if I'm incorrect or left something out):

1.) DPI - Most importantly know that graphics off of the internet are usually 72 dpi and typically you need a 150 dpi image or better for the highest print quality. Just because it looks nice on screen doesn't mean it will print nice. Garbage In = Garbage Out

2.) Know the difference between the common file types: .jpg, .gif, .psd, .png, .eps

3.) Basic image manipulation: Since what is shown on screen might be different than the printed image you may need to change the image to get the correct output. Lighten and Darken, etc..

It would be great if someone that has a DTG printer but started out with very limited computer skills and new to the printing industry would give us a list of what they found difficult or had to learn.

Andy
 
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Old July 23rd, 2009 Jul 23, 2009 2:52:10 PM -   #9 (permalink)
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Default re: Before you get into DTG, things you need to know

I think I can help in that department Andy.
I know a lot about the workings of a computer, even built one from scratch once. But graphics, didn’t know squat. I have learned much about graphics via the net and now consider myself a fairly good graphics manipulator (no way calling myself an artist).
DTG printers in general, the more knowledge you have before buying, the better off you’ll be. They can be your best friend when they work right but when things go wrong (and they will) it makes you yearn for a gallon of gas and a match.
I had to learn EVERYTHING about this industry, knowing zip when I started looking. Boards like this one are great as they give you other brains to pick. I have learned a lot since reading this board, too bad I found it after I purchased a printer. There is always something new to learn, whether it’s graphic design or picking up a tip from someone else. Probably the most important piece of advice I would give anyone who wants to enter this industry is do your homework!
 
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Old July 27th, 2009 Jul 27, 2009 12:07:27 AM -   #10 (permalink)
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Default re: Before you get into DTG, things you need to know

Alright.. keep the tips coming..
 
Old July 27th, 2009 Jul 27, 2009 6:13:51 AM -   #11 (permalink)
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Default re: Before you get into DTG, things you need to know

A thing that I would add to the list that wasn't was much of an issue 15 months ago as it appears to be now. The marketplace for used machines had grown significantly in the past 12 months (in part due to the economy - some businesses going under and others trying to save a dime). If you have not used a direct to garment printer before (or have good experience with other specialty printers like large format eco-sol printers) - the savings you realize in the purchse of a used machine from an individual may not be worht the hassles you will experience after the fact. I would suggest that, if buying a used machine from an individual, that you do so only if you are able to see the unit in operation OR have gotten such a good deal that the potential expenses you may incur won't make it a bad deal.
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Old July 27th, 2009 Jul 27, 2009 6:16:41 AM -   #12 (permalink)
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Default re: Before you get into DTG, things you need to know

good call Don, some of these machines are probably being unloaded too because they aren't working. Insist on seeing it in production, not just cleaned and ready to go. You could be buying a boat anchor. I would say paperweight, but who uses those anymore?
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Old July 27th, 2009 Jul 27, 2009 6:18:05 AM -   #13 (permalink)
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Default re: Before you get into DTG, things you need to know

Quote:
You could be buying a boat anchor. I would say paperweight, but who uses those anymore?
Who can afford a boat anymore?
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Old July 27th, 2009 Jul 27, 2009 11:30:17 AM -   #14 (permalink)
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Default re: Before you get into DTG, things you need to know

Wow! Thanks for re-posting this! I am one of those newbies and was looking into DTG but I figured I should start out with Plastisols first! Trying to bring my cost down from screen printing since I don't move my inventory very fast, plus my wholesale profit margin is really tight.
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Old September 16th, 2009 Sep 16, 2009 3:15:56 PM -   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Before you get into DTG, things you need to know

You say do your homework...Where do you look for that homework? The more I read the more confused I get. I do small jobs and want to trade my screen print machine in for a DTG printer so I can offer more options and 1 ups but I am confused on which one to buy.
 






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