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Which printer should I buy? Sublimation, Laser Transfer or DTG? Need Expert Advice :)

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Old June 8th, 2020 Jun 8, 2020 3:08:32 AM -   #1 (permalink)
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Default Which printer should I buy? Sublimation, Laser Transfer or DTG? Need Expert Advice :)

Hi Everyone.

New to the forum and been having a good old read through previous posts with regard to what equipment you are all using as i'm ready to expand my business so i'm not just relying on 3rd party dtg suppliers and start making some of my shirts and other products myself.

Ultimately, most of the stuff im currently selling is dtg on dark garments so that's what i REALLY want, but don't feel comfortable diving straight in to buying an Epson SC-F2100 with no previous experience.

I'm looking for advice as to which direction to go from users that use or have used the models i've been looking at if possible.

With regards to heat press i've pretty much decided on the stahls auto open clam press and will get the 40x50cm so i can still use it for when i can afford the plunge to full on dtg to dark garments. Whatever route i go, a good quality heat press will be essential for my business.

First up, the sawgrass sg500/sg1000, quite happy to grab one of these as they're low cost and a great way to get into sublimation. nice range of products though i can't do dark stuff so this will mean a new range of designs of products to expand my online business but also do local stuff too. my only gripe here is that i can only do light polyester garments.. and as t-shirts are my main (but not exclusive) focus, i need to be sure i can get cotton feel non transparent shirts as i don't want complaints later. But otherwise this looks like a great place to start.

I read the posts on the Epson Reveal Print Perfect threads but it seems that didn't really go anywhere and as far as I can the the Reveal-W and Reveal-WC never materialised for whatever reason, so feel comfortable not really going this route.

Im curious about the OKI 7411WT laser as although it's a 2 step process for dark garments, i can use it for cotton & poly shirts but it looks old and although listed on their site, uk suppliers have them priced at £1800-£3000 so i'm not sure if this is likely to be replaced soon? Maybe there are other draw backs of using the laser transfer system? I'm quite keen on this idea but not sure how it is for photo prints and it's a lot of cash to lay out if it's gonna be (or already is) discontinued? I wonder how easy it is to line up the A & B transfers? 



I don't want to go down the cheap dtg printer route, i'd rather pay more and have reliability and quality. That said, i'm not ready to go the £11k Epson route for dark garments, so have also seen the light garment dtg variations like the Roland VersaStudio BT-12 which look like an affordable (but not cheap) way to get into dtg.. while limiting to light garments.. it looks very interesting, though the fact i can't print on polyester fabrics with this is a minor disadvantage.

TBH, i'm really torn and all over the place with the decision of how much to pay, for how much flexibility i need for my business now, versus what would be cool additions going forward.

I can nail it down a little by saying this, press aside, i'm happy to pay in the £1k-£3k region for the printer. I'd like ideally to be able to do dark cotton shirts to a good quality (OKI?) as well as light shirts and poly and having other products is really nice to have. But if this is an old printer and the quality is limited, id rather limit myself to sublimation/poly and go that route.. it's more affordable too but i have to be able to produce very good quality results, i don't want to compromise there at all. I'm use to the dtg feel/hand and don't really want thick/hard transfers applied. Ideally a printer that's reliable, (very) low maintenance and can sit for a few days doing nothing and be ready to turn on without an hour of messing around to get it ready to print of a few shirts..



I think the Roland is trying to get too close to what i want without getting near enough (no dark garments) and doesn't have any poly options, so i think it makes sense to save that cash for the Epson at a later date. 

I suppose the ultimate question is, how good is the OKI and what are the drawbacks, issues, limitations and would it be a better bet to go with the Sawgrass, accept the limits but know i'm not gonna have major issues and it's a decent printer for less money 

Sorry for the very long post, especially as it's my first..

Cheers.

Phill

Last edited by philldetman; June 8th, 2020 at 03:14 AM..
 
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Old June 8th, 2020 Jun 8, 2020 4:49:21 AM -   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Which printer should I buy? Sublimation, Laser Transfer or DTG? Need Expert Advice :)

Since you have no experience decorating T's I suggest you begin with transfers until you can predictably get the outcome you want. Look real seriously at the Epson 570(?) 24 inch sublimation printer.
Buy every paper type Coastal has and every HTV type from Siser. Write down everything you do recording setting of printer, press, inks temp/RH, fabric, brand, inks, paper and archive the proof print. You will be referring to this in your wear testing.
Step two, Get a 2nd printer with dye inks and expand to cotton.
Step three. By this time you will have discovered your black cotton solution. Now focus on optimizing PROFIT (reducing costs) When you start adding pre-treatment and dryers, you are in an entirely new game that suggest experience in the basics are required.
 
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Old June 8th, 2020 Jun 8, 2020 4:49:36 AM -   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Which printer should I buy? Sublimation, Laser Transfer or DTG? Need Expert Advice :)

Since you have no experience decorating T's I suggest you begin with transfers until you can predictably get the outcome you want. Look real seriously at the Epson 570(?) 24 inch sublimation printer.
Buy every paper type Coastal has and every HTV type from Siser. Write down everything you do recording setting of printer, press, inks temp/RH, fabric, brand, inks, paper and archive the proof print. You will be referring to this in your wear testing.
Step two, Get a 2nd printer with dye inks and expand to cotton.
Step three. By this time you will have discovered your black cotton solution. Now focus on optimizing PROFIT (reducing costs) When you start adding pre-treatment and dryers, you are in an entirely new game that suggest experience in the basics are required.
 
 
Old June 8th, 2020 Jun 8, 2020 5:22:11 AM -   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Which printer should I buy? Sublimation, Laser Transfer or DTG? Need Expert Advice :)

Phill! Dammit man, I think I had the record for longest first post until you showed up. However, it looks like you actually know more about this stuff than I did when I first posted.

Anyhow, it looks like you plan to print stuff with lots of colors in it. And since you're also (apparently) going to be printing stuff other than shirts that kinda regulates you to dye sub. That is if you're only going to do one type of printing.

So what's wrong with doing more than one type of printing? I mean, sure, there are going to be budget constraints. But you can start with one kind and then move on to others.

But with dye sub you can also print onto cottons/darks by using some of the transfers that are out there. Just do it quietly! Lots of folks on here become enraged and jump into a semantics riot if they get wind of it. And, of course, it won't feel as nice to the touch as DTG or screen printing. It's pretty much the same as using the two-part transfers with pigment inks.

Now, should you go with a system that uses the two-part process you'll also need a plotter/cutter. If you have monochromatic designs you can also cut them out on HTV (heat transfer vinyl).

Still many things to consider and I think it would be easier for us to help if you take a deep breath and then decide on ONE process that you might prefer to start with.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LancerFlorida
Step two, Get a 2nd printer with dye inks and expand to cotton.
I believe he meant to say "pigment" instead of dye.
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Old June 8th, 2020 Jun 8, 2020 5:36:55 AM -   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Which printer should I buy? Sublimation, Laser Transfer or DTG? Need Expert Advice :)

Seacookie to the rescue with a new thread!
 
Old June 8th, 2020 Jun 8, 2020 5:38:52 AM -   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Which printer should I buy? Sublimation, Laser Transfer or DTG? Need Expert Advice :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by LancerFlorida
Since you have no experience decorating T's I suggest you begin with transfers until you can predictably get the outcome you want. Look real seriously at the Epson 570(?) 24 inch sublimation printer.
Buy every paper type Coastal has and every HTV type from Siser. Write down everything you do recording setting of printer, press, inks temp/RH, fabric, brand, inks, paper and archive the proof print. You will be referring to this in your wear testing.
Step two, Get a 2nd printer with dye inks and expand to cotton.
Step three. By this time you will have discovered your black cotton solution. Now focus on optimizing PROFIT (reducing costs) When you start adding pre-treatment and dryers, you are in an entirely new game that suggest experience in the basics are required.
Thanks, I had a look but don't see the F570 in the UK where i'm based.. I shoulda said that and will edit my post too.. i think the F500 is the nearest UK equivalent:

https://www.epson.co.uk/insights/art...ecolor-sc-f500

looks the same as the 570 for me.. nice to have an updated opinion with a newer printer to look at, i'll go and look around at some reviews/videos etc..

i'm guessing this is a far superior machine to the sawgrass SG1000? I mean i'm not sooo fussed about 24".. A3 with approx 12" width would do for me at this stage.. perhaps you're thinking this gives me more product options given the larger media width?

I'll look for the papers and transfers from the uk versions of coastal and siser. i found a uk place that makes all possible types of transfers to order too, so i can use my press to benefit from all the other transfer types too that i can't do with my own gear.

Do you have any recommendations for pigment printers? Though i'm sensing it makes more sense to start with sublimation as there are more product types.
 
Old June 8th, 2020 Jun 8, 2020 5:48:29 AM -   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Which printer should I buy? Sublimation, Laser Transfer or DTG? Need Expert Advice :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrivingZiggy
Phill! Dammit man, I think I had the record for longest first post until you showed up. However, it looks like you actually know more about this stuff than I did when I first posted.

Anyhow, it looks like you plan to print stuff with lots of colors in it. And since you're also (apparently) going to be printing stuff other than shirts that kinda regulates you to dye sub. That is if you're only going to do one type of printing.

So what's wrong with doing more than one type of printing? I mean, sure, there are going to be budget constraints. But you can start with one kind and then move on to others.

But with dye sub you can also print onto cottons/darks by using some of the transfers that are out there. Just do it quietly! Lots of folks on here become enraged and jump into a semantics riot if they get wind of it. And, of course, it won't feel as nice to the touch as DTG or screen printing. It's pretty much the same as using the two-part transfers with pigment inks.

Now, should you go with a system that uses the two-part process you'll also need a plotter/cutter. If you have monochromatic designs you can also cut them out on HTV (heat transfer vinyl).

Still many things to consider and I think it would be easier for us to help if you take a deep breath and then decide on ONE process that you might prefer to start with.

I believe he meant to say "pigment" instead of dye.
Haha, wanted to get everything in so you knew i'd done a decent amount of homework before diving in with a useless first post

You're right in thinking i need the full colour spectrum - no messin'

No problem with doing more types of printing, in fact my idea was to get a decent sub now and add the f2100 later and use them both.. but maybe there's a middle ground i hadn't considered (that's why i'm here to asks the pros) I am doing it from my home as i don't want premises (especially not with the world as it is right now) as i want to keep overheads down, so i don't want to have to stock a million and one things and have 6 machines all lined up.. need it minimal with plenty of flexibility.

ideally i'd like to avoid htv/plotting cos - weeding.. which is why i was attracted to the OKI laser as it's 2 part but weed free, nice plus plotters are perhaps more labour intensive than a print and press transfer..? but i'm never sayin' never.

I think for now i'm on the fence between sublimation (sawgrass sg1000/epson f500/f570 if i like the look of the reviews etc) and the oki laser 2 step for light and dark poly & cotton.. more versatile but concerned it's old and people don't talk about that so much..

i'm giving it plenty of time and thought as i don't want to make the wrong decision but i've got this far and now i need opinions from the professionals.

cheers.
 
Old June 8th, 2020 Jun 8, 2020 6:38:34 AM -   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Which printer should I buy? Sublimation, Laser Transfer or DTG? Need Expert Advice :)

Epson is a cheaper route into sublimation than Sawgrass. The Epson L1800 is an A3+ six colour Eco Tank printer, based on the very highly rated 1430 Artisan/1500w. Ink Experts ( .co.uk) will sell you one for slightly less than £700, with good quality Inktec Sublinova Ink. By the cartridge Sawgrass ink cost £1300 litre, while litre bottles of Inktec Sublinova cost from as low as £36.
A3+ is as big as you need for most t-shirt printing, so unless you envisage needing 24" width then the extra cost of the F500 is of limited value. The F570 isn't sold in Europe.





If you are consdering the Epson F2100 then check out Xpres. They have it as art of a bundle with a Sefa pretreater for £11k on interest free credit.
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Old June 8th, 2020 Jun 8, 2020 6:50:21 AM -   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Which printer should I buy? Sublimation, Laser Transfer or DTG? Need Expert Advice :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by PatWibble
Epson is a cheaper route into sublimation than Sawgrass. The Epson L1800 is an A3+ six colour Eco Tank printer, based on the very highly rated 1430 Artisan/1500w. Ink Experts ( .co.uk) will sell you one for slightly less than £700, with good quality Inktec Sublinova Ink. By the cartridge Sawgrass ink cost £1300 litre, while litre bottles of Inktec Sublinova cost from as low as £36.
A3+ is as big as you need for most t-shirt printing, so unless you envisage needing 24" width then the extra cost of the F500 is of limited value. The F570 isn't sold in Europe.





If you are consdering the Epson F2100 then check out Xpres. They have it as art of a bundle with a Sefa pretreater for £11k on interest free credit.
Thanks, I had seen a few folk talk of the Epson support being pretty much zero but you can get 3x equivalent epsons for the price of the sawgrass sg1000.. but they said if the epson breaks, throw it away and by another.. another plus for the epsons are they're a lot cheaper to run as you pointed out very well (thanks) but the thought of not knowing if it's gonna work each time i turn it on worries me.. the sawgrass though expensive, as it uses gel rather than water-based, doesn't have as many consumable issues. but i will have a closer look at the L1800 - thanks

i figured A3 would do me for a long while as i'm not gonna be doing flags or duvet covers.. i think shirts will likely be the largest i'm up for printing for now.. i had replied to LacerFlorida earlier but the reply went into moderation for some reason.. i had said i wasn't so fussed about 24" as A3 is enough for me i think and that the F570 isn't in the uk but the F500 is.. but i do think the extra cost for the size isn't worth it to me having dug around a little.

i saw the £11k f2100 bundle with pre treater and i am so tempted, but i personally feel there's a reason newbie printers don't go all-in at the beginning.. they work up and get experience etc.. which was echoed by LacerFlorida earlier.. even with finance, i think i'd be better looking to one of those next year.

EDIT - a few minor issues in that it doesn't yet work with mac os catalina (though i guess that could be fixed by the time i buy something), no warranty as its an eu import and converted to sublimation. my earlier comment about throw away epsons.. this isn't sooo much cheaper than the SG1000 to buy (£700 vs £1000).. so not really throw away.. though i very much take your point about the running costs

Last edited by philldetman; June 8th, 2020 at 07:04 AM.. Reason: spent some time doing a little more research
 
Old June 8th, 2020 Jun 8, 2020 6:52:34 AM -   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Which printer should I buy? Sublimation, Laser Transfer or DTG? Need Expert Advice :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrivingZiggy
Seacookie to the rescue with a new thread!
tempting.. similar to the OKI, but the comments suggest it's not really a sensible option due to poor wash/use cycles. Though i could afford it, i'm not prepared to risk all my cash on something that just isn't the norm.. there's a reason no one on here is using it.. but i'll happily come back in a few months and see what everyone is saying about it.. the Reveal-S saga is prrof of that
 
Old June 8th, 2020 Jun 8, 2020 7:55:28 AM -   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Which printer should I buy? Sublimation, Laser Transfer or DTG? Need Expert Advice :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by philldetman
this isn't sooo much cheaper than the SG1000 to buy (£700 vs £1000).. so not really throw away.. though i very much take your point about the running costs
You make a good point over the purchase costs. There is not so clear an advantage that there used to be. The pre ecotank 1430 Artisan/1500w that the L1800 is based on was available for less than £250 + £50 for a ciss, which made it a no brainer.

The L1800/1430 Artisan/1500w is far from a 'throw away' Epson, build quality is very high, and Ink Experts back the product. I used 11 litres of Ink last year, through my 3 1500w printers. I have a L1800 as well, and the chasis and internals are identical. Even if you had to throw it after 1/2 a litre of ink you have still spent less than the cost of the same volume of Sawgrass ink.
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Old June 8th, 2020 Jun 8, 2020 8:27:34 AM -   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Which printer should I buy? Sublimation, Laser Transfer or DTG? Need Expert Advice :)

All methods have limitations:
You just have to start with one and accept it's limitations.

Polyester:
Cotton feel or not, most people don't want polyester t-shirts for everyday use.

Sublimation transfers on cotton:
The Reveal S and Forever subli-light papers produce good results on white and light colored cotton, but you cannot print gradients or pastels. Pink for example will not transfer.

White toner printers:
Good for non fashion t-shirts. The outcome is simply NOT retail quality.

DTG:
Not as easy as it looks, but the results are nice when you get it right.
I personally only print CMYK, because I don't want to deal with the headaches associated with white ink.
The Roland VersaStudio BT-12 is an A4 size printer, with is very limiting. It's a $2,000 toy printer basically.
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Old June 8th, 2020 Jun 8, 2020 8:35:16 AM -   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Which printer should I buy? Sublimation, Laser Transfer or DTG? Need Expert Advice :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by PatWibble
You make a good point over the purchase costs. There is not so clear an advantage that there used to be. The pre ecotank 1430 Artisan/1500w that the L1800 is based on was available for less than £250 + £50 for a ciss, which made it a no brainer.

The L1800/1430 Artisan/1500w is far from a 'throw away' Epson, build quality is very high, and Ink Experts back the product. I used 11 litres of Ink last year, through my 3 1500w printers. I have a L1800 as well, and the chasis and internals are identical. Even if you had to throw it after 1/2 a litre of ink you have still spent less than the cost of the same volume of Sawgrass ink.
interesting argument for sure..

i see inkexperts have a hack to the expensive sawgrass option though i've never been a fan of using non genuine inks for anything.

https://www.inkexperts.co.uk/product...onversion-pack

certainly an interesting option the l1800
 
Old June 8th, 2020 Jun 8, 2020 8:42:58 AM -   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Which printer should I buy? Sublimation, Laser Transfer or DTG? Need Expert Advice :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by TABOB
All methods have limitations:
You just have to start with one and accept it's limitations.

Polyester:
Cotton feel or not, most people don't want polyester t-shirts for everyday use.

Sublimation transfers on cotton:
The Reveal S and Forever subli-light papers produce good results on white and light colored cotton, but you cannot print gradients or pastels. Pink for example will not transfer.

White toner printers:
Good for non fashion t-shirts. The outcome is simply NOT retail quality.

DTG:
Not as easy as it looks, but the results are nice when you get it right.
I personally only print CMYK, because I don't want to deal with the headaches associated with white ink.
The Roland VersaStudio BT-12 is an A4 size printer, with is very limiting. It's a $2,000 toy printer basically.
Thanks

the polyester shirt thing is real and i know it. that's why it's hard to make a decision really.

is the reveal-s still a thing? i wonder what happened to the revela-w and -wc versions promised a few years ago? good to know i can't print pastels.. not sure i like that limitation tbh.. but cotton.. ah.. theres a big plus.

thanks for the input on white toner..

i have been reading a lot more on the headaches of dtg white.. not something i fancy at this point..

how does the reveal-s fair on polyester? looks like it could be a nice balance of being able to do poly & cotton shirts..

noted about the toy, i think i'd convinced myself it was money better saved or spent on something else
 
Old June 8th, 2020 Jun 8, 2020 9:33:52 AM -   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Which printer should I buy? Sublimation, Laser Transfer or DTG? Need Expert Advice :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by philldetman
is the reveal-s still a thing? i wonder what happened to the revela-w and -wc versions promised a few years ago?
It's still a thing, along with the "forever subli-light". Both were promising a dark shirt version, but it never materialized.

Most people prefer using the JPSS which is not self weeding, but can print pastels, and can be used with any inkjet printer (sublimation, or pigment).


Quote:
Originally Posted by philldetman
how does the reveal-s fair on polyester? looks like it could be a nice balance of being able to do poly & cotton shirts..
Polyester shirts don't need a polymer transfer. They are polymer .
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