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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 June 12th, 2013 Jun 12, 2013 5:24:03 PM -   #91 (permalink)
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Default Re: Before you get into DTG, things you need to know

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Originally Posted by sandb
Thank you everyone for all the great info, I've learned so much from this thread.

I do have one question which was never really addressed. Everyone's advice has to do with what to know from the printing side of things - what about when the shirt lands in the customers hands? To point:

I have read that the biggest drawback for DTG printed shirts is that they fade very quickly, faster when washed frequently and in warm/hot water. Is this still true, or have advancements been made in the technology that this is not an issue?

I want to offer my customers quality that will not fade overtime. After all, why return to my store and buy my shirts if they don't hold up? Thanks in advance to anyone that can shed some light on this.
Direct-to-Garment printed shirts, when cured properly, can hold up just as well or better than a shirt decorated with another method. Turning a shirt inside out and washing it in cold water will extend the lifetime of a garment decorated with any technology; washing in hot water will similarly shorten the lifetime of any decorated garment.

It's important to dry the shirts properly to get good wash results. Also, if the shirt requires pretreatment, it needs the right amount. Too much pretreatment will affect washability.

One plus with direct-to-garment is that you're unlikely to see any cracking in the garment over time, assuming the shirt was cured and pretreated properly. In fact, on light colored shirts, cracking is impossible since the ink "soaks" in to the fibers of the shirt.

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Old June 12th, 2013 Jun 12, 2013 5:35:14 PM -   #92 (permalink)
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Default Re: Before you get into DTG, things you need to know

We eat our own dogfood here. We print on shirts and wear and wash them and they are as good as screen printing. We we have found is our customers are either taking their shirts to a dry cleaner or going to a laundry mat or even worse, washing them with rock (I made that part up but the shirts look like they did that)

We just went through this with apparel vinyl that looks like they beat the crap out of them.

None of my shirts have these problems. I was cold only but dry for 70 minutes at high heat. No problems in the last 5+ years. None. Ever.

The 'fading' is a result of the shirt breaking down. This is less of an issue with ringspun shirts but it will happen. The shirt is the problem, not the print. Screen printed shirts will have exactly the same problem.

By the way, I started this post 5 years ago. I am glad someone still reads it.

And by the way, The print heads are still available from about 300 on ebay to 400-500 other places.
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Old June 12th, 2013 Jun 12, 2013 6:09:44 PM -   #93 (permalink)
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Default Re: Before you get into DTG, things you need to know

Thank's to both of you for the quick response. So it sounds like pretreatment and curing can keep the fading issue from happening.

On a side note, I had a shirt digitally printed by Uberprints to see the quality (white shirt printed with pink and blue). After washing once (warm water - I didn't know), visible fading happened. Do you think Uberprints, as a large custom shirt place, just doesn't care about taking the time to make sure everything was pretreated and cured properly to make the lousy $25 I paid?

P.S. binki - Besides the fact that this post is pinned to the DTG section, I find it in poor taste when people start threads without reading around a site, so of course people are still reading your post! Thanks again!
 
 
Old June 12th, 2013 Jun 12, 2013 8:44:05 PM -   #94 (permalink)
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Default Re: Before you get into DTG, things you need to know

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Originally Posted by sandb
...
P.S. binki - Besides the fact that this post is pinned to the DTG section, I find it in poor taste when people start threads without reading around a site, so of course people are still reading your post! Thanks again!
Thanks for the kind words. A lot has changed in 5+ years, I have lost a lot of hair! Besides that I have a very intimate relationship with my dtg printer so I think I can speak from an unbiased eye since we do screen printing, embroidery, awards, engraving, vinyl, signs and banners. It has been an adventure for sure.
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Old June 18th, 2013 Jun 18, 2013 3:30:17 AM -   #95 (permalink)
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Default Re: Before you get into DTG, things you need to know

Hello guys. I'm new here and I was thinking of buying a used dtg printer.
I'm not aiming at anything huge and I've read this thread and few parts of the forum.
Basically what I'm interested is, have things changed by the year 2013? This thread was started years ago and I'm simply wandering do heads still clog often? Is ink still expensive and prone to issues? And so on.

Also, my aim is to create designed ****s (I'm a graphic designer) very fashionable on different shirt models, something unique. I know I can pull that off and I would charge them around 30$. I would be satisfied by selling 50-100 shirts a month (my country has a different standard). I'm wondering what would be the best printer to buy for this endeavor?

Thanks, this forum is really helpful!
 
Old June 18th, 2013 Jun 18, 2013 5:35:04 AM -   #96 (permalink)
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Default Re: Before you get into DTG, things you need to know

The "best" can be a very general question. Part of the answer would depend on where you are located. We have outstanding results and reliability with our Mod1 by Belquette.

Do you plan on including dark color garments which would require white ink capability? The Mod excels as does Belquette quality, support and responsiveness.

As you have surveyed this forum re: dtg, I'm sure you've repeatedly read threads about pretreat, machine maintenance, curing, drying, etc. which seem intense to one not actually yet in the mix themselves. They are all critical to a successful outcome and I don't think that has changed a bit, and probably won't.

As with any technical undertaking whether it's dtg, screen, embroidery, sublimation, or painting cars or finishing furniture for that matter, to achieve a positive durable outcome requires a level of training first, quality equipment and a continuing dedication to refining operator technique in addition to quality and correct input product such as the design, the garment, pretreat and yes, the inks. This need not be overwhelming. It is an ongoing adventure in continuing education in the end. In the beginning it is only a caution to dig, ask questions, make notes, check out the people you are dealing with and their track records, study your market and your resources, examine your level of commitment and then proceed.

As with many industries, some people come to the shore thinking the technology is a 'one button' college degree and whatever they throw at the wall will turn out great because of the sophistication of the technology. Dtg is a great and advancing tech. But like virtually all technology it is a "garbage in, garbage out" situation. You want to be fully prepared and then use the equipment as a tool, not the solution.

Good luck with your endeavor. You've started in the right place by digging in and asking. You can and will do well with sharp focus.
 
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Old June 18th, 2013 Jun 18, 2013 7:26:21 AM -   #97 (permalink)
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Default Re: Before you get into DTG, things you need to know

Quote:
Originally Posted by fetfreak
Hello guys. I'm new here and I was thinking of buying a used dtg printer.
I'm not aiming at anything huge and I've read this thread and few parts of the forum.
Basically what I'm interested is, have things changed by the year 2013? This thread was started years ago and I'm simply wandering do heads still clog often? Is ink still expensive and prone to issues? And so on.

Also, my aim is to create designed ****s (I'm a graphic designer) very fashionable on different shirt models, something unique. I know I can pull that off and I would charge them around 30$. I would be satisfied by selling 50-100 shirts a month (my country has a different standard). I'm wondering what would be the best printer to buy for this endeavor?

Thanks, this forum is really helpful!


All these printers work best when they are used frequently. If you are only planning on printing 50 shirts a month you may want to consider contracting out the printing to a company that already owns a direct to garment printer and having them do the printing for you. If you see that your print numbers grow then you can look for your own printer.


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Old June 18th, 2013 Jun 18, 2013 8:15:42 AM -   #98 (permalink)
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Default Re: Before you get into DTG, things you need to know

I thought as much. Thanx for the reply!

What is an optional monthly run for the machine to be happy?
 
Old June 18th, 2013 Jun 18, 2013 8:18:21 AM -   #99 (permalink)
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Default Re: Before you get into DTG, things you need to know

At least 100 or more spread out throughout a month.


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Old June 18th, 2013 Jun 18, 2013 10:03:03 AM -   #100 (permalink)
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Default Re: Before you get into DTG, things you need to know

Quote:
Originally Posted by fetfreak
Hello guys. I'm new here and I was thinking of buying a used dtg printer.
I'm not aiming at anything huge and I've read this thread and few parts of the forum.
Basically what I'm interested is, have things changed by the year 2013? This thread was started years ago and I'm simply wandering do heads still clog often? Is ink still expensive and prone to issues? And so on.

Also, my aim is to create designed ****s (I'm a graphic designer) very fashionable on different shirt models, something unique. I know I can pull that off and I would charge them around 30$. I would be satisfied by selling 50-100 shirts a month (my country has a different standard). I'm wondering what would be the best printer to buy for this endeavor?

Thanks, this forum is really helpful!
What's different in 2013? I can tell you that the expectations of customers for user-friendly DTG printers has forced manufacturers to simplify and speed up the maintenance routines, automate more processes and make sure that ink flows evenly and smoothly with fewer and faster daily preparation steps.

Depending on the manufacturer, more expensive, but more durable stainless steel heads are available that allow industrial strength production, but without the $50K-$250K price tag that is only feasible for the $1M and up shops.

An underrated improvement is in RIP software. You should expect a RIP software to deliver extremely high color fidelity, plus fine control of drop size, speed, saturation and white underbase.

Some RIPs enable a lot of flexibility in color and background manipulation. A few enable instant transparency for whatever color you choose. No RIP means that you need to refine your source image and create transparencies in PhotoShop/Illustrator/DRAW or in the print dialogue.

White ink itself hasn't changed (other than incrementally) but with non-Epson-based printers, you can expect to see white ink clogging dealt with in different ways. It also doesn't stop owners from being extremely profitable when they understand their equipment, understand graphic design, and are proficient in their target markets.

The technology that has had to improve is agitation and recirculation. There are a few manufacturers that have agitation features.

That said, don't buy a DTG printer until you're certain you have the time and interest in giving it daily or almost daily TLC.
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Last edited by Rodney; June 18th, 2013 at 10:18 AM.. Reason: Removed self promotional info as per forum rules
 
Old June 18th, 2013 Jun 18, 2013 10:15:33 AM -   #101 (permalink)
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Default Re: Before you get into DTG, things you need to know

As a new owner, if I could interject a bit of advice I am quickly learning.
The t shirt business is a deadline driven industry! Nobody plans ahead for what they need. They walk in on Wednesday and want it by Friday. Or the event they have is in 1 week etc.
That was told to me and I ignored it, now I realize, that means I'm jumping when orders come in.
 
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Old June 18th, 2013 Jun 18, 2013 10:41:45 AM -   #102 (permalink)
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Default Re: Before you get into DTG, things you need to know

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeLongtin
White ink itself hasn't changed (other than incrementally) but with non-Epson-based printers, you can expect to see white ink clogging dealt with in different ways. It also doesn't stop owners from being extremely profitable when they understand their equipment, understand graphic design, and are proficient in their target markets.
So I take it you don't recommend epson?
 
Old June 18th, 2013 Jun 18, 2013 10:54:33 AM -   #103 (permalink)
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Default Re: Before you get into DTG, things you need to know

Quote:
Originally Posted by fetfreak
So I take it you don't recommend epson?
Well-made Epson-based DTG printers can handle white ink and run without clogging when carefully maintained, especially w/r/t humidity and controlling for exposure to air, and the white ink is used daily. Look up higher in the thread where I comment on the Epson-based printer that I own and run with white ink.
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Old June 18th, 2013 Jun 18, 2013 11:18:59 AM -   #104 (permalink)
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Default Re: Before you get into DTG, things you need to know

All direct to garment printers, no matter what type print engine they use or their cost, require having the proper environment (especially humidity levels of at least 50%). They also all require a regular maintenance schedule to avoid issues. This applies equally to Ricoh, Epson, Brother, or Kornit platforms.

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Old June 18th, 2013 Jun 18, 2013 12:20:07 PM -   #105 (permalink)
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Default Re: Before you get into DTG, things you need to know

What you need to do is calculate your costs.

If you buy a machine and the cost to you is $300.00 (low end price) per month and you do 100 shirts the machine costs you $3.00 per shirt + plus ink + rent + plus utilities + plus labor + credit card processing fees +++ learning curve.

Gildan g200 $2.50
machine $3.00
ink per side $
pretreat $
labor $
rent $
utilities $
card fees $
EST. COST $

Lots to calculate. 100 shirts is a tough sell to buy equipment. You'd be better off creating as many designs as you can and getting samples
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