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[DTG HM1] Owners - how is your machine performing?

 
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Old January 9th, 2008 Jan 9, 2008 2:28:19 PM -   #1 (permalink)
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Default [DTG HM1] Owners - how is your machine performing?

Hi

Now that the HM-1 has been around for a while, can any owners give me the low down on how it is performing? Good and bad.. tell it how it is

Thanks
Dean
 
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Old January 9th, 2008 Jan 9, 2008 3:29:39 PM -   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: HM-1

We pruchased the HM1 back in Early September. I now feel like SWF sold me a $20,000 boat anchor. At the show in Chicago, Bill told me the maintenance was as simple as sparying a little Windex in the capstation at the end of the days run.

By the time we went to training, they changed it to "leaving the machine on 24hrs a day".

1 month after installing, SWF changed white ink manufacturers without informing the users and my machine totally plugged up. The new ink requires a shirt to be printed 7 days a week. I have to drive to the shop on weekends, fire up the computer, print a shirt and shut everything down, just to keep this machine from plugging up!

I cant help but feel betrayed. I have not had a week without problems. If I had been warned about the need to print a shirt 7 days a week, I would have waited for the technology to evolve. At least I would have been prepared! Instead the USED CAR DEALERS at SWF, pulled a $20,000 fast one on me!

Is there anyone else out there in the same position?

Steve
 
Old January 9th, 2008 Jan 9, 2008 3:51:49 PM -   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: HM-1

Hi Dean,

I have the HM1 and absolutley love it There is a learning curve and maintenance is a must but once you learn what your machine needs and what you can do with it, it is amazing.

It is a very reliable machine in my opinion and I have not had any problems. The only thing that happened with my machine was the board that controls the auto head cleanings had a bug or something but they came out and replaced it in less than 24 hours, so customer service was great too. I bought my machine from SWF westcoast so I am only really speaking of my experience with them but they have been great. That was the only little thing I had with my machine and I have not had to call customer support since

I have found alot of really creative ways I can print with my machine since it has the 5.5" deep print bed it can fit alot of different items.

As far as the machine, I would say as long as you do your research and know what you are getting into you will not be dissappointed, it is really a great machine. If you want any specific info let me know, I will answer what I can for you I also think that any of the machines can do a good job as long as the maintenance is taken care of on a regular basis as they all really are built to do the same job it just depends on your preference as far as the maker of the machine.
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Old January 9th, 2008 Jan 9, 2008 3:54:22 PM -   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: HM-1

Quote:
Originally Posted by hspsteve
We pruchased the HM1 back in Early September. I now feel like SWF sold me a $20,000 boat anchor. At the show in Chicago, Bill told me the maintenance was as simple as sparying a little Windex in the capstation at the end of the days run.

By the time we went to training, they changed it to "leaving the machine on 24hrs a day".

1 month after installing, SWF changed white ink manufacturers without informing the users and my machine totally plugged up. The new ink requires a shirt to be printed 7 days a week. I have to drive to the shop on weekends, fire up the computer, print a shirt and shut everything down, just to keep this machine from plugging up!

I cant help but feel betrayed. I have not had a week without problems. If I had been warned about the need to print a shirt 7 days a week, I would have waited for the technology to evolve. At least I would have been prepared! Instead the USED CAR DEALERS at SWF, pulled a $20,000 fast one on me!

Is there anyone else out there in the same position?

Steve
Hi Steve,

Just wanted to let you know I also responded to your earlier post of this same information. Hope it helps, as I stated in your post, if there is anything I might be able to help you with that will make things easier for you let me know :
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Old January 9th, 2008 Jan 9, 2008 6:35:38 PM -   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: HM-1

Quote:
Originally Posted by hspsteve
The new ink requires a shirt to be printed 7 days a week. I have to drive to the shop on weekends, fire up the computer, print a shirt and shut everything down, just to keep this machine from plugging up!
Sorry to hear about your problems Steve. Its a shame the new white ink does still settle after a day of non-use, but it actually mixes up better then the old ink once back in use.

I think printing something 7 days a week is excessive. I work 6 days a week and I'm fine leaving it alone for the 7th day (usually Sunday). However when you come back on the Monday its good to agitate the ink IN the tubes. You can do this by either massaging the tubes or pulling ink through a syringe (and then putting the ink back into the bottles).

Hope you have your problems fixed up!
 
Old January 9th, 2008 Jan 9, 2008 7:29:12 PM -   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: HM-1

[quote=hspsteve;215072]We pruchased the HM1 back in Early September. I now feel like SWF sold me a $20,000 boat anchor. At the show in Chicago, Bill told me the maintenance was as simple as sparying a little Windex in the capstation at the end of the days run.

I cant help but feel betrayed. I have not had a week without problems. If I had been warned about the need to print a shirt 7 days a week, I would have waited for the technology to evolve. At least I would have been prepared! Instead the USED CAR DEALERS at SWF, pulled a $20,000 fast one on me!

Is there anyone else out there in the same position?


YES! I have to agree with Steve. We bought in May. Thought we had seen them on the market long enough to allow for updates/upgrades to make it better but figured the bugs, nay- roaches, to be worked out.

When it works, it is a wonderful machine. However, when it don't . . .
We are actually on our 2nd machine, they replaced the first one about 2 mos after we purchased due to one problem after another and this one is only somewhat better.

We have also been less than pleased with customer service - days to return phone calls for example. And the real kicker, we had purchased a lot of ink in anticipation of a large production run. Printer went kaput during our production time (about 3 weeks out of commission) therefore, not generating income. Invoice for ink went over 30 days. At the same time we needed to order some maintenance parts for an embroidery machine & they required a credit card or COD for us to get the parts! If the machine was working & we could have delivered, we could have paid the invoice. As it was we had already paid for the Tshirts, 1000 of them to be exact.

To do over again, we would not have bought a direct to garment printer. Not now, possibly not ever.

When we were shopping machines, we narrowed it down to DTG & another brand (FastTJet, if I remember correctly). We would have looked at Brother, but while watching their machine & reading their brochure at their booth at a trade show they never even acknowledged our presence. We chose DTG for 2 reasons: We never saw a FastT Jet running at the show & saw a couple being worked on and past experience with SWF.

Bottom line: Be prepared for any and all circumstances. Also, be prepared to print daily, even if it is only one run (white + color). On that note, we print M - F, leave the machine on 24/7 and have not (knocking on wood) had problems with the new white ink.

Good luck in your endeavors,
Susan
 
Old January 9th, 2008 Jan 9, 2008 7:45:13 PM -   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: HM-1

Susan, do you have the HM1? I wasnt aware they were out in May last year hmmm as I recall, they were not done with production until august.
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Last edited by sunnydayz; January 9th, 2008 at 07:51 PM..
 
Old January 9th, 2008 Jan 9, 2008 7:58:20 PM -   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: HM-1

Yes, just out. It was being showcased at the Printwear show in Ft Worth in early May, we purchased toward the end of the month.
We were told it was the one we wanted since it came with white ink and was not an add-on like the Kiosk, had an ink agitation system for the white, had the auto head cleaning, etc.
 
Old January 9th, 2008 Jan 9, 2008 8:00:18 PM -   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: HM-1

That is cool you were able to get it early as I had to wait till late august before they were shipped out here to CA.
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Old January 9th, 2008 Jan 9, 2008 8:01:32 PM -   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: HM-1

What kind of problems were you having with your machine Susan? Just curious, hope you dont mind
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Old January 9th, 2008 Jan 9, 2008 8:34:02 PM -   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: HM-1

With the first one it was part learning curve, part poor training. There was a lot of maintenance we had to learn as we went & encountered problems. Techs would say, well have you done blah blah - Uh no, we were never told or shown, some things not even in the manual.

When they replaced it was when it would not print in registration. Sometimes it would, sometimes it wouldn't. It would make 1 pass (white or color) & pass 2 would be at least 1/4 inch off - too high, too low, right or left, or a combo of height & side. We could send a 2 layer print and a production run of 2, 5, 10, or 20 & it would never be consistent. Techs couldn't figure it out either. We were very unhappy customers & they were finally trying to make it right so they offered us a trade. What they offered was a machine they had just brought back in from a show. We were less than thrilled that it wasn't new, but agreed since it was a proven machine.

We made a trip to Ft Worth, made the exchange and brought it home. We got it set up and it had this funky bump/jolt when it was in the load motion. This would cause a loss of registration, too. Wouldn't always do it, but most of the time. Techs had never encountered such a problem - yeah we were inexperienced but not crazy. Finally got a tech in house & he eventually found the problem. I forget the exact issue but it had to do with the belts & shafts, shafts not fitting together properly, belt not in the correct position & the teeth slipping.

That was fixed and life was good for a while then we started having damper issues. Replaced with cartridges. Life good again then MAJOR print head problems. Prints started fading out about halfway into the design (white layer). Print would be bright white, to faded white, to dark gray at the bottom (black shirts, naturally!). We replaced the printhead & 2 prints later, same thing. They sent a new printhead, life good. Seems occasionally you'll get a bad printhead.

Then, it quit printing. Period. Sounded like it was printing, acted like it, but no ink. Tech decided it may be a bad main board. We asked about ribbon cables since we had changed printheads so much (5) and there appeared to be wear/tear on the connectors. My mom is pretty mechanical, she does just about all the work on the embroidery machines, so she changed the main board & printhead ribbon cables. No print. Tech came, worked all afternoon & took it back to Ft Worth. Official word was we had not connected 1 little cable on the back, bottomside of the main board. Ummmm, maybe. But if that was the problem, it came loose prior to us changing it since that was the problem in the first place & she meticulously takes 1 connection at a time & uses colored/numbered stickers from connector to "slot" on board. (She's done that since she has worked the the emb machines for 12 years.)

Whatever the fix, it works now & life is once again good. However, we were without the printer for nearly the entire time between Thanksgiving & Christmas. Prime $$$$$ time. All in all, it's probably been down more hours than it's been in working condition.

Sorry for the lengthy post, but the problems have been many & varied.

Susan
 
Old January 9th, 2008 Jan 9, 2008 8:37:34 PM -   #12 (permalink)
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Smile Re: HM-1

Quote:
Originally Posted by sunnydayz
Susan, do you have the HM1? I wasnt aware they were out in May last year hmmm as I recall, they were not done with production until august.
Hmmm, since the 2 machines we've had were pre-August production, the bugs have been worked out & you got a gem!
Susan
 
Old January 9th, 2008 Jan 9, 2008 8:46:55 PM -   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: HM-1

No need to apologize I was very interested to see what kind of problems you were having. It clearly sounds like the first machine had some type of problem with the registration. I have never heard of one being that far out before.

I am wondering if the one you have has had problems due to it being a demo model and traveling around a bunch. It does sound like the things that went wrong could happen from moving it such as the belts shifting and cables coming loose. I am glad I waited till they were ready as I have not had any of those problems with mine.

It does take awhile getting a good maintenance routine down and I think that is the main important thing. I tell my husband that my machine has its own personality and that it likes to be kept happy I have found that by flushing my system every 6 weeks with distilled water keeps everything flowing really well. Before the new white ink I did replace 2 dampers ( at two different times, one each time) but since I do a routine flush no dampers or anything and runs smooth.

Where are you at Susan? I am just wondering if these problems are coming from one particular distributor. I think steve above bought from SWF east as he mentioned chicago. I am in california and I have been dealing with the westcoast office and they have been great to me.
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Old January 10th, 2008 Jan 10, 2008 5:28:41 AM -   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: HM-1

I have two and love them. I do not print every day, as a matter of fact, sometimes I do not print for several days, such as the holiday week of Christmas.

I would not consider mine boat anchors at all. Some buyers will have bad luck, just like any other product. Support from SWF East is always great. Don is extremely helpful. (actually only needed him once since September.)

These machines are temperamental, require extensive training and upkeep, but are well worth it IMHO>
 
Old January 10th, 2008 Jan 10, 2008 5:41:38 AM -   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: HM-1

Looking at the U.K distributor options for a white ink printer (flexi jet have been less than useless), the HM-1 is winning the race. I had a sample from the G-Jet but the white was dull, Anajet and Direct Advantage inks are way overpriced so that leaves me little choice to go elsewhere. My dealer is selling the last of the kiosks for $6000 cheaper than the HM-1... Tempting ... but probably false economy in the long run.

I can't get access to the official DTG forum without providing a serial number - are there any horror stories in there?

Thanks for all your input.
 






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